Anti-Trump Republicans weigh forming new occasion | Politics Information

While the US Republican Party is splintering over allegiance to former President Donald Trump, dissatisfied Republicans and a faction of former “Never Trumpers” are discussing the establishment of a new party.

“Everyone is talking about it,” said Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor who tried to run Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.

“I would hope that the idea of ​​a new party will grow together. I think it will happen, ”Weld said to Al Jazeera.

The Republican rift on Trump that became apparent during the 2020 campaign has accelerated since the January 6th Trump supporters uprising at the Capitol. Now the former president has attacked leading Republicans who criticized him during the impeachment and Senate trials that followed.

Trump called Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who blamed Trump for the January 6 attack, “a grumpy, grumpy, and unsmiling political hack” and threatened candidates who do not support Trump’s “Make American Great Again” agenda to face great challenges.

On February 5, a group of well-known Republicans attended a meeting convened by Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, a former third-party presidential ticket. You are now the directors of a group called Stand Up Republic. The main theme: Should dissatisfied Republicans drop out or work to fix the party from within.

These talks have intensified since the Senate vote on February 13 to avoid convicting Trump in his impeachment trial for inciting insurrection. “Our sense of urgency about the need for something new has only increased,” McMullin told the Washington Post on Monday.

Weld, who attended Confab on February 5, said he and many others were “firmly on the side of the new party.”

“It is exhausting to stay within the confines of the existing party, which are really ‘truth-deniers’, many of them. Starting a new party would be exciting, ”said Weld.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, a challenger to Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, is one of several high-profile Republicans campaigning for the formation of a new party [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]The internal Republican dialogue came at a time when it appears that there is a greater appetite for third parties among the American public, particularly a greater shift in the Republican favor.

A majority of 63 percent of Republicans – and 62 percent of Americans as a whole – say a third is needed, according to a Gallup poll published Feb.15. This is the highest level of third party Republican support ever measured by Gallup. Before that it was 40 percent.

The survey was conducted from January 31 to February 2 of 906 adults and had a margin of confidence of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Third party creation is difficult

Starting a new party is doable, but it would take a lot of work and organizers would have to start now rather than wait for the 2022 congressional elections, experts said.

McConnell wants Republican candidates who can win competitive general elections. Trump wants candidates who are loyal to him. Two very different things. This shouldn’t be a difficult choice for the GOP, but will it be?

– Evan McMullin (@EvanMcMullin) February 16, 2021

“There are far too few parties in the USA. Two parties are a shame, ”said Russ Verney, a political advisor who chaired the reform party of independent candidate Ross Perot from 1995 to 1999.

“Can a third party be established and be successful? Yes, it can be built, but the process of creating one is extremely difficult, ”said Verney.

Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News and a political activist for smaller parties, said it was easy to vote for president in all 50 states. The petition signature requirements for U.S. Senate and House candidates are more daunting.

And the threshold to enter the phase of the presidential debate with candidates from the major parties – 15 percent of support in popular polls – is almost impossible, said Winger.

“If the Republican Party splits, the people who split will not be Trump people,” said Winger.

“It seems like Trump people could gain a foothold in the Republican Party, so it has to be people like Evan McMullin,” said Winger.

Don’t grab

Third parties have failed to capture modern US political history.

Candidates from the Libertarian Party, which was founded in the early 1970s, ran in the US presidential election in 2020 and 2016, but only won a fraction of the vote.

In fact, Weld was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate in 2016 when he and presidential candidate Gary Johnson received the highest percentage of votes for a libertarian ticket ever: 3.27 percent of the vote.

The 2016 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson (left) and his runner-up William Weld garnered more votes than any libertarian presidency ticket in history [File: Jim Cole/AP Photo]In 1992, US businessman Perot qualified for the US presidential election in all 50 states and was invited to debate with candidates Bill Clinton and George HW Bush. Perot managed to win almost 19 percent of the vote in the election that Clinton ran.

However, his second attempt to take over the presidency in 1996 was nowhere near as successful, with Perot only getting more than 8 percent of the vote.

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