ing the damage to the Constitution inflictedrnby a generation of Supreme Courtrnjustices (the most dangerous of whom —rnEarl Warren, WilHarn Brennan, HarryrnBlackmun, Sandra Day O’Connor, AnthonyrnKennedy, et al. —were all appointedrnby Republican presidents). On thernmajor issues of the era—globalist foreignrnpolicy and recklessly aggressive militaryrnadventurism, free trade, the erosion of nationalrnsovereignty, and the Third-rnWorldization of America—the RepublicanrnParty is virtually indistinguishablernfrom the party of Bill Clinton. As for Mr.rnClinton himself, he and the assortedrncrooks, crackpots, perverts, and outrightrntraitors that inhabit his administrationrnhave now managed to bamboozle andrndefeat the Republicans no fewer thanrnfour Hmes —in the presidential electionsrnof 1992 and 1996, the congressional electionsrnof 1998, and the impeachmentrnboondoggle of 1999, How many timesrndoes a political part} get to strike out beforernit is hooted off the field by its ownrnfans?rn”The disenchantment” of conservativernRepublicans with their own party, reportedrnthe Times, “is so intense that more andrnmore conservatives on the front lines arernopenly discussing whether to bolt fromrnthe party,” and they have ever’ reason tornbolt. A party that not only fails to representrnthe beliefs of its own members andrnsupporters but also repeatedly proves itselfrnunable to win in confrontations withrnits major political opponents neither deservesrnto win nor, in the long run, will bernable to survive.rnThere are, however, two compellingrnreasoirs why a new party does not alreadyrnexist and may have trouble coming intornexistence, hi the first place, any new partyrnthat is at all successful in attracting votersrnwill quickly have its appeal emulatedrnor stolen by one of the existing mainstreamrnparties, hi the second place, anyrnnew party of the right in the United Statesrntoday would probably be merely therngrassroots of the existing Republican Part’rnminus its incompetent and dishonestrnleadership. Wliat’s the point of foundingrna party when all you would be doing isrnsimply changing the name of the RepublicanrnParty and kicking out the leaders? Ifrnyou can do the latter, you don’t need torndo the former.rnThe first reason, the problem of emulationrnby the existing parties, is what happenedrnto Ccorge Wallace’s American IndependentrnParty in 1968. Wallace’srncrusading rhetoric against “forced busing”rnand similar federal efforts at racialrnand social engineering was emulated byrnRichard Nixon at somewhat lower decibels,rnand since the Republicans had arnbetter chance than Wallace of winningrnthe election, Nixon was able to walk offrnwith votes that otherwise might well havernmade the Alabama governor and his newrnparty a permanent fixture of the nationalrnpolitical landscape. No sooner hadrnNixon won the election, of course, thanrnhe and his Justice Department started institutingrnaffirmative action.rnAny third party that is successfulrnenough to invite emulation by an old partyrnhas to be prepared to meet this threat.rnIt has to be able to articulate its own messagernin such a distinctive way that the olderrnparties cannot emulate it without atrnthe same time undermining and jeopardizingrnthe support of their constituencies.rnIn 1968, the Democrats could notrnemulate Wallace because they had becomernincreasingly dependent on thernblack vote; the Republicans could emulaternhim because they had virtually nornblack support and could expect to winrn(and did win) by mobilizing the workingrnand middle-class white voters who felt directlyrnthreatened by busing and otherrnforms of forced integration.rnThe other objection to a new party ofrnthe right, tiiat it would be merely tiie RepublicanrnParty under a new name, mayrnwell be true, although the vast supportrnthat Ceorge W. Bush appears to enjoyrnwithin the party suggests that it’s not onlyrnthe COP leadership that needs to bernpurged. One of the major problems withrnthe GOP in the last couple of decades isrnthat its members and activists have actuallyrnhad a taste of political victory and likernit so much that they now want little else.rnLocal patronage, federal jobs and appointiiients,rngovernment subsidies, privilegedrnvisits to the White House, favorsrnfrom local congressmen that would notrnbe possible if the party were not in thernmajority, and the sheer pleasure ofrnthumping your chest in front of yourrnfriends and neighbors about winningrnelections and clambering into office allrncontribute to enticing rank-and-file Republicansrninto forgetting the issues andrnvoters that put them into office in the firstrnplace. It is probably rank-and-filers suchrnas these, at least as much as the less-thanstalwartrnpostures of such leaders as NewtrnCingrich and Bob Dole, that pressurernthe party as a whole into defecting fromrnits own principles and platform. If a newrnparty does come into existence, itsrnfounders should have no illusion that itrncan be merely the Republican Party underrna new name. Not only the presentrnleadership of the COP but also a sizablernnumber of its membership needs to bernkicked out, and many Americans whornnow vote for the Democrats or the ReformrnPart)- or who don’t bother to vote atrnall need to be brought in. Unless a newrnparty is able and willing to do both, itrnwon’t be worth starting.rnFinally, the most common, thoughrnnot the most compelling, argumentrnagainst a new part}’ is that it just won’t bernable to win and that, if it doesn’t, it willrnonly enable the Democrats to win. It isrnnot particularly compelling for at leastrntwo reasons. First, the difference betweenrnthe Republicans and the Democrats,rnas suggested above, is not so large asrnto make much of a difference to the nationrnanyway, and as long as the right wingrnof the party lets itself be gulled by its leadersrninto swallowing this appeal to fear, thernleaders themselves will have nothing tornfear from any revolt within their ownrnranks. It is actually an argument intendedrnto quell any serious discussion of an alternativerndirection for the party. And second,rnthose who advance this argumentrnmiss the whole point about a new party.rnThat point is that a new party shouldrnnot expect to win, at least not for severalrnyears or election cycles, because the purposernof founding a new parh’ is not sornmuch to win (if winning is what yournwant, join the Democrats) but rather tornsustain a certain set of ideas and principlesrnthat the other parties have abandonedrnor, in Senator Smith’s words, compromised.rnIt is not just a matter of wavingrnthe torch, but of keeping the torch alightrnat a time v’lien the established partiesrnshow no interest in doing so. If wavingrnthe torch is all that a new party is interestedrnin doing, it won’t survive. But if it canrnbear the torch in a way that illuminatesrnand leads the nation it seeks to persuade,rnthen it will almost inevitably displace atrnleast one of the older parties and willrnprobably influence the direction of thernother. The issue today is not whether thernRepublican Party will survive. The disenchantmentrnwith the Republican Part}-rnis now so intense that, at the end of thisrnmillennium or in the first years of thernnext one, it will almost certainly begin tornevaporate. The issue now is what kind ofrnparty will replace it and whether thosernwho want it to be born will be able tornwave the right torch in a way that the nationrnwill see and want to follow. crnOCTOBER 1999/33rnrnrn