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.