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Mad Max & the Folly of Third Parties

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The once-promising People’s Party of Canada (PPC) suffered a humiliating defeat in its federal election last week. It lost the only seat it had, held by the party leader Maxime Bernier, and garnered only 1.6 percent of the vote.

It was a bad start for the independent party’s first race, and it may bury the PPC for good. Bernier had held his parliamentary seat since 2006, but his departure from the Conservative Party of Canada proved fatal to his electoral chances. Other top candidates the PPC recruited came nowhere close to victory, undermining any claim that the party can do better than the Conservatives.

The PPC’s poor performance exhibits the folly of creating a third party in the US. This Canadian populist party had strong credentials: a major ex-Conservative figure as its leader, association with the “Ford Nation” (candidate Renata Ford is the mistress of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, himself the late brother of current Ontario Premier Doug Ford), and an immigration restrictionist message that most Canadians agreed with. Yet, it couldn’t even win two percent, and its leader lost the seat he had held for years.

For Americans, this illustrates why we should dispense with any fantasies of a nationalist third party. The Republican Party is the only party for our ideas.

The PPC was well-situated so far as independent parties go. Bernier is not a crank, nor a washed-up politician; he was a major Conservative figure and nearly became the party’s leader in 2017. He served in numerous cabinet posts, including as Foreign Minister, in the Stephen Harper’s Conservative administration. His 2017 leadership candidacy was derailed not by unpopularity, but by dirty tricks within the party. Bernier led the first twelve rounds of voting, but curiously lost to Andrew Scheer by a thin margin in the thirteenth. After the vote, it was discovered that many ballots weren’t counted, along with other irregularities.

This dubious result and Scheer’s lackluster leadership pushed Bernier to resign from the Conservative Party and form his own party in 2018. “Mad Max,” as his supporters call him, cited the Conservatives’ obeisance to political correctness and unwillingness to tackle important issues for why he started the PPC. To put this in an American perspective, imagine if Ted Cruz decided to split from the GOP over a leadership dispute and founded his own populist party.

Bernier nearly became the face of the Conservatives – and now he was leaving.

Initially, Bernier didn’t make immigration restriction and opposition to multiculturalism the core tenets of his new party. Mad Max is a libertarian at heart, and wanted the Conservatives to focus more on slashing government spending. Fortunately, his party put aside the goofy libertarianism and focused on national populism in the 2019 election. The PPC’s platform called for dramatic cuts to Canada’s yearly immigration intake, stronger border security, tougher asylum rules, and an end to state-mandated multiculturalism. Canada currently takes in 350,000 immigrants a year (a near-record in the nation’s history), which would be equivalent to America taking in over three million newcomers every year. The PPC called for the number to be reduced to between 100,000 to 150,000 every year.

This platform caused indignation among the Canadian press and the PPC’s political opponents. The party, which ran several minority candidates, was branded a neo-Nazi party, and its anti-mass immigration billboards were taken down by the advertising company contracted to put them up. Bernier had to fight to get onto the official federal debate stage with the other parties, while most of the party’s 300-plus candidates were frozen out of the local debates. When he was finally allowed on the debate stage, Scheer claimed his message was only bait to the worst elements in Canada, and New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh said Mad Max shouldn’t even have a platform.

It was expected that the Left, as represented by Singh, would hate Bernier and PPC. But the most aggressively anti-PPC faction was arguably Scheer and the Conservatives. Shortly before the election, it was revealed that the Conservatives had paid a liberal operative to “seek and destroy” the PPC. Outlets associated with the Conservatives, including the National Post newspaper, harshly covered the PPC and mocked its very existence.

The Conservatives are probably right to be peeved at the PPC. The populist party served as a spoiler and, if even mildly successful, would have ensured that the Conservatives wouldn’t have become the largest party in Parliament. That might not be the worst thing for Canadians, considering how little difference there is between Scheer’s party and Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party – who are collectively mocked in populist circles as the “LibCons.” The Conservatives want to keep immigration at the same record-high rate and support state-sponsored multiculturalism. Party leaders even expressed solidarity with a Syrian antifa member who intimidated an elderly woman who was merely trying to attend a PPC event.

