Americans' desire for a third party has ticked up since last fall and now sits at a high in Gallup's trend. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults say the "parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed," an increase from 57% in September. Support for a third party has been elevated in recent years, including readings of 60% in 2013 and 2015 and 61% in 2017.
Meanwhile, 33% of Americans believe the two major political parties are doing an adequate job representing the public, the smallest percentage expressing this view apart from the 26% reading in October 2013.
The latest results are from a Jan. 21-Feb. 2 poll. The survey was conducted before recent news reports that dozens of government officials in prior Republican administrations were in discussions to form an anti-Donald Trump third political party.
The survey found Americans' favorable opinion of the Republican Party has declined to 37%, while 48% view the Democratic Party positively. The poll also shows 50% of U.S. adults identifying as political independents, the highest percentage Gallup has ever measured in a single poll.
Gallup first asked about the need for a third party in 2003. At that time, most Americans did not think it was necessary, with 56% saying the parties were doing an adequate job representing the American people and 40% saying a third party was needed.
In several election years -- 2006, 2008 and 2012 -- Americans were divided as to whether a third party was needed, but since 2012, Americans have consistently favored the idea.
Independents are usually much more likely than Republicans or Democrats to favor a third political party, but in the current poll, Republicans are nearly as likely as independents to hold this view, 63% to 70%. That represents a dramatic shift for Republicans since last September when 40% favored a third party.
Republicans' current level of support for a third party is also the highest Gallup has measured for Republicans or Democrats in Gallup's trend. The previous high was 54% for Democrats in 2018. Currently, 46% of Democrats endorse a third party, down from 52% in September.
Monday, February 15, 2021
Blue Lives Matter is officially dead. People may continue to chant and post the slogan, but it is dead. Senate Republicans killed it last week when they voted to acquit Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection that left one officer dead and 138 injured. (Two officers who responded to the insurrection later died by suicide.)
As The New York Times reported:
“One officer lost the tip of his right index finger. Others were smashed in the head with baseball bats, flagpoles and pipes. Another lost consciousness after rioters used a metal barrier to push her into stairs as they tried to reach the Capitol steps during the assault on Jan. 6.”
The Times continued that the injuries to officers “ranged from bruises and lacerations to more serious damage such as concussions, rib fractures, burns and even a mild heart attack.”
After conservatives condemned football player Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the American national anthem at N.F.L. games, a violent mob assembled and encouraged by Trump assaulted the American Capitol.
Trump himself said the following about Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter protests:
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’ You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
And then, a member of the mob in January acting at Trump’s behest used a flagpole flying that very same American flag to attack an acting D.C. police officer. As NBC Washington reported:
“A man with a backpack and long, brown hair is shown repeatedly slamming a flagpole with an American flag toward the ground. The victim is off-camera but a police shield can be seen. The crowd chants ‘USA,’ with some wearing red Make America Great Again hats.”
In September, Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina introduced the Protect and Serve Act, which would make it “a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Offenders are subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years.”
As Tillis posted on his website: “We cannot sit idly by and allow for the streets to be filled with dangerous, violent criminals who face no consequences.” And yet, Tillis voted to acquit the man responsible for filling D.C.’s streets with dangerous, violent criminals who attacked police officers, even though Tillis conceded:
“It is important to note that a not-guilty verdict is not the same as being declared innocent. President Trump is most certainly not the victim here; his words and actions were reckless and he shares responsibility for the disgrace that occurred on January 6.”
Tillis’s bill was co-sponsored by 15 other Republican senators. All of the ones who remained in the Senate after the election voted to acquit Trump except one: Richard Burr, the other senator from North Carolina.
The Proud Boys are having a rough time. The self-described "Western chauvinist" drinking club has long been a refuge for white supremacists, anti-Semites and assorted extremists seeking a veneer of legitimacy.
But in the wake of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month, the group is in some disarray, as state chapters disavow the group's chairman and leaders bicker inpublic and in private about what direction to take the Proud Boys in.
Proud Boys chairman Henry Tarrio, who goes by Enrique, was arrested days before the Capitol riot and charged with two federal weapons charges. Three weeks later, Tarrio was outed as a longtime FBI informant,a role he has now admitted to. The news about the Proud Boys leader came as other members of the group were arrested for their involvement in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Then, on Feb. 3, Canada designated the Proud Boys as a domestic terrorist group.
