Updated: Mar 16
By Mitch Perry, Pinellas County
PUBLISHED 8:41 PM ET Feb. 15, 2021
Brian Dow, the co-founder and chairman of The American Patriot Party of the United States (TAPPUS), voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, but he says that that his newly formed group is a “repudiation” of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
“We do not desire to be GOP 2.0. or Democrat 2.0.,” he says. “We believe that we fit somewhere in the middle.”
Dow, a health care broker and former U.S. Marine who moved to St. Petersburg in 2015, is one of three officers listed with the party in a statement that was filed earlier this month with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
Among the “pillars” of the party as stated on their website include support for a balanced budget, respect and protection for the sanctity of life and protection of religious and civil liberties.
Dow’s group isn’t the first collection of Trump supporters forming so-called Patriot Parties around the country. The MAGA Patriot Party National Committee filed a statement of organization with the FEC last month. The moves come as hundreds of thousands of Republicans have left the party following the riot at the U.S. Capitol last month that led to Trump’s second impeachment by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. There is undoubtedly dissatisfaction among Trump-Republicans who in some cases never had that close of a connection with the Republican Party. Gallup reported on Monday that a record high 63% of Republicans now favor the creation of a third party.
“They’re sincerely unhappy with the state of affairs within the Republican Party. And that may be what they’re expressing now,” says Columbia University political science Robert Shapiro, who adds that he doesn’t think creating a third party would help. “They would be shooting themselves in the head.” Shapiro also says that despite all of the chatter, the Republican Party is hardly in disarray. He notes that Trump received 10 million more votes last November than he did in 2016, and the party gained seats in the House of Representatives and in many state legislatures (like Florida).
But Dow takes a different perspective and says unapologetically that he doesn’t care if people think his party would act as a “spoiler.”
“We’ve taken some heat by saying that we’re typically only going to take votes away from the Republican Party, and my response to that, in the words of Donald Trump – what have we got to lose? We currently don’t control the House, the Senate, nor the White House. So what have we got to lose? The GOP has done terrible completely all on their own, without us.”
Dow is also cognizant of the formidable challenges he’ll face to actually make his dream of a viable new political party a reality. The FEC calls for groups like his to initially form as a political action committee; later they can progress to a political committee, and if they then ultimately run a sufficient number of candidates in different states, the FEC will then recognize them as a political party (ballot access is governed by state law). Dow says the initial goal is to field candidates for state and local offices – and not the presidency. At least not initially.
“If we are doing something right, which we believe we are at this point, it’s going to be proven out at the local level, and then we’ll go out from there,” he says.
Shapiro says that’s a smart goal, but he says that historically third parties have usually been created because of a specific issue (think of Ross Perot and his quest to balance the budget in 1992), but in this case, “the issue driving this is liking Donald Trump and not liking Donald Trump, as far as I can tell.”
He says both wings of the GOP have more in common than not when it comes to policy. “I think that they’d be better off kind of muddling through the current situation, see how they can pull themselves together in terms of opposing (Joe) Biden,” he says. “But the loose end here is how to deal with Trump in all this.” You can learn more about The American Patriot Party of The United States by going to their website.
For the full interview, click here: https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2021/02/16/the-american-patriot-party-s-co-chair-says-he-s-in-it-for-the-long-haul