In an interview with radio host Lars Larson, Sarah Palin indicated that she was open to running with a third party:
Asked by Larson whether she would consider running as a third party candidate, Palin said: "That depends on how things go in the next couple of years." Larson told the 2008 vice presidential nominee that answer "sounds like a yes" to which she responded: "If the Republican party gets back to that [conservative] base, I think our party is going to be stronger and there's not going to be a need for a third party, but I'll play that by ear in these coming months, coming years."
This would be absolutely disastrous. The only thing that a third party run by any conservative would achieve would be the reelection of Barack Obama. The only vehicle with which to advance conservative principals electorally is the Republican party, as Ronald Reagan stated so eloquently in 1977:
I have to say I cannot agree with some of my friends—perhaps including some of you here tonight—who have answered that question by saying this nation needs a new political party.
I respect that view and I know that those who have reached it have done so after long hours of study. But I believe that political success of the principles we believe in can best be achieved in the Republican Party. I believe the Republican Party can hold and should provide the political mechanism through which the goals of the majority of Americans can be achieved. For one thing, the biggest single grouping of conservatives is to be found in that party. It makes more sense to build on that grouping than to break it up and start over.
Rather than a third party, we can have a new first party made up of people who share our principles. I have said before that if a formal change in name proves desirable, then so be it. But tonight, for purpose of discussion, I’m going to refer to it simply as the New Republican Party.
Reagan is right and Palin is wrong. He was asked many times if he would run on a third party ticket, and the answer was always an unequivocal no. Any conservative who even hints at blessing a third party run must be rebuked as strongly as possible. The only answer to whether a third party run is viable is an emphatic NO!
In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt ran against his former Secretary of War and his successor to the Presidency, William Howard Taft. Roosevelt, arguably the most popular man in America at the time (arguably the most popular politician there ever was, only possibly eclipsed by his fifth cousin), split the Republican vote with Taft in one of the most bitterly contested elections of the century. This allowed Woodrow Wilson (another disaster of a president) to slip by the both of them.
If Theodore Roosevelt, a former President, couldn't win with a third party, no one can. The desire for a third party is a pathetic attempt to pick up your toys and go home. It says that you would rather take on the Quixotic task of going it alone on the national stage than take the much more difficult challenge of changing the party from within. It is the cowards move. Let's not repeat the disaster of 1912 in 2012.