Scheer epitomizes craven center-Right politicians. Unlike Bernier, he has little charisma and reminds one of a teacher’s pet. Unfortunately, his cucked agenda was strengthened by Bernier’s departure. Without a nationalist bloc to challenge it, Scheer was empowered to announce the Conservatives as being fully in support of mass immigration and multiculturalism. It may have felt good for the PPC to be free from the constraints of the CPC, but ultimately it didn’t advance their cause.

It would have been more effective for national populism for Bernier to remain in the CPC and challenge his party from within. Maybe the Conservatives would have considered an immigration reduction and reforms to state-mandated multiculturalism if Bernier and his supporters had stayed. Instead, the Conservatives were given free rein to denounce the PPC’s “racism” and position themselves as anti-extremists. The PPC’s disappointing returns also reinforces the Conservatives’ opposition to a nationalist agenda. Why adopt the message of a losing party?

This illustrates one of the pitfalls of a third party. By isolating yourself from a large, established party, you make that party worse and limit your own message’s effectiveness – unless you do well at the polls. The PPC, unfortunately, did not do well at the polls.

The future does not look promising for the PPC or national populism in Canada. The party did nearly everything possible to make its message palatable to the wider public. It had a charismatic and well-respected politician as its face. It didn’t allow “disreputable” types to join and disavowed racism. Its anti-mass immigration and anti-establishment views are shared by wide swathes of the public. The party tailored its message to fully appeal to disaffected right-of-center voters, but those voters stuck with the Conservatives, dooming the PPC’s prospects.

Canada is not an ideal nation for an independent party, but it’s better than America. Two independent Left-wing parties, the New Democrats and the Greens, have seats in Parliament. It has a huge, highly nationalist, and anti-immigrant Quebecois population (although they tend to vote separatist, not for the Conservatives). It also doesn’t cost a fortune to run for office in Canada like it does in the States. Its election rules and culture may not be suitable for a party like the PPC to succeed – but there’s still more opportunity than in the US.

Many on the Dissident Right dream of forming a nationalist third party in America. They can’t stand the perfidy of Republicans and believe an authentically national populist party would sweep away the insipid GOP. The PPC’s example should disabuse us of those silly notions. First of all, we can’t recruit a figure anywhere near Bernier’s stature to lead one. American elections require one to raise millions of dollars just to compete; we simply don’t have that kind of money. (The Reform Party, the most successful American third party in the last forty years, was financed and led by a billionaire, Ross Perot, and collapsed when he abandoned it.) Indeed, many Right-wing third parties already exist in America, but they have no significant impact in elections.

America’s two-party system is entrenched and isn’t going anywhere. Fortunately, the GOP is far better than the CPC. In spite of his faults, Donald Trump is vastly superior to Andrew Scheer, and the GOP is more open to nationalism today than it has been in decades. The Dissident Right has more opportunities to influence politics and policy through the GOP than it does through a theoretical American nationalist party.

It may not be ideal, but it’s better than the electoral wilderness Canadian nationalists find themselves in.

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  1. James J OMeara
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    “association with the “Ford Nation” (candidate Renata Ford is the mistress of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, himself the late brother of current Ontario Premier Doug Ford)”

    Like the US, I guess Canada is also “a small club, and you’re not in it” (George Carlin)

  2. cecil1
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    The results are disappointing no doubt. Scary and disappointing.

    But a big part of the problem is Canada’s first past the post electoral system.

    It means many people will vote not for who they want, but to help ensure who they don’t want to win doesn’t.

    It means, like as one patriot told me, better to vote for a party that has a shot and will give you something–no matter how small– than one who is unlikely to be first past the post.

    It also means that a set of policies supported by a majority but split between competing parties lose in seats to a party that doesn’t end up splitting the vote.

    Justin Trudeau’s and his Liberal party KNOW this well. Trudeau promised to bring in proportional representation in the 2015 election cycle, but after elected and the research was done on the implications, promptly backed out of the promise and never touched it again.

