Conservative Third Party - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Conservative Third Party

Conservative activist Richard Viguerie has a new online poll out in which he asks conservatives who they would vote for in a race between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani if "a solid conservative was available as a third party candidate."

He writes:

It’s late in 2008, and you’re in the voting booth. Rudy Giuliani—yes, pro-abortion choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control Rudy Giuliani, that Rudy Giuliani—has won the nomination of a Republican Party desperate for a “hero” candidate who can lead it out of the political wilderness. He never even had the decency to make it easier for you to vote for him by pretending to have a pro-life “conversion” experience, like Mitt Romney, or pretending that he’s been conservative all along, like Senator McCain. (Granted, that would have been quite a stretch for Rudy.)

BUT…opposite him at the top of the ballot as the Democratic Party’s nominee is the name that sends shivers down a conservative’s spine…CLINTON! Yes, a double-spectre guaranteed to produce nightmares: Hillary in the Oval Office, Bill messin’ around somewhere else in the White House.

What do you do?

Oh, there’s a great conservative running on a third-party ticket, telling you all the things you want to hear, promising to do all the things you want done, but the most likely result of a sizeable vote for him is to tip the election over to Hillary.

So, what do you do?

Of the 293 votes cast so far, just 31 percent said they would vote for Rudy, and 55 percent said they would vote for Hillary. Granted the results are unscientific, they represent a small sample size, and the group participating in the poll is a self-selecting group of conservatives who feel particularly betrayed by the Republican Party. Also, filling out an online survey 21 months ahead of the election is one thing, but sitting in a voting booth and facing the real prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency is different. With all that said, I believe that the biggest problem facing Giuliani in a general election would be the threat of a third party conservative candidate emerging (same with McCain). For our February issue, I explored the possibility that the immigration issue alone could fuel a third party challenge in 2008, and with Giuliani as the nominee you add abortion, gun-control, and gay rights to the list.

If he's the nominee, there are two ways he can attempt to overcome a conservative backlash. Firstly, Giuliani has the ability to appeal to independents and moderate Democrats in a way that no Republican candidate has since Ronald Reagan, and thus put a lot more states in play. A recent poll showed he beats Hillary in New Jersey, which represents 15 electoral votes and has been solidly Democratic in recent election cycles. It's also quite feasible that he can even be competitive in New York and California. Secondly, if Giuliani does capture the Republican nomination it will be critical for him to balance out the ticket with a strong conservative as his running mate. Such a selection would also demonstrate that he's comfortable appointing conservatives to key positions (thus, this would reinforce any promise to appoint Scalia-type judges). One potential appointee would be Mark Sanford, the South Carolina Governor, who is a strong across the board conservative who Giuliani campaigned for this past election. Sanford is also young, so were he elected VP, the Republican Party would have a solid conservative in the on-deck circle. This may not be enough to satisfy all conservatives, but it could be enough to limit a conservative exodus to the point where Rudy's strength among swing voters would be able to overcome a third party threat.  

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