Third Party Tea Party

At Publius' Forum, John Armor argues that the Tea Party movement has the opportunity to restructure the dynamics of the two-party system. He takes the formation of the Republican Party as his guide:

All new party efforts since 1854 have failed at the national level. The reason for that unbroken history of failure is because all those new party efforts sought to reinvent the wheel and create parties from scratch. All successful efforts up to 1854 followed a different path. In the successful examples, elected officials changed their party labels, and later captured the support of voters who’d made the same shifts.

In 1856 the Republican candidate, John Fremont, won a third of the votes though his Party wasn’t one of the two strongest parties, going into that election. By 1858, the Republicans held a majority in Congress, not because they had elected a majority of the Senators and Representatives. They elected many. But the Members who put them over the top had been elected under other party labels, but switched to the Republicans . . .

What is the situation of the current major parties? The Democrats are split into three groups, the hard left, the center, and the moderate right . . . The Republican Party is also fractured, into the hard right, and the squishy moderates . . . And where do the American people stand? They have contempt for both the Republican and Democrat Parties . . . if a majority of Republicans and a minority of Democrats all support these four issues — obey the Constitution, cut taxes, reduce government control of lives of Americans, and support term limits – as a group they will dominate the elections and control both Houses of Congress . . . No pundits are currently talking about this new party possibility . . . this has happened several times before, and can happen again.

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