A Majority Want a Third Party

I follow politics like sports, but though I’m registered as a Republican (for now), I kind of hate them. It seems a lot of Americans are becoming less party fans, meaning they root for the home party, right or wrong. Apparently 60% now believe that we need a third party:

Self-identified Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to see the need for a third party—49% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans said they saw the need for a third party—but a full 71% of Independents supported the idea of a third party.

Apparently it’s something even Democrats can agree on at this point. But what would such a third party look like? At this point, all I think it would take is a leader who could hawk the right brand of populism, and able to build a political organization behind him (or her). I am seriously starting to believe the extinction of one major party is possible, if the right conditions and the right person come along. That’s probably why the two major parties are doing what they can to use the apparatus of the state to protect themselves. That’s something they’ll start agreeing on real quick if this sentiment starts to take the form of an actual threat.

h/t Instapundit.

NOTE: We’re going to venture off topic a bit more because the new cycle on guns is so dry it’s getting difficult to blog only about second amendment topics. While 2A topics have always been the focus of this blog, I’ve traditionally covered politics on the side. We will return to that until gun news picks up a bit.

21 thoughts on “A Majority Want a Third Party”

  1. Three parties always depends on who is the split. I try to teach people via the Perot/Bush debacle that split the conservative vote and allowed slickWillie to waltz to a victory. If I remember correctly, 60+% of the votes were for conservative values! some more conservative and other more moderate. So 38% wins.

    There is serious danger. I believe it is why the left, and their compliant media, consistently drive the story of a wedge. There are always disagreements, in both parties. Unless we get a real conservative, we are stuck getting. RINO leadership. McCain, Bush, Bush, Romney. Allowing Christie into the mold is just wrong. No real Republican comes from Mass, NJ, NY, California. (Yes I know where Reagan came from. )

    But getting votes from these locations becomes the reasoning.

  2. The American system benefits from only having two parties, not to mention, the party ideology shifts from generation to generation.

    The US doesn’t need a third party, it needs a party which offers something different from what is currently offered.

    Moderated Republicans can no longer survive in this political landscape, their ideas on abortion, drugs, and marriage are outdated, and their willingness to be big spenders hurts them a lot. The Libertarians though…. they will take over.

    Socially indifferent, non-interventionist, and small government, they have a big enough tent for all sorts of people to join.

    1. “The Libertarians though…. they will take over.”

      That’s what I was saying, 25 years ago. I’m still waiting.

      Complicating things is that “libertarian” doesn’t seem to have a shadow of resemblance to what it meant in my time, so even if “Libertarians” took over tomorrow, it would not mean I was finally vindicated in my quarter-century-ago opinion.

    2. I think it’s likely to be a brand of populism I will have some affections for, but for the most part will be very concerned about.

  3. There is no room for a third party in the USA. I think these polls confuse disgust with “the other guy” as opportunity. It’s not a philosophical movement. I think commenter DevsAdvocate has a point: the USA is legally designed for two-party rule. Elections are framed in two-party law; key rules in all legislative bodies are based on the two-party system; etc. Just because we see “alternate” parties on the ballot does not mean the system actually supports them. It’s a major fight for any non-legacy party. The European coalition governments are not something we can (currently) support.

    The easiest and most effective way for a third-party is to just rehabilitate an existing party. Some claim the GOP is going through such an upheaval now, but I think we’re a long way from that happening. Pundits say, “the Tea Party is taking over” but who is the Tea Party, really?

    The Tea Party is fractured – some are social conservatives and some are Libertarian. Theymay be united on some issues, but Libertines and Evangelicals don’t exactly make a strong united front for complete governance. If you put a litmus test in front of your GOP readers on gay marriage…would there be a united “party”?

    McCain/Romney were viewed as middlings who never got the love of “the right”, whoever that supposedly is. I am not fans of theirs (voted for them, anyway) but I certainly preferred them over guys like Santorum. I am the “right” they never excited, but I am not sure we know what the “right” looks like. Is it Pat Robertson or some Libertarian ideal?

    I know I feel left out of the GOP. I don’t like any party telling people how to behave or marry or whatnot. They are no different from Bloomberg telling me I cannot have soda. In my world, I swing so far right that I come back to libertarian again. You do your thing, but leave me alone as you do it. Return the same and I’ll vote for you.

    My view is the GOP will eventually die and then go back to its more libertine roots. Younger generations who feel shut out by the Dems are being shown an alternate universe where the drug war is bad; your marriage is your own business; and your own business ($$) is not there to support others.

    The current players are all saying some exciting things, but having to play all sides is near impossible. Cruz sounds cool until you get into the “small enough to fit into your bedroom” mentality of the social conservatism he hawks. Paul…less crazy than his old man but still not excited.

    FWIW: from a pure tactical perspective I think a Cruz/Rubio ticket would upset enough lefty demographic applecarts to make it worth the show.

    1. What was “crazy” about Ron Paul exactly? He is closest to the philosophy you claim to espouse… He never met a civil liberty he didn’t like.

