Trump Wants to Start a Third Party
You didn’t think I would stop writing about Trump, did you? Nope. He’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Trump gave a short speech before boarding Air Force One for the last time on Wednesday. He ended that speech on an ominous note, saying
“We will be back in some form.”
It turns out that Trump is considering starting a third party. He wants to call it the Patriot Party.
Before we go any further, let’s clarify that name. Most of us, when we hear the term “patriot”, think of someone who loves their country and is a vigorous supporter, willing to defend their country against both verbal and physical violence.
When Trump hears the word “patriot”, he thinks of a person who slavishly loves and supports HIM. So although this new party would not be called the Trump Party, it would actually be the Trump Party.
Everything is personal with Trump. He isn’t contemplating starting a new party because he feels that he can do a better job than the GOP or that a new party would better represent his base. No, he is doing it out of revenge.
Trump is angry with Republicans for not supporting him in his quest to overturn the election, as well as for abandoning him after his January 6 insurrection against the Capitol.
Personal loyalty is everything to Trump. He never grasped that politicians are loyal to a party, not to a person. Rather than learning this new concept, he tried to bend their loyalty towards him using threats and intimidation.
Now he is employing the ultimate intimidation: if Republicans refuse to offer personal loyalty to him, he will take his base elsewhere.
And that’s the problem. Trump is the favorite Republican candidate for the 2024 race for president. Even after the insurrection when his popularity dropped, 55% of Republican voters still said that they would vote for him.
If Trump leaves the Republican Party to start his own party, at the very least he will split the Republican vote in 2024 guaranteeing a Democrat win.
This has happened before. In 1992 billionaire businessperson Ross Perot ran as an Independent in a three-way race against incumbent Republican president George H. W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton.
Bush was in trouble because the economy was in recession. Additionally, the electorate was angry that he had broken his promise not to raise taxes.
Perot ran on issues similar to the Trump campaign. He ran as a businessperson who was not a politician, opposed NAFTA and tapped into fears about the size of the deficit.
Clinton won the race with 43% of the vote. Bush earned 37.5% and Perot finished with 18.9%. Initially Republicans were furious with Perot, asserting that he siphoned voters away from Bush. Exit polls, however, revealed that Perot voters in his absence would have voted for Bush and Clinton in equal numbers, resulting in a defeat for Bush anyways.
Thank you for bearing with me through this little history lesson. History has a lot to teach us. As someone who lived through this era, it left a huge impression on me. It was the first thing that I thought of when I learned that Trump was thinking of starting his own party.
A lot can happen between now and the 2024 presidential race but Republicans need to take this threat seriously. Their best bet would be to convict Trump in the Senate on the single Article of Impeachment and then vote to prevent him from running for office again.
This wouldn’t stop Trump from forming his own party, but it would keep him off the ballot which is the biggest danger. He could create his party and run his own candidates in national elections, but they would not have the popularity of Trump and would therefore be much less likely to act as a spoiler in the 2024 race.
Republicans should also maintain their current stance of ignoring Trump. Robbed of his social media megaphone, he can no longer rage tweet, issue threats or intimidate anyone. He has become almost invisible. The GOP should keep it that way.
And finally, the Republican Party needs to take a long hard look at themselves, their platform and their goals. They need new ideas and new blood. They need to start working with Democrats instead of obstructing for obstruction’s sake.
The best way for the Republicans to prevent the rise of Trump or another like him is to start working for their supporters instead of playing politics with the Democrats.