A direct rebuttal to Ben Shapiro’s article on The Dailywire.
With all due respect to Mr Shapiro, who could no doubt intellectually eviscerate me were he to take notice, the arguments he produces are stale recycling of elections past and a myopic failure to apply the lessons of the last few years. Thus, I will repackage each in the affirmative.
It Will Work. The Ross Perot example for third party runs is as misleading as using Goldwater’s crushing defeat as an example for why Conservatives can’t win. Goldwater was never going to win against the emotional tidal wave following JFK and RFK’s assassinations. Likewise, Perot never wanted to win and was never going to win once he dropped out then rejoined the race. Despite that, he still won 18.9% at a time when there were clear differences between the two major candidates and grassroots activism was much more difficult in a pre-Internet era. Setting aside speculation of ’92 if Perot hadn’t dropped out then dropped back in, the real difference now is the democratization of information provided by the Internet. You no longer need deal with the gatekeepers of the old media, a candidate can build a base through social media, videos, blogs, etc and the old guard will eventually be forced to take notice; as happened with Carson and Cruz in the primary. More importantly, in this election more than ever before, a third party candidate can draw a clear distinction and offer a stark contrast to the two NY, big government, cronyism loving, unabashed liars currently running unopposed.
It Appears Principled. Because of the tremendous dissatisfaction with the two major candidates, evidenced by their historically high unfavorable ratings, a third party candidate would not appear as a desperate “Hail Mary” but as a responsible attempt to save the country from inevitable disaster. Even a failure could be a step toward a later win; the only way losing the election would “minimize the level of opposition to both the candidates” would be from a huge, embarrassing loss which, for the reasons already stated, is not likely.
It Shouldn’t Be Difficult To Find A Conservative Who Can Unify #NeverTrump. Unfortunately, though he would make an exceptional president, that candidate cannot be Cruz who is not only stuck with the “loser” label, but too many of the irrational and out lying attacks of Trump and his minions stuck thanks to willing accomplices on the Right. To this day, how many actually know the “lie” about Carson in Iowa was simply reTweeting a story from CNN? Fiorina, on the other hand, came out looking principled, was the most effective in counter-punching Trump’s smears, and would be a good compromise for Cruz and non-Cruz voters. Other names, outsiders like Gen Boykin, have been floated which would have widespread appeal in the general as well.
They Won’t Burn. Or rather, Trump acolytes will stand there like Monty Python’s Black Knight and insist they’re not really fire. To think they will is to ignore the last 8 years of Obama and his ardent supporters. Dissatisfaction was running so high thanks to the last two years of the Bush Presidency, the same mentality existed in the ’08 election: just let them have Obama and in four years they’ll realize what a mess Leftist policies are and how great Conservatism is. In ’12 Romney actually got fewer votes than McCain; yet the idea persists.
Think 2020. Running a third party candidate now may be a long shot, but it won’t be a disaster. Thus, it can only help in the 2020 election. That same candidate could run again with a wider base of support after proving him/herself, or another third party candidate could do so with an even better chance of winning. Or, a strong showing by a third party could embolden a candidate(s) to offer a primary challenge to a President Trump. Beyond setting the stage for 2020, and more importantly, it is not hyperbole to say the country may not have that long to wait to right the ship. Thanks to Obama’s foreign and domestic policy disasters, the country is at its weakest and the world more dangerous than perhaps any other time in history. So while a third party may be a long shot, it is not hopeless and we owe to subsequent generations to focus our efforts on finding and running that candidate.