      I have no problem with Rand Paul (or his dad when he ran, btw). The problem with Rand is that Kentucky law will not allow him to run for the senate and president at the same time. We would be losing a fervent pro-gun and pro-civil libertarian senator in a race that would not be a “sure thing”. That is a tactical problem for us.

      Cruz is now too tightly associated with the shutdown, which is extremely polarizing. At this time it seems like a liability for any conservative. If it isn’t (and I hope it’s not) then he would be a better candidate, but he is also a neo-con foreign adventurer at the root and that would cause folks like me to reject that ideology as a failed direction for the GOP to embark on yet again. If we’re voting “guns first”, then by all means Ted is our man.

    2. “the USA is legally designed for two-party rule. Elections are framed in two-party law; key rules in all legislative bodies are based on the two-party system; etc.”

      Is that framed in the constitution, or did it evolve?

      What you have done in just a couple sentences in explain how it came that the two major parties are now the de facto government of the United States, and the constitution and its provisions are merely artifices they use in the pursuit of their own factions’ power.

      Is the current contest in Washington, DC, about the general welfare, or about which faction will come out of that contest with enhanced power? And if the answer is the latter, where is that government of the United States that should be calling time on those two power cartels? Obviously it no longer exists. What exists is an RNC and a DNC, and they are our only “government” — not too unlike the way the Communist Party was the de facto government of the Soviet Union, and the machinations of the Soviet “system” were only a thin charade concealing that.

  4. “The easiest and most effective way for a third-party is to just rehabilitate an existing party”

    I totally disagree. Why? Why do people believe that trying to overcome a legacy of disgust is easier than starting new? We’ve had quite a few parties come and go…hats (or whigs) off to them.

    Ya, I need to work on this….

  5. I don’t think this is off-topic at all, as a shakeup of the current party system would be a huge hurdle for interest groups like ours.
    That kind of event is when politicians pull out the long knives in the dark, and problem constituencies end up having tragic bus accidents.

    1. We can only hope the Bloomberg constituency is at the front of the bus when it crashes.

    1. It’s a good explanation, but the problem is I’m not sure that’s the wrong way to do it. The problem we have in this country is too many people thinking voting is supposed to be some kind of personal affirmation. It’s not. The choice is this: we can either compromise within a party framework, or we can have politicians compromising in the government for us.

      I’m not convinced our voting system is the best that can be — I like the idea of runoff elections, and to be able to rank candidates — but you’re going to have to compromise at some place or another, and it’s a matter of whether it’s politicians getting their hands dirty or the people. I’d prefer people have to make those choices, because otherwise elections just become an act of personal affirmation rather than making hard choices about what’s important to you, and to us, as a people.

  6. I do agree that our system tends to favor having two parties, but I don’t think that’s written in stone. I also don’t think it’s written in stone that one of the major parties can go the way of the do do, and be replaced, still in a two party framework.

  7. Going off memory, Washington was not fond of parties at all. The Framers tended to forsee two parties to do what they are doing now- fight between themselves with enough on each side to keep a third entity from running away with things. Remember the US system is set up to be adversarial. That’s best done with two opposing groups. Otherwise it is a little like a game with three teams or three kids- one is always the beaten up runt.

    According to history, a proper charismatic figure can rehabilitate a party and take over, usually starting with an obscure one. (Communist Party of USA to DNC…) Unfortunately, such a move usually isn’t for the best. The most maligned, for very good reasons, is the National Socialist party of Germany in the 1920’s and 30’s. It was a sub-party and not really popular. Until Hitler. Then they grew in popularity and took enough votes to change the government. While not direct parallels, I do recall the German Bundestag was set up with a lot of influence from the American system. I believe the Bolsheviks were also similarly run.

    Don’t say “it can’t happen here”- how many of you thought even 10 years ago that something like ACA would even pass a single house of Congress, let alone be law? “Can’t happen” is another phrase for apathy…

  8. People say a lot of things to pollsters that they don’t actually mean. If anywhere close to 60% of voters wanted a third party, we’d see at least a few more third party candidates winning smaller down-ticket offices where the big party money doesn’t have as much of an impact. I’d file this with the claim that most people want all incumbents thrown out of congress (except for my own, who I’ll keep voting for) and most people want a balanced budget (unless if it means my government handouts will be cut).

  9. Now would be the right time for a Buchanan or Perot type of right-populist candidate to jump into the national spotlight.

    1. Can you say “President Trump”?

      Scarier yet, “President Bloomberg”……….

  10. I suspect this is one of those deals where supporters of one party want the other one to go away and stop preventing their preferred policies from being enacted. Remember, Congress as a whole has abysmal approval ratings. Each individual congressman gets at least 50%+1 votes every 2-6 years… The current president has low approval ratings, except in the only poll that matters.

  11. Part of the problem with “a third party” is that while lots of people want one, they don’t all want the same one.

    Greens and Progressives want one that’s about 100% the opposite of what Conservatives want.

    And if it’s possible, both of those are opposed thoroughly to what I want in “a third party”.

    (But I’m not daft enough to think my political views are going to be popular enough to support a viable party; the closest fit, the Libertarian Party, can’t seem to break 1 or 2%, tops.

    And half the time I think the LP are a bunch of idiots… on policy.)

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