Ever since the Tea Party movement in 2009, there’s been a low buzz within conservative circles about leaving the Republican Party and starting a third party.

Democrats have never paid attention enough or showed the intellectual curiosity necessary to realize that the Republican Party has never been the home of conservatives.

Many, or most, conservatives dutifully vote for whichever GOP candidate we’re served because there’s never a better option (unless we’re feeling frisky that year and vote for the Libertarian). But rarely, if ever, does that GOP candidate espouse, articulate, or fight for real conservative.

Instead, they latch on to the general themes of conservatism – freedom, liberty, equal opportunity for all, minimal government, free speech, judging people based on their actions and character, etc, – without ever actually lifting a finger to enact any of it, or articulate any of it again, once in office.

Conservatives have wrongly called Republicans spineless for as long as I’ve been paying attention. But they’re not spineless. They’re frauds. To suggest they’re spineless would be to imply they truly believe in conservative principles and are simply too afraid to stand up for them.

The fact is, they don’t care, and they never have. The power that comes with being elected into our state or federal government has always been the end goal.

There’s a reason that conservatives are aghast at how Joe Biden clearly uses his family members to accumulate wealth for himself and them. We’re sick of professional politicians who think they’re better than us, above the law, and that the rules don’t apply to them.

We’re nearly as angry at the fact that Democrats can’t see past their own hatred of Republicans to realize that they, too, are being taken for granted. Yes, Democrats love big government, but average American liberals aren’t any more supportive of politicians enriching themselves at our expense than conservatives are.

The difference is that conservatives have the awareness to realize that both parties are in bed together and they’re all doing it, whereas left-leaning citizens think only Republican politicians would do such a thing. This is why statistically, the number of people identifying as Republicans was roughly the same as those identifying as Democrats while the number identifying as independents was so large.

Professional pundits always thought the independents were the ones everyone had to win over. But in truth, the independents were conservatives who had already abandoned the politically elitist GOP. They weren’t independent of the party philosophies. They were independent from those who acknowledged and played the back and forth game of Democrat and Republican politicians trading wins while Americans always lost.

As I’ve written before, if Democrats had been paying attention, they would have realized that back in 2008, Sarah Palin was making noise about the corruption in government and the need to clean the entire place up. Since then, Donald Trump has come along and called it “The Deep State” or “The Swamp,” but they’re talking about the same thing.

At this point, having been abandoned by nearly everyone holding an elected position, there’s really only one option: a third party. (Unless you want to consider this second option: dropping out and letting them destroy the country.)

The biggest argument I’ve heard for the last 10 years against starting a third party is that we’d be too small, would split Republican votes, and cede everything to the Democrats. Well, if we’ve learned anything from this last election (especially if you assume there was voter fraud), it’s that there already is a third party.

The mistake in thinking a third party would be too small is that the third party has always existed, but people were afraid to embrace it and jump in. 10 years ago, conservatives new how ineffective Republican politicians were. Likewise, 20 years ago. We actually learned this when George Bush was elected in 1988.

Reagan was an anomaly. There’s a reason he attracted so many Democrats (known as “Reagan Democrats”). It’s because he was talking beyond policies and instead warning against government excess. Since then, both sides went back to their loyalty voting, and only Obama, in his first term, has since been able to draw from both sides (and that was just because people wanted to be part of that history and/or prove we aren’t a racist country).

Until now. With Donald Trump’s huge vote tally, we know that many Democrats, as well as the usually disenfranchised people who always knew neither party cared about them, voted for Trump. In fact, you could argue that there were three parties in this election: Democrats, NeverTrumpers (also considered party-first “Republicans,” and pro-Trumpers.

It’s difficult to parse the Democrats from the Never Trumpers, so we don’t actually know how small the number of true Republicans there are. But we know there are well over 70 million Trump supporters. Those are the conservatives. Those are the third party.

The third party is already there, and it’s time to coalesce around it, define it, brand it, and start taking over the country. This third party is the party of Americans. The third party is sick of our governing politicians thinking they’re pulling one over on us. The third party is sick of government making rules that apply to every American except themselves. The third party is done with politicians making $150,000 a year but somehow walking out of the job with millions of dollars in wealth.

This third party has existed for decades. It’s just that the members were too afraid to make it so because everyone thought they were the only one who would join. Everyone was afraid that when they walked away and said, “I’m starting a new party… who’s with me?” the answer would be, “no one.”

Well, it turns out the answer is more than half of the country. And as I’ve long argued with conservatives, this third party is the only real way we’re going to bring about the true changes necessary to recapture what made American truly special.

And it’s not the third party. It’s the first party because it’s the largest, most pro-America, party in the country, and it’s time we all got together, realized it, and started being deliberate about it.