A third major political party is about as likely as sending a man to the moon | Opinion

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By Carl Golden

When a group of 150 Republicans and Independents, including former Gov. Christie Whitman, released the manifesto “A Call for American Renewal,” speculation abounded that it represented the first step towards creating a third party for the day. compete on an equal footing with establishment organizations. that govern American policy.

In the preamble to its 13-point declaration of principles, the group called its mission an effort to “catalyze an American renewal and either to reinvent a party dedicated to our founding ideals, or to accelerate the creation of such an alternative.” We call for a renaissance of the American cause and do so in partnership and in fair competition with others committed to the preservation of our Union. “

He followed his commitment to be guided by the principles of democracy, founding ideals, constitutional order, truth, rule of law, ethical government, pluralism, civic responsibility, expediency, freedom expression, conservation, common defense, well-being and leadership.

Noble goals all, but the most critical singular goal of all – the one that, when achieved, will make all the others possible – is missing: snatch the fingers of former President Donald Trump from the throat of the Republican Party.

The manifesto never mentions Trump, but his presence looms large throughout the document with rhetoric such as, “We recognize truth and reason as essential to a free and just society and look to our leaders, citizens and the press. that they seek them out and promote them. We oppose the use of fear, conspiracy and lies and instead support policy making based on evidence and honest speech. “

Similar language recurs throughout the manifesto, and the target of his anger is clear, albeit unnamed.

Since Joe Biden entered the White House in January, Trump has tightened his grip on the party, highlighted by his Congressional leadership bowing to his demand that Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney be expelled from her role as president of the party conference in retaliation for refuting her claims. electoral fraud.

Trump marginalized party members who were convinced that after his defeat he would retreat to his resort town of Mar-A-Lago and periodically influence party politics and affairs. He turned their beliefs into wishful thinking.

The constant flow of members of Congress, candidates and others seeking his support solidified his role as the face of the party.

His suspension from social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, has not hampered his public ubiquity or ability to garner inordinate media attention.

He weighed in on all kinds of policies and issues and the performance of his successor while criticizing in his trademark personal terms the shortcomings and flaws of those who oppose him.

Above all, however, Trump has become increasingly vehement in his insistence that massive electoral fraud led to his defeat. Supporting evidence is lacking and dozens of court challenges have all failed, but 60% of self-identified Republicans agree with his claim.

His characterization of the Jan. 6 assault on the United States Capitol as a largely peaceful demonstration to protest the election result has been echoed by a few Republicans in Congress willing to push the boundaries of human understanding.

It is, however, a testament to the power Trump wielded over the party. He is her most dominant figure whose favor is eagerly sought by leaders and who remains the favorite of many Republican voters as the 2024 presidential candidate.

He has given all indications that he intends to play a major, if not dominant, role in the 2022 midterm elections, raising funds and supporting candidates.

If Republicans, already within striking distance of the majority in the House and in a deadlocked 50-50 Senate, regain control, Trump will emerge stronger than ever, if not potentially unassailable.

Unless the American Renewal group can break this hold, it will follow the path of other third-party movements. This country is steeped in the bipartisan tradition and has always rejected all efforts to turn away from it, whatever the circumstances.

There is no doubt that the group is sincere or that they recognize the danger of holding onto a cult figure like Trump has become.

The task they’ve embarked on may be the equivalent of a moon stroke, but it’s worth it. He successfully left the launch pad in the unknown. Good luck.

Carl Golden is Senior Associate Analyst at the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University. He was Director of Communications for Governor Whitman from 1994 to 1997.

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