Third party talk among conservatives is a waste
Recent national polls showing a larger percentage of Americans expressing support for a non-existing “Tea Party” candidate rather than a Republican candidate is a temptation for conservatives to waste their time and increase the odds of feeling even more disenfranchised in the future.
I understand the frustration, especially the white hot frustration of those who have only recently become energized and involved, most likely as a result of our current President.
The energy, enthusiasm and commitment to core principles is great. It’s beyond great. It’s exactly what this country (and more specifically the GOP) needs. But what we don’t need is for that energy and enthusiasm to be wasted where it will do absolutely no good whatsoever to the principles it represents.
What we need is not the creation of another political party, (which would soon become subject to the same problems of the current parties), but rather an organized force that can bring accountability to the Republican Party by generating pressure from without and change from within.
Let’s face it, actually “building” a political party is an incredibly steep uphill climb, to say nothing of the fact that it will likely split conservative votes and elect more liberals.
So what’s the rationale? It can’t be issues, given that most of what would become a “tea party” platform is already embodied by the Republican platform. That leaves leadership. In other words, the problem with the GOP isn’t a platform problem, it’s a personnel problem. And, as Ronald Reagan once said, “Personnel is policy”.
Building a new party would be like trying to build a new car from scratch because you don’t like the direction the one you’re in is heading. What are the odds you’ll get where you want to go anytime soon? It makes more sense to fight to replace the driver.
In other words, we need to focus on the real problem.
Political parties are just tools. They’re vehicles used to get from point A to point B. Setting aside the “health” of the vehicle, what’s important is the “direction” you’re headed. And that comes down to who has the steering wheel. And those people are elected at some point.
The dirty little secret among party insiders (of either party) is that the number of people that participate in the actual organizational meetings where leadership is elected is incredibly low. Far lower even than the small percentage that participates in primary elections.
A fraction of the same effort it would require to build a wining political party could be used to take over the GOP – lock, stock and barrel.
You want to change the direction? Then find other people who think like you do and get organized “within” the party. Focus on the next set of Republican precinct organizational meetings and county conventions where local party officials are elected, as well as delegates to district and state conventions.
Identify the dates and locations and share them with your friends. Crowd-source it on a wiki or Google calendar. Identify who currently has those jobs and where they stand on our core conservative principles. Then either support them or replace them. It’s as simple as that.
When you change who is driving, you’ll change where the vehicle is headed. And in the process you’ll build critical infrastructure for the party, which will make it more likely to be successful for the issues you care about – and help build the conservative movement at the same time.
Elections have consequences, as they say, and that applies not just to public office but also to party office. If you’re really committed to conservative principles, then don’t make it any easier for liberals to win – either in Republican primaries, or in general elections.
Focus on recruiting and training other activists and educating voters on the real differences between candidates (for elective office and party office), and then support and promote specific candidates with your time and your money.
In other words, if you want real change, then focus on the real problem. Change the personnel.