What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Could Sarah Palin Break From the Republicans?

December 8, 2009, 4:11 PM

Chris Cilizza at The Fix draws our attention today to an interview Sarah Palin did with conservative talk show host Lars Larson. When Larson asked whether she would consider running as a third party candidate, she told him "That depends on how things go in the next couple of years." When pressed she added that if the Republican Party gets back to its conservative base, there wouldn't be a need for a third party, but that she would "play that by ear in these coming months, coming years."

Cilizza remarks that it sounds like she's "leaving the door wide open." While running as a third party candidate might not seem to make much sense—she would have almost no chance to win and it would badly split the Republican vote—Palin certainly seems capable of striking out on her own. It is not simply that it would be in keeping with her maverick persona or that she has never been shy about furthering her own ambitions at the expense the of the party. As I have written before, there is a battle for control of the Republican Party. The so-called conservative base—whom Palin represents—feels strongly that a more moderate Republican Party hardly worth supporting. As they showed in New York's 23rd District by backing Doug Hoffman against the more moderate party nominee, they are willing to risk hurting the party's chances to see their candidates win. So they may be willing to consider the nuclear option of supporting an independent Palin, even if it means sabotaging their own party.

It probably would ensure another victory for Obama. As I wrote yesterday, Palin's negatives are high and her appeal to swing voters is limited. She would have a hard time winning even if she ran as a Republican. As a third party candidate she would have almost no chance. Only former President Teddy Roosevelt, running in 1912 against incumbent President William Howard Taft, ever placed as high as second. And with 27% of the electorate voting for him, Roosevelt essentially gave the election to Woodrow Wilson, who won with a mere 42% of the popular vote. Because Palin speaks for a large and alienated number of conservatives, she would probably siphon off enough conservative votes to make it next to impossible for the Republican nominee to win. Of course, conservatives would prefer to use the threat of a split as leverage to demand that Palin or someone with similar views be the party's nominee. But if they don't get their way, we really could see Palin running as an independent in 2012.


Could Sarah Palin Break Fro...

Newsletter: Share: