On Jan. 6, talk show host Michael Savage openly called for the formation of a “nationalist” political party in the United States to present a right-wing challenge to Republicans during his appearance on WABC-New York’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program.
The popular radio host rallied support for a new third party based on “borders, language, and culture” and a nationalist identity to combat internationalists in the “leftist media” who want to “dissolve the sovereignty of nations.”
“Nationalism is the only thing that can save America and a new nationalist party that has a very strict firewall that does not permit the radical fringe of racism,” Savage declared while clarifying that the term “nationalism” must be redefined away from the popular misconception of 1930s European-style nationalism associated with fascism and socialism. Savage defined his version of nationalism as: “Borders, language, culture. It defines every nation on the planet, the flag, the language, the borders. And what is it the internationalists do? They want to dissolve the borders, they want to introduce multiculturalism, they want to introduce a Tower of Babel of languages.”
Savage further argued a third party is necessary by accusing Republicans and Democrats of playing a “charade” with the American electorate and saying the two parties are virtually indistinguishable political entities, by saying:
“There is no Republican Party. It’s an appendage of the Democrat machine, as we’ve all just seen. It’s two-card Monte, as we well know. It’s a game being played against the American people. You’ve got the drunk Boehner on the one side, and the quasi-pseudo-crypto Marxist on the other, who is really just enjoying the ride in Hawaii right now, representing his factions.”
The controversial host was temporarily off the air after winning a legal dispute with his former employer, but returned to radio airwaves on October 23. Savage’s hometown radio station KSFO 560 Hot Talk in San Francisco announced the debut of the new “Savage Nation” program on Dec. 3, 2012.
Michael Savage credits the Tea Party Movement as being the origins of a new third party to move Republicans to the ideological right, saying in the interview, “You have the rudiments of a new party in this country called a tea party. They need to restructure their party. They need a charismatic leader, which they don’t have. When you say, ‘Tea party,’ no one knows who the leader is, because there is no leader. No man has stepped forward who can lead that party – no one who is an articulate speaker, a charismatic mover of people.”
Savage further praised the Tea Party, but lamented their lack of cohesion and leadership by saying:
“The tea party is the rudiment of the new nationalist party. Somebody has to bring them all together, unite them like King David did the ancient tribes of Israel. And there is no King David out there. Who’s the King David? Tell me who is going to do it?”
Savage said he would be willing to lead the new nationalist party, but believes that someone younger should be the leader of the movement, telling Klein, “I could do it if I was 20 years younger. I would do it right now. But I’m not 20 years younger, and I don’t have 20 years left in me. This is going to require enormous resources and enormous energy. I can guarantee you, Aaron, if I ever did this I could raise probably $100 million within three months easily. There are people so frustrated by the democracy that is gone in this country, the structure that has replaced our democracy is what I meant to say, that they would clamor for the new nationalist party.”
The last credible third party challenge in the U.S. at the presidential level came from billionaire businessman Ross Perot in the elections of 1992 and 1996.
Perot ran on largely nationalist and populist themes of balancing the federal budget, opposing free trade legislation, and cracking down on OPEC. Perot was an outspoken critic of former President George H.W. Bush over the 1991 Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s regime, and the failure to bring the federal budget deficit under control after violating his 1988 “no new taxes” pledge.
Although Perot only attracted 18.91 percent of the popular vote in 1992 as an independent candidate, his presence in the race altered the complexion of the election in profound ways. In particular, Perot forced the Bush campaign to respond to his attacks from the right, rather than focus all of its efforts on then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.
By 1996, Perot had formed an actual third party called the Reform Party. Ironically, Perot performed much worse than his previous campaign by receiving only 8.4 percent of the popular vote nationwide. The Reform Party did have a political convention in 1996 in which Perot defeated former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm for the party’s nomination, before coming in third in the presidential race behind President Bill Clinton and former Sen. Robert Dole.
It is still a long-standing political myth that Ross Perot’s third party candidacy cost Republicans the election and handed victory to Bill Clinton. In truth, these voters may have voted for Clinton instead, since both Bush and Dole were on the ballot and voters simply chose to give their vote to Perot.
For Michael Savage’s nationalist third party proposal to be successful, the emergence of Super PACs in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision would play a vital role in financing the movement’s development.
The historic role of the Democrat and Republican parties in the U.S. political system was to provide organization, fundraising, volunteers, and media support to the candidates in general elections. With the evolution of the legal environment regarding those activities after the Citizens United decision – combined with the Supreme Court’s upholding of soft-money donation limits to Democrat and Republican parties from the McCain-Feingold law - these activities can potentially be carried out with far greater effectiveness and unlimited financial contributions by Super PACs.
Steven Holmes is the Los Angeles Political Buzz Examiner.