Perhaps you are noticing that citizens are beginning to shed their old political attachments and are casting around for alternatives. The Tea Party smells to me like a transient happenstance, much like Ross Perot’s coalition. But it does speak of something among the electorate. What is it? Disappointment morphed to anger? Fear? Loss of confidence in the overextended empire?
George Washington refers to these as “Post-Partisan coalitions” in yesterday’s post.
Now, a new Gallup poll shows that the majority of Americans – 58% – say that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing such a poor job representing the people that a new, third party is needed.
And even the Washington Post writes:
Poll after poll shows that both national parties are deeply unpopular with an electorate looking for something new and different.
Pundits claim that the Republicans will gain quite a few Congressional seats in November. But even if they do, it doesn’t mean that Republicans are regaining popularity.
As the Post article notes:
[Pollster Glen Bolger said]: “This is the first time where there has ever been data like this – where the party poised to take control has not improved its image ….”
Indeed, the American people are acting like a guy standing on hot sand hopping back and forth from one foot to the other. He doesn’t like how the burning sand feels on either the left foot or the right foot.
He just knows he’s getting burned, and can’t wait to get wait to get somewhere cooler. The American people know they’re being burned by both parties, who are serving the big banks and military-industrial complex at the expense of the little guy.
Come 2012, the American voter might sprint off of the hot sand of big-money-parties-fleecing-the-little-guy altogether for more welcoming turf: a party which does more than just talk populism, but actually stands up to the powers-that-be.
What can we anticipate? I would guess that the quirkiness of the Tea Party candidates will lead to underwhelming results. Those who happen to win in a voter paroxysm may quickly discredit themselves in a deliberative body.
It will be hard for a small philosophical minority to gain and hold power as a third-party. There are too many fractures in the party coalition itself. In order for the Third Estate to have power, a variety of small parties must form coalitions. As the Tea Party splinters between 2010 and 2012, other parties need to form and galvanize enough support to take some legislative seats. There must also be a constitutional challenge against the arcane electoral rules that provide for 2 party dominance. So this process will take a lot of time and probably needs some catalysts along the way.