If ethics are gone, is it time for a new American Revolution?

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This week, we’ve reported that more than two-thirds of voters think the ethical standards of politicians have fallen. A majority think members of Congress are unethical. And, most Americans disapprove of our politicians’ job performance. 

Could it be time for a revolution?

That may sound a bit drastic. But almost half (45%) of likely voters say the gap between the governed and those who govern is as wide now as it was between England and the American colonies at the time of the American Revolution, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll. Republicans are more likely to feel this way, while Democrats are less likely. Almost half (47%) of Independents—who can swing an election one way or the other—believe the gap now is as big as it was then.

Eight of ten members of the current Tea Party—whose name harkens back to the time of the Revolution—agree that the gap between rulers and the ruled is as big now as it was in the 18th Century.

Revolutions can take different forms. One is a revolution at the ballot box. As we discussed last week, a Gallup poll finds that the majority of Americans feel the two major political parties don’t represent the American people and would like to see a third party in the mix. What might happen in a three-way runoff? Would it indeed be a revolution? Or would it support the status quo?

Rasmussen conducted a thought experiment to find out—posing this question to likely voters: “Suppose the Tea Party Movement organized itself as a political party. When thinking about the next election for Congress, would you vote for the Republican candidate from your district, the Democratic candidate from your district, or the Tea Party candidate from your district?”

How would you vote in that situation?

In this hypothetical three-way contest, the Rasmussen poll found that Democrats come out ahead, getting 40% of the vote. Republicans get 21%, the Tea Party gets 18%, and 21% are undecided. The presence of the Tea Party candidate didn’t cause a revolution. It spoiled the Republican’s prospects.

Are you ready for a revolution?

Would you favor a third-party candidate?

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

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