Should the Tea Partiers Become a Party?
Posted by Dan Draney on April 2, 2010
Briefly, the answer is “No.” So why not?
First of all, the deck is stacked against “3rd party” challenges, due to the “winner take all” nature of things as well as the ballot access barriers set up by the main parties. These rules exist to greater or lesser degrees in every state in the country. Just getting onto the ballot in each state, and staying there, is costly in money and manpower. The two large parties have also written into the law some “free” taxpayer money for themselves, while simultaneously restricting private donations, making it difficult for “3rd parties” to raise money.
The experience of the last year has also destroyed the main argument in favor of a 3rd party, namely the claim that “there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans.” Since all the Washington levers of power passed to the Democrats, the country has had a vivid demonstration of what the Dems will do with unchecked power, and it’s much worse than most people expected. Meanwhile, the Republicans have done better than expected, admittedly a rather low bar. They have remained highly unified in the face of the steamroller trio of Congressional super majorities, a radical left administration, and MSM cheerleading for the Obama agenda. Despite the occasional wobbling, the Republicans rediscovered their principles, and their opposition has been a key factor in denying the Democrats even a fig leaf of “bipartisan support” to legitimize their radicalism.
It remains to be seen how sincere and how widespread this rediscovery actually is, but the Republicans have earned the benefit of the doubt for this cycle. If you’re not convinced yet, consider the consequences that even a successful 3rd party founding would entail.
Suppose that a new Tea Party Party was wildly successful. What would that look like?
In the 2010 balloting that might mean getting a third to a half of the votes from people opposing our current runaway freight train government. Certain result: victory for the statists. Best case scenario for proponents of this approach is that it also begins a collapse of the GOP, so that the new party becomes the “2nd” party and the GOP becomes the “3rd” party.
Although it’s quite unlikely to happen that fast (<< 0.1% chance), if at all, let’s assume that by 2012 the GOP is becoming marginalized nationally as the Tea Party Party (TPP) makes more and more inroads into what was formerly the GOP base and dissatisfied independents. So in the 2012 elections, let’s say the Tea Party Party gets half the former GOP and two-thirds of the sympathetic independents. Electoral result: the statists win again, and the GOP is on the way out. After that assume, again highly optimistically, that remaining GOP officeholders defect to the TPP (or the Democrats), and the GOP itself fades away completely before the 2014 elections. At that point the TTP represents the unified voice for a small government, Constitutional renaissance.
Yippee! Now look at the wreckage. Democrats have had unimpeded control of both houses of Congress from 2008 to 2014, but now we’re ready to strike back. Obama, facing a divided opposition won re-election with pluralities of both the popular vote and Electoral College. The window for repealing the healthcare takeover is closed, as it’s now become part of the “safe” status quo. The economy remains a mess, due to George Bush, deregulation and greedy businesses, of course. Media outlets for opposition voices have been curtailed by a new Fairness Doctrine.
In other words this extremely optimistic scenario is a disaster for the ideas we want to promote and a dream scenario for our opposition. Now how long would it be before the pure, principled leaders we elect with the new TPP fall victim to the same corruption that politicians of the other two parties do? No longer, really, than if we elected them as through the current two parties. So if you meet someone who is fiercely advocating this course, you might ask yourself if he/she is a moby.
UPDATED: Fixed link to definition of a moby.