The presidential election is still one year away, but now is the time for American patriots of all stripes to reconsider their political attachments. Since the end of World War II, domestic opponents of the American Empire have struggled fruitlessly to contain its growth. As a philosopher friend recently remarked, we have no politics today in America. There is no significant contest of issues, policies, or principles, merely an imperial party line adhered to by the media, the two-party cartel, and much, though certainly not all, of the vast American middle class.

The anti-imperialist movement has failed, most obviously because it has used the wrong vehicle—the Republican Party. The Democratic Party of the 1960’s and 1970’s was hopeless, and anti-imperialists accepted the only alternative available in the two-party system. But the Republican Party, in its origins, its predominant interests, and its natural ideology has always been a vehicle of the imperial state—even before the Democratic Party succumbed early in this century.

It is truly astounding that “conservatives” who have been betrayed over and over again by the empty rhetoric of shallow, cynical politicians should still, at this late date, be attached to this failed vehicle. But there are signs that the unnatural attachment is beginning to wear thin.

Third parties have no chance of winning —so goes the conventional wisdom. Very well, but the purpose of political action is not necessarily to win, but to influence the outcome. The most constructive antiestablishment influence exercised in recent history has come from the grassroots movements organized by George Wallace and Ross Perot. If Wallace had not built a large movement, the Republican Party would still be in rhetoric, as well as in actuality, the party of Rockefeller. And whatever may be said about Perot, he reduced the Democrats and Republicans both to minority parties in two presidential elections. If Pat Buchanan had run an independent campaign in 1992 or 1996, he would today exercise much more influence over events.

Even in my limited, mostly apolitical acquaintance there are numerous former stalwart Republican activists who have finally defected and are now without a home.

What if dissidents—the Constitution (formerly U.S. Taxpayers), Reform, Southern, and Libertarian parties—could be united behind a presidential slate of integrity and articulateness—say, Sen. Bob Smith and Rep. Ron Paid? The object would not be to elect a President, but to change the terms of public discourse, to turn the press conferences called presidential “debates” into the real thing. Given a forum, men of character could easily uncover the empty suits of creatures like George W. Bush and Al Gore. The candidates would, of course, have to ignore the media and polls and speak directly to the people in every way possible.

Ideally, such a coalition would also field candidates in some states for the House of Representatives and governor, with the same object of education in view. There are plenty of articulate, attractive, and principled young conservatives around. In a three-way race with a strong ticket at the top, a few people might even be elected in the states. A long-range goal would be to get a balance of power in the U.S. House so that the two-party cartel would be unable to organize the process without concessions to the swing vote.

Here’s a suggested platform that should appeal to all of the dissident parties: an immediate, real, and substantial middle-class tax cut; an immediate enforcement of immigration laws and a moratorium on legal immigration; an immediate end to affirmative action and a reduction of business regulations like the Americans With Disabilities Act; an investigation of the government atrocities at Waco and elsewhere and punishment of those responsible; defeminization of the military; an end to imperial military actions like Kosovo; legislation to enforce the Tenth Amendment by removing all state domestic concerns from the jurisdiction of federal courts, including criminal law and abortion; and an end to all federal expenditures and regulations regarding education.

I would advise setting aside the issues of Social Security, Medicare, and the federal debt for the nonce simply because the opportunity for two-party lies and confusion is too great. Other than that, add your own ideas, and I’ll vote for them. Does anybody have a better idea?