With the GOP and DEM presumptive nominees more clear by the day, calls have arisen for a new, more conservative political party.
“Organizers of the third-party, conservative push estimate it will cost at least $250 million to fund a candidate, and possibly tens or hundreds of millions of dollars more,” suggest Alexander Bolton and Jonathan Easley, writing at TheHill.com.
Here are three reasons why such a move will not work in 2016:
First, such a move is a protest not a strategy. The presumptive GOP nominee began his campaign as a protest (some speculate, anyway). A counter-protest will not work at this late date.
Second, the numbers aren’t there. Starting a new party as a protest to the nominee of an existing party admits to a smaller pool of potential voters. The nominee got to be the nominee by virtue of winning the most states. Most voters will fall in line behind their party’s respective nominee. There simply aren’t enough #NeverTrump voters to win.
Also, it assumes a majority of Americans are nearly Tea Party conservative. I think this is a fallacy.
Third, fielding a candidate nationally will almost certainly mean losing all the states. Ross Perot won the largest percentage of votes by any third party candidate since Teddy Roosevelt–just north of 19%. Yet, he didn’t win a single state.
George Wallace, running on the American Independent ticket in 1968, carried five southern states. This was not even enough to disrupt the election. Nixon won going away.
Only 11 states are needed to win the presidency via the electoral college, but a national strategy won’t get those eleven. The sometimes byzantine state-qualification rules (often designed by Democrats and Republicans) won’t allow it 50-state registration in time.
Although it is theoretically possible to disrupt the election, throwing it into the House of Representatives (and a better strategy), it is much less likely to create a brand new party, field a candidate, and win 270 electoral votes in a six-month timeframe.
I also talked about this on my podcast this morning. You can listen here (or subscribe in iTunes or your favorite pod catcher):