Evangelicals Serious About Running A Third Party Candidate?
by Jeff Dinelli
There's been some discussion recently in our threads about that evangelical right meeting on Saturday where they discussed running a third party candidate if Rudy Giuliani were to become the Republican nominee. A lot of it stemmed from the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins' Hardball appearance on Monday, where he seemed to be backing off the idea somewhat:
"This was more of a proclamation of principle, rather than a declaration of intent. There`s no desire to run a third-party candidate. But there`s been a line drawn, which I think most pro-life conservatives are not willing to cross."
That appearance led me to believe the religious right was just flexing its muscles a bit to ensure a place at the GOP table, a place they have held for a long time as the Republicans' foot soldiers.
Well, lo and behold! Check out Focus on the Family's James Dobson's op/ed in the Times today:
"The purpose of the gathering was to discuss our response if both the Democratic and Republican Parties nominate standard-bearers who are supportive of abortion. Although I was neither the convener nor the moderator of the meeting, I'd like to offer several brief clarifications about its outcome and implications.
After two hours of deliberation, we voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous."
Suddenly this doesn't seem like a bluff, especially when his Holiness himself Dobson pontificates in a high profile forum such as the NY Times. When you think about it, these people aren't exactly going to sing "Hallejulah" for a pro-choice, gay parade marching, pro-gun control, pro-stem cell research, three times married repeated adulterer candidate like Mr. 9/11.
"The poll finds that 27% of Republican voters would rather vote for a third-party Christian right candidate in a general election than vote for Rudy Giuliani -- and that's in a three-way race with Hillary Clinton.
The hypothetical three-way race shows Hillary with 46% support, Rudy at 30%, and the third-party conservative with 14%. Among self-described pro-life voters, Rudy gets only 36% support, with the third-party candidate at 29% and Hillary with 23%. Not just that, but Rudy gets only 25% of pro-choice voters, with Hillary still walking away comfortably with 65%."
This is gonna be interesting, because if these evangelicals just back off and let Rudy run, they'll never be taken seriously again as a heavyweight bloc. If Rudy wins the nomination, and these people run a third party candidate, who is it? Alan Keyes? He was at the last debate. Pat Robertson? Tony Perkins? Don Wildmon? Rick Santorum?
I say whomever. Bring him on!