Conservatives Threaten Third Party If Giuliani Wins Republican Nomination

Michael Scherer reports that many on the religious right are considering a third party campaign should a pro-abortion rights candidate such as Rudy Giuliani win the Republican nomination. This leaves many liberals thrilled with the idea of an easy win, while some liberals such as Ron Beasley are also looking for an independent alternative to the Democratic candidates.

I don’t have much hope that this will have a lasting impact. Assuming the Democrats stay away from fringe candidates such as Kucinich, Gravel, and increasingly John Edwards, they should win in 2008 regardless of what the Republicans do. The conservative wing of the Republican Party has intermittently played with challenges to the Republican Party in the past, but this rarely goes anywhere as they realize they have a greater chance for electoral success by concentrating on fighting for control of the GOP.

On paper a Giuliani Republican Party looks good and I might support a socially liberal Republican over many Democratic candidates. Unfortunately Giuliani has too many drawbacks, including his abandonment of liberal principles for political expediency, his ignorance of health care issues, his even more dangerous ignorance of national security issues, and his authoritarian personality. As John Dean has warned, Bush is worse than Nixon, and Rudy Giuliani might be even worse:

“Look at the so-called Watergate abuses of power,” he said. “Nobody died. Nobody was tortured. Millions of Americans were not subject to electronic surveillance of their communications. We’re playing now in a whole different league.”

And how does Bush compare with the Republicans seeking to succeed him? “If a Rudy Giuliani were to be elected,” Dean said, “he would go even farther than Cheney and Bush in their worst moments.”

While unlikely, I do hope that the conservative idea to start a third party becomes part of a trend to shake up the current dividing lines between the parties. A problem with the two party system is that many diverse groups are thrown together. The “country club” Republicans (who increasingly are being replaced by younger “Starbucks Republicans”) and the libertarian-leaning Republicans have long been in a strained alliance with the religious right.

I have more in common with some of these groups than with some Democrats. A socially conservative Democratic candidate such as John Edwards who is also conservative on civil liberties, engages in populist pandering on economic issues, and whose opposition to the war appears to be more out of political expediency than based upon a true understanding of foreign policy, is far less desirable to me than a moderate Republican who follows the principles in this letter which attempts to revive the progressive wing of the GOP.

I’m more concerned with what a party stands for at present than its name and history and would have no objection to a reborn Republican Party which shares my beliefs. As long as the religious right and the neoconservatives control the Republican Party I’m not very optimistic that these moderate Republicans can take control of the party, and currently have more hope in a transformation of the Democratic Party. As hard a time as third parties have at winning in the United States, I’ve also had greater hope for a successful third party to develop should the Democrats fall back on old habits than for the Republicans to return to sanity. However, if the religious right were to really leave the GOP, perhaps there is a possibility for the party to adopt more rational policies. While I do not see much hope for a party led personally by Rudy Giuliani, perhaps this could be an intermediate step towards a Republican Party controlled by a more liberal wing which does not share his authoritarian tendencies and support for the Iraq war.

Update: More in the New York Times and from McClatchy.


  1. 1
    Ron Beasley says:

    Actually Ron I didn’t really say I was looking for a third party candidate or that I thought one would or could win. I do think that third party candidates will determine who does win. I see the Libertarians doing better than usual in 2008 – they won’t like Rudi’s fascination with a police state or never ending occupations. The theocons may simply stay home but I think there will be a Christian Taliban candidate.

    On the Democratic side I suspect Nader will jump in again but I don’t think he will threaten Hillary that much.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I was referring to your earlier post which you link to in which you did say “As of this point, I will be shopping around for third party candidates to write in.”

    There is a handful of libertarians who like Giuliani, but agree most won’t go for such an authoritarian warmonger. Unless things get much closer than they appear at present, I also doubt Nader will have any impact.

  3. 3
    Ron Beasley says:

    You are right Ron, in one of my typical moments of insane anger I did respond to Jazz’s post and say I wouldn’t vote for Hillary but I’m realistic enough to know that a third party candidate won’t win and I would vote for Hillary to keep Rudi out of the WH. I think I may be an example of the problem the Rethuglicans face. I will hold my nose and vote for Hillary. Unlike in the past I’m not sure that the theocons and Libertarians will do the same for Rudi.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:


    That’s totally understandable to waiver between planning to vote for the Democratic candidate and fantasizing about a third party candidate. I’ve done the same.

    It is possible to support a third party candidate and realize they have no chance. If dissatisfied with the candidates of each party, and if a third party advocated positions I agreed with, I could consider supporting a third party in the hopes that this would force the major parties to move in their direction in future elections.

    Note the qualification for advocating positions. That gets to why I’m not very interested in Unity’08. Offering a compromise ticket with candidates from each party, is not supporting a position.

  5. 5
    Tony Hernandez says:

    You guys might want to know but reports online have been surfacing that Daniel Imperato is the Christian Candidate that this coalition endorses.

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