When we put forth the vote to those interested in a “new small-government party,” we emailed thousands of you to decide from eight choices what to name our party. “Federalist Party” won by a mile; it received over 70% of the vote with the remainder going to the other seven choices combined. It was the name that, in principle, I liked but I personally voted against it for one reason: the education gap. Frankly, I thought it would be too challenging to inform enough people about the realities of modern Federalism.
The vote demonstrated two things. First, it showed that you, the people who expressed the initial interest in a new party, were well-informed and understood that true federalism is about balancing powers rather than growing DC’s power. Second, it gave me confidence that we would be able to overcome the stigma associated with the name as being in favor of “strong centralized government.”
Today, we’re seeing a handful of challenges, but not nearly as many as I had anticipated. We receive a few emails and Facebook notifications every day asking how we can promote shrinking the federal government if our namesake was in favor of bigger government. This happens much less frequently than I would have guessed, but there are a few concerning notes that come through occasionally. These notes from some among you say they’re having trouble talking to their friends and family about it because of the stigma.
In an effort to help you share the truth about what we’re trying to accomplish, here are four bits of information that you can share when confusion pops up.
Federalism has always been about balance between the states and national government
There have been three notable pushes for federalism since the birth of the country. Each of these pushes have shaped how Americans understand the way the government should operate. The first was obviously the initial Federalists who wrote the Federalist Papers, plus President John Adams and other notables in the 18th and early 19th centuries. These people were pushing for a centralized government just as modern detractors accuse, but it’s important to understand their motivations.
The opposition to the Federalists, those who did not want to ratify the Constitution, were militantly in favor of states having primacy over a national government. They didn’t want the national government to have a strong army or any navy at all, preferring each state to mobilize militia to defend themselves. They wanted all the power of foreign relations to be in the hands of the states. In other words, if France wanted to sign a treaty, it would have to do so with each individual state. If there were problems between two states, they would settle their own differences without interference from a national government. If it turned to war between states, so be it.
The Federalist Papers were written to convince people that we needed a national government to work with the states. The founders envisioned a balance that allowed most decisions to be made by the states and a national government to mediate and unify. When people say the original Federalists wanted centralized government, it’s absolutely true. What detractors won’t say is that without the Federalists, there would be no Constitution nor would there be a United States of America. We would have been confederate states loosely joined together much like a mini-Europe.
The second push for Federalism started with the modern conservative movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The two biggest champions of “new Federalism” were Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. They wanted the same goal as the original Federalists: balance between the states and national governments. The difference is that they were approaching it from the opposite direction. Instead of pushing to have a stronger national government to be equal to the states, they were pushing for a weaker national government to be equal with the states. They had some successes, but there was something missing. Republican Party leadership has always and will always be against the notion of Federalism because it takes away the power they hold in DC. In this regard, they’re very much like the Democrats. As powerful as Nixon and Reagan were, they couldn’t overcome the Establishment that has been in charge of Washington DC since President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Our party represents the third push. We’ve learned from the roadblocks faced by past Federalists, particularly Reagan, and we have a plan to work from the bottom up to achieve our goals. What Reagan couldn’t achieve by himself at the top, we’ll be able to achieve by working into every level of government. From city councils to county offices to state legislators to U.S. Senators, we will return the nation’s government to its intended natural state of balance. To do this, we have to shrink DC’s power dramatically. It’s this third push that has the chance to succeed where the second push failed.
We are not against Republicans, just the bad ones
The chances of us ever running against Senator Mike Lee in Utah are practically non-existent. He’d have to really change directions for us to consider opposing him. As a party, we look at individuals to determine whether or not we need to run a candidate against them.
We have no intention of being a “protest vote” or a “spoiler.” Any election in which we run a candidate will be an election we wholeheartedly believe we can win. This has been a concern for many, particularly Republicans, who realize their party isn’t good but that it’s better than the alternative. That shouldn’t concern anyone considering the Federalist Party. We’ll run against people who shouldn’t be in office and we’ll avoid races that already have great people there. We may even support some in other parties who are Federalists at heart such as Senator Lee.
Most importantly, we’ll run to win. If we have very little chance of winning an election, there’s no need to waste the resources.
There are already Federalists in office who need support in order to “come out”
Nobody likes to be the first person on the dance floor. Over the last three months, we’ve had tremendous conversations with pundits, politicians, and organization leaders who are excited about what we’re doing. Some have even offered to “come out” in support of our efforts, but we’ve told them to hold off for now. This movement has to grow organically from the grassroots before we start “name dropping” people in the press or in office.
The reason for this is important to understand. Today, we’re growing rapidly based upon having an identity that gravitates around a concept. The moment that someone like Ben Sasse, Justin Amash, or Glenn Beck comes out and starts talking about embracing the tenets of the Federalist Party, they instantly become the identity. Instead of the “Federalist Party,” we would become “Mark Levin’s 3rd Party,” for example. This won’t work long term. Sure, we’d get an instant boost in membership, but it would also place an individual’s or group of individuals’ name in front of the party itself. Long term, this would be counterproductive.
Once we have enough big-name supporters, we will announce them all simultaneously. This will have much more impact in the short term and will allow us to grow more steadily long term. Today and for the near future, we need the people to be the voice. That’s you. Once we appear on the radar of the two major parties, they will do what they can to destroy us. It’s important that we spread the word through the grassroots, never revealing our size or clout until we have enough to sustain ourselves against attacks.
We are NOT affiliated with a SuperPAC
The thing that systematically killed the Tea Party movement and replaced it with a pseudo-Establishment group controlled by the same power brokers they once opposed was money. Most of you have heard horror stories about Tea Party or other conservative organizations raising millions of dollar supposedly for candidates when only small fractions went towards getting conservatives into office. We will not allow that to happen with the Federalist Party.
Each state Federalist Party will operate based upon the guidelines laid out by their election boards. The national party will rely a little on contributions just as other parties do, but the bulk of our money will be earned. Rather than simply begging, we’re building a business plan that allows us to earn the money to operate the national party transparently and within the same rules that every American must follow. We are not special, nor do we believe that any party is special. We’ll work for what the party earns and utilize those funds the American way.
Recently, we launched a business outreach revenue model called DRIVE. Companies can invest in both the Federalist Party as well as their own business by letting us help them spread the word about their company to their market audience. This will drive visitors to their website as part of their investment while simultaneously letting us spread the word about the party itself. If you own or work for a business that wants to help itself grow while supporting a movement that aims to shrink the national government while promoting individual freedoms, please contact us today.
The biggest obstacle the party faces is ignorance. The best way to fight ignorance is by empowering our grassroots supporters with information to share with the people they touch. We hope this article can help. If you need more, please feel free to reach out at any time.