DOOMSDAY: What An Independent Third Party Would Look LikePolicyPoliticsSatire

porcupine_libertarian

Socialism on the left, corporatism on the right.

It is abundantly clear at this stage that calls for “unity” were hollow indeed.  After the 2014 primaries where “establishment” Republicans muscled through their nominees, the self-evident proposition that Tea Partiers and social conservatives were no longer essential to the core GOP was made terribly abundant.  Fiscal conservatives too lost their muscle as containment in the style of Eisenhower rather than resistance in the form of Goldwater and Reagan became the watchword.

Worse than this, the progressive left merely tugged the Democratic Party further and further to the left.  The national question was no longer whether or not Obamacare would be the law of the land, but whether it would exist in a “reformed” structure under a Republican Congress or a “single payer” system under a Democratic one.

Healthcare teetered between the corporations and the government.  On civil liberties, it was a wash — both parties committed themselves in essence (if not form) to the security state.  Neither party seriously addresses debt spending much less the national deficit.  Qualitative easing continues to march.  Student loans become more and more unaffordable.  A minimum wage hike drives more into the underclass, forced to take the handouts offered by their government that are barely enough to make ends meet and never enough to provide dignity.

Regulations on small businesses continue to mount.  Gun laws are passed in the bluest of blue states offering vouchers for those willing to turn in their firearms by a date certain, which are feebly resisted by the national gun rights groups.  Old promises are exchanged for new ones.  Planned Parenthood cashes in mightily on providing abortions to low income families.  Parents are charged with penalties if they don’t pack an appropriate lunch.  Education standards remain mediocre at best.  You joke with your children about Super Sized drinks at McDonalds while driving a car a little less powerful, a little bit tinier than the one you were used to back then.

Yes, 2014 turned into an absolute trainwreck.  Democrats held onto the U.S. Senate, and amazingly enough made gains in the U.S. House.  Establishment Republicans, too eager to wrest control of the party from the conservative wing while redefining conservative from its Goldwater-era definition to a version more recognizable by the Tories in England, had finally pushed what remains of the liberty movement to the sidelines.  Or home, more accurately… as that’s precisely where they stayed on election day.

Yet the big problems haven’t gone anywhere.  Free enterprise gets lip service, but not the confidence of our government.  Free speech is lauded… until you speak against the wrong interest group.  Free society becomes a matter of material freedom from want, hunger, and fear while the avuncular state pushes you into the condition of happy citizen.  Meanwhile, savings are punished while the consumer market begs you to consume, consume, consume… never before have a people been so rich and yet so miserably poor.

What to do?

* * *

Meanwhile, not long after the 2014 shellacking, on a farm somewhere on the outskirts of Northern Virginia gather a handful of fiscal conservative, Tea Party, social conservative and national security leaders sit down with representatives of the liberty movement, leading lights such as Reason and CATO, and yes — representatives of the Libertarian Party.

Is this the moment?

All sides will argue whether or not social conservatives can co-exist with libertarians.  Drug policy will be on the table.  National security conservatives will grate at the idea of surrendering the security state, while Tea Partiers will have to swallow the concept of the Pax Americana.  All sides basically agree that the Federal Reserve is in dire need of reform, that the entitlement system should be vastly drawn down, that school choice and federalism ought to be the watchwords of the day.  Marriage and families should be the domain of the church, not the victims of government imprimaturs.  Corporate subsidies will end.  Laws that empower corporations over people will subside.  Most of all — through the engine of the Libertarian Party — the folks gathered pledge to drive every ounce of energy towards their neorepublican ideals against the socialist left and the corporatist right.

Most of all, there is wide agreement that the omnipresence of government should dwindle away, with fewer regulators, simplified and understandable codes of taxation, and a clear emphasis on the ennobling nature of being a productive citizen in a free republic — not a social democracy, not a kleptocracy… but a republic again.

One voice might speak up.

“Are the American people truly ready for liberty again?  Have we thought this through?  What happens when we cut both sides off?”

