Former President Donald Trump is reportedly considering creating a third party in the United States. Such a party, if it comes to fruition, would likely compete with the Republican Party in attempting to court conservative voters in future elections.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Trump’s supposed considerations in creating a third party. According to their reporting, which is based on sources familiar with the matter, the former president might call such an organization the “Patriot Party,” if he indeed decides to move forward with the idea.
Trump’s decision to create a third party might be influenced by his spite toward Republicans after a number of lawmakers and people within the GOP’s ranks expressed their dissatisfaction with his leadership and even blamed him for inciting a mob of loyalists to violently breach the Capitol building earlier this month, to interfere with the process of certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the leader of the Republican caucus in the Senate, finally spoke out against Trump this week, stating in the most direct terms yet that he believed Trump was responsible for what happened at the Capitol on January 6.
“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
It’s unclear yet what a third party from Trump might look like — if it materializes at all — even whether it would be a true third political party, or just a means for him and his supporters to push a media narrative or provide a means for pushing Trump brand merchandising for the former president, for example.
Third parties have traditionally had a difficult time in producing successful outcomes, as voters tend to gravitate toward one of the two major political parties due to the way U.S. elections are set up. Many believe that supporting a third party candidate might “waste” their vote, as it allows the major political party most out of synch with their views to gain an advantage in “first past the post” elections.
It follows that such concerns might keep Trump from trying to start his own political party. But the former president might also be the very person to inspire normally ardent GOP supporters to take the leap. Support for Trump is strong among Republicans, with polling oftentimes demonstrating that loyalty to the former president is greater than it is for the party itself among right-leaning voters.
There appears to be splintering, too, among Republican lawmakers in Congress. While not saying outright that she’d support a third party created by the former president, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), a QAnon-believing congresswoman whom Trump himself called a “rising star” in 2020, indicated in a number of tweets on Wednesday that she might be more devoted to him than to the GOP — and that many voters might feel similarly.
“Here’s the warning the GOP needs to hear,” Greene said in her multi-tweet diatribe. “The vast majority of Republican voters, volunteers, and donors are no longer loyal to the GOP, Republican Party, and candidates just because they have an R by their name. Their loyalty now lies with Donald J Trump.”
Greene said that the shift already happened four years ago, after voters “chose an outsider over 16 other Republicans.”
“I have heard from many people over the past few weeks that have told me they will never vote Republican, never donate, or never volunteer again” because they “feel sold out” by Republicans for not fighting harder against President Joe Biden or Democrats in general, Greene added.
Although Trump has not commented publicly on the idea of starting a third party, he did, in his departing words on Wednesday, indicate he would remain part of the U.S. political landscape in the near future.
“I will be watching. I will be listening,” Trump said in his remarks on Wednesday, adding that he would “be back in some form.”