Americans love their politics. Some openly call themselves news junkies and drink in the daily Swamp soap opera as if it were an elixir straight from heaven. However, one element of the governing sphere has increasingly become unpopular: political parties. The Democrats and Republicans are wading into used car salesmen territory when it comes to popularity, and a new poll bears this out.
Galloping Toward the Unknown
According to the oldest name in political surveys, “Americans’ desire for a third party has ticked up since last fall and now sits at a high in Gallup’s trend.” A record 62% of Americans say the time has arrived for a third party. This is primarily because the “parties do such a poor job representing the American people.”
The survey was conducted before all the chatter from some Republicans wanting to form an anti-Trump party. But perhaps the third party trend started when the 45th president lost the 2020 election. The whispers and rumors have grown louder since Donald Trump floated the idea of a Patriot Party.
In fact, a Patriot Party of sorts already has been formed, but apparently Trump is not affiliated. Maggie Haberman, Washington correspondent for The New York Times, tweeted on Jan. 24: “In last 24 hours, after floating through a few folks that he was considering creating a third-party as a way to keep Senate Rs in line ahead of impeachment, Trump has been talked out of that and is making clear to people he isn’t pursuing it, per ppl familiar w his thinking.” Forbes went even further. It reported that “members of [Trump’s] inner circle” claim the former president has backed away from the idea of establishing a third party altogether.
Will He, or Won’t He?
Perhaps only the news junkies deeply embedded in the Swamp are aware of the backtracking by Trump? This might account for the Gallup poll results because a majority of Republicans now favor the creation of a third political party. This, says Gallup, is a “dramatic shift” for those in the GOP. Last September, for example, only 40% of Republicans polled favored a new American party, but the number jumped to 63% for this new survey. Democrats, meanwhile, dropped from 52% to 46%. Independents dipped slightly from 72% to 70% but remain the loudest voice for a third political party.
So, what would this third party look like? By a 40% margin, conservatives say it should be even more right-leaning than the current Republican Party. As for a left-leaning party, Democrats say they want their new political organization to be more progressive. This proves a divide is not only occurring in America but within the current political establishment.
Gallup adds a fitting dénouement to its poll, summing it up this way:
“The GOP is struggling to find its way in the post-Trump world, but party leaders hope it can unite in time to make gains in the 2022 elections. The possibility still exists that a pro-Trump or anti-Trump third party will splinter off from the Republican Party before then. However, that is something that party leaders like Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are trying to prevent.”
The question likely on the minds of third-party enthusiasts: Will GOP leaders be able to hold the line on a new conservative party? If a more conservative GOP does take form, the Republican Party will likely be left with nothing more than a suit of sackcloth and ashes.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.