The Doomed Third-Party and the “Scorch and Burn” Conservatives

Sara Marie Brenner photo

Sara Marie Brenner is the Creator/Editor of, and host of “The Brenner Brief” talk show.

Those who know me know — I am a Republican. I am a conservative, and I am a Republican. I am a Constitutional conservative, and a Republican. And yes, I believe all of those terms go together.

I do not see any circumstance in which starting a third-party is helpful. In my opinion, you change the party by getting up off your couch and making changes within the party either by volunteering, running for office or pressuring the decision makers from the outside.

However, some conservative activists are thinking about party politics with their emotions rather than with their brains. L. Brent Bozell III said in a recent story that the Republican Party is no longer the party of limited government, spending and taxes, but rather:

It is now officially exactly right behind the Democrats — on everything. It is time for conservatives to start looking for a new home. There’s precious little left for us here.

This is just flabbergasting  Republicans do not want bigger government — we are against ObamaCare, the Obama administration’s regulatory nightmares and other moves by this administration — but we lost the 2012 general election and therefore do not have the ability we would have otherwise possessed to put forth our own agenda. If you look at the state governments where Republicans are in control, they have shrunk government and brought growth with their policy changes. In addition, Republicans have tried to cut spending, repeatedly, and Obama will not budge. Furthermore, Republicans have not increased taxes in nearly 20 years, due in part to Grover Norquist‘s “no tax pledge” and also because of the reelection boondoggle of George H. W. Bush. To say that Republicans are like the Democrats is to say that a giraffe is like a whale because they both happen to be mammals.

Bozell heads the Media Research Center and is chairman of ForAmerica Inc. He has bonified conservative credentials, and a depth of experience in conservative organizations. What he lacks, however, is experience in a political party. Just like so many of the Tea Party folks who got behind good candidates and then did not know how to carry them across the finish line, when you lack political experience it is very difficult for you to critique it or figure out how to run a campaign on the fly.

Why would someone who doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of party politics make a judgement about it?

I am not criticizing Bozell. In fact, I follow his work, and appreciate what he does for the conservative movement through education, research, his writings and his other activities. However, I would never consider him to be an expert on the Republican Party.

There are many good conservatives out there who try to work within the party to elect good candidates, and put pressure on the party when it needs it. Dana Loesch is one example — when the Todd Akin mess hit in Missouri, she didn’t gripe and whine, but instead got in the trenches and fought for what was right for the party and conservatism. She did not cry out for a third-party when the GOP did wrong by Akin and when he did wrong by his supporters. Instead, she continued the fight in a positive way to make an impact. Ultimately, Akin lost, yes, but the party is not in shambles as a result. If we follow Bozell’s advice, we are to throw the Republican Party in to the coffin with the Whigs.

The Republican Party absolutely is not the Democrat Party. People who do not like it should get involved — either within the party’s leadership, or from without as an influence. The Republican Party will be much more easily impacted by your efforts than the country would be if you were leading it, but some conservatives would rather skip over the GOP thinking they can somehow find a way to control the nation and do good there. Yes, when you don’t succeed as a secretary, ask for a promotion to CEO because, certainly, if you cannot handle the lower level it would be only logical for you to take on the larger feat — there, you will be successful (please listen for the dripping sarcasm).

If you cannot change the Republican Party to be the what you want it to be, how are we to believe that you will be able to change the country to be what you want it to be?

So conservatives — stop whining, get off your rear, and get involved. Do not let your job, income level, disability, or other restrictions stop you. Use whatever you do well and have to make a difference within the Republican Party to reshape it in to a more conservative party that will appeal to the masses.

In the meantime, stop the divisiveness and don’t pretend to be “one of us,” scorching and burning the path behind you as you blaze toward your already doomed third-party.



  1. I agree with some of your points about a 3rd party. But I can tell you the republican party will not be strong enough to win in 2016. There is way too much division and the libertarian party is strong enough to make a difference. Right now far too many in the republican party are saying I won’t vote for a candidate who isn’t 100% for this or 100% against that.

    Compare that to the democrats who would all vote for a dog turd if it had a D next it. It might be to our advantage to consider a 3rd party and let the republicans become a part of it instead of the other way around.

