Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made major news yesterday when she said in response to a Twitter question by Josh Painter, Editor, US for Palin that a conservative third party could emerge if the Republican Party continues to back away from its original planks.
This morning, Scott Woodham, Alaska Dispatch delineated some of the pros and cons of a new “Freedom Party,” and related them specifically to the Republican Party in Gov. Palin’s home state of Alaska. “For years now, the Alaska Republican Party has undergone leadership conflict, at times heated, as Tea Party and religious conservatives and Ron Paul supporters have joined against the more centrist and progressive conservatives in the party,” Woodham wrote.
But, Alaska like many states has a closed primary system. Only those who are registered with a political party can vote in that party’s primaries. Alaska is a Republican majority state, thus “if disaffected voters in Alaska take Palin’s advice and register with another party or, if it ever exists, for the Freedom Party, they will have no say in the candidates of the most influential political party in Alaska.” Further, Woodham wrote that such a mass exodus could in fact make the Republican Party more powerful in Alaska, since the state’s largest voting bloc is “undeclared,” or “non-partisan” – what are commonly called “independents.”
In 2010, Lisa Murkowski ran the first successful write-in campaign in over 50 years as an independent, beating Joe Miller who won the Republican primary. Miller and the more moderate Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell are vying for Mark Begich’s (D) seat in 2014.
Miller wrote in April:
I have been a Republican for most of my adult life. But I am under no illusions about the Republican Establishment’s failure to confront the problems facing the country. The status quo is not a viable option.
Let’s be honest. The partisan frame of reference is outmoded. We now live under a duopoly which serves corporate and special interests, rather than the interests of the individual citizen. It’s the insiders versus the outsiders.
Over the decades, third parties, such as the proposed Freedom Party have been cussed and discussed extensively. The political landscape is a bone yard of small fringe third parties that never gained any traction. Ronald Reagan, 38 years ago said his famous “Bold Colors, No Pale Pastels” line in response to the cries of the day for a new third party. “May I propose an alternative to that? Let’s have a new first party….” Readers should know the rest and those words grace the right-hand sidebar of US for Palin under the SarahPAC ad.
A Freedom Party would require a founder of Gov. Palin’s caliber. It would have to raise hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars – and raise this money in such a way as to not become the thing it hates: beholden to special interests. It would need patrons with major political clout to gut the Republican Party, rendering the latter an obsolete third party. This Freedom Party would also need to attract Reagan Democrats and conservative independents.
But, conditions are more ripe for a new Freedom Party than prior. As Miller wrote, the Republicans and Democrats are duopoly serving corporate and special interests. The term, “Republi-Crat” has been bandied about over the years to describe this situation. Entrenched interests in the Republican Party do not care a whit about the party’s original platform. They most often join rank with Democrats in seeking to destroy Tea Party and Reagan Conservatives. The Republican Party is so infested with RINOs – like a metastasized cancer – that building a new first party of Bold Colors, no Pale Pastels – may very well be an impossible task at this point. The Republican Party may be so far gone that – unlike 38 years ago – it may be impossible to save.
Whether this proposed Freedom Party – or a conservative third party under any name – actually materializes and becomes viable remains to be seen. For now, however, Gov. Palin remains a Republican, and many of her supporters such as myself are working to revive, renew, and restore the Republican Party to its original platform and mandate. I have been a Republican all my life, but politically my first loyalty is to Gov. Palin. Should the day come that Gov. Palin tears her GOP card and launches a Freedom Party or other such, I will follow in her footsteps.
H/T Lynda Armstrong, The Teacher’s Daughter…a Tribute to Sarah Palin for story lead.