    The bought off Conservative party know this well too. IT means they can ignore or only throw minor concessions which they back out of to their pro-White, real conservative base while co-opting their vote (‘because where else are you going to go?)

    AS for changing party policy on the riding or party level, THAT is near impossible as ‘correct’ opinions and limitations on debate are strictly enforced.

    This image says it all about political expression in Canada. Every major party is the same:

    Ethics are done in Canada. Done.

  3. rhondda
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Considering that the CCP was only formed one year ago in Sept. and got 1.6% of the popular vote, I regard that as astonishing. The Green Party was form in 1983, 36 years ago and it only got 6.5% of the popular vote and 3 seats. This in the age of green climate change too. Typically in Canada the liberals and conservative steal the ideas of third parties and present them as fallen from heaven to them. This is how change happens in Canada. Third parties have a purpose. Most of Trudeau’s platform was stolen from the NDP or the Greens. That is how the two major parties keep power.

    • Sandy
      Posted October 29, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      In a by-election last February PPC candidate Laura-Lynn Thompson won a whopping 10.7% of the vote in a suburb of Vancouver. She switched to Alberta for the federal election and came in with under 2% as did the Lebanese guy who replaced her.

      However, the PPC is the only party that wanted to lower taxes and immigration so I suspect Trudeau will give the people what they voted for

  4. Posted October 29, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Meh. The GOP is already unrecognizable even from when I was young. The neocons/open borders lobby won the struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party a long time ago. Look at the candidates they have put forth since Reagan: H.W. Bush, Dole, W. Bush, McCain, Romney. A laundry list of milquetoast buffoons.

    Trump doesn’t represent the vast majority of the GOP leadership, he is an anomaly hated by most of the party apparatus. When Trump loses next year, and he will thanks to demographics and a fully mobilized media plus widespread electoral fraud, he won’t be replaced by a nationalist leader, he will be replaced by a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan type assuring us the only path forward is more capitulation.

    There is no hope for a third party but there is just as little hope in the GOP. The only hope we have is to not make the same mistakes again when we rebuild from the ashes.

  5. HamburgerToday
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    The ‘grass-roots Right’ (to use a phase by John Mark) had been trying to take control of the GOP since the 1950s and were thwarted at nearly every turn, resulting in multiple failed ‘third parties’ challenging GOP from the Right (Wallace, Perot, Buchanan), in each case these third party’s cost the GOP votes and in some cases national elections. Then came Donald John Trump with his pre-existing fame, fortune and cunning staged a hostile — but only partial – takeover using the same voter base as the ‘failed’ third parties.

    One of the reasons that Trump’s 2016 victory came a such a surprise is because discouraged ‘third party’ voters who had given up on the GOP went to the polls and helped put Trump over the top.

    Even if ‘third party’ candidates lose, they often function to keep the embers of political dissent alive so that, when the day comes the flame can be reignited.

  6. drogger
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Still voting GOP because it’s the lesser of two evils.

    That’s a very conservative thing to do.

  7. Nikandros
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the Republican party has any hope just because of demographics alone. Would it be possible for a national populist candidate to run as a Democrat? Democrats may be more open to populist reform since they’re not dogmatic free marketers, and restrictionist immigration policies could be presented from an environmental or labor point of view. The various factions of the Democratic Party could be played against one another: blacks vs. Hispanics, Mexicans vs. Central Americans, Muslims vs. gays, etc.

    But before anything, there must be national populist candidates willing to run for office. Where the hell are they!?

    • AE
      Posted October 29, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      It would be impossible in this climate for a Democrat to run on immigration restrictionism.

      Since the GOP is doomed on the national level, I think the best chance left for a lasting White country in this hemisphere would be pushing secessionism into the Republican mainstream. Republicans will eventually have a mass realization that demographics have locked them out of national politics, likely after a few presidential cycles and enough gloating from liberals. Best to be ready to capitalize on that, especially in the Whiter states.

    • Stronza
      Posted October 30, 2019 at 2:25 am | Permalink

      and restrictionist immigration policies could be presented from an environmental or labor point of view.

