Paul  Weyrich

Recently there has been considerable talk about a third party, which originated from an informal meeting in Salt Lake City called by Robert K. Fischer, President of Fischer Furniture, Inc., Rapid City, South Dakota. The session gathered steam when Dr. James Dobson, perhaps the most influential pro-family leader, stated that he would consider a third party if an unacceptable GOP candidate were nominated for President.

The statement immediately caused a media firestorm. Gary L. Bauer, who is an associate of Dobson, denounced the idea, saying this would guarantee Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) the election. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, usually seen as a close collaborator of Dobson, distanced himself from the third-party idea.

Morton C. Blackwell, President of the Leadership Institute and Virginia Republican National Committeeman, believes that it is easier to overthrow a political party than it is to form a third party. Blackwell is the expert in practical politics.

I agree with Blackwell although perhaps it would be useful to examine the criteria needed to create a third party. Such an examination could be relevant if one of the parties would embrace a position anathema to a major segment of its grassroots. If the Democratic Party were to embrace the Second Amendment and call for the right to bear arms there would be a grassroots revolt. Such an occurrence could be sufficient to collapse the Democrats and pave the way for a third party. Likewise, if the Republicans, the pro-life party since 1980, were to repudiate that position there would be a substantial grassroots walk-out, perhaps enough to pave the way for a third party.

I believe it would require three steps to create a new and viable third party. First, major figures from either existing parties would need publicly to defect. For instance, if the two Oklahoma Senators, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Governor Mitt Romney held a press conference stating that the Republican Party no longer represents their beliefs and views, in turn, they would be creating a new party, perhaps called the Christian Democrats.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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