Since announcing our intentions in July to form a new party, the #1 question that we’ve received is, “Why not help one of the other third parties instead of forming a new one and dividing the base even further?”
They all have a base. They all have a platform. Our small-government Constitutional platform will be very similar to other conservative third parties, so the question is a fair one to ask. The answer to the question is simple: no third party has a strategy to win. We have examined the strategies of every other viable third party and came to the obvious conclusion that they’re fundamentally flawed. If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that even the strongest third parties are essentially powerless against the big two.
Some of the “large” third parties have barely become blips on the radar after decades of existence. Things are different, now. We have certain advantages with our launch that they simply didn’t have back then. Some of these advantages are only applicable to a new party; reforming or enhancing the older ones won’t have nearly the same impact. While nobody has a surefire strategy or a magic bullet to bring success, we hope that everyone can agree on a handful of realities:
- Technology can play the biggest role in growing a party. As recently as a decade ago, the best way to reach the masses was by building up enough grassroots fundraising dollars to buy television, print, and radio ads. This meant a lot of money went a very little way. Today we have social media, mobile marketing, and various digital bullhorns through which we can reach the masses for pennies on the dollar. As we often say, we can reach millions of people with our message without having to raise millions of dollars to do it.
- Most party platforms are convoluted. They tend to tackle so many specific issues instead of focusing on an overarching philosophy. Decisions made in favor of supporting a third party often come down to exclusion rather than inclusion. In other words, someone might agree with 90% of a party’s platform, but the 10% they don’t like prevents them from joining.
- The most common failure by third parties is that they put so much attention on the Presidential race. The way to build a grassroots groundswell is by focusing first on the ever-important local issues. Then city. Then county. Then state. A successful third party needs to win city council seats, state legislative seats, Congressional seats, and governors’ offices before it should even take a peek at the Presidency.
- Conventional wisdom says you can’t be successful as a single-issue party, but pragmatic wisdom declares that putting the focus on an overarching issue or set of issues makes much more sense than trying to stand out and differentiate based upon a multitude of stances.
- This shouldn’t have to be said, but based upon the standard operating procedures that are apparent with every first and second tier party in America, candidates are selected based upon their ability to win rather than their qualities as public servants. This is the most backwards concept in politics, one that has enabled the rise of people like Anthony Weiner and Rod Blagojevich. Parties should not pick who they think can win and then hope that they have integrity and character. They must pick people of integrity and character and them help them to win.
For the sake of space, we’ll stick with these five agreeable traits for building a strong political party and compare them to the reality of the party options. What we’ve found is that some are better than others in certain areas, but no party (not even the two major parties) have demonstrated the ability to fully invoke these truths. Then, we’ll quickly discuss how we intend to handle each of these items differently from most other parties.
The Democrats have done this the best followed by the Republicans. However, neither of them have taken appropriate advantage of technology. Compared to what can be achieved by embracing modern digital and public relations strategies, they were both mediocre. Compared to every third party on the radar, the two major parties were miles ahead. There are bigger third parties who barely produce content such as blog posts, videos, or interactive HTML5 graphics. There are smaller third parties who fail to update their social media profiles regularly or properly.
We will be a technology-based party. That doesn’t mean that we’ll abandon analog efforts; we’ll organize rallies, launch GotV initiatives, and even produce good ol’ snail mail pieces. The difference is we won’t rely on yard signs and expensive television ads which have been shown to have lost effectiveness in the last couple of years. Instead, we will focus on producing digital content that masters the mobile “always on” mentality of today’s (and tomorrow’s) voters. We will build buzz around what we’re doing, not just what we’re saying. We’ll give our members the tools they’ll need to help us reach a broader audience. Most importantly, we’ll invest the largest portions of our budgets on new media initiatives. For a fraction of the money it takes to get a late night television commercial in a suburban area that will be seen (and often ignored) by thousands, we can reach hundreds of thousands of local people with dozens of promoted social media videos.
The foundation of the Federalist Party’s platform is the Constitution. We aren’t alone in that regard, but by keeping it straightforward we’ll be able to address the issues that are truly important to voters without distorting our message through exclusionary policy nuances. Moreover, our platform will be designed for adherence by our candidates and representatives. We can’t expect all politicians we support to comply with 100% of the platform, but we can reward those who stay the most aligned to it by giving them higher priority for our support.
The American government structure is inverted. We believe that the responsibility lies first with individuals and families, then local government, then county, then state, and finally the federal government at the bottom of the hierarchy pyramid. This philosophy doesn’t just translate well with our federalist perspectives. It also gives us a roadmap for success to help us build the grassroots groundswells necessary to achieve our goals. While it would be nice to win the Presidency, we’re aware that we need to get our mayors and Senators in office first.
Our “single” issue
Our core principles are Life, Freedom, and Smaller Government. We will be working with party members to craft the right issues-based platform, but the appeal that can be recognized by a wide spectrum of voters is our focus on bringing a balance of powers between the state and federal governments. Washington DC holds way too much influence over our lives. To correct this issue, we have to focus on the three primary areas where the federal government needs to shrink: budget, bureaucracy, and power. This is our primary goal and in it lies the solution to the vast majority of issues facing the nation and its citizens.
Candidates of integrity and character
As mentioned above, it’s a shame that this even needs to be said. We intend to select candidates based upon their actual qualifications to lead the right way rather than the traits that help them play the political game the best. We believe that putting forth people of integrity, principles, diligence, leadership, and character is by far more important than which donors they know or how nice they look on camera.
This doesn’t mean we’re naive to the fact that “optics” are important. We simply feel like optics can be created and speaking skills can be taught, but traits such as character and integrity are inherent within individuals. It’s easier to help a strong leader learn to give speeches or answer debate questions than to attempt to instill principles into someone who has been unprincipled for their adult lives.
In the short term, this stance may end up hurting us in some elections. A practiced politician with a slick sales pitch may defeat a principled Federalist in some races. Long term, we must keep hold of this particular high road. Over time, we can build up a reputation of only running the best of the best which will help us to grow and to win more elections. People should want to be associated with us. They should be proud to join us because they know that our candidates represent a sampling of the best people in America.
If you are ready to be part of something that we truly believe will be great, getting in early has its advantages. Together, we can bring integrity back to the professions of government and help America pull away from the precipice it faces.