Monday, August 29, 2011

Why a third party entrant, this time, won't derail the GOP.

The one panelist I love for John McLaughlin to have on his TV show is the great Rich Lowry. When he is on, that ensures at least one of the four panelists is a clear thinking strong conservative.  I have discounted Pat Buchanan a long time ago as in the Ron Paul "strange" category; not a real conservative or Republican. 

On Friday's "McLaughlin Group" show, Rich Lowry said in the prediction section, that if Governor Rick Perry is the GOP nominee, there will be an independent candidate .  

I think Rich may be right and my first reaction was of utter despair, thinking that is the one thing that will enable Barack Obama to win a second term.

Then I started to think about it, and have concluded not only will it not hurt the GOP candidate, it could even guarantee his election.

The main reason I am saying a third party won't hurt the GOP, if Perry is the nominee, because of who the third party candidate would probably be and won't be.   Because Rick Perry is both a social and fiscal conservative, and a favorite of the tea party, that almost surely negates a strong conservative that could pose a threat for the GOP.  I think it also means someone like Donald Trump will not jump in the race because his main appeal is his outspoken antagonism to Barack Obama's policies. That will be matched by the outspoken Texan.  Even if Trump did decide to jump into the race [and it would be purely for egotistical reasons] while he might initially garner some support, at the end most of those supporting Trump would realize that there vote could help elect Obama, and they would, in the end,vote for Perry.  I could see if the GOP nominated a moderate for president that a Trump entrance could fatally harm the GOP's chances, but not with a true conservative as the nominee.

So, the third party candidate would probably be someone from the so called "moderate" wing of the Republican party; i.e., a John Huntsman type.   Think about it, would a John Huntsman type of candidate take votes away from Perry or Obama.  Those moderates or liberals who would cringe at a Perry presidency would not likely support Perry anyway.  So, they would have two choices. To sit out the election or vote for Obama.  This third party would give those voters a way to vote for someone other than Obama or Perry.  This, I submit, could help the GOP as it would take away votes that Obama would have had a chance at.  Also, a truly moderate to liberal third party candidate might siphon off a few Democrats who are unhappy with Obama, but would never vote for a Republican.  All in all it would be a net plus for the Republican.

What if the third party candidate was Ron Paul?  [a real possible scenario]. There are three types of Ron Paul supporters. First you have some main stream conservatives who nominally support Ron Paul, almost exclusively on fiscal issues.  These are true conservative Republicans who would ultimately vote for the GOP nominee, especially if it were Governor Perry.

Then you have a much smaller group,  the hard core "Paulistas", made up of fringe libertarians.  These "Paulistas" only support one person, Ron Paul, and almost surely will not support whoever the GOP nominee is anyway.  A third party candidacy by Paul would give them an outlet that would not hurt Perry because they in all likelihood would have sat out the election or voted for the libertarian candidate if there is one.   While these people are libertarians, they more detest Democrats.  So, a third party outlet for them could help Republicans on the ballot down the list.

Finally, you have some college kids who are not yet politically savvy and who support Ron Paul mainly because of his extreme isolationist foreign policy positions. Some of these younger supporters may have even supported Obama the first time around.  Again, like the "Paulistas" they will probably not support the GOP nominee anyway, so if Paul ran as a third party candidate, it would not take away votes that Perry would have gotten anyway. It also would give them an outlet to not even think about voting for Obama.

So, I think the idea that a third party candidate is what will save Obama is bogus.  In some elections a third party candidate could be a change maker, but not this time.

It reminds me of the 2010 Florida senatorial race.  The liberal Democrats were ecstatic when Governor Charlie Christ got into the race on an independent ticket. At first they were sure it would split the GOP vote to guarantee that the Republican {Marco Rubio] would lose.  But what it did do was split the liberal vote between the independent Christ and Democrat Meek and Democrats were fighting among themselves at the end on which one to support.  So rather than hurt Marco Rubio, it guaranteed his election. Thank God!

So, while at first I was very worried about a third party ticket that could enable Obama to sneak into another term, my analysis makes me feel more positive than ever that the GOP is headed to victory in 2012. With or without a third party challenge.

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