The barrage of controversy, discord and betrayal seems to have been too much for at least three state chapters of the Proud Boys, who used the messaging app Telegram to denounce Tarrio and proclaim their independence from central Proud Boy leadership. That raises questions about the future of the group, and also has experts concerned about more radical factions of the Proud Boys, or a newly-branded gang, emerging.
"We do not recognize the assumed authority of any national Proud Boy leadership including the Chairman, the Elders, or any subsequent governing body that is formed to replace them until such a time we may choose to consent to join those bodies of government," read an announcement on a website connected to the Alabama chapter of the Proud Boys.
The same sentiment was shared on Telegram by Proud Boys chapters in Indiana and Oklahoma.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy broke with the Republican party in visceral terms Saturday, voting with just six other members of his party to convict Donald Trump on charges of incitement of insurrection and declaring he was putting the Constitution over the former president.
The blowback from Republicans back home was swift and dramatic. The state GOP took the remarkable step of censuring the Baton Rouge Republican hours after his vote to convict. Several Republican elected officials condemned the senator, who was a reliable conservative vote during his first six-year term that began in 2014, voting with Trump 89% of the time.
The schism between Cassidy and his own party made clear that the allegiances among many Louisiana Republicans still lay with the former president, and not their senior U.S. senator.
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” Cassidy said in a brief video released after the vote. “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
Cassidy joined six other Republicans in voting with all Democrats to convict Trump, leaving Democrats well short of the two-thirds threshold needed to convict. Still, they touted the vote as the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history. The historic impeachment trial centered around Trump’s role in inciting a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to interrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s electors. Five people died in the riot.
Louisiana’s other senator, John Kennedy of Madisonville, who is up for re-election in 2022, voted to acquit Trump, criticizing the impeachment proceedings as “political sport.” Kennedy had also voted earlier this week not to move forward with the trial on the basis that it was unconstitutional to convict a former president; Cassidy broke with most members of his party on that vote as well.
“The merits of the Democrats’ case were not even close,” Kennedy said. “The Democrats afforded the president no due process in the House — no hearings, no investigation, no right to be heard, no defense. No one is above the law, but no one is beneath it.”
Both Kennedy and Cassidy were Democrats for years -- the Democratic party for years dominated Louisiana politics -- before switching to the GOP as Republicans cemented their political power in the state.
Almost immediately after his vote to convict, Louisiana Republicans blasted Cassidy. Attorney General Jeff Landry said the vote was “extremely disappointing,” calling the impeachment trial unconstitutional. He said Cassidy fell into a “trap laid by Democrats to have Republicans attack Republicans.”
Mike Bayham, the secretary of the LAGOP, said he hopes the Legislature will revamp the state’s election system to hold closed primaries, which he believes will result in more reliable Republican candidates. Currently, all candidates for office appear on the same ballot regardless of party, in what's known as a jungle primary.
“Bill Cassidy is a senator without a party as of today,” he said.
LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich said the party condemns Cassidy’s vote.
“Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and President Trump has been acquitted of the impeachment charge filed against him,” Gurvich said.
State Rep. Blake Miguez, of Erath, the head of the House GOP delegation, said Cassidy “no longer represents the majority of people in Louisiana” who voted him into office. “Don’t expect a warm welcome when you come home to Louisiana!” he tweeted.
The LA GOP formally censured Sen. Bill Cassidy today. Interesting side note: When I was on the staff of US Senator Bennett Johnston, we asked the LA Republican Party to censure our opponent, David Duke, because he had literally been a self-professed Klansman. They refused. pic.twitter.com/8WBW9qBDMa— Robert Collins (@DrRobertCollins) February 14, 2021
- President Joe Biden will join other G7 leaders in a virtual COVID-19 summit as the international community moves forward on vaccinations and distribution.
- US Secret Service officials have arrested a woman who approached the White House last weekend with a "letter for Joe Biden" after a search revealed a loaded handgun in her car.
- Myanmar's military government has deployed armored vehicles amid an internet blackout to break up demonstrations after last week's military coup deposed civilian leaders.
- The White House is calling for "common-sense gun reforms" from Congress, with the House expected to pass sweeping background check legislation later this month.
- CDC head Dr. Rochelle Walensky says new COVID-19 school safety regulations are "science-based" and "free" from political pressures.