From the archive…
The Problem with the Constitution Party
I agree with the Constitution Parties stance on just about everything.
However, I feel that the CP misses the essence of the constitution. They forget how it was formed in the first place – through compromise. The CP is unwilling to reach out to large percentage of the population because they refuse to build any sort of broad based consensus. They say, “support all our views or find a different party.”
If every single true conservative joined the CP it would only have maybe 20% of the total population… not enough to win any major elections. And I think that is a generous figure. We can’t even get 20% of the population to go to church every week much less be active politically on the right side of the issues.
Right now the CP primarily consists two groups:
- Conservative Home Schooled Families
- Conspiracy Theorists
What has made the Republican Party so strong is its ability to build a consensus between three primary population groups.
- Country Clubers (the wealthy)
- The Religious Right (Think Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority)
- Moderates (They are too conservative to be a democrat but are easily swayed by good rhetoric. Vote for the “coolest” candidate.)
When these three groups come together they are able to put conservative candidates into office. But it is only through a system of compromise. For example the Religious right supports the country clubber’s tax cuts in order to limit abortion.
President Reagan is a perfect example of a candidate that was able to get all three of these groups behind him.
- His pro business views won over the Country Clubber’s
- His pro life-views won over the Religious Right and
- His eloquence won over the Moderates.
He did all this without having to compromise with the left.
If you read the Republican Party Platform or the Texas GOP Platform it is right on with just about every issue. Instead of abandoning the party we should focus on supporting Republican candidates that actually support the platform.
The Democrat Party has an alliance between three primary groups as well:
- Labor Unions
- The Religious Left (Feminists, Environmentalists & Homosexuals)
These groups don’t have much in common (in fact the labor unions and environmentalists are often at odds) but they know they are much more powerful together than they are separately.
I admire the motivation behind the Constitution Party but I am concerned that they will siphon off conservatives away from the GOP causing it to slant more to the right thus causing even bigger problems as we are faced with two liberal parties (a shift that is already happening).
Right on, Thomas! I have been concerned about those who support the third parties, namely the Libertarian and Constitution parties, for the very reasons you have named. This “all or nothing” mentality will be the death of the Conservative movement if we can’t learn the value of incrementalism. That’s what has made the left so effective.
As a side note, the amount of work it would take to make the Constitution Party a viable option would be more than the amount of work it would take to reclaim the Republican Party. It’s called “working smart”.
Let’s clarify a few differences.
First, there are people, and there are parties of people. When you have groups, there is always compromise. If you were the only person in existence, you could do whatever. An individual should NEVER compromise to the degree that parties may compromise.
So, for individuals and groups, this main distinction needs to be made:
1) Compromise of principle
2) Compromise of policy
Principle should NEVER be violated. They are “unalienable” truths. For example, murder of the innocent is ALWAYS wrong. Period. Using force to do anything other than to stop force is WRONG. This should NOT be compromised. For me, free trade is not a principle, it’s just a really smart thing to do. Today, almost no one really supports free trade, but it’s a matter of policy, not principle, so it’s ok.
Hannah, just in case this was EVER in question (I think it should be obvious, but I’ll say it): voting for McCain is NOT going to do ANYTHING to rebuild the Republican party. A McLame presidency would have been a MAJOR setback for conservatives… not to mention liberty… and life. I refused to support the republicans this year not because they have compromised, but because they compromised INVIOLABLE principles. When you have someone who doesn’t seem grieved when he supports the destruction of the innocent directly (embryonic stem cell research) or indirectly (appointing Breyers and Ginsberg), you have a candidate that I cannot in good conscience support.
Sometimes voting for the Constitution Party is the best way to get the Republican back in line. We can’t let them take our votes for granted.
PS: Doesn’t it just annoy you when everyone keeps talking about: “Yes! This will FINALLY be a debate about the ISSUES!”? I’m like “I don’t care about the issues! They’re in the past. I want to know what principles will drive their decisions on the issues!”
That’s right yall, Abraham Lincoln should never have been elected President. After all, we know that a 3rd party candidate could never become President. Yep…
I am very happy to see people leaving the Republican party. I was also very happy to see McCain lose the presidency. At least a liberal who is a Democrat will be blamed instead of a liberal who is a Republican.
Compromise, although necessary at times, is a slippery road. Republicans have compromised so much, and become so spaghetti spined that no one trusts them anymore. The Republican brand name is in the dumps. Truly the only reason to vote for most Republicans is fear. Fear that Democrats theoretically are worse.
Who was worse, Clinton or Bush? Our liberties and economic freedom are in much more danger because of Bush than because of Clinton. And the infanticide of abortions continues and continues and continues. Oh! Bush stopped partial birth abortions. Great! But that’s like saving a 1,000 Jews, while turning your back on the millions that are still getting gassed.
Voting for a third party can get great results, like causing RINOs to lose elections. It also forces the Republican party to do more than just mouth conservative principles and try to scare people into thinking that Democrats will eat up the country faster than they will. Being part of the Constitution party will not keep me from voting for a conservative Republican OR Democrat if one might “rear his head”.
About 40 years back when God was expelled from the Government schools, believing parents took their children out and started Christian Schools. Many of these schools were but mere versions of government schools with holy water thrown on them and nomenclature manipulated, e.g. Christian math: 1 apostle + 1 apostle = 2 apostles. Then came the home school movement about 20 years ago, bringing the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers.
