Third party in the offing?
This piece was pointed out to me by my good friend, scholar and researcher Warren Bonesteel:
With the pulling out of the GOP candidate in New York's Congressional race due to the independent, there is much talk about the future of the partisan wars: Will a third party be created, from the ashes of one of the old (most likely the GOP)?
As in the days of the Civil War, will a party go the way of the Whigs? (which gave rise to the Republican party of today)
It hasn't always been this way. Look back 40 years, and Washington behaved in a quite different manner, with Democrats and Republicans both showing far more willingness to break ranks and reach across the aisle to the other side. In 1969, for example, House Democrats voted with their party's majority just 61% of the time and House Republicans just 62% of the time. In other words, lockstep voting was roughly a third less prevalent than it is today.
This picture of relentless partisanship is taking a toll on both parties' standing with the public. It's also taking a toll on President Barack Obama, who came to office offering the hope that he'd change the way the capital works, and specifically pull it out of its partisan ruts. Americans don't appear to think he's succeeding on that front. In the Journal/NBC News poll, the share who gave him good marks for uniting the country has fallen to 38% now from 60% in January.
But as problematic as this situation is for Mr. Obama, it also carries big risks for Republicans. In fact, they are generating more negative feelings than are Democrats right now, and tend to be blamed more for partisan divides. Asked specifically who was more to blame for the partisanship in Washington, 57% said both parties equally, but 24% named the Republicans while 17% cited the Democrats.
The survey also makes it possible to identify the Americans who really say, "A pox on both your houses." Some 13% of those surveyed said they had negative views of both parties. Those folks are slightly more male than female, a little older than the general population, a bit more affluent and more likely to be Republican than Democrat in their roots. If you want to start a third party, there's your base.
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Clearlake, California, United States