Third-Party Pipe Dreams

I saw a Facebook post that argued that all the presidents on Mount Rushmore were third party guys. This can hardly be true for George Washington who had no party affiliation. Political parties were in their infancy when Thomas Jefferson was elected. It seems a new party was being started every election cycle. Jefferson belonged to the Democratic-Republican Party that he organized along with James Madison in 1791. It stood in opposition to the Federalist Party and dominated American politics from 1800 to the 1820s.

The Republican Party, founded in 1854, was strictly a northern party that had success broader than the presidency. “[I]t enlisted former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities, by 1858, in nearly every Northern state.” Try getting conservative evangelicals, libertarians, and various factions within the Republican Party to get a new party started. Do you recall that during the primary season that as each Republican candidate bit the dust, their supporters made it clear that they would not vote for one of the other guys.

If there’s one thing liberals can count on. Their supporters will stick with them through thick and thin. Look what happened to Todd Akin when he slipped up on a question about rape and abortion. Desertion and derision from enough Republicans that he lost the election.

No matter how bad it got for Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat Senate nominee in Massachusetts, the Democrats never deserted her. They stuck with her through thick and thin. She’s now a senator.

Theodore Roosevelt ran on the Progressive Party ticket, but he had national name and political recognition. He had been elected President in 1904 and had been a Vice-President before that, having become president after William McKinley was assassinated. In the 1916 election, however, Roosevelt supported the Republicans.

How many people has the Constitution Party gotten elected? One. In 2006, Rick Jore of Montana was the first candidate elected to a state-level office. Good enough until the Constitution Party of Montana disaffiliated itself from the national party a short time before the election. These third parties are an embarrassment. Even so, I’m supposed to vote for a third-party guy out of “principle.”

The Constitution Party’s 2012 presidential nominee was Virgil Goode. Goode had a long history of electoral experience. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives representing the 5th congressional district of Virginia from 1997 to 2009 as a Democrat. In 2000 he switched to the Republican Party. Then he lost his seat in the 2008 election to a Democrat. Goode then joined the Constitution Party. Mr. Goode is probably a very nice man, but he had no business running for president. Goode received 98,755 votes nationwide.

In reality, America’s problem is not political parties; it’s the people. They want what government has to offer. Until the people change, we will not see an appreciable change in politics.