There is a history of third parties in this country. Some have been important. Others much less so.

The anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party of the early 19th century were for an only Anglo-Saxon America. They may have viewed your ancestors with a very dim eye. The Progressives made their mark in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Bull Moose Party, a progressive enterprise of Teddy Roosevelt’s, in 1912 enabled the election of the worst president in US history, Woodrow Wilson. The Communists had their brief run here as a party. They preferred to work in the shadows. Still do. The racist Dixiecrats were a force in 1948. Harry Truman beat them. Ross Perot’s Reform Party of the 1990s, that split a conservative vote in 1992, enabled the election of Bill Clinton. Ralph Nader’s leftist Green Party run in 2000 helped elect George Bush the Younger. And the Libertarians, a think tank masquerading as a political party, have had little success. There were more. All have had runs, good and bad.

Now another may take the stage soon. The Patriot Party, a new grouping of populist supporters of Donald Trump. It would be comprised mainly of the approximately 35 percent of the Republican Party that still support Trump.

Strangely enough, at his infamous Wednesday speech, I thought Trump was going to announce the formation of this party, as its probable adherents were assembled before him. He did something else.

Could this party get anyone elected nationwide? No. But they could hold the Republicans hostage in many places and perhaps play kingmaker in 2024. But only if they jettison Donald Trump as a standard bearer. Because of recent events, his brand is destroyed nationally. But its ideas are not.

I would not vote for such a party, as populist mobs are not my particular poison. But in a Republic they do have their place. Many people feel and do not think. They like their politics emotion and cult of personality driven. It smacks of Caesarism. However, as Jesus Christ said about the poor, Matthew 26:11, they will always be with us.

If they do not bounce Trump then their ideas, some of them good, will consistently be subsumed by his ego. Such a Trumpian party would only be a vehicle for him to wage a war of personal revenge on his political enemies, nothing else.

Without him they could take some congressional districts, certain Senate seats, and a governorship or two. The Republicans could not win without them, if the specter of the assault on the Capitol is not something they would have to apologize for and rationalize. With that around their necks they would have some power, then fail at the polls, then be consigned to history’s dustbin. So they would have a choice: Have perhaps a strong voice without Trump or a whimper with him in their cockpit. If such a party comes to pass, their choice will be interesting.