    • The Libertarian Party is strong enough to make the Republican Party lose. That’s about it. Other than that, the Libertarians aren’t strong enough to do anything.

    • If the Libertarian Party ever had a chance it was this year. But Ron Paul couldn’t secure the GOP nomination. What is a successful way to get Libertarian ideas actualized? I think your best bet is to find GOP candidates who will support those ideas that you feel are the most important. Get noticed by working for GOP candidates! I have even heard talk of Rand Paul running for VP as a GOP next time around.

  2. You are in denial….IF YOU THINK LBB DOES NOT UNDERSTAND PARTY POLITICS, You are CLUELESS about him, and who he is! He understands it all too well! And the scortched earth RINOS that have lead the last two failures seem to have had no problem kicking out and blocking conservatives from even delegations from executive chairman positions. The funds are going to DRY up, and you can think about that. when your begging ! Because it was Reince Preibus himself that BROKE the rules that caused this maddening possible sinking of the USS Republican

    One chance for change is a ever welcoming and balanced approach to POLICY is Brent Bozell (LBB) who is mush loved by those over a broad range of both conservative and CARD carrying democrat!

    I like hearing BS spoken of… makes me laugh!

    • Tamara, while I appreciate your rant, Bozell has never worked within party politics. He always worked from the outside. With that, the column makes perfect sense.

      Also, “scortched” is not a word; however, “scorched” is, and that is what I was referencing in the column. And, it’s not the RINOs who are doing the scorching — it’s the conservatives wanting a third party. It seems as though you read the first few sentences of the column, got angry, and didn’t finish the column before you commented. Furthermore, you sound like you think I’m a tax/spend liberal, which also goes to show that you haven’t read the column or any other columns by me to know that I’m a conservative. Wait … I said that in this column, too. So again, did you even read the column on which you are commenting?

      And, you may wish to think about the fact that using all caps doesn’t make your comment across any louder — it just makes me picture someone going crazy at the other end and trying to yell at me through the comment section of the blog.

      If you like hearing “BS spoken of” because it “makes [you] laugh,” just continue reading your comment over and over today so that the giggles may abound.

  3. Many Ron Paul followers stayed home this election, refusing to vote for either of the two-party candidates. You raise a good question: why couldn’t the teaparty bring home their candidates? Is it lack of experience? Lack of a cohesive message? In my opinion, the GOP was used by prospective candidates this election as an opportunity to get their message out, but who did not necessarily agree with the GOP. I ask: isn’t that hypocritical?

  4. Sara, I agree with you 100%. Splinter groups don’t work and I know this from experience. I supported Ross Perot. Conservatives are being wooed by numerous small groups; new parties form daily. But these parties lack the organization and financial backing necessary to make a real difference…winning. Instead, they will detract from the GOP message and take away the possibility of winning on local, state, and national levels.

    I liked Sara Marie’s comment about getting off the couch. After the election I was gloomy and needed to do something positive. I began by finding 1 positive thing that I could do and it has mushroomed into many, many ways to make a difference. I am supporting a candidate for attorney general who will change our election laws, making fraud much less likely to occur. I am working for a gubernatorial candidate who is a Constitutional GOP conservative. And – that 1 thing that got me off the sofa? It was to support Patriot Voices campaign (Rick Santorum) against the ratification of a UN Treaty on CRPD. Can you believe it – we are already successful. The treaty was defeated yesterday at 1:30 PM.

  5. Reading the linked article I saw only the one line regarding, “Looking for a new home.” On the other hand, I saw numerous good and solid conservative arguments being made by Sen. Jim DeMint. Unlike Bozell, Sen. DeMint knows a thing or two about the Republican Party. He is also more than a bit involved. Further, he didn’t seem to be calling for a third party.

    Perhaps you could respond to Sen. DeMint’s very valid criticisms of Speaker Boehner’s horrendous negotiating tactics?

    Lastly, is your jab at the Tea Party about, “Not being able to carry them across the finish line,” intended to blame the Tea Party for the defeat of Romney? If so, you may consider that Romney was not the choice of the Tea Party and that seriously impacts voter enthusiasm and thus voter turnout.