      So ask the Sierra Club how that worked out for them.

  8. Paul Fallavollita
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Become involved at the local level as a precinct committeeman. Do what you can to push the party rightward. One option is to work to draft Kris Kobach in 2024.

  9. Barry from Victoria
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    In Canada we don’t get to vote directly for a prime minister. We vote for our local equivalent of your congressman. Each political party chooses a leader who then becomes prime minister if his party has the most MPs. Your point about a third party is well taken, but the NDPee (as David Warren aptly calls our socialist party) has never formed a majority government but has been sufficiently strong as to drag Canada to the left for decades. The Reform Party was founded in the west out of a strong dissatisfaction with Ottawa and quickly gained a large following. The media derided the movement as regionalism and it never gained quite enough strength in Ontario to form a government, but it did have the effect of pulling Canadian politics rightward. Eventually the Reforms and the Progressive Conservatives merged and Stephen Harper led the combined party to victory. Unfortunately Harper squandered a landslide victory by waffling on his platform. And now we have Justine. Incidentally, the Reform Party had the equivalent of never Trumpers in the form of several backstabbing members who broke away from the party that got them elected. And now Vancouver Island is permanently lost to Greenies and Socialists. Luckily for the U.S. Trump has them all backed into a corner. Nancy and Adam being the rats in the corner and are not going down without a fight but they are going down.

  10. Jud Jackson
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    At an Amren conference about 20 years ago (I forget the exact year) Sam Francis, in response to a question, stated that the Republican Party was totally corrupt and needed to be destroyed. That is a paraphrase, not an exact quotation, but that is the gist of what he said. He was right then, and it is obvious that the GOP is much more corrupt now, than it was then.

  11. Vauquelin
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps I am simply unfamiliar with the workings of a two-party system, or perhaps we Europeans are just more fed-up than Americans, but living under a European parliamentary democracy where there’s many parties, I have in my lifetime seen three National Populist parties spark up from nothing, taking enormous chunks of the vote from established parties and pushing the “RINO” conservative types to become more right-wing and anti-immigrant in order remain relevant. Is such a thing only possible in Europe? Certainly it can’t be the case. We’re all still blood brothers, we’re not a different species. If the public wants something, they’ll make sure they get it. Maybe third parties really are a dead end, or, in this instance, maybe Canada is just living up to its reputation of being the North American Sweden and there simply was not enough public support. Maybe, in Canada, the populists were just not popular. I consider the latter far more likely.

    • Threestars
      Posted October 30, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      I’m not dismissing that Canadians may be more cucked than most Europeans — after all, the type of problems we have with migrants in Europe don’t receive the same media attention in Canada as they do over here — but I think it’s plainly obvious that the PPC’s low percentage is more a result of tactical voting than a reflection of the party’s actual popularity.

      The amount of hatred Trudeau and his party stirs up in Canadian basic conservatives is almost unprecedented and no one believed that a new party like the PPC could have mounted a serious opposition to libs on the electoral front. Add to this the fact that the basic “conservative” party excluded any possibility of forming a block with the PPC and you only get one political entity to cast your anti-Trudeau vote for — the basic “conservatives”.

      True enough, this sort of negative voting doesn’t usually make sense when electing members of the legislative (maybe it does in Canada, I don’t know) but we shouldn’t disregard that the general feel of the electorate can sometimes trump reason.

  12. nineofclubs
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Is there a single case of a right wing Conservative party ever actually cutting immigration in a meaningful way?

    Outside of Eastern Europe, I can’t think of any.

    Reagan signed the IRCA in 1986 giving amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants.

    Thatcher wrung her hands and promised to do ‘something’ about immigration. She undermined support for British nationalist parties and caused them to crash electorally, but never substantially reduced immigration.

    Australia’s John Howard raised annual net overseas migration levels to 300,000 – an all time record and almost 8 times the number under the previous Labor PM Paul Keating in the early 90’s.

    Conservatives always go with economic growth. The quickest and easiest path to growth is mass immigration.

    Conservatives are a dead loss.

