Do we need a third party to find a true statesman? BATTLE IN 1912: Punch published this cartoon showing President Taft and former President Roosevelt fighting to the death in a saloon. Taft is wielding a Bowie knife; Teddy Roosevelt is firing a six-shooter. Uncle Sam watches the fight from the safety of the bar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Is it time for a third political party?
Is that how we’ll find true statesmen? Third parties haven’t done so well in the past, except as spoilers in presidential elections. Theodore Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose” bid for the presidency in 1912 is considered the most serious third-party challenge—and he didn’t win.

BUT the idea is popular once again!
The majority of Americans believe the two parties don’t represent the American people and they want a third party, according to a new Gallup survey.

Gallup has asked since 2003 about preferences for a third party. There have been only two other times when a majority of Americans said they wanted one: 2007 and 2010. This time, however, is the first time that a majority of Republicans say they want a third party. Maybe it’s because the current field of GOP candidates is “unimpressive.” That’s the most frequently used word to describe the current GOP candidates, according to a Pew poll.

Tea Party supporters are likely to opt for a third party: 60% say they would like a third party. Given the strong, partisan views of Tea Party activists, I doubt that anyone we would consider a statesman would emerge from their ranks. The classic definition of “statesman” involves rising above partisan politics to serve a greater public good.

Is it time for a third party in American politics?

Or, is the search for a statesman in America a futile quest? 

Know a statesman? Nominate her or him for The Lincoln Award for Statesmanship. This non-partisan award is given annually by The Statesman Group.

Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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