Many Trump supporters are rightly upset over the Republican establishment’s abandonment of the 45th president.
But those calling for the the establishment of a new ‘patriot party’ are making a grave error and could inadvertently guarantee Democratic party victories long into the future.
Whether the senators, congressmen, governors and party chieftains like it or not, the Republican party has been recast as the ‘America First’ party by the most recent inhabitant of the White House. They may all want to go back — but the genie is out the bottle.
The Trump agenda is still both popular and dominant in Republican primaries. There is no reason for conservatives to leave what Sen. Barry Goldwater called ‘our historic home’ at the 1960 Republican Convention when he withdrew his name from contention after he was nominated for President.
Far from seeking to break away, Republican voters should remember that they can remove gutless establishment members in the nominating process by supporting candidates with a bold message. Ronald Reagan proved that — as did Donald Trump.
Sadly, President Trump in some instances turned around and gave some establishment Republicans the keys to the castle he had just driven them from. Reince Priebus, who did everything humanly possible to prevent Trump’s nomination, became White House chief of staff, a job for which he had neither the experience nor capability. Priebus then pushed the appointment of Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller, who in turn hampered the first three years of Trump’s term.
America essentially has a two-party system. Both parties have a substantial base among the American people who will vote for their party candidate regardless of who that candidate is. This constitutes approximately 35 percent in the Republican party and probably 38 percent in the Democratic party. Independent or third-party candidates start at zero — that is if they can even get on the ballot.
The ballot access laws in this country were written by Republicans and Democrats working together to preserve the status quo and to make it as difficult as possible for insurgents to mount an intra-party primary challenge. It is particularly difficult and expensive to gain a ballot position for a general election at any level. Obtaining ballot access is even harder for a presidential candidate from a newly created party than for an Independent.
These obstacles to a new party can of course be solved with unlimited money, but I am uncertain where that money would come from. Anyone expecting the former president to finance a new party out of his own pocket either does not know him or is putting an unfair burden on him. Ross Perot financed his own campaign but the costs of doing so today would be hellacious.
Then of course there is the problem of the televised presidential debates. The presidential debates have been controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is neither a commission nor is it about debates. Once again, Republicans and Democrats work together to ensure that the voters never get to see or hear candidates from alternative parties. It’s important to note that multiple well-crafted lawsuits have consistently failed to break this two-party monopoly. It is unlikely that would change.
Populist conservatives who support the Trump agenda would be far better off organizing for competitive conservative challenges to sitting elected Republican establishment candidates at the state and federal level. Despite the extraordinary beating our president has taken from the slanted media, the name Trump and the America First agenda will be potent within the Republican party for many years to come. Candidates who identify with Trump or the Trump agenda will, generally speaking, be well positioned.
Donald Trump himself concluded this after a brief flirtation with the Reform party in 2000. He realized you can only get elected in the United States as a Republican or a Democrat. He was right.
I favor a full financial audit of the Republican National Committee spending in the 2012 and 2016 cycles, and believe the party badly needs new leadership. We will soon learn how many associated with the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign lined their pockets at the expense of the president’s reelection.
The party apparatus needs to focus immediately on state election laws that were successfully loosened by the Democrats in the run-up to the 2020 election. The party must act to protect the integrity of the ballot in future elections.
Republican senators currently considering the constitutionally questionable impeachment of President Trump should rightfully be scared by the possibility of a challenge to their reelection from a new third party. But in fact the greater danger to their position lies within the GOP primaries — if an angry Republican electorate turns against them.
I also recognize that the rise of a new conservative populist party in America would no doubt badly split Republican and Independent voters who are right-of-center. This would lead to victory in most cases by the Democrats. There is no reason to abandon a party that has a strong fundraising ability and a strong voter base to form a new party that has neither. Trumpism and the America First agenda can win in 2022 and 2024 as Republicans. A ‘Patriot party’ will vanish without a trace.
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