There are three major voter affiliations recognized federally: Republican, Democrat and Independent. “Independents”, of course, are not a “party”. Recognized federally, our goal, we will be a third party, though hopefully, not for long.
There is a myth you’ve probably heard that “third parties always lose”. No, they don’t. That is a patently false assertion. Look no further than the present day Republican Party to belie that myth. In the mid-1850’s, there were two dominant political parties in the United States. They were the Whig and Democrat parties. Members of the Whig Party became dissatisfied with their leadership’s position on slavery. Because they were unable to change that position, they formed the Republican Party, a party for those Whigs who were anti-slavery in their beliefs, which turned out to be most of them. By 1860, the Whig Party was pretty much finished and the new Republican Party’s candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was elected President of the United States.
The “third” party had won. But, it was only a “third” party for a short time, while it organized. By 1860 the Whig Party had all but disappeared. We’ve had a dominant two-party system ever since. Today’s situation is similar to that of the mid-1850’s, where registered Republican voters are dissatisfied with their party leadership. Moreover, after decades of attempting to do so, they have been unable to change the party from within, a party which increasingly serves only special interests and elites. A case can be made that president Trump’s win in 2016 was a third party victory. From Jeb Bush and John Kasich to Carly Fiorina and all the other “sanctioned” Establishment choices we were handed, we rejected them all. We chose the outsider, the man who the RNC feared might run outside the party if he didn’t win the primary. In choosing Trump, didn’t the voters reject the Republican Party? Does anyone doubt that if ANY of the other candidates had won that Hillary Clinton would be the president? Does anyone doubt that if the GOP had won the election with a candidate other than Trump that we would today be mired in TPP and a signatory to the Paris Accord? In 2016, Americans said “we don’t want what you’re selling. We don’t believe you any more.”
Another great myth about third parties is the fear-mongering cry of “You’ll split the vote!” Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, when the two other choices are a snake and a skunk, does it matter? Of course, that assumes that it’s a true statement, which it is not. With very little earlier preparation and no party or organizational backing, Ross Perot almost pulled off a win in the 1992 presidential election. Angus King won the governor’s race in Maine as an Independent against Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Joseph Brennan. Ditto, Independent James Longley who defeated Democrat George Mitchell and Republican James Erwin for that same office.
With the right candidate, the vote will be split both ways and the new party candidate will win. In a three-way race, it only takes 34% of the vote to win. Ignore the myths. They are only in place to stall or prevent action to advance our positions in Washington. And don’t forget, those “who know” told us that Donald Trump’s candidacy would never get off the ground.