Third parties have always been present, but would the Patriot Party have potential?
Donald Trump is not quite done with politics. According to The Wall Street Journal, the former President of the United States discussed starting a new political party.
The idea of this new party, which Trump would call, the “Patriot Party,” emerges after Republicans began blaming Trump for the riots in the nation’s capital. With one party beginning to turn against him, it appears Trump is looking to rely on another; one of his own making.
The intrigue of third parties is that they’re always present but never a powerful opponent in the presidential race. If they rarely win presidential elections, why run? Like any good journalist would, I did some research on the history of third parties to determine if Trump’s Patriot Party, should it take off, has any possibility of succeeding.
Third parties started by former presidents have fared well in the past. Arguably, the most notable example is former president Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party. The party, also nicknamed, the “Bull Moose Party,” began after Roosevelt accused William Howard Taft — who was president at the time — of defying the people and stealing the nomination of the Grand Old Party.
Roosevelt’s party centered around the idea that the structure of the United States’ government violates the everyday rights of American citizens. The Patriot Party has not stated its values yet. However, a party is more than its beliefs. The person leading a new political party is what makes it strong.
Roosevelt had a lot of accomplishments to his name. He expanded the national parks and forests systems and settled the Coal Strike of 1902. Roosevelt has many achievements to his name, but Trump does not entirely share that privilege.
Similar to Roosevelt leading the Progressive Party, Trump would be leading the Patriot Party. Trump does still have some support, making a comeback not entirely unrealistic. However, he has even more haters, with FiveThirtyEight projecting a 57.9% disapproval rating after Trump left office.
Regardless of his popularity, the odds of Trump and the Patriot Party making a big impact on politics are low. Being in a political party that isn’t Democratic or Republican, doesn’t typically win votes in the presidential election.
The 2020 election alone is proof that third parties are trivial. Out of the 158,212,080 American citizens who voted, only 2,164,851 voted for parties outside of the Democratic and Republican parties. Between Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian party, Howie Hawkins of the Green party, and other third parties, no electoral votes were given. In fact, those parties only accounted for less than two percent of the vote.
Even so, compelling third parties have some sway. History.com provides many examples of third parties influencing the elections. It is very likely Trump and the Patriot Party would not win an election, but would act as a spoiler to one of the other candidates.
Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive party took votes from Republican William Howard Taft, making Woodrow Wilson’s win an easy one. Other examples include Ross Perot’s run in 1992 and Ralph Nader’s run in 2000.
Perot ran as an independent in 1992. After a wild election season, Perot earned 19 percent of the popular vote. The victor, President Bill Clinton, earned 43 percent while George W. Bush came in second place with 38 percent. If Perot had not been such a present force in the election, the outcome between Clinton and Bush could have been different.
In 2000, Nader would follow suit, as the Washington Post reports that Nader stole enough votes from Al Gore to give George W. Bush the win. While the votes would not have necessarily gone to Gore, it was predicted that those who voted for Nader would be more likely to vote for Gore rather than Bush.
In all of these instances, no third party came out victorious. Should the Patriot Party be established, its presence could affect the 2024 election. There might even be a chance for the party to affect the overall outcome of the popular vote. However, the party will not be a strong enough presence to get Trump back into office. The Democrats and Republicans would still reign supreme.