There’s one major reason why third parties do not work in modern American politics. As the Democratic party learned in 2000, a third party can often act as a spoiler that hands a victory over to the party’s bigger enemy. The Green party candidate, Ralph Nader, is often blamed for preventing Al Gore from beating George W. Bush. Since then, there has been hesitation about third party movements with the Libertarian party being the only one with even mild influence over national elections.
Of course, the Democrats aren’t the only ones who lost an election because of a third candidate. H. Ross Perot likely made it possible (or at least easier) for Bill Clinton to defeat George H. W. Bush in 1992.
Our efforts to form a new conservative party are tempered by today’s political realities. We’d love to take the easy road (as others have) and say, “Damn GOP. I’m done. Let’s build something better.” Unfortunately, doing so without laying out a proper plan and established guidelines would end up doing more harm than good (as others have).
Here are a few of the guidelines we are putting on the table as we finalize our rules of engagement.
We will only run candidates who can win
This isn’t just about a symbolic dissent against the rapid leftward lurch of the Republican party. We aren’t here to make a statement. We’re here to make a change.
In any election we participate in, we will support the conservative. If that person happens to be our candidate, then great! If someone like Ted Cruz runs for the GOP nomination in 2020 after retaining his Senate seat in 2016, we’re not going to oppose him just because he’s in the GOP.
Our biggest influence after the 2016 election will be in local and state races. As the party grows, we’ll move up to the appropriate levels of government as needed. We’ll also support true conservatives whether they’re Republicans, Libertarians, or any other party.
The goal is not to build a party for the sake of glory, recognition, or making a fuss. We want to take actions on policies, affect votes across the nation, and help conservatives win offices.
We will work towards voting reform
One of the reasons that conservatives have a hard time winning elections is that the various election systems are often skewed to favor the Establishment. This is the second biggest reason the two-party system seems unbreakable today. However, there are ways to promote better election systems that are properly aligned with the Constitution and that enable the people to choose the candidates they like without fear of participating in another Nader moment.
It’s important to note that these reforms must be designed to empower the people rather than act as an engine to support third-party candidates. The best-case-scenario is to have an election system that favors nobody; regardless of party, may the best man or woman win. It’s nuanced and complex, so we’ve been meeting with a couple of different subject matter experts to determine the right approaches.
One thing is fairly certain: any system that will give us either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as President is flawed to some extent. We’re not blaming the system itself for all of our woes nor are we crying “rigged,” but this is one of the aspects of government that needs to be addressed.
We will not declaw voters for the sake of the party
One of the most prominent right-leaning state parties is the Conservative Party of New York. They live in the state where Republican politicians are often liberals in elephants’ clothing, so having the ability to put forth true conservatives is a necessity. There’s a problem, though. The state uses a closed primary system, so they reduce the chances of conservatives being nominated outright or at least winning delegates in certain districts.
This is a fluid issue. We will have to look at each state and even certain counties to determine whether it’s necessary for members of our party to leave their current party. The last thing we want to do is force members to miss out on opportunities to promote conservatism through their actions or votes.
We will be accused of dividing rather than uniting. We’ll be accused of helping liberals. We’ll be accused of just about every dastardly deed imaginable by the Republican party faithful who still feel there’s a conservative future for the GOP. That’s why it’s important for us to always focus on what’s right for America and the conservative movement and put party politics a distant third.
We need input. Half of the actions we’ve taken and changes we’ve made have come as a direct result of comments, emails, phone calls, and even face-to-face meetings with people who see pitfalls or opportunities that we haven’t considered. We strongly encourage you to share this article as well as the articles below and let us know how you feel about the future of this new party.