To the best of my memory, there has only been one successful third party in the history of the United States—the Republican Party. There has been many attempts, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, commonly known as the Bull Moose Party in 1912, Thomas J. Anderson’s American Party in 1976, and Ross Perot’s ‘Independent’ party in 1992. Neither Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas J. Anderson, nor Ross Perot, were successful. Instead, these three third party candidates insured the election of Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. How? They sucked away votes that would have gone to the Republican candidate.
If a third party arose today, would circumstances in the next Presidential election be any different? Probably not. Presidential elections are determined by the highest number of votes. It’s is highly unlikely that any number of minor parties could combine and gather sufficient votes to win.
Control of Congress, however, does not have to be a binary decision—dem or ‘pub. Coalitions can exist, and control Congress.
The Republican Party evolved from the disintegration of the Whig Party in 1856. The Kansas-Nebraska Act divided the Whigs over support for slavery and the creation of new slave states. The Whigs had lost their vision and their core during the slavery debates of that time. The anti-slavery elements of the Whigs created the Republican Party that, in 1860, elected Lincoln for President.
The Whig part died over slavery. The Republican party is teetering, perhaps on its death bed, over socialism and big government. Like the Whigs, the Republican establishment has lost its vision.
In my last post, I said the Republican party is dissolving. It hasn’t broken up yet. But, taking that thought further, how could such a dissolution occur?
There are a number of scenarios that could trigger the breakup. One, that I think is likely, is the public formation of a conservative faction within the Republicans in Washington. We know there are conservatives, all we need do is to watch their voting records. They haven’t, yet, created a voting bloc.
As an example, what if Cruz, Lee, Paul, maybe Rubio and others, like those who supported Ted Cruz’s “long speech” last week, were to form a…let’s call it The Tea Party Caucus. A caucus who would examine each voting issue, whether it is the Continuing Resolution, the Debt Limit, or other controversial issues, and determine how they would vote—as a bloc. That would be a first step towards a third party.
The caucus would divide the conservatives from RINOs like McConnell, McCain, Graham, Cornyn, and others like them in the House. The Tea Party Caucus would vote enbloc. They would present candidates for Congressional offices like Speaker and Majority/Minority Leader. They would form intra and extra-party coalitions to wrest control from the establishment of both parties. I note that Mancin (D-WV) has voted very conservatively for a democrat, often against his party leadership. There are a few more dems like him that may slip away from that democrat dictatorship in Washington.
Come the next national election, the establishment of both party would attempt to remove these conservatives during the primary. At this point, if the establishment blocked conservatives during the primary process, or in the primary election, it is quite possible, the conservatives would run as independents—perhaps creating a real Tea Party or whatever name they chose.
It would be a critical decision. Historically, new parties lose their first elections as did the Republicans in 1856 and the American Party in 1972, 1976 and 1980. The Republicans survived and won in 1860. The American Party failed each time and faded away.
Would the new Tea Party political machine fail too? Perhaps, if there aren’t enough officeholders and candidates, and public, grassroots voters to sustain the new party. If the bigger conservative names like Cruz, Lee, Paul and the others move enmass to the new party, the probability of it surviving is much, much greater. The new party would have existing officeholders in the Senate, some would win seats in the House, others would win as ‘Pubs or Dems and vote as a coalition alongside the new conservative Tea Party Congressmen. Another successful election cycle with more officeholders as members of the new party or aligned politically with them and the new third party would remain as a voter option against the big government dem and ‘Pub parties.
Is this a viable scenario? I have no idea. I’m no political pundit, just a retired engineer with a taste for history and political trends. Will something happen? Yes. Every day brings more evidence of the disintegration of the Republicans. Just look at the antics over defunding Obamacare. The Senate ‘Pubs betrayed their constituents, again, allowing Reid to reinstate Obamacare funding. The CR went back to the House where Boehner assured the funding for Obamacare while cutting a minor tax of medical devices and delaying some of the Obamacare deadlines. The ‘Pub establishment of both houses of Congress has not endorsed funding Obamacare.
The Republican establishment sided with the dems to protect Obamacare. The one beneficial result is that we now know explicitly, who are our ‘Pub Senate traitors. Here is Missouri, a Facebook group, “Replace Roy Blunt,” doubled its membership within hours of Blunt’s vote to allow Reid to reinstate Obamacare funding.
These are the 25 Republicans who voted with Reid to invoke cloture on the CR:
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
John Barrasso (R-WY)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Jeff Chiesa (R-NJ)
Daniel Coats (R-IN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
John Hoeven (R-ND)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
John McCain (R-AZ)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
John Thune (R-SD)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
— CNS News.
The Cloture vote had 25 establishment ‘Pubs supporting Harry Reid and 19 ‘Pubs who supported Cruz and Lee. Nineteen potential members of a new conservative party. Let’s remember in the coming elections, who supported us, the conservative base, and who, like Roy Blunt, didn’t and supported Harry Reid against us.