By JD Rucker
From The Federalist Party
Following failure after failure from the Republican Party despite control over most facets of government, there’s been a sharp rise in the number of Americans wishing there was a viable alternative. They look to the Democratic platform and see no redeeming qualities. They look at other third parties and see an inability to make an impact.
It’s time to look at the Federalist Party.
When we first set out to build this party, we did so after hundreds of hours of research, phone calls, and (for some of us), prayer. Before we pulled the trigger on the Federalist Party, we had to answer two questions:
- Could the Republican Party be fixed from within?
- Can any preexisting third party make enough changes to their strategy to reach breakaway velocity?
After assessing the various situations, we came to the conclusion that the answer to both questions is a resounding “no!”
Here’s what we found while exploring both options.
The GOP is racing in the wrong direction
Over the decades, there have been various conservative uprisings within the Republican Party. From Goldwater and Buckley to Reagan and Friedman to the Tea Party and their contenders, we’ve seen the same script repeated. First, angst with leftward leanings of the GOP unite conservatives to fight the Establishment. Then, the GOP power brokers quash what they can until they’re forced to accept setbacks to their agenda; Goldwater gets nominated, Reagan gets elected, and the Tea Party has successes. After the passion that drove these victories fades, the Republican Establishment rebounds and gets their people back into the offices they lost. Their agenda comes back, often stronger than before. Rinse. Repeat.
There are two reasons this has always happened and will continue to happen. First, the Democrats continue to push further to the left with every new generation. The GOP Establishment sees this as an ever-growing opportunity to win elections by shifting to the middle. They do this knowing conservatives won’t like it, but they’d never vote for Democrats. Therefore, there’s absolutely no incentive for the Republican Party to do more for conservatives than deliver lip service during campaign season.
A clear demonstration of this is Obamacare repeal. We’ve been hammered with the same basic message for seven years: “get us into power and we’ll repeal Obamacare.” They didn’t promise to repeal it and then replace it with a different variation of government-run health care, but we’ll see when (if?) they finally get something passed that it’s not really a “repeal and replace” but rather a “tweak and rebrand.”
How can a party easily unite to pass full repeal in 2015 when they knew President Obama would veto it but couldn’t put the same bill on President Trump’s desk? Because the majority of them don’t really want to take the federal government out of the health insurance business. Why? This brings us to the second reason the GOP will always return to leftist Establishment policies after quelling conservative uprisings: they love big government.
Put their campaign rhetoric aside and look at their actions. This party that claims to embrace limited government has barely slowed the growth of government compared to the Democrats any time they’ve been in power for the last six decades. They’ll put out a few token small-government moves, eliminate some regulations, and shift taxpayer money from time to time, but they continue to expand budgets and federal power just as quickly as their counterparts would. Cuts to bureaucracy are good, but they’re usually more of a Kabuki dance than sustainable reductions of DC’s footprint.
Can we make progress by trying to fix the GOP from within? Yes. Will that progress be followed by crushing blows by the Establishment? Invariably. The party has a playbook that hasn’t changed for decades. It’s not going to change any time soon. The Republican Party will continue racing to the left at a slightly slower pace than the Democrats.
Third parties don’t know how to win
If ever there was an opportunity for a preexisting third party to emerge and reach the 15% necessary to get a Presidential candidate to the debate floor, it would have been 2016. Never in history have the two major parties put up weaker candidates. A very valid argument could be made that Donald Trump didn’t win. He simply lost less than Hillary Clinton.
We reached out to talk to leaders in as many small-government third parties as possible. The groundswell for action was growing. Thousands of names were joining our list of people interested in exploring something different. Most third parties were willing to have good discussions. All failed in at least one of two areas. They either weren’t willing to modernize their strategies for victory or weren’t really interested in victory at all.
The second failure wasn’t much of a surprise. It’s clear that most third parties thrive as protest votes but have no real desire to make an impact. It’s the first failure that perplexed us. The strategy that we proposed at the time is the one that we adopted once we realized we needed to build from scratch. This strategy consists of four points:
- Win local, city, county, and state races. It amazes us that almost all third party efforts are wasted on Presidential campaigns they know are futile. We intend to put our focus and the resources given to us towards races we can actually win. In fact, we won’t even enter a race unless we have a realistic opportunity.
- Modernize the strategy. There’s absolutely no reason to miss so dramatically on technological venues such as social media, mobile, and geotargeting. The major parties are using them but they’re not even close to reaching the potential these outlets offer. Every third party we talked to demonstrated even less of an understanding of how technology can get their message to the masses.
- Simplify the platform. Our core principles are not complicated: limit government, defend freedoms, and protect life. Upon these three principles, every state Federalist Party and Federalist candidate will be able to put forth broad and straightforward platform planks that resonate with the people they represent. There’s no reason to focus on so many issues specifically as nearly every third party is wont to do. It’s not that these issues should be ignored, but when you base your planks on core principles and craft them to meet the needs of the people you serve, you’re demonstrating small-government federalism in its purest form.
- Teach the benefits of limited government. Most third parties we talked to agreed with this strategy. None of them had a plan to make it happen, not even the third parties who’ve been failing to make an impact for over a quarter century. We’ll never reach the minds and hearts of the people by hoping they’ll do their own research. We have to show them definitively that reining in the federal government is in their best interests. Since true federalism offers tremendous benefits to everyone regardless of their political leanings, the learning curve is much shorter than most realize. For a great understanding of why this will work, check out a piece written by Texas Federalist Connor Mighell: “How California is like Texas: Both exercise federalism.“
The unwillingness and/or inability to do what it takes to start winning actual elections is why we decided to take the hard road of forming the Federalist Party. When given the choice between three roads, two of which are impenetrable dead ends and one that’s difficult but achievable, the choice wasn’t a hard one.
Making the Federalist Party the home of the future… now
Our biggest challenge isn’t getting to the point where we’re making an impact. Our biggest challenge is doing it before it’s too late. As much as we’d love to take a steady growth path that positions us to be viable by 2024 or later, it’s becoming increasingly obvious we can’t wait that long. We need to grow quickly and we need to organize much faster than anticipated.
Government is growing. Freedoms are under attack. Not enough strides are being made to protect life. Any hope we had of letting the GOP be responsible stewards until we reached a tipping point was chopped to pieces. They won’t be responsible stewards. In fact, they’re barely doing better than the Democrats would have if they were still in power.
We need to set up quickly.
Today, we’re actively seeking patriotic Americans willing to give their time, talents, and/or treasure to a party that has a plan. We need to mobilize in a hurry, but we need to do so with realistic expectations in place and steady hands at the wheel. This is why one of our mottos internally is, “always in a hurry, never in a rush.” We’ll make mistakes. We’ll suffer setbacks. We’re already getting attacked from every angle. We’re even starting to hear lies told about us. These were expected and they’re going to intensify as we continue to grow.
We’re not going to make any promises we can’t keep, but we’ll make one promise now: We will remain resolute in our pursuit of putting small-government Federalists into offices at every level of government. It can be hard for people to believe in anything political nowadays. We’ve all been burned at one point or another. The Federalist Party is different because we are guided by the Constitution, we’ve learned from the mistakes of others, and we’re executing on a plan that’s designed to work. This is truly a grassroots effort and we need your support. Now is the time to act.