A third party campaign is running in New Jersey’s 24th District. Its candidates hope to start a State-wide, and national, trend.
The Constitution Party
The Constitution Party of New Jersey began as the New Jersey chapter of Howard Phillips’ original United States Taxpayers’ Party. It is one of several “third parties” in New Jersey. The motives of the officers and candidates of the Constitution Party are simple. Neither of the two major parties, they say, respects the US Constitution as it should.
RoseAnn Salanitri is the Constitution Party candidate for the New Jersey Assembly in District 24. (Mark D. Quick is running as an unaffiliated candidate. Voters in an Assembly election always vote for two candidates, not one.) The CP celebrated Constitution Day at the Field House in Sparta on September 17. There, Salanitri explained the reasons for her third-party run.
No one mentioned Democrats. Everyone at the event has nothing but contempt for Democratic Party ideology. The Republicans have a different problem: according to the CP, Republicans have no ideology. Instead they have “political insider play-along-to-get-along philosophies” that stand in for ideology. They fondly quote the Revolutionary War-era pamphleteer, Thomas Paine:
Lead, follow, or get out of the way!
They also set out their platform, including:
- School reform, and school choice—that is, letting parents choose their children’s schools.
- Judicial reform.
- Retention elections for judges and Justices of the Superior and Supreme Courts of New Jersey.
- Regulatory and tax reform that, they say, will “bring jobs back to New Jersey.”
- Curtailing the power of eminent domain.
About this last: Salanitri sounded a special alarm about UN Agenda 21 and the efforts of groups like Sustainable Jersey to promote it. “Sustainable development” necessarily means condemning existing residential tracts and forcing people to live in high-density, mixed-use buildings. Salanitri, Quick, and their fellow candidates do not intend to let that happen.
How does a third party work?
A “third party” has no primary. Instead, it chooses its candidates by convention or on application. Third party candidates in New Jersey must file by the primary date in any election year. This rule stops major-party candidates from filing for independent runs when they lose their primaries.
No third party has won a major nationwide election since Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860. Few people today remember that the Republican Party began as a third party and displaced the Whig Party in that year. (Theodore Roosevelt, in 1912, came in second and beat Republican incumbent William Howard Taft, but still lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.) Usually, major parties co-opt a third party’s issues after a few election cycles.
This might not happen this time. The reasons for this go to the heart of the CP’s complaint against the Republican Party of New Jersey. Salanitri and Quick are running against Republicans Alison McHose and Gary Chiusano for one reason only. Salanitri accuses both Republicans of saying one thing to get votes, and not acting as she promised in the legislature. The broader problem, says Salanitri, is that New Jersey Republicans are “Lite Democrats.” The nominal Republican Senators from New Jersey in the 1980s are prize examples, says Salanitri. Even McHose, who gained a reputation for protesting government spending in the 2009 budget debate, failed to follow through as she could have. (Chiusano never said a word of protest against the 2009 budget.)
The ‘spoiler’ charge
Salanitri acknowledged one charge that conservatives commonly make against third-party candidates like her (and independents like Quick). The charge is that third-party conservatives “spoil” elections for Republicans and hand the offices over to Democrats. In reply, Salanitri says, “‘Spoil’ what?” Then she makes two points:
- Governing results are the same no matter who sits in any particular Assembly seat. This is true in part because Democrats hold the majority. But Salanitri also says that Republicans throw away opportunities, as McHose did.
- Democratic officeholders are at least straightforward and honest about being class warriors. Republicans, especially in New Jersey, are hypocrites. They care more about playing favorites, and having the means to do so, than about real changes in law and government policy.
In other words, the real spoilers are Republicans who promise reform and never deliver it.
Jack McLain, head of the CP of Florida, put it this way last July:
If even all Christians in the past, rather than voting for the “lesser to two evils” (which is still evil), by their own admission, had said, “I’m going with the Party that believes in God and godly principles and a God-ordained Constitution—the Constitution Party,” we could quite likely have CP members of Congress and even a CP President by now.
The officers and candidates of the Constitution Party of New Jersey believe the same way. And if most voters forget that the Republican Party began as a third party, the Constitution Party members still remember.ARVE Error: need id and provider
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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