Andrew Sullivan's "email of the day" yesterday is another party-creation fantasy:
EMAIL OF THE DAY: "As I read through yesterday's emails, I am struck by the possible fruitfulness of moderate Republican conservatives joining forces with similar folks in the Democratic Party. Perhaps if we leave the extremists of both parties out on their respective limbs and offer a strong ideology of fiscal responsibility, "gentle" hawks only responding in war when clear need is identified, protecting our own public financially from being sold out abroad, protecting our borders (even at the expense of some very wealthy businesspeople) -- promising personal rights of privacy in the pew and the bedroom and on the deathbed -- I think a strong, pragmatic, sensible, workable "party" could emerge. We MUST ditch religious zealotry ASAP -- it is killing real moral values!!"
This is akin to Mickey Kaus's "party-in-a-laptop" idea and the "Internet candidate" idea. All I can say is keep dreaming. The American electoral system is based on plurality voting. That means that we will almost always have only have two major parties, and the activists in those parties currently control the primaries that elect candidates. Moreover, the parties organize Congress, and thus there are very strong incentives to remain within them. (Reading assignment: Why Parties? by my adviser John Aldrich.)
Of course, it's possible to create a new party and dislodge one of the major ones, but it hasn't been done in more than a century. And as I wrote before, there's virtually no incentive to abandon a major party that already commands the allegiance of a third of the electorate and roughly half the elected officials nationwide. A centrist third party may be attempted -- I'm sure John McCain thought about it after 2000 -- but it's extremely unlikely to succeed...