  13. Exile
    Posted October 29, 2019 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    The Republican Party has never been, is not and never will be a useful vehicle for advancing White Nationalist interests in America. It is a kosher trap which now exists solely as subsidized controlled opposition for the Democrats, a lightning rod for stealing dissident voltage and thunder and a guard dog for the cultural and ideological right flank of neo-liberalism.

    If you accept that two party politics are eternal and bottleneck all opposition to liberalism into the GOP, the most “effective” opposition you will ever have will be some variation on the Trump Administration – overblown rhetoric with superficial tangible benefits as the country slouches ever leftward toward Babylon.

    Like libertarianism, the GOP is a hill constructed solely for Whites to die on.

    I don’t think Americans are going to vote their way out of globoshlomo. White Nationalism will require a multi-generational approach over which time we’ll see American Balkanization, soft or hard. We need to evolve parallel institutions inside and outside the US in the manner of Soviet dissidents, survive, multiply, recruit and be ready when events present opportunities.

    Funneling resouces better used for these projects into the GOP is like betting the revolution’s money in the Empire’s rigged casino.

    • Posted October 30, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      It could be argued that there was potential for America First nationalism to become prominent via the work of Charles Lindbergh, and that this could have had an impact on the Republicans. Moreover, under Pres. Trump today, there is far more room for America First nationalists in the GOP than ever before.

      While they do have an uphill battle, it would not be as uphill as the battle of starting a completely separate and new third party.

      What other choice is there?

      This article can be thought of as a bit blackpilling, but if we go too far with it, the only message could be for us to just give up.

  14. HungarianFashionista
    Posted November 1, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Rule No. 1 of party politics: only leave if you can take a substantial part of the party, and the surrounding ecosystem, with you.

    So this otherwise capable man miscalculated.

    And now his fellow right wingers turn on him, even here at CC, and join liberals in digging his grave. What a shame.

    The situation is what it is. You take the hit, pour yourself a drink, exhale, and tomorrow morning start plotting your next move.

    It’s the current year, and liberal democracy is the name of the game. The other option is to wait for an asteroid to hit Earth.

  15. Bob
    Posted November 3, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    As numerous people within the dissident right have realized, the Republican Party has a powerful immune system and will spit out any explicitly pro-white candidates. Turning Points USA represents the very essence of the Republican Party — funding and wars for Israel, importation of unbounded numbers of immigrants to provide cheap labor to billionaires who fund Democrats, and complete acceptance of the radical LGBTQP agenda. Pat Buchanan’s Republican Party is long dead.

  16. Bob
    Posted November 3, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump has made no serious attempt to end the diversity lottery, end chain immigration, end birthright citizenship, end DACA, or mandate e-verify, all of which were part of his 2016 immigration platform. Post election he has announced that he wants more immigration than ever, and this is a program congress will deliver on. He seems happy with an FBI that goes after RAM and uses against them information provided by antifa. At least Trump kept all his promises to Israel.

  17. Leonid Elbert
    Posted November 4, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    >>Initially, Bernier didn’t make immigration restriction and opposition to multiculturalism the
    >>core tenets of his new party. Mad Max is a libertarian at heart
    This was the major problem with Bernier and his party: Most supporters saw the PPC for what they wanted it to be, not for what the PPC actually was. On the question of immigration Bernier was not a leader, but a follower: He ignored the issue during the leadership campaign in 2016-17, then (more than a year later, shortly before leaving the Conservatives) he came up with the “where do we draw the line?” twit and then decided to draw the line at 250,000. It took another year and a billboard campaign (which was run by a third party organization, NOT by the PPC) for Bernier to come up with new numbers – 100 to 150 thousands. I guess he thought that if everybody called him anti-immigration, he might as well be one. But that’s hardly a leadership.

    And his Libertarianism didn’t go anywhere. Privatizing Canada Post, allowing more foreign competition to price Canadain farmers out of business – these aren’t the policies I’d expect from a truly Nationalist party. That’s why I didn’t support Bernier back in 2017 and I didn’t vote PPC in 2019.

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