Last week, Gallup found record desire for a third party:
Jamie Chandler contends that the “midterm elections represent a rare opportunity for independents to mount viable campaigns – capitalizing on voter disgust with Beltway politics.” Nate Cohn disagrees:
After decades of culture wars and self-sorting, today’s Republicans are largely unified on policy, even if they disagree on tactics. And even if the disagreements between the tea party and moderates were substantive, it still wouldn’t produce a wave of independent candidates. National intraparty divisions don’t tend to produce opportunities for independents at the district-level, since representatives tend to reflect their districts. For the most part, ultraconservative Republicans hail from ultraconservative districts; moderates represent relatively moderate districts. That helps explain the apparent unity of post-war congressional Democrats: Even while Strom Thurmond and George Wallace mounted third-party challenges against pro-civil rights Democrats in presidential contests, Dixiecrats and northern liberals represented their districts well.
Unless, that is, the end-result of this recent bout of recklessness on the right provokes the Cruz-Palin-Lee wing to go rogue with a Tea Party ticket. A lot of dissatisfaction toward the GOP is coming from the right, after all. I suspect that if a third party emerges temporarily, it would be from the far right, not the increasingly empty center.