Friday, November 14, 2008

Is It Time for a New Conservative Party?

In 1970, James L. Buckley, William F. Buckley's brother, was able to win a US Senate seat in New York on the Conservative Party ticket. Buckley was the last US Senator elected on a third party ticket.

The Republican Party has let people who believe in freedom down. This is true nationally and in many states, including New York. It seems to me that social conservatives and those who believe in less government (and are social liberals) comprise a majority of the vote. A moderately free market, pro-budget reduction and mildly social conservative party might be able to win 35% of the vote if packaged in a serious way. This would enable a third party to win elections against a Progressive Republican Party that is socially conservative plus in favor of big government and a progressive Democratic Party that is socially liberal but also in favor of big government and anti-freedom.

Third parties have a history of protest but not electoral success. The Republican Party was built on the remains of the early 19th century Whig Party and was not really a third party even in the beginning.

Nevertheless, the electoral system is broken. It no longer represents the mainstream American viewpoint of liberty, liberalism (in the 19th century meaning), economic dynamism and traditional Christian values. The Republicans have been good at cultural and military issues. The Democrats have been good at income redistribution and economic decline. Neither has been good at what most Americans care about: improving economic opportunity.

It may be time to seriously consider a third party that reflects the interests of freedom-loving Americans.

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