What are the chances of there being a significant third Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election?

Bookmark and Share    While Republican presidential prospects look good at the moment, making the defeat of  incumbent President Obama an inevitability will be far from easy.   Regardless of who the GOP presidential nominee ultimately is, they will have to run a solid campaign that reassure voters that they can at least do no worse than the sitting president.  They will have to be able to defend their personal history and try to turn it in to a political virtue.  They will have to be able to rewrite the storylines of their opponents, get their message out over the din of a biased liberal media, and provide a national direction that most can agree with. 

With President Obama wounded by growing scandals involving Solyndra and “Fast & Furious“, and being weighed down by higher than normal unemployment, a record amount of increased federal spending and debt, and the general impression that the nation is headed in the wrong direction, his defeat may now seem unavoidable. 

But it’s not.

Republicans have always had a great talent for defeating themselves and if there were ever a chance for them to do that, 2012 is it.

Despite his standing in the polls, President Obama has a full year to raise and spend what his campaign advisors say is an amount close to, or more than a billion dollars.  That’s “B” …..”billion”.

Billion Buck Barry will undoubtedly use that money much more wisely than he has used taxpayer’s money.  There will be thousands of mini ACORN-like organizations registering professional football players and Mickey Mouse to vote as Democrats, there will be well spun ads on T.V., cable, radio, computer games, on Google Ads, and newspapers and anything that has enough space to occupy with powerful images of the czars of czars.   It will be an air, sea, and ground campaign of class warfare that will best be described as a modern day, American blitzkrieg that will level our cities with a litany of liberal propaganda that will inspire the most social of socialists.

But Republicans will be dealing with a much more divided group of supporters than Democrats.

While a mere 20 or so percent of Americans describe themselves as liberal and 42% describe themselves as conservatives, many of those conservatives have come to feel disenfranchised from the G.O.P.

Between 2004 and 2008, many Republicans feel the way that Ronald Reagan felt about Democrats early on in his career when he explained;

“I did not leave the Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party left me

Hence the onset of the TEA movement.  And just for the record, yes, I wrote the “TEA movement”, not the TEA Party. 

The phrase TEA Party, logically creates the perception of a nationally organized political establishment, promoting one set of candidates representing their political affiliation.  That is not the case with so-called TEA Party.  It is a movement, based on the principles of less spending, less government, and more freedom.  On top of that,  this broad coalition is, at best, loosely organized, and it does not automatically support Republican candidates.  This makes it much more of a movement than a political Party.  And then there is the capitalization of the letters “T”, “E”, and “A”.  I do that because this coalition did not name themselves after tea bags.  The combin ation of letters is an acronym that stand for  “Taxed Enough Already”. 

In any case, the TEA movement is more than willing to oppose the G.O.P. and their candidates, and in 2012, the Republican Party can not rely on the common perception that voters unhappy with President Obama will simply support the Republican presidential nominee solely as a means to defeat the President.  In 2012, many voters do not want to settle for the lesser of the two evils.  Many voters, especially those in the TEA movement, want to eliminate both evils.

As such, conditions are just right for a third Party candidate to have the opportunity to significantly affect the presidential election.

A strong third Party candidate may not be able to win if Billion Buck Barry utilizes his money effectively and Republicans run a decent campaign, but they could still determine the results. 

When Theodore Roosevelt ran under the Bullmoose banner in 1912, he ran the most effective third Party candidacy in history.  He did not win, but he came in second, and  was singlehandedly responsible for the loss of incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.  Had Roosevelt not upset the apple cart, Taft would have won a second term.  But thanks to Teddy, Taft came in third and with the vote split between the two, Woodrow Wilson became our President (see Fig. 1) . 

In 1968 the ugliness that was George Wallace ran for President on the American Independent Ticket.  That race may not have changed the results but it easily could have.  Only 0.7 % of the popular vote differentiated winning from losing by Richard Nixon over Democrat Hubert Humphrey.  However; the electoral college was still quite lopsided in Nixon’s favor. 

That year, racial strife allowed a coalition of Southern states to give Wallace 46 electoral votes, and nationally he drew 13.53% of the vote.  (see Fig.2)

In 1980 liberal Republican Congressman John Anderson ran on an Independent ticket under the banner of the National Union Party after losing the Republican presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan. 

Anderson’s vote did not change the outcome of that election, but he did do surprisingly well, by winning 6.61% of the popular vote.  (see Fig. 3)

But the best performance by acontemporary third Party candidate occurred in 1992, when eccentric businessman H. Ross Perot struck a chord of political independence within the nation and effectively torpedoed any chance that incumbent President George H.W. Bush had at winning reelection. (see Fig. 4)

In 2012, while there is not yet any sign of such a candidacy on the horizon, the right formula for one is there.

People are tired of both Party’s.  Democrats feel their Party has not been liberal enough.  Republican believe that the G.O.P. has not been forceful enough and not been committed enough to conservative principles.  And a whole host of Americans from Independents to TEA movement activists, are fed up with both Parties and no one sees either Party doing enough to solve the greatest challenge facing our nation since World War Two and the War on Terror……………our deficit and addiction to spending.  Thus making it so that the right candidate could just tilt the scales enough to determine which one of the two major Parties control the White House for the four years following the election.  From my perspective, two candidates who would do just that are Sarah Palin and Russ Feingold.

If Sarah Palin ran as a third Party, Independent candidate, she would certainly be viable,e enough to prevent the G.O.P. from beating Billion Buck Barry.  And if someone like former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold mounted a third Party, candidacy  he would be able to attract enough votes away  from the Democrat’s liberal base, in enough key states to cost President Obama reelection.  I don’t see either doing such a thing, at least not yet.  But you never what will happen.  If enough conservatives remain dissatisfied by the prospects of Mitt Romney becoming the nominee and then fail to accept him if he is the nominee, someone like Palin could easily keep those votes for themselves and prevent Republicans from claiming the electoral votes of key states like Colorado, New Mexico, and even Ohio and Florida.

So what do you think?

Answer this week’s White House 2012 question.  What are the chances of there being a significant third Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election? Vote here now.

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