Thursday, June 01, 2006

Third Party Charm?

Texas Rainmaker (and Pegggy Noonan) have some excellent points regarding the likelihood of a third party eruption over Washington elitism, the budget bloat, and most saliently, immigration enforcement. (h/t Instapundit.)

I think the start-up and time and money (particularly money) required is less now than it was when Perot ran. And there are nascent independent movements (in Texas we have two credible independent candidates for governor, both of whom are likely to out-poll the Democratic Party nominee) which can be co-opted or cooperated with as a source of volunteers. While many of the Perotistas have returned to their natural home in the GOP (including Perot's 1992 campaign manager, who made an unfortunate pit stop as the 1994 Dem Senate nominee against Kay Bailey Hutchison, but who is now a prominent Republican, and ranking Federal Reserve official in Dallas), they and other disaffected voters are primed to move over the illegal immigration issue.

But when will they move? In many states, including Texas, the filing deadline has passed. Some of them may vote Dem this fall out of frustration, but the Democratic Party is no longer the natural home of anyone opposed to increased Balkanization of America. In effect, I believe this gives the GOP two years to make a substantial move to the right on immigration enforcement. The GOP may lose the House in the meantime, however, and that means that the amnesty forces will be the only Republicans with national power.

The combination of these effects should propel Tom Tancredo (or someone very much like him) into the front rank of GOP presidential candidates in '08, though he will ultimately prove unsuccessful. The question then for the GOP is: do they put Tancredo on the ticket in the number two spot, or do they risk the emergence of a third-party challenger on this issue, and lose enough votes (a la Perot) to guarantee a Hillary victory?

In any event, given the onerous requirements of signature gathering, a third party candidate (Chris Simcox, perhaps?) would have to begin organizing his/her efforts no later than the last quarter of '07.

Tying this issue to the bloat in the federal government, and making the point (as has been made recently by a number of Washington think-tanks and some conservative columnists and bloggers) that amnesty and increased immigration will bloat the welfare state and balloon its costs might give the third party not only more echo of Perot on the issues, but it would also serve to lance the claim of Republicans that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. This would also bolster the candidacy of Hillary, as Bill presided over years of fiscal surplus.

In any event, it seems virtually impossible for the GOP to win in '08 without adopting the current House bill on immigration enforcement or something quite similar. Amnesty (heavy or light) appears to be High-Caliber suicide.


Post a Comment

<< Home