There’s posturing at first… but reality sets in among these highly educated men and women.  It’s not as easy as throwing a switch anymore — principles, like tools, tend to get worn and dirty when put to practice.  Does the liberty movement have the patience to sustain what could very well be a 50 year fight?  To hang together without having the advantages of the existing parties?

Stares back and forth.  The old arguments begin to percolate again.

…maybe it might be best to stay with the GOP.  Maybe the LP isn’t ready for destiny.  Maybe it’s safer to wait and hope for better days…

* * *

So what would this hypothetical third party look like in the event that a “doomsday scenario” where the conservative movement broke with the liberty movement?

Some thoughts…

1.  Tea Partiers consist of about 1 in 4 of all Americans.  That’s 22% right off the bat.

2.  Conservatives who identify themselves as “very conservative” consist of about 7-9% of all Americans.  Not a very deep pool… and when you overlay the 35% of all Americans who ID as “fiscal conservative” with the 32% who identify as “socially conservative” that gets you a 75% overlay –  roughly 27% of the American public according to Gallup.

3.  About 22% of all Americans identify as libertarian.  Of those, roughly half will still identify with a major party, but in much greater numbers (43%) with the GOP than with the Democratic Party (5%) — a 8% overlap of GOP-leaning libertarians with another 11% up as hardcore libertarians.

4.  So how much overlap is there between disaffected conservatives and libertarians?  Including Tea Partiers?  I don’t know… but would 30% of the electorate be unreasonable?  Probably not.  Would 35 or even 40% be unreasonable if the camps within could set aside their differences and vote on what they agreed upon?  Mathematically possible…

5.  60% of all Americans want to see the rise of a third party.  The bottom line is that everyone is mad as hell, and they don’t want to take it anymore.

So what to do with all this angst?

In other words, we know what they’re against… but does the liberty movement know what they are for?  Specifically?  Have they considered what happens when you put the kill switch on big government?  Typically, you get angry constituents… and by the numbers, they outnumber the Tea Party a good 3:1 at best.

Not good odds for victory.  Which means folks need to put away the checks and start breaking out the chess boards.

* * *

Of course, this is all speculative.  The Republican Party knows that it can’t win without the conservative movement and the libertarian wing of the GOP.  Besides — the Republicans wouldn’t survive if the conservative movement were redefined in the way of the Tories.

Which is what makes the gamble with the liberty-movement so odd… the effort to push back conservative candidates in favor of moderates so banal and plain.  Conservative and pragmatic?  No problem… we all know it’s going to be a 50-year fight and it would most certainly be one of inches rather than miles were the liberty movement to break off and build it’s own battleship rather than wage a revolution on the Battleship Potemkin.

BattleshipPotemkin

Yet the current detente cannot continue forever.  Establishment Republicans need to pick a side.  Conservatives need to choose between pragmatism and ideology.  Both sides need to learn how to hold fast and back their brother’s play — too often, the liberals peel off “sensible” collaborators and laud them in the eyes of the public.

It’s an uphill fight… too much to the left, and a third party is inevitable.  Too far to the right, and pragmatists may be relieved to see the Tea Party walk.

…but it’s all speculation for the moment.

For the moment.

  • Turbocohen

    Share this on your facebook page or die.

    • MD Russ

      Lighten up, Turbo. It is satire.

      You guys take yourselves way too seriously.

      • Turbocohen

        Take a poopy MD.

        • MD Russ

          I just did, Turbo, and it was a moving experience. Want me to send you a picture?

          • Not Harry F. Byrd

            Well played, sir.

  • http://www.southsidecentral.com/ Bruce Hedrick

    The 22% who “identify with the Tea Party movement” have a similar characteristic to the 10% that supported Robert Sarvis.

    They don’t exist when it comes to counting the election results.

    • Eric McGrane

      Things are changing.

      • MD Russ

        For once I agree with you, Eric. Things are changing–support for the Tea Party is now at an all-time low according to a poll by Pew.

        http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/10/16/Pew-poll-Tea-Party-support-hits-all-time-low/UPI-63141381973633/

        • Eric McGrane

          Support for the NAME “tea party” is low right now, but that’s to be expected considering the 24/7 vilification by both parties. You see, acting responsibly (like an adult) is an unwelcome message….while “we will give you free stuff” is absolutely an appealing message.

          However, when you look at underlying poll data, the general public greatly supports tea party principles. There’s a break-down out there of this….don’t have the links handy here.

          Its a sad state of affairs when people like you cheerlead criticism of a group that simply wants economic responsibility and adherence to the rule of law. Well done?

          • MD Russ

            Sure, Eric. People love the “principles” underlying the Tea Party, they just can’t stand the Tea Party. If you say so. I guess that explains why Speaker Boehner is bad-mouthing the Tea Party after your government shut-down antics threatened to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker again. That is what I call a sad state of affairs.

          • Eric McGrane

            Far better to spend into oblivion than to confront reality. You win.

          • MD Russ

            The reality is that discretionary spending (Defense, Justice, HHS, etc) is not what is driving the deficits and the debt–it is the entitlements spending. The trouble with the sequestration and the government shut-down was that it only curtailed discretionary spending while spending on Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare continued to spiral upwards. Until we have meaningful reform of entitlements spending, the debt ceiling will continue to go up and up. The Tea Party is convincing entitlement beneficiaries that you want to kill entitlement spending, not reform it. And that is why the Tea Party is losing support. Do you any idea how much money we could reduce in Federal spending if we simply eliminated the caps on all payroll taxes and reduced the Social Security COLA by one percentage point each year as they did for military retirement? But the antics of the Tea Party are making politicians, both Democratic and Republicans who don’t wear tri-corner hats, too afraid to propose such a thing to the voters.

          • Warmac9999

            There is no way to reform entitlement spending. Politicians will always trade dollars for votes. The current budget is an example of one of the most disgusting acts of legislation possible – cutting the benefits of military retirees including those who are injured. (Oh, I was not in the military but I recognize the game here and it is awful.)

            I also find it interesting that you throw social security into the entitlement basket along with welfare. Last time I checked the former was paid by individual taxes while the latter by collective taxes.

          • Warmac9999

            It is not just spending it is adherence to the rule of law and support for the bill of rights. We see with Obama the importance of the underlying principles of the American republic because he represents the antithesis.

          • Tim Donner

            Eric, you need to run for office.

    • Britt Howard

      Have you noticed changes in RPV units? Our side is growing faster than yours. I suggest that the establishment and moderates become willing to work with us in a mutually respectful manner.

  • David McKissack

    The “Bearing Drift’s” icon, a modified version of Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” snake, needs to be taken seriously next year. If a coalition of right of center groups don’t retake Congress, and ObamaCare stands, I’m seeing the Monty Python skit on “People’s Republic of Judea” versus the “Judean People’s Republic” for a very long time.

    I’ve lived in banana republics. Life is hard. Government is for buying. Bribery flourishes. You just try to get by.

  • Antoninus

    “Socialism on the left, corporatism on the right.”

    I don’t agree with your opening premise. What we currently have is a form of National Socialism exactly like what Adolph Hitler created with the Nazi Party back in the 1930s when he created a crony capitalist system in Germany run by powerful industrialists. The progressive left supports their favored industrialists like Warren Buffet, tech titans in Silicon Valley, and the Hollywood crowd, while the establishment Republicans protects the interests of big business represented by the Chamber of Commerce at the expense of small businesses which are being forced out of business through government protection of the favored industrialist class. You present this as left versus right when the reality is that it’s left and right versus the rest of us! The only group fighting against both the progressive left and the establishment GOP moderates is the conservative TEA Party! The progressives are just as corporatist as the establishment GOP, and the establishment GOP tacitly supports the progressive agenda!

    Very little is ever written about the fact that the TEA Party draws disaffected voters from both the Republicans AND the Democrats. I have talked with many Democrats at TEA Party gatherings who are just as concerned by profligate federal government spending and unrestrained government regulation as we conservatives. They see the inability of the current system to continue without serious repercussions to America just as we do. In your fractured vision of the political future, you are shortchanging the fracturing of the left to come together in a third party that resists the present two parties. I see the establishment GOP merging with the progressive Democrats after conservatives flee the GOP for abandoning conservatism.

    Politics makes strange bedfellows, and predictions of the political future are difficult at best with many unforeseen circumstances creating alliances unimaginable before their emergence. Young people are abandoning Obama in droves as they learn that they were not only never going to get free health insurance, but were expected to subsidize the sick and elderly through higher costs. Reality is setting in on the progressive movement and its once ardent supporters are seeing that reality bites for them. Hey, welcome to the real world!

    The Whig Party fractured in 1852 over the issue of slavery. The moderate faction wanted to finesse the slavery issue to avoid trouble while the conservative faction wanted to settle the issue and abandon slavery as the abomination it was. The conservative faction became the Republican Party in 1856 and went on to win the White House in 1860 under Abraham Lincoln while the moderate faction melted into the Democrat Party. The slavery issue was allowed to fester for far too long and positions were hardened to the point where Civil War was the only possible resolution.

    Today the issue is unrestrained federal spending driving America into unreasonable debt and the creation of a nanny state erasing the liberty upon which America was founded for the illusion of security which our Founders warned us against. This issue too has festered for far too long and will require another civil war to resolve because the forces of totalitarianism represented by the progressive left will not give up easily and put the interests of the country above their own petty interests of control.

    You talk of the disaster of fractured political parties on the political process, but the real disaster is in accommodating the progressive totalitarians who wish to subjugate us Americans while destroying the Constitution and turning us into wards of the state! THIS is why the Founders included the Second Amendment – so we conservatives could retake America from the totalitarian elitists they knew would eventually seduce the population with illusory promises to gain control of the government!

    • Not Harry F. Byrd

      I suggest you read “The Vampire Economy” for a look at what 1930′s Germany was like, economy wise. The analogy between today and that is farcical.

      • Antoninus

        I wasn’t comparing the economies of 1930s Germany and present day America. I was comparing the crony capitalist system of 1930s Germany and the current crony capitalist system of the Obama administration where favored industrialists are protected from market competition through the coercive power of the government. Burdensome regulations are instituted by the government to the detriment of small businesses which can’t afford the additional overhead required to satisfy these regulations. All a large corporation must do is add another worker to keep up with the new regulation. This is why large corporations favor additional government regulation – because they distort the market by shutting out their smaller competitors through higher costs.

  • midwestconservative

    You know what, I probably identify with the Tea Party on some issues, and I definitely consider myself a “strong conservative” but quite frankly, if the Tea Party wanted the GOP to respect them, they should’ve gotten Ken Cuccinelli elected.

    • MD Russ

      Ah, yes. The chicken and egg conundrum. Did Ken lose because the Tea Party didn’t support him, because of his Tea Party positions in a time that the Tea Party is becoming a pariah (think government shut-down in October–Surprise!), or did he lose because of his rather extreme social conservative positions? I’m gonna go with the last one. I believe that people respect Ken for his fiscal restraint, but preaching limited government while pushing government into people’s private lives does not compute. As for the Tea Party, shutting down discretionary spending for Federal services while doing nothing to rein in entitlements spending a big snoozer for anyone who can read the pie chart on Federal outlays at IRS.gov.

      • Britt Howard

        I have to agree, although, those facts don’t excuse continual discretionary abuses.

  • Warmac9999

    The symbol for a third party would be the minuteman. You can have all the donkeys, elephants and hedgehogs.

  • Brad Froman

    Here’s the answer to a successful third party: Have courage! I believe the people are looking for tough love at this point. A third party that will be straight up with voters about the looming perils with entitlements, the debt, our unprepared students and workforce, and our ignorance in the changing world order might have a real chance. Sure, free stuff and rose colored glasses are preferred by most of America, but when the sh-t hits the fan, and it will, they’re going to be even more angry. Democrats and Republicans are co-piloting America on a rickety, luxurious tour boat down a river toward Niagara Falls with no view of what is ahead–all the while they are telling everyone to look left and right at the beautiful landscapes while giving away free Kool Aid. Courage? It doesn’t exist in either party. Yet the system is rigged to prevent a third party.

  • bill Haley

    Have you thought of a way for third parties to be viable and every vote count. Try this. http://haley2024.org/elections.html