Moderator’s note. I’m closing comments on this post. This is site devoted to winning elections, not to balkanizing our voters.
Erick Erickson recently broached the subject of a conservative third party.
We all have thought about a third party at one time or another. I posted the essay below on the subject in Member Diaries last Winter.
This commentary makes the case for a Conservative Party as a three-part structure – first and foremost as an organizing tool for conservatives; second as a support party for good Republicans; and thirdly as an electoral party to put up candidates.
I even was briefly involved with a California group called Conservative Party USA. But I did not really agree with their direction. And my involvement made me think differently about what a Conservative Party would really mean.
Here is my essay from February:
Let’s Start a National Conservative Party
It is time to establish a Conservative Party of America that will bring together all conservatives under one umbrella – Tea Party, 2nd Amendment, Constitutionalists, pro-life, pro-family, Christian, anti-terrorist, traditional marriage, private-property rights, secure borders, pro-military, pro-nuclear etc.
This would not be just another political advocacy group. It would be a whole new party to add to Democrats and Republicans. It would run candidates for everything from town council to president of the United States.
Today there is no such party. The Tea Party movement indeed represents conservatives, but it is not an official party and its focus is strictly fiscal. Even still, in its short history, the Tea Party helped to sweep hundreds of candidates into office in 2010. And we need to build on that success and that momentum.
Consider gun owners. They may be Tea Partiers, but they mostly deal with 2nd Amendment issues. Yet how many 2nd Amendment candidates have we seen in the last 50 years as we have seen hundreds of Tea Party candidates in the last two? Few, if any.
But if a 2nd Amendment advocate is a strong candidate who speaks well and could connect well with voters, Conservative Party of America (CPA) would allow him/her to get together with other conservatives to build consensus to run for office in exchange for a promise to promote the whole conservative agenda along with the 2nd Amendment.
Indeed 2nd Amendment backers can get together in a CPA with Tea Partiers, Constitutionalists, secure borders advocates etc. and use our combined numbers as a political “force multiplier”. After all, most conservatives who believe in one part of the agenda are faithful to the entire agenda, or most of it. Today that unity is difficult to achieve in the fractured conservative movement.
The conservative agenda is being served only sometimes by the Republican party. George W. Bush gave us 50% conservatism. And he gave us 50% liberalism – open borders, a huge new prescription drug entitlement and a disastrous war in Iraq. During the Bush presidency Republicans in Congress spent like drunken Democrats. ‘Republican’ US senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has voted largely like a Democrat. The Republicans appear to be doing better after the last election, but there is no guarantee that that will continue.
Like the Tea Party, CPA will work with the Republican party when the GOP fields good candidates. No problem. Otherwise CPA can put up candidates and run them in Republican primaries or run them as Conservatives in general elections.
CPA candidates may be Tea Party or pro-life or pro-nuclear or whatever. But right now, many conservatives – in the pro-life movement, for instance – may not feel they really have a political home except in their own separate sphere of political influence. They may be well-spoken, but they see no way to expand their ideas to a bigger audience as a Conservative Party would allow them to, even to the national candidate level.
CPA could begin showcasing intelligent conservatives of all stripes from all over the country, and bring out a whole new generation of activists just as the Tea Party did in less than two years.
According to a recent Gallup poll, there are twice as many conservatives as there are liberals in America. Yet we are not organized as a party. Why not? And just think of all the millions of conservatives who are not yet energized. We could conduct a nationwide conservative voter registration drive through CPA with millions of conservatives each registering just one or two new voters each. This will help to elect Republicans and conservatives for decades to come.
Here are the advantages of a unified Conservative Party of America:
*It is a new political party, but really much more – a unifying umbrella group to strengthen and coordinate conservative action in America.
*It will bring “political order” to the conservative movement and increase its power.
*CPA will be 100% conservative. No debates with Democrats. No liberals giving their opinions.
*All genuinely conservative groups will be given equal treatment. And CPA will not hinder these separate conservative groups from organizing; it will boost them. No Mad Dog groups will be allowed.
*CPA will streamline the conservative movement. Currently the movement is broken up into parts with hundreds, even thousands of websites. Gun owners and pro-lifers don’t necessarily communicate. They should and could do so largely over the internet through one single portal – a national CPA website. They will increase their power by doing so.
*It will give voice to millions of new people and will give them access to political tools and information to run for office on the local, state or national level. The CPA website will explain to candidates how to run as real conservatives, i.e., give short speeches that are to the point, always be confident, don’t ever agree with liberals, use voter lists to get out your people etc.
*CPA will build a national directory of tens of millions of conservatives. Activists who are online can even organize those who are not online through local face-to-face meetings and contacts. Those with computers can update their organizational efforts online to build the national directory.
*The national CPA website would be like a daily newspaper for conservatives. It would go well beyond the Weekly Standard, National Review, National Rifle Association, Heritage Foundation etc. It will carry commentary written by non-professionals – like letters to the editor – and covering myriad topics that will be of interest to all conservatives including everyday topics that affect our lives that are not talked about at the big sites.
It will be a grass-roots site with a national home page, along with state and county web pages. The state and county pages will encourage postings of all sorts (commentaries, news, opinions, links etc.) and will allow conservatives to communicate with each other in their state and local areas like a newspaper or a bulletin board.
*The CPA site can offer printable one-page handouts on every topic from taxes to national defense to terrorism. Conservatives can hand these pages out personally or e-mail them to influence others about our agenda. Because smart people know that we conservatives are always “right”.
*It would put the Republican party on notice that there are going to be even more watchdogs on the right in every election and that these watchdogs are growing in strength.
*In some parts of the country, a CPA candidate can win in a three-way race with a Republican and a Democrat.
*CPA even could run unofficial “primary elections” through the internet to pick the best conservative candidate.
*Individual conservative groups can link their own websites to the CPA website, directing people to CPA. And vice versa.
*It will bring in people who do not necessarily feel that they “fit in” anywhere specific in today’s conservatism even though they believe strongly in what conservatism stands for. Many conservatives in liberal states feel very much alone and don’t realize that there are other conservatives down the street. It truly will be a Big Tent. People can pick and choose what areas of CPA they wish to be active in and, overall, their activism will benefit the conservative movement in general.
*CPA will showcase and promote Republicans with good conservative ideas and will back those Republican candidates.
*One single CPA website will offer people access to every part of the conservative movement, with contributions – essays, ideas, candidacies, forums and links – from members of every participating group.
*The overall message of CPA will be that we must work together. In unity there is strength.
Please visit the new and improved www.nikitas3.com for more good conservative insights.