The Third-Party Temptation -- Just Say No
The fiscal cliff and sequester battles between Obama's political operatives and the House Republican leaders reveal an Obama political strategy that is impressive in its cunning. No matter what the final outcome of fiscal struggles past and future, Obama has brilliantly maneuvered himself into a position where he always wins. At this point in his administration, Obama understands that his tactic of blaming George W. Bush for seemingly endless sluggish economic growth is getting a little long in the tooth. But now, if House Republicans refuse to capitulate to one of his offers of faux compromise, Obama has a new Republican culprit to blame and indeed, in the aftermath of the sequester battle, he has publicly promised to do just that.
But while they can win with the first option, Team Obama would vastly prefer that the Republicans chose the second option of total or at least partial capitulation. The Obama strategists know that if the Republicans do fall into the trap of capitulation that many in the Republican ranks will withdraw from politics in disgust or will bolt to a third party ensuring Democrat election victories well into the future. Team Obama fondly dreams of a Republican capitulation because if they can drive the constitutionalists (many of whom identify themselves as Tea Party people or Libertarians) from the Republican Party, they will have removed the Republican Party as a major obstacle to their Progressive/socialist agenda.
Constitutionalists can counter this strategy by duplicating again and again from coast to coast the recent success of constitutionalists in Accomac County, Virginia. The victory had its genesis in a small group of Accomac constitutionalists who in 2011 formed in a constitutional study group known in those parts as a Virginia Liberty Project. Participants in this group were not Republican Party members and were loath to call themselves Republicans due to the sorry record of the Republican Party from the national level right down to the local party in Accomac County.
As the 2012 presidential election approached, the members of the study group faced a choice. They could have joined a third party with constitutional values more compatible with their own, but they opted instead to support the major political party they merely disliked in order to thwart the ambitions of the other major political party they detested.
And support the Republicans they did. While the official Republican Party apparatus (called "Units" at the county level in Virginia) did next to nothing, the study group members quickly recruited over a hundred volunteers and began registering everything that moved. Registration soared and while 2012 Republican election turnout was down in most counties throughout the U.S., Accomac County increased its Republican turnout from 2008.
This whirlwind of activity did not go unnoticed among the minority of members of the official Republican Accomac Unit who were frustrated at the pusillanimous campaign efforts of their own leadership. So they approached the study group and asked for their help in dethroning the Republican county chairman. This was no small task since it required a whopping two-thirds vote of the members. But the study group agreed and quickly produced a Petition for Removal with the required signatures. When the Unit Chairman balked, they flooded the Republican Unit with so many new members that the stunned chairman was forced to resign.
The Accomac County experience can serve as a calming tonic for constitutionalists who suffer the pangs of the third-party temptation but deep in their hearts know the consequences. Rather than falling into the trap set by Team Obama and starting a futile Ross Perot-type movement, they can focus their energies on their own respective counties and take over the Republican Party machinery at that level. Once they control the party machinery, they can work to support real constitutionalist candidates for their state legislatures and the Federal House of Representatives. Electing the right state representatives is doubly beneficial because those same state representatives can use their power of redistricting to ensure that as many constitutionalist Republicans as possible ascend to the heights of Capitol Hill. With the House in the control of serious Republicans as opposed to get-along, go-along careerists, the Progressives will find that at least some of their ambitious agenda will be thwarted.
It all starts with the county. The Accomac experience has shown what a small group of committed constitutionalists can accomplish. First, study the Founding Documents so you will really have a firm understanding of what the Founders were trying to achieve and why those eighteenth-century ideas are even more relevant today. Second, focus your efforts on your local county political machinery, take it over by recruiting new members and leverage your energies from that position of power. And lastly, no matter how frustrated you get with the Democrat-lite Republicans in Washington, resist as if your salvation depended upon it that politically ruinous third-party temptation.