A New Party: Recipe for Failure
A major theme among conservatives over the past few weeks is that “Donald Trump should start a new party” – the American Conservative party, the American Patriot party, or something similar.
The impulse behind this is understandable, considering the collapse of the GOP in the face of open electoral fraud and the Capitol false-flag operation, in which we learned that it’s okay for a cop to shoot an unarmed white woman if she’s a Trump supporter, not to mention the ratlike scurrying to appease the Democrats that we’ve seen in the days since. GOP behavior throughout all this has been a disgrace. It might be going too far to say that Republicans actually worked with the Left, but when we look at such creeps as Pat Toomey, Betsy DeVos, or Brett Kavanaugh, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they just don’t care one way or another.
Without question the party has deteriorated into a slimy gang of backstabbers, hustlers, and opportunists, so bad they’re even inept at their cheap hustles. There are exceptions, yes, but they are not in the majority.
But despite all this, a new party would still be a mistake.
The pro position in a new party is that it would mark a fresh start in American politics, as the establishment of the GOP did in 1854.
The con part… well, there’s a lot of that. So we’ll take ‘em one by one.
- Any new conservative party would be a minority party. Yes, Trump voters comprise 70-80 million, but they’re not all Republicans and they’re not all ready to jump ship. A conservative party would be a marginal party for a long time, with no guarantee that it would ever grow to become anything else.
- It would isolate conservatives, establishing a political ghetto that could be easily attacked and caricatured.
Mainstream conservatives did something similar in the 70s and 80s by migrating out of the political mainstream into their own system of think-tanks and activist organizations. In doing so, they effectively abandoned the institutions – education, media, entertainment, and business – to the left, who proceeded to take control. Today, “mainstream” conservatism consists of a strange little rump of people who dress oddly and speak only among themselves, using a vocabulary often impenetrable to outsiders. Simply put, a cult. The fact that they are no longer “conservative” in any easily understood fashion was revealed by the phenomenon of the #NeverTrumper, a weird development in which “conservatives” turned against every last one of their own ideas because Trump wore brown shoes with blue suits, or something. There is an extreme danger that any new party would end up the same way.
- It would split the conservative movement at the time it most needs unity. Conservatives are, for the first time since the early 60s, being actively targeted and threatened with ouster from the public square. Think of your horror movie memes: now that the left-wing zombies are loose in the old mansion, it’s not the time to split up. A third party right now would simply allow the Dems to pull their little tricks against a weakened opposition.
- It would leave honorable Republicans – and they do exist, as see Matt Gaetz, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley – high and dry. These Horatiuses have never stopped fighting back, and they are still in there pitching. They deserve far better than abandonment.
- It will hand the GOP over to the likes of Liz Cheney and Pierre Delecto, who will immediately turn it into a Democrat party lite. Americans will then have two major parties working against and exploiting them.
- It would create a fertile ground for loons and wild men. Every last Ross Perot, Todd Akin, and Roy Moore on the continent will be banging on the door, shouting that he’s a “real conservative,” a “man of the people” and what have you. The conservative record for identifying and controlling these types is not inspiring. (Many have forgotten, if they ever knew, that Perot effectively handed the county over to Big Willy and his paramour… uhh, what’s her name there. Clinton did not win either election. Perot handed it to him in both cases.) All that has to happen is for one of these types to get into the wheelhouse and it will be all over. The media will not let anyone forget it, and the voting public will simply shake its collective head and wander off. One thing the Republican dinosaurs are good for is controlling the crazies. Maybe we can make that their assigned role.
- It’s hard. A strange aspect of this debate is that many seem to think that starting a political party is simple, a matter of putting out a “conservative” sign and a card table and waiting for people to sign up. Well, no – the grind, effort, and expense would be unbelievably difficult and time-consuming. Infiltrating the GOP is far simpler and would show immediate results.
Pointing to 1854 is a mistake because there were in fact two separate parties that united to create the GOP – the remnants of the Whigs and the sane part of the Native American Party – the Know-Nothings. This is not the situation today.
The most telling argument against a new party is that we have perfectly serviceable one that nobody’s using at the moment -- the GOP.
In large areas of the country, the GOP is effectively derelict, run by geriatrics with no idea of what is happening in the world at large and operating as little more than social clubs. In many districts it is moribund, with no political presence whatsoever. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, one of the blue-collar capitals of the country, has three declared socialist state representatives. Pennsylvania Republicans have failed to run anyone in those districts for years.
There also the phenomenon of the joke campaign, in which assorted clowns declare themselves “Republicans” and run campaigns based on imbecilic platforms, always at the expense of the GOP. (I have witnessed two of these myself.) This never seems to happen to Democrats.
If we look at the disasters of the past twenty years, from Obama to Asterisk, GOP incompetence has almost always played a crucial role. (Consider only Kemp and Raffensperger. You can go on to add Christie, Corbett, and as many more as you can stand.) It’s not that the Dems have been victorious, it’s that the GOP has regularly handed victory to them.
Obviously, the GOP is ripe for reform, and it won’t come from within.
So how do we effect a takeover? Success, it has been said, is a matter of showing up. In the GOP, precinct, county, or state committee members can be either appointed or elected. If you choose to run for committee, in many cases you will not be opposed. If enough people were to do this, local committees would be converted from living dead status in relatively short order.
The same goes for local and state electoral offices. In most states, you can simply declare as a Republican and run. (This is what occurred in the joke campaigns mentioned above.) This is something that tea parties did to a limited extent ten and twelve years ago, but it simply wasn’t enough. We need more effort and more candidates.
Individuals with substantial money can help fund such efforts. (Calling all Florida-based ex-presidents.)
Could we expect results? Absolutely. One story that fell under the fold last fall involved the Cook county elections. The Illinois GOP had allowed the Democrats, for something on the order of fifty years, to control all poll watchers. This year, they instead supplied their own. And by gosh and by golly, they won several local districts that had long been written off as forever blue.
If you’re tired of losing, then you need to set out to win. If you’re tired of turncoats like Ben Sasse and Liz Cheney, fence-sitters like Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, then you need to do something about it.
Starting a new party, though emotionally appealing, will do nothing to address what’s really wrong. It would be frankly, a flurry of useless activity that would camouflage a lack of serious strategy.
I can see the temptation of having your own treehouse that nobody else is allowed into. But that’s not how you run a successful political party. You run a political party by creating something that is appealing to the voting public, presenting it well, keeping your promises, and getting the job done. Somebody pulled that off in 2016, if I recall correctly.
The GOP is not that party right now and hasn’t been for a long time. It is an assemblage of hustlers, grifters, capons, and losers. They should be, and can be, exposed and swept out.
It will take a lot of time and effort, but it would be a lot easier job than starting from zero.
Image: Library of Congress