America needs to retire the worst of the Republican party. The case for why writes itself. The case for how is what’s needed. The basic structures of politics, established over the decades and centuries, makes a third-party bid hard to work in US politics. The parties don’t like dealing with outsiders, and three-way races make for messy elections that typically help their former opponents. (For simplicity, references to a theoretical new party will be using the name BNP for Brand New Party.)
How in the world do you split from the GOP?
The key is a surprising place: die-hard GOP districts. The places where Democrats seldom bother to run anyone, because they know they won’t win. Those are the most vulnerable places to run a BNP candidate. Why? You can easily pull in all those liberal voters who haven’t had a choice. You don’t risk enabling Democrats, who often don’t run candidates there anyway.
You can also pick off a sizable chunk of the GOP vote because plenty of the people who turn out and vote for the only game in town would like to see some competition or better candidates, but they are deprived of it by the lack of primaries and no general election opponents.
They key to the first wave of a BNP is in those “safe Republican” districts.
How do you deal with the hurdles in the House?
Let’s say you run that strategy, you pick off some seats. Depending how many, you may easily caucus with the GOP on most issues, give them enough loyalty to be treated fairly (though probably not well) on committee assignments. But you’ve still won with some Democratic votes. You have to have some policy bridges to the Democrats or you’ll not last too long.
On some key issues, you have to break from the GOP. That means on things like guns, immigration, abortion, and most clearly climate change, you have to have policies that move things forward, even if it means you can’t caucus with Republicans on those issues.
On climate, it means having a policy. You must be willing to spend more federal money to continue the development and deployment of science and technology to reduce carbon pollution.
On immigration and guns, it’s not so rough. You simply support reasonable reforms that have been stalled for decades by extremist members of the GOP while being broadly supported by America, by Democrats, and even by most Republicans.
The abortion issue is trickier, but mostly boils down to focusing on prevention. Ensuring sufficient federal assistance against poverty and increasing access to birth control are two of the ways to help reduce abortions without getting stuck in an absolutist position over banning an essential medical practice.
These policy shifts are absolutely necessary, as they provide the meat of the stew: a real difference from the GOP. While some conservatives will balk, moderates will not, and some Democrats will support moderate conservatives if it means choking out the violent, vile GOP.
Nobody will be asking BNP members to vote against the Hyde amendment or for repeal of the arms amendment. But pushing forward reasonable policies? Those are yes votes. Every time.
By focusing on the districts that the Democrats can’t reach, a new moderate-conservative party in the House is entirely possible. It’s up to those who want to see the extremists of the GOP either reform or retire to push for a new party to take those seats.