    • Brian, the column wasn’t criticizing DeMint in any way. In fact, you just proved my point by commenting that he is a “party insider” and is not calling for a third party, yet — he’s a conservative.

      We have had several columns addressing Boehner’s negotiating tactics and what should be done. I’ve also discussed it on my talk show with guests. Your word — “horrendous” — is appropriate, for usre!

      The jab at the Tea Party, with which I align myself by the way, has nothing to do with Romney; hence, the word “candidates” plural. Specifically, I’m thinking of Senate and Congressional candidates who won their primaries and then couldn’t win the general. This is due, in part, to the fact that the TP organization is not equipped to run campaigns appropriately and to bring people across the finish line. The TP does a great job causing trouble (I mean that in a good way), but they also have to be solution-oriented and know how to get a candidate in to office in order to have the legislative or executive impact they wish to have.

  6. Sara,
    I liked your article because it inspired me to do a little further digging into the 3rd party demand I’m hearing from many at work and even from some family. I encourage everyone who reads this to do the research and you’ll see additional reasons why Sara is right.

    First, my personal hypothesis.
    Conservatives will more likely vote for a third party for two reasons:
    1. Conservatives are loyal to their ideals, not their party
    2. If a conservative sees something wrong, they’re more likely to just fix it themselves rather than expect a fix from others. And if someone is moving to fix it already, conservatives will move to help them rather than stick with someone who’s unwilling or unable to do the job.

    Or in cruder terms, conservatives prefer to do the leading while liberals prefer to be led.

    Second, in nearly every election this century with a strong 3rd party candidate running against the Democrats and the Republicans, Republicans have been hurt.

    1992, 1996: Ross Perot
    It has been argued that Perot split the Republican vote resulting in 8 years of Clinton. While I don’t buy that all of those who voted for Perot would have otherwise voted for Bush, if we look at just the 1992 election and assume that 75% of Perot’s votes would have gone to Bush while 25% would have been Clinton’s, Bush would have won Colorado (8 1992 electorals), Connecticut (8), Georgia (13), Iowa (7), Ohio (21), Nevada (4), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (15), Oregon (7), Tennessee (11) and maybe a few others including Pennsylvania with its 23 electoral votes which Bush would have won by a tiny margin. The early 90’s would have been very different, not to mention our current environment.

    1968: George Wallace
    Actually winning 46 electoral votes, Wallace took Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, all states which voted Republican in both the 1964 and 1972 elections.

    1948: Strom Thurmond
    Thurmond is the exception. While running as a States’ Rights Democratic Party member, his stand on state’s right was right, but the racist agenda of the Dixiecrats (which dissolved back into the Democrat party) follows more along with the segregationist supported by the Democrats of the time and it can be argued that in this one case it was the Democratic party that took the hit. Unfortunately, Truman’s win was large enough that it wouldn’t have mattered where Thurmond’s votes had gone if he hadn’t run.

    1928: Robert M. La Follette
    Took Wisconsin which had voted Republican the previous two elections and was the only former Union state to not vote for Coolidge

    1912: Roosevelt / Taft
    The highly publicized fight between these two, resulting in Roosevelt leaving the Republican party, can easily be shown to have given the election to Woodrow Wilson. With over 7.6 million votes compared with Wilson’s 6.3 million, the results would have almost certain gone to the Republicans had this split not occurred.

    I think this is enough to put the fear of a third party into most.

  7. Of course I’m right! 🙂

  8. Most of us are far right 🙂


  1. […] Sara Marie Brenner over at The Brenner BriefOpens a lot of worms with this ca.! She’s good at being “snarky” me level, disability, or other restrictions stop you. Use whatever you do well and have to make a difference within the Republican Party to reshape it in to a more conservative party that will appeal to the masses. In the meantime, stop the divisiveness and don’t pretend to be “one of us,” scorching and burning the path behind you as you blaze toward your alFULL TEXT […]

  2. […] The Doomed Third Party and the “Scorch and Burn” Conservatives – Sara Marie Brenne… […]

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