What is government? Husband + wife + children include a nuclear family. Their brothers, sisters, grandchildren, grandparents function as a family. Aunts, uncles, cousins extrapolate to an extended family. Their relations, in-laws, distant cousins, “strangers” taken in, etc. compile clans. Clans total tribes. Many tribes include a nation or ethnic group. Many nations combine into a country. Local to state agents govern throughout this hierarchy, but the primary governmental unit is the marriage.
On the local level we take our children out of the government schools to encourage the fundamental, God fearing, local governmental unit. As Brian stated, if you were the only person in existence, you could do whatever. But with the much more general civilization than this, to govern nations, we must find common ground, compromise our policies, not our principles, as Brian says. And Hanna: value incrementalism. Family strength and morals come from God in us, our hope of glory. National strength comes from a compromise policy, but unyielding in principle.
The reason the GOP is just about kaput right now is not because the Republican Party is inherently evil, but rather because ungodly people control it. The same logic that folks use to justify leaving the GOP can be used to justify leaving America and starting a new country. Corruption, no change, etc. and so we pull out and start a new one instead of seeking to reclaim the old one. We don’t do that with our country, so why do it with the GOP? Building a new party will be much more difficult than reclaiming the old. I have never yet heard a satisfactory response to that.
If the people controlling the GOP are the problem, then people controlling the GOP can also be the answer. Just depends on which people are doing it.
Mr. Umstattd, thanks for your wise words. I fully agree that incrementalism is a valuable weapon provided that you never compromise principle.
Hello, I’m a wandering conservative. I got here via WallBuilders -> Patriot Academy -> here. Are y’all students and young or is this a “wider” group?
This subject in particular caught my eye because I have, in the last 1-2 years, had a fire to “understand politics” and to care enough to make a difference. I have debated a suggestion with a chairman and another person in the Constitution Party, but gained no ground at all. If someone would reply to me to let me know how active this blog is or the background of it, I’d appreciate it. Other blogs I’ve been on have lacked… civility… depth… intellect.
For what it is worth, my suggestion to the CP and other conservative parties was to have a 3rd party primary to, for one, show a total consensus of votes willing to challenge the two-party system, and second, to select someone to run as a Republican candidate in the main election that will stand out from the rest. The answer I got seemed to be a combination of “it’s not a new idea” and included contempt for some other conservative third parties. This also mimicked the attitude I got from family who doubt anything ever really changes.
I just read “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History” and this has further torn apart my optimism or which “version” of history to believe anymore. If y’all keep talking about principles, I might still have “hope” for “change”.
Too bad I’m too old for Patriot Academy. It sounds like real world example of my project to write a “Sim Congress” game or “Fantasy Politics” rule set.
@Paul I’m not against the idea of a third party. The Whigs, Torries, Federalists and Anti Federalists have all been replaced by third parties. But the constitution party is far to exclusive to be any sort of political force.
@Kurt I do agree that voting third party can help send a message to the major parties. The green party got the democrats attention by handing the election to Bush. I just never see the Constitution party ever getting that powerful without including more groups. As was shown in The Patriot you need both the church folk and bar ruffians to win a war. If the Constitution Party and Libertarian party were to merge then they could be a political force.
@Sanity I have attended Patriot Academy several times but my blog is not affiliated with PA. Several of the commenters so far are PA Alum but not all. You are more than welcome to join our discussion across our many blogs. Do you have a blog?
Thomas – Thanks. I’ve just told a neighbor kid about PA and it brightened my perspective to know such a thing exists. Aside from the Christian perspective, I’ve tried to ‘understand’ how politics really works, but reading about it and how something really works are quite different. (Like the definition of a Whip and how much power/influence/duty they really have). If I had the time I would like to be a fly on the wall during a PA session.
No, I don’t have a blog. Lack of time and confidence to do it. I have many great ideas (I think) but I know that I am not a ‘leader’, so patience for responses on my own blog would hurt my ego. If someone creates of “Secretary of Perspective” or “Department of Wit”, then I may sign up. Else with my sparse spare time I am trying to write Christian game/educational software.
If people like you guys can’t convince third parties of something like “compromise with integrity” or “compromise on policy only”, then… I’ll continue hitting my head on the wall, because unlike most of my, ugh, Democrat family, I still think things and individuals CAN change things. The CP won’t get anywhere sitting on their principles waiting for everyone to completely agree with them.
I’ve also debated heavily with GOOOH.com. It is another good concept, but they don’t seem to fight hard UNTIL it is election time, and there needs to be better accountability of what is said before/during the election process. But they only seem focused on word of mouth growth, high participation in the selection process, and then forcing a GOOOH candidate to resign if they violate their agreement. They would be better served by pushing the Instant Run-off Voting System. (Now I WOULD be interested in heading a Department of Elections or something to that effect)
Thanks for publishing this info! This is a good post. It reminds me of a big argument I started during Election 2008 (it begins with the last post on this page, titled, “The Suitor Evaluation”: http://thecrusadingchemist.com/amandaread/category/world-views/politics-world-views/satire/ ). Maybe I was rather rough, but after all, that’s what satire is. 🙂
You hit it the nail on the head with your description of what the CP is made up of (Conservative Home School Families and Conspiracy Theorists – I hate to see them in the same group, and some that fit both categories!).