Some years ago, a prominent Wyoming politician who believed the single-party “Republican” system in our state needed improvement approached me.
This person felt there was room for another political party. He said that it seemed that Wyoming’s dominant Republican Party was just too tightly aligned with mineral and old-time Ag interests and there are thousands of people out there who are registered Republicans but who feel left out of the process.
This person felt Wyoming could be better served by having two Republican parties.
He proposed that a new party be formed called The Wyoming Independent Republican Party. This group could represent the majority of the 50,000 government employees in Wyoming who are Republican. It would also be a means to reach out to those independents and even some Democrats who didn’t want to be dominated by mineral interests.
I mention this because lately in Wyoming, something that is just about the opposite has been happening.
CROW which stands for “Conservative Republicans Of Wyoming” were recently formed to purify the current Republican Party. Another prominent acronym RINO, which stands for “Republican In Name Only,” in these folks’ minds, have too big an influence over the Grand Old Party (GOP). Oops, sorry, another acronym.
CROW’s chairman Harlan Edmonds proclaimed in a newspaper column last Sunday: “Of course, CROW seeks to collapse the Wyoming Republicans’ big tent. Just like liberal newspaper editors and their liberal Republican In Name Only clients seek to protect and expand it.”
But back to that conversation some years ago. My source also felt that The Wyoming Independent Republican Party could be quite popular in the wake of a 2006 general election when the Wyoming electorate, once again, proved that conventional Republicans couldn’t elect a mineral person as governor. Instead, a Democrat, Dave Freudenthal, again won.
At the time, I wasn’t ready to join.
But I definitely said that The Wyoming Independent Republican Party definitely wouldn’t work as a name. The acronym TWIRP just didn’t work at all.
With my marketing background, he tried out a few other names on me, such as:
The Republican Independent Party for Everyone? No, the acronym TRIPE probably wouldn’t work too well, either.
Well, how about simply The Republican Independent Party (TRIP)? Well, might appeal to some youngsters or some motor home-traveling older folks, but definitely not for the mainstream.
At least it’s better than Republican Independent Party (RIP).
Then, this person suggested the Wyoming Independent Major Party. That acronym is WIMP. Enough said.
At this point, our discussion ended and my friend walked away with head down and a heavy heart.
Strange things can happen with third parties.
Ross Perot’s efforts with a third party propelled Bill Clinton into the presidency back in 1994. Sarah Palin was elected governor of Alaska because of a third party candidate.
Years ago, Teddy Roosevelt helped launch the third party Bull Moose Party. Say, wouldn’t that be a good name for a new Wyoming party?
A few decades ago, former Casper legislator Russ Donley’s pro-constitution, archconservative group had some members wanting a new party.
The Republicans in Wyoming, because of their potentially divisive membership, used to adhere to what they called “the big tent” system, which invites lot of people in, even if they all don’t agree with each other. But it also invites in the RINOs.
Wyoming actually does have a real third party – the Libertarians.
They are a hoot to watch and were fun, most of the time, when I was on the 2002 campaign trail. At one Casper candidate forum, there were four Republicans, four Democrats and one Libertarian. The Libertarian spoke last and said: “Well, of course, we disagree with everything that’s been said so far!”
In Great Britain, they have lots more political parties than in the USA. One of their favorites is the Monster Raving Loony Party. I am not making this up. Their motto is: “Vote for Insanity. You know it makes sense.”
On election night, the BBC literally takes the viewer to each part of the country. All the candidates are lined up on stage, just like a beauty pageant, and then the results are read, and winner celebrates.
Right up there on the stage is the candidate for the Monster Raving Loony Party. They rarely win, but I must admit – it’s great TV.
Although some times it may look like it, I do not think it is time that Wyoming and the USA joined their crazy British cousins by descending totally into lunacy, though.