ST put this warning from Newt Gingrich about a third party springing up in 2012 up in Hot Headlines yesterday, which gives me the perfect opportunity to launch into my thoughts on this possibility. I’ve been tossing this around for the last 4 years, since President Bush’s re-election, when I became convinced that a significant portion of the Republican Party was more interested in purchasing the middle by growing government than actually opposing the Socialization of America espoused by the Democrats since LBJ. I’ve alluded to my thought process several times in my looks at where conservatism has been the last couple years.
First, allow me to summarize the gist of Gingrich’s comments. He notes that all of the Obama administration spending excesses were set up by the Bush administration, and that there is an undercurrent of disgust aimed at both parties. We all know about the right-v-Republican-v-right battle, and there was at one point a rather heated left-v-Democrat one. However, the Democrats in power are rapidly healing that rift, even as there are rumblings of a center-v-Democrat one. I’m not exactly convinced that “Blue Dog Democrats” or PUMAs exist, but if they do, they could make a third party a much more intriguing proposition.
The essential part of creating a third party is finding something that is not addressed by either of the two existing parties, but is popular enough to create an electoral majority. The ideology that is closest to being able to create that, social conservatism, has been sufficiently tarred by the left that even though individual issues still win on the ballot, politicians are sufficiently scared of the tar to actually attach themselves to it.
I wish I could believe that fiscal conservatism could be that glue. The scope of the various Tea Parties are encouraging. However, I’ve seen this before in the county I live in (Milwaukee County, Wisconsin), and while we still have the County Executive that got swept in, a supermajority of the County Board went back to the tax-and-spend-and-tax-and-spend-and-tax-and-spend tactics that ultimately led to the pension scandal that sparked the temporary tax revolt.
Even if a conservative glue could be found, there’s the matter of supplanting the Republican Party as the “Not-Democrat” Party. In most states, the existing “third” parties have consistently failed to get more than a handful of votes. Given the plurality-wins structure in most states, there will necessarily be a rather lengthy stretch of comlete Democrat control of government.
That brings me to the other limiting factor; time. There are actually three different clocks running; the 2010 elections, the point at which the “looters” and “moochers” are a majority, and the point at which the entitlement scheme starts drawing from the general fund rather than supplementing it. One could argue that we’re already past the second point; the fact that President Obama took a majority of the vote with a very-thinly-veiled Socialist agenda, and the Democrats in Congress and in statehouses increased their majorities with an unveiled Socialist one, would suggest that point has been crossed.
Similarily, it probably is too late to create a new “Not-Democrat” Party that will have a chance in the 2010 elections. It took the Republicans 6 years to be a force on the national scene. I’ve stated time and again that today’s Democrats will try their hardest to not repeat the mistakes of the 1850s and allow an “upstart” party to get enough roots to challenge their hegemony.
While there still is almost a decade before Social Security goes into the red, the problem is that those in office after the 2010 elections will be the ones to redraw the districts. Meanwhile, not only is nothing being done to correct the problem, but the things that can correct the problem have been systematically wrecked.
If someone could give me good news I could believe in, I would appreciate it.