The third-party sillies are at it again
Since the announcement did not get a lot of media coverage, there is yet another effort by disgruntled political figures to launch yet another third-party. I call them the “sillies” because if they checked out the history of third-party and independent campaigns, they would know they are not climbing a steep hill – but rather a high daunting cliff.
The last and only time a third-party effort was successfully mounted was when The Republican Party was formed in the mid-1850s as an alternative to the Democrats and the Whigs.
The latest folly is being led by businessman and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Wang and former Republican Governor of New Jersey From 1994 to 2001, Christine Whitman.
Third parties and independent campaigns are generally the vehicles of the disgruntled. The Republican Party was launched by folks unhappy with slavery. Not only with the Democrats support of slavery in the south but the Whig’s division on the issue. The early Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln drew strength from some anti-slavery Democrats and the from the Whigs that were predominantly anti-slavery but had a pro-slavery faction – mostly in the south. The result was a fully abolitionist Republican Party and a fully pro-slavery Democratic Party.
The next major effort to form a new party was when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was denied the GOP nomination for a second non-consecutive term. He formed the Progressive Party – nicknamed the Bull Moose Party. He was unsuccessful in his bid for the Oval Office. The Bull Moose Party rose and fell in that single presidential election. It only served to split the Republican Party enough to allow white supremacist Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win the election.
The next major effort occurred in 1948, when a group of disgruntled southern Democrats walked out of the Democratic National Convention over southern segregation and formed the States’ Rights Democratic Party – nicknamed the Dixiecrats – with Democrat Senator Strom Thurmond as the presidential candidate. Incumbent President Harry Truman defeated both Republican Thomas Dewey and Thurmond. The racist Dixiecrats returned to the Democratic Party following that election.
There have been many efforts to create a third alternative to the two major parties. They never win at the national level, but they generally hurt the political party to which they are most closely aligned. The most notable were businessman Ross Perot entering the race against President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and former Republican Governors Gary Johnson of New Mexico and William Weld of Massachusetts, who took on Donald Trump in 2016,
The Libertarian Party is always in the shadow of presidential elections, and each year thousands file for various political offices – but too often as a clown show. In 2020, more than 50 people signed on to run for President. A libertarian running for some office decided that the way to win votes was to strip-down naked during his speech.
There are always third parties and independent candidates at all levels of political contention – such as the Libertarian Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Green Party, etc. They rarely succeed beyond a few occasional scattered races at the local levels.
Congress has a few “independent” members, but they usually vote with one of the two major parties. The most notable independent in Congress is self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders – and even he ran for President as a Democrat.
The new party for the 2024 presidential campaign has been dubbed The Forward Party (TFP) It is an amalgam of several organizations of political apostates, outcasts and has-beens — including Renew America and Serve America Movement. Starting a national political party from a number of organizations virtually no one ever heard of does not sound like a successful strategy.
But there are other somewhat known personalities that are reported to be involved. Folks like former Republican Floridan congressman … turned independent … turned MSNBC contributor … David Jolly.
One truly big name that has been unofficially tied to TFP is billionaire Elon Musk. If he does sign up with the TFP, he may wind up with greater buyer’s remorse than he did signing that purchase agreement for Twitter.
Based on both the Democrats and Republicans involved, the new political party will be left of center. That means they will tend to hurt the Democrat candidate more than the Republican in the 2024 presidential election.
The problem with third parties is that we do not need them – and it violates a long tradition of two-party representation. Countries with multiple parties tend to be unstable since it is more difficult to secure a public mandate. Look at Italy and Israel as two examples.
In addition, American election laws make it very difficult for third parties to get on the ballot. You must remember that a presidential candidate has to follow the specific – and very different – election laws in each state — and non-state protectorates with voting rights.
In the past 66 years, no third-party effort has succeeded – or even come close. They are always short of money … short of talent … short of political infrastructure … short of unique issue positions. Their only asset tends to be the fascination of the media, which will give them undo coverage and credibility.
Enjoy The Forward Party while it lasts.
So, there ‘tis.