Today, Taegan Goddard's Political Wire reported that Sarah Palin is considering a run for President on a third party ticket. This is huge news, as there hasn't been a serious run for President on a third party ticket since 1992 with Ross Perot, and no third party candidate has won votes from the Electoral College since 1968, when George Wallace ran as the Southern Rights' candidate as a reaction to the newly pro-black Democratic party. Palin, as a result, stands astride the possibility of causing a split similar to that which occurred in 1968 - or 1912.
Let me explain. Former Governor Sarah Palin is generally considered to be the apex of the neo-conservative movement in the United States. She espouses a low level of education combined with a high level of religious pandering, combining the two into an experience that few consider eligible for higher office (unless, of course, you're a Republican sycophant). I wish it known that I'm not attacking Palin because she's a conservative - the simple fact is that she has much less time in politics than, say, President Obama, who's 4 years as Senator are a full 1.5 years longer than her term as Governor, and who's time in the Illinois State Senate involved responsibility for more constituents than Palin's governorship. There are many candidates with much more experience - Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota), former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts), and former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas). All of whom I dislike for different reasons than experience.
Indeed, my distaste for Palin runs even deeper. But that's neither here nor there. If you remember the special election in NY-23 this year, we saw a three party race between the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Conservative Party of New York. What occurred was an ambush of the Republican candidate from the Conservative candidate, a man named Hoffman who was endorsed by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and, indeed, Sarah Palin. The embattled Republican, Dede Scozzafava, withdrew and endorsed the Democrat, who eventually won a squeaker. Palin is now discussing bringing this split to the national level.
There are many possibilities that could occur if Palin decided to run as a third party candidate, depending on when she makes the decision to run. If she did so before the Republican primary, many candidates would follow her, leading to a serious possible split. If she entered the primary and lost, then quickly announced her split, some could. If she fights a drawn-out primary and loses, then she would just be a Presidential candidate, to start with. A bevy of success could encourage her to continue in the next Congressional cycle with the third party.
If one of the continuing options happens, you'd immediately see several Congressfolk, and even a few Senators, consider switching parties - especially if some successes were rapidly had with similar electorates. A valid third party could emerge. This would be wonderful - the ideologically pure fools would join the Palin Party, whilst many Blue Dog Democrats would move to the now-centre right Republicans. It just might allow real business to get done.
Or, it could simply lead to the Republicans slamming hard-right as a response, countering the Palin move in a self-destructive manner pleasing to Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh but absolutely foolhardy and election-losing in general. This is okay, but I would prefer a real Republican party with real fiscal conservatives.
All of this assumes Palin would have the narcissism needed to run as a third party candidate. When she loses (and she will lose), she'll likely blame everyone but herself, and continue the cult of personality she's slowly building around herself. She's a sad force in politics. I hope she splits the parties; but I also hope she self-destructs as soon as possible.
Gah. What a load of fuck.