Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dan Quayle: Don't Go Perot on Us

I've actually had to deal with the temptation of Tea Party activists going all Perot on us and ensuring another four years of the disasterous Barack Obama. Dan Quayle argues that going third party over the Democrats' outrageous behavior would just ensure we get even more of it:

The emergence of official tea party candidates would be very welcome news in the Obama White House. All at once, a powerful and energetic counterweight to the Democratic establishment would become a splinter group, destroying the unified opposition it has helped to create. A potential electoral majority on the threshold of victory would become two minority factions almost certain to share in defeat, and a movement inspired to stop the big-government agenda would suddenly become its tool.

As I've often explained to third party advocates, our system does not support anything other than two strong political parties, unlike the parliamentary system which allows for all sorts of coalitions of tiny groups. Love it or hate it, our form of democracy, our system of elections, supports voting between two ideologies, usually well-defined. Without exception, any time a third party has reared its head in American elections, it has resulted in the triumph of an also-ran who was less popular. It happened when Teddy Roosevelt ran in 1912, giving us the disasterous Woodrow Wilson. It happened in 1992 when Ross Perot's in-again-out-again campaign gave us Bill Clinton. And it would most assuredly give us Barack Obama in 2012 (why does this always benefit Democrats?). Tea Party supporters would do better to help elect a Republican rather than sink him (or her).