Part of the fallout from the 2012 elections (after being stunned) is outright confusion and disarray on the part of the GOP; Frank Rich of New York Magazine discovered indications of this confusion in September that if Mitt Romney did anything at all for the GOP, it was to divide them. And here on God Discussion, we found when asked "Would Jesus Vote for Romney" that our commenters were divided on whether or not they (as good Christians) should vote for a Mormon. Social conservatives thought Romney wasn't conservative enough, and the rest of the world outside the Fox News bubble were trying to figure out exactly what it was Romney did stand for. Whatever moderate Republicans were in the party have long fled and/or voted Democrat.
Betweeen beating up alternately on Mitt Romney and Karl Rove, some are making the connection that pandering to socially conservative religious extremists in the party is not working out well for them. Even Ann Coulter, on the Laura Ingraham show, said that men in the GOP need to stop "waxing philosophical' on rape. Herman Cain, sounding much like a man who is throwing in the towel, has decided that the solution is for Republican leaders to hive off and form a third, ultra-conservative party. According to Raw Story, this is what Cain had to say to Bryan Fischer, president of the American Family Association:
“I never thought that I would say this, and this is the first time publicly that I’ve said it,” Cain told American Family Association President Brian Fischer. “We need a third party to save this country. Not Ron Paul and the Ron Paulites. No, we need a legitimate third party to challenge the current system that we have.”
Fischer heartily agreed:
“I said this to some reporters at the Values Voters Summit,” he replied. “If Mitt Romney loses this election, there is going to be a third party, because conservatives that make up the heart and soul of the Republican Party, that actually believe in the values enshrined in the Republican Party platform — those voters, they’re the ones that knock on doors, they give the small donations, they make the phone calls, they get out the vote — and they’re tired of being ignored by the Republican Party elites, dissed and having their values trampled into the ground. There’s only so much they’re gonna be able to take.”
Cain's proposal has been met with sarcasm by some on the right. Commenters on the conservative Free Republic alternately made fun of Cain himself and dissed the idea of a third party, saying third parties are ineffective for winning elections. Meanwhile, commenters on Conservativebyte.com were excited about the idea of the Tea Party being that third party. RLM357 was effusive in his praise of this idea:
I like Herman Cane and I totally agree with him and have wanted this for years! The Constitution Party exists but is dorment. The TEA PARTY is Alive and well and Now Need to FORMALIZE as a full fledged Political party. Being a member of both I will gladly Join the TEA PARTY party. The GOP committed Suicide at the 2012 Convention!
kaj, another commenter, was willing to dip their toes in the conspiracy theory that the election was rigged:
I really believe that this election was won by voter fraud. That being said, the Republican party is nothing more than moderate Democrats. A third party may hurt the conservatives, but right now we have nothing. So count me in.
A look at other conservative sites did not reveal any unified answer to Cain's suggestion–the party is literally roiling in confusion about why they lost, what the state of their party is, and what they want their party to be. Until this confusion is resolved, another split may well be in the future.