In a Gallup poll of several weeks ago, 52 percent said that neither political party adequately represents the American people and that we need a third party. Of the 52 percent, 68 percent were Independents, 52 percent Republicans, and 33 percent Democrats.
So it’s not surprising that the field of Republicans emerging as possible presidential candidates is wide, diverse, and unconventional.
But another lesson to be learned from 1860 is that conventional wisdom of establishment pundits is not necessarily reliable.
These pundits will explain why the more unconventional stated and potential candidates in the Republican field – Cain, Palin, or Bachmann – don’t have a chance and why we should expect Romney, Pawlenty, or Huntsman.
But going into the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1860, the expected candidate to grab the nomination was former governor and Senator from New York, William H. Seward.
But emerging victorious on the third ballot at the convention was a gangly country lawyer, whose only previous experience in national office was one term in the US congress, to which he was elected fourteen years earlier.
A year or two earlier, no one, except Lincoln himself, would have expected that he would become president of the United States.