Tom Kovach
May 26, 2006
2006: the year of the Constitution Party?
As the "Big Tent" collapses, make way for the true "third" party
By Tom Kovach

According to research that I conducted in 1998, there were more than 400 political parties in America. (That number has grown smaller in recent years, but is still over 200 far larger than the "mainstream" media admits.) According to research by Richard Winger, the publisher of Ballot Access News, the third-largest political party in the United States is the Constitution Party. Thus, the CP is the true third party. Statistically, the CP has more members than any political party other than the Big Two.

And, statistically, there are more caves in Tennessee than any other state. But, there are not enough caves nationwide to prevent people from knowing that border security is the hot-button political issue across America this year. The issue has been simmering for a long time, and has now reached a boiling point.

But, border security is not the only hot-button issue especially for conservatives. Abortion is a perennial issue, but the death of Terri Schiavo has demonstrated that C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer were absolutely right about the "slippery slope." That, in turn, has removed many abortion "moderates" from the fence. The party with the clearest stance against abortion is the Constitution Party.

define "patriotism"

As our nation struggles with the very definition (and name) of the War Against Terrorism, we are forced to also struggle with the definition of patriotism. (Is it patriotic to defend Iraq against insurgents, and South Korea against invasion, and Haiti against true reform and Bosnia against Christians while ignoring the "stealth invasion" of our own country?) Is it patriotic to continue a war that was started without a Constitutionally-required declaration of war? Is it patriotic to continue a war that recently reached its stated objective? (The recent free election of a "unity government" in Iraq provided the final stage of the "regime change" that we sought. And, the revelations by a former top Iraqi general proved that the WMD case was valid. I've been a strong supporter of the war itself despite the bypass of Congress until the recent Iraqi elections. Now, it's time to tell our troops, "Good job, and welcome home.") Questions about the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan (with possible expansions toward Syria and Iran in the near future) have, in turn, forced many people to look away from the television long enough to at least consider studying and discussing the Constitution. That, in turn, has caused a rapidly growing number of people to discover, and embrace, the political party that is based upon that special document.

So, perhaps 2006 really is "the year of the Constitution Party."

Let's consider some facts. In the 2004 presidential elections, CP candidate Michael Peroutka got enough votes to force the national news media to pay attention to the Constitution Party for the first time since its creation in 1992. (Obviously, there had been other "mentions" of the CP, but not recurring coverage including a CP line on some televised charts of candidate progress.) Those 2004 elections were so close that some analysts thought that Peroutka could swing the outcome. But, nobody was sure which way it would swing. So, the CP tally was watched closely for the first time.

Fast-forward to January of 2006, and a special US House election in California. Although CP candidate Jim Gilchrist did not win, he made a very strong showing. Gilchrist, the co-founder of the Minutemen, forced the border security issue to the forefront of a key election in a state with a strong pro-illegal-alien history. And, he came close to winning. That fact was not lost on Republican analysts who are now trying to "shoot full-auto in all directions" to regain votes that they have lost by compromise.

Border security has caused some people to look at the Libertarian Party, only to discover that they favor open borders. (And, their national bylaws prohibit cross-party endorsements which hamstrings any conservative coalitions. That fact cost me the Libertarian Party's endorsement, which I had sought at their recent state convention in Nashville.) That single fact could cause many Libertarians to jump to the Constitution Party. That migration actually started years ago.

a "guilt-free option"

Border security also creates angst for Democrats because many labor unions are in favor of open borders, but most union members view illegal aliens as unfair threats to their own jobs. For this reason, many conservative Democrats will not be voting their party line this year. Will they vote for CP candidates? I think so. (In my own case, due to ballot-access problems, I'm a Constitution Party member running on the Republican Party line. That makes me the "guilt-free option" for those that would otherwise never vote Republican.) On my "day job," I'm an interpreter of Sign Language for a school district (and a union steward). Recently, I discovered that my union strongly favors illegal aliens. Most members don't know that; and, the same is true for other unions. I recently provided internal union documents, to be used in an upcoming book by Jim Gilchrist and Jerome Corsi. When the book's impact ripples into the union shops, angry members will look for another political party. Many will join the Constitution Party.

Now, let's look at some statistics. This year, the number of CP candidates nationwide has exploded. There are four Constitutionalists running for the US Senate, and 13 for the US House. There are five CP candidates for governor of various states, and three of them also have CP lieutenant-governor running mates. One of those states is California, where history has proven that Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger is no true conservative. There is also a CP candidate for secretary of state in California, along with several state legislative seats. The lower house of the Utah state legislature has a whopping 34 candidates from the Constitution Party, and there are 12 Constitutionalists running for the Utah State Senate. A similar, but smaller, trend is seen across Pennsylvania, where the CP has its headquarters. This year, although we might lose a race or two, the Constitution Party cannot be ignored.

My sense is that some CP races will be absolute landslides, as the blowback from lax border security hits both halves of the Big Two square in the face. And, because many Democratic incumbents (including my opponent, Jim Cooper) are also vulnerable on abortion and other social issues, voters will be looking for a strong conservative. If the GOP candidates try to hide under the Big Tent, and seek votes as merely "Democrat Lite," such candidates just might get smothered by the tent's collapse. Americans are tired of compromise; we want leaders that actually stand for something.

And, as the 2006 elections set the stage for the 2008 presidential elections, the candidates that stand the tallest will be the ones that control the 2008 debates. In turn, the presidential candidate that stands firm in the debates, and shows no compromise, will be the candidate that occupies the White House. It will not be enough to be simply "anyone but Hillary." (Although, having organized the first anti-Hillary rally in New York in 1999, and the first anti-Hillary rally in Nashville this past week, that theme is still one that I consider important.)

Americans are looking for candidates that will help to make our country "feel like America again." We are looking for leaders that have the vision of Ronald Reagan, even if they are not from the "party of Reagan." Americans will find those leaders in the Constitution Party.

© Tom Kovach


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Tom Kovach

Tom Kovach lives near Nashville, is a former USAF Blue Beret, and has written for several online publications... (more)

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