Let’s get the 800-lb gorilla out of the way before getting to the meat of the issue. Donald Trump’s rise and subsequent fall is not the cause of the Republican Party’s collapse. It has merely been an amazingly destructive symptom of the liberalization of the party for the past five decades. The eight years we had with Reagan were nice, but to the party they were a speed bump along the road to the middle. That has always been their desired destination. The GOP has quietly wanted to be the populist party since Goldwater’s defeat.
Let’s also set aside the current turmoil of _____. Depending on the day you read this, you can fill that blank with whatever embarrassment is plaguing the party and its Presidential candidate at the current moment. Whatever it is, it will pass. We cannot operate in a reactionary manner that focuses solely on the events of the moment. We are building a new conservative party that requires a titanium foundation and a proper plan for the decades ahead while making the appropriate impacts today and into the near future. There are advantages to grabbing hold of the angst felt by many in the GOP (not to mention those in the Libertarian, Constitution, and other 3rd parties) but we are best served finding those whose anger is deep and ongoing rather than those who are suddenly annoyed that this candidate is foolish or that party leader is corrupt.
The Republican Party is fundamentally broken. It can and likely will recover, but the next version will solidify the Establishment’s control and validate their direction towards the political middle. They’ll make people like Senators Ben Sasse and Mike Lee their ideological icons while practicing a more liberal ideology within their politics. In other words, conservatives within the party will be props. They’ll be champions for a way of governance that the party can tout without actively practicing.
All of this can bring melancholy to those who truly believe in the primacy of the Constitution. It can char the hopes of those who are watching the faux-anti-Establishment movement within the party flailing their weapons in every direction in hopes of landing a blow, not concerned with who is damaged as long as someone is made to pay for Trump’s failings as a leader. The most damaging thing it can bring is a resolute determination to fix this for the future from within the party. I know because I’ve been there for decades. I’ve fallen for the idea that the Republican Party can be fixed if we could just elect enough Constitutional conservatives into office. This mindset is damaging because it’s exactly what the Establishment wants. They enable it to the point that it keeps us our attention but they will never allow full integration of conservative philosophies within the party itself. As long as we’re fighting them from within the party, we’re still part of the party. They know from experience that we will rail against the moderates they present to us, but in the end we’ll vote for them over the Democratic alternative. They want our numbers counted, but they won’t allow our voices to be heard.
For the last few years, we’ve dubbed people like Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, and John Boehner as “RINOs” – Republicans In Name Only. This is a false understanding of the situation. It is us, the Constitutional originalists, the rock-ribbed social and/or fiscal conservatives, who are the real RINOs. We are guests in their party. What makes it worse is that we’re unwanted guests except on election day. They’d even prefer if we kept our principles out of their way during primaries. In their ideal world, we would show up only on election day and accept whatever pastel-colored, big government moderate they’ve selected for us because they know that we’ll vote for the moderate Republican over the liberal Democrat.
The greatest roadblock to forming our party is the belief that no third party can win. Everybody wants to be on the winning team and we’ve been convinced that the only teams capable of winning are the Republicans and the Democrats. This is only true for as long as the illusion will hold. Unfortunately, it has held for over a century. That’s an indicator that it will be difficult to break the two-party system. It will not be impossible.
We have a plan that can work as long as we can reach a tipping point in numbers. There are other parties that are closer to the tipping point. We count over ten thousand in our ranks, but the Constitution Party counts over a hundred thousands while the Libertarian Party counts over a million. The natural tendency would be to join forces with them, but there are challenges. The biggest challenge is that their plans have failed and will continue to fail. It’s not that they don’t have the numbers. They lack a modern strategy that takes advantage of proper messaging through the digital media available at our fingertips. While it would be preferable to try to rebuild those parties with the right growth strategy, it will actually be easier to overtake them first and then add them as allies or engulf them as participants. After speaking to most third party candidates, I can say that a vote for Darrell Castle, Tom Hoefling, and others would be fine this election because they’re way more principled and deserving of your vote than Trump, Hillary, or even Gary Johnson, but they won’t even scratch a percentage point in the general election. This is why a new party is necessary. We will begin preparations for 2018 and 2020 the moment the election is over.
Currently, we are growing twice as fast as we were growing three weeks ago which was twice as fast as we were growing in August. Assuming that the growth will continue at its current pace and not accelerate as it has been (a proper conservative approach to planning), we will launch the party after election day as the fifth (possibly even fourth) largest conservative party – and that’s if we count the Republican and Libertarian Parties as “conservative.” After launch, our growth strategy will be initiated.
This month, we are organizing our first call with political consultants, Tea Party leaders, and conservative journalists to go over the logistics of the party as well as to solidify our core principles. While there will always be open discussions on platform and policy, the core principles of conservatism are static. We generally agree that the federal government must be reduced, that life is to be protected, and that individual freedoms must be defended. If we’re to succeed, it will be by leading with our principles and allowing the politics to follow. All too often it’s the other way around. If the founding fathers had operated the way politicians operate today, we would have never been a country. When we lead with (and are led by) principles, the gray area derived from political expediency can be sliced away.
Today more than any other time since the 19th century, the country is poised to embrace a truly conservative third party that can break through the machinations of the two-party establishment. To make this a reality, we need you. Raise your hand and help others suspend their disbelief long enough to do the same.