DemosNews: Here We Go Again
Here We Go Again

Not one but two third party movements are growing beneath the surface of the 2008 presidential race. A very nice friend I sat with at dinner in New York recently was ready. “I’m unhappy with Hillary, despise Guliani and think Bloomberg-Hagel would be great and could win” said she. This dream ticket has been ticking along for months, seemingly not affected by Hizzoner had denied it thrice in an interview over the summer. Now we have conservative Christian leaders considering a third party attempt on the right.

Many Americans, particularly among the literati and glitterati, are always unhappy with their choices from the grueling presidential winnowing. But a third force has never elected a president in nearly 150 years of trying. From the electoral college at the top to party controlled state by state rules at the bottom a system has developed which has been impossible to crack despite the appeal of some third party candidates. Instead, these movements which spring up every decade or so act as spoilers; that is their real effect.

The reason for these failures is that there has not been an issue strong enough to crack the system since the fight over slavery created the Republican Party from the ashes of the Whigs and elected Abraham Lincoln in 1860. We know what motivates conservatives Tony Perkins and James C. Dobson: Rudy Guliani’s being wrong on abortion rights and other social issues. But the former Hizzoner’s surprising success with many “movement conservatives” will blunt this challenge. And, can