Why a “Patriot Party” is doomed to failure

Some on the Right have been grumbling about the Republican Party and have openly talked about creating a new “Patriot Party” as an alternative. This is a terrible idea that will entrench Democratic dominance and the policy outcomes that the “Patriots” would find abhorrent. This is the political equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The best a “Patriot Party” could hope for is to split the votes of conservatives and right-leaning moderates, leading Democrats to win in a plurality. Even in Indiana’s deep red Ninth District, where Trey Hollingsworth won with 60% of the vote, a Democrat could win with 34% of the vote if Hollingsworth and the “Patriot” candidate get 32% and 28% respectively. Is this really what we want?

But the goal would be to replace the GOP, right? That is fine in theory, but you would have to get major defections from Republican elected officials and influential conservatives in order to do that. Even then, it would be years before the GOP disappears completely. Until then, a “Patriot Party” would do nothing but grantee a dominant Democratic plurality. More likely, a third party will fizzle out in a few years.

No, the best solution is to win primaries. Republicans have proven for decades now that is possible, especially since the 2010 Tea Party wave. If a Republican incumbent is not fighting hard enough or pushing nanny-state policies, that Republican can be removed by Republican primary voters. Even that has risks, because you could lose a seat that would otherwise have been winnable, but a one-on-one race with a less electable candidate is far more winnable than a three-way contest.

I understand the frustration with the Republican Party. I have had my own battles with “moderates” in the party. But the solution is not to go with a strategery guaranteed to lose elections. The solution is to reform the Republican Party from within and getting more principled conservative candidates elected. Why do conservatives insist on forming a circular firing squad instead of taking on the Democrats?