Third Party Conservatives: Fixers or Spoilers?

The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.usThird Party Conservatives: Fixers or Spoilers? By Mark Alexander · Thursday, October 21, 2010 "What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue ... the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them ... a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers." --James Madison In the years following the resolute conservative leadership of Ronald Reagan1, the Republican Party became indolent, more reactive than proactive. Making matters worse, the party supported the infiltration of so-called "big-tent moderates," those whose policy positions are almost indistinguishable from their Democrat challengers. Consequently, conservative third-party candidates have become significant players in national and state elections.

Conservatives voters have mixed opinions on support for third-party candidates. Thanks to the Tea Party movement2, the question of constitutional integrity3 has been reinvigorated, and there are more outstanding third-party candidates in this midterm election than ever before.

Many Patriot readers have asked: "How should one vote when a third-party candidate is more conservative than the Republican offering? Should one vote for the lesser of two evils on the major party tickets? Is a vote for a third-party conservative a wasted vote or, worse, one that takes votes from a moderate on the ticket, and seats a Leftist?"

The answers, of course, depend on one's affinity for purism versus pragmatism, and the particular circumstances and consequences of each political contest.

Purists are those who rigorously and steadfastly adhere to established traditions and principles in the conduct of their affairs, in application both to individual and societal matters.

Pragmatists, on the other hand, are those who take a practical approach to arriving at solutions, even if that means supporting the lesser of two evils. They thus try to strike a balance between principles and practicality rather than take a strict ideological line.

So, how to vote? By way of an answer, let's consider the following.