Sen. Lincoln Chafee: Evan Bayh, independents, and a new third party

Placed literally in the middle of an op-ed piece by Senator Evan Bayh about why he is leaving the Senate, the New York Times today ran a piece by former Senator and current independent candidate for Rhode Island governor addressing the topic of a new third party emerging.  Chafee speculates on Bayh running for president independent of the two major parties in 2012 and a new major party possibly emerging, as the Republicans did in 1856.

So I can certainly understand Senator Bayh’s remarkable decision to leave, but I also suspect that he’s not willing to give up on Washington. When he suggested recently that a third party could be a viable contender for the White House in 2012, my first thought was that he was focused on a future as an independent — and the exciting new avenues for public service it offers.

In 2001, John Zogby, the pollster, told our Republican caucus, “There is a burgeoning centrist third party waiting to be formed.” Either party could make a strategic decision to capture the center, he said, or both could wait for a third party to fill the vacuum.

Read the full thing here.

15 thoughts on “Sen. Lincoln Chafee: Evan Bayh, independents, and a new third party

  1. Jimmy Clifton

    America is NOT waiting for a centrist third party; there are dozens of them out there.

    America is waiting for an attractive, charismatic centrist PERSONALITY to come to the forefront.

  2. Ross Levin Post author

    I don’t think it’s centrism that they want (in general, of course), but a break from stupid partisanship and the typical, stale, not entirely true version of politics given to us by the Republicans and Democrats.

  3. Erik Geib

    Though a ‘centrist’ party wouldn’t likely capture my support, I think the emergence of such a thing could have a few positives:

    1.) Perhaps it would awaken the American public to the absurdity of plurality voting, and at long last cause a push for electoral reform (IRV or other systems, ballot access, debate access, etc.) .

    2.) ‘Centrism’ in the vein of Ventura would be a welcome change from Democratic/Republican crapapaloozas,

  4. Don Lake ........... a legitamate, non mole indy ??????

    Posted on Sun, Feb. 21, 2010

    Head Strong: Sorry,
    but for me, the party is over

    By Michael Smerconish – Inquirer

    [Philadelphia] Inquirer Currents Columnist

    It took only the single tap of a computer key, and just like that I’d exited the Republican Party after 30 years of active membership. The context might sound impulsive, but I’d been thinking of becoming an independent for a long time. I just hadn’t expected that a trip to renew my driver’s license would mark the end.

    Just before my photo was snapped, I was asked if I wanted to register to vote. For me, the question was borderline offensive. I first registered after turning 18 in the spring of 1980 and haven’t missed an election since. And I’m not just talking presidential races. I mean all elections. Congress, town council, school board, whatever.

    “I’m already registered,” I offered. Next came the unexpected question of whether I wished to change my political affiliation. I’m not sure why that is asked of someone renewing a driver’s license, and I question whether it is even appropriate for most. But in my case, it was the only impetus I needed.

    Years ago, I grew tired of having my television or radio introduction accompanied by a label, with some implied expectation that what would then come from my mouth were the party talking points. That was me 26 years ago, when I was the youngest elected member of the state delegation to the Republican National Convention, but not today. I’m not sure if I left the Republican Party or the party left me. All I know is that I no longer feel comfortable.

    The national GOP is a party of exclusion and litmus tests, dominated on social issues by the religious right …………..

  5. Erik Geib

    Smerconish is definitely a tool. He wants to invade Pakistan, for pete’s sake. Yet another reason to distrust Republicans and Republican-leaners. Even as their social stances (inevitably) soften over the next few years, their militarism never wanes. Did anyone see Bachmann’s talk of appealing to “America’s greatness”? Talk about fascist rhetoric (‘national greatness’ and the appeal to the ‘heroic’).

  6. Jeremy Young

    America already has a centrist party: the Democratic Party. If Bayh left the Democrats because they were too far to the left, he’s clearly running as a conservative.

  7. Green Party fan

    Ross is right…

    “I don’t think it’s centrism that they want (in general, of course), but a break from stupid partisanship and the typical, stale, not entirely true version of politics given to us by the…”.. two larger parties.

    I think that inclusive national third party is the Green Party.

    I’d like to see Lincoln Chafee and Bayh in the Green Party tent.

  8. Ross Levin Post author

    The problem with the concept of a centrist party is that the left/right spectrum is not real. It’s just a convienent and very flawed way to talk about politics.

    So Dems aren’t centrist. But they’re very corporatist and they generally support the status quo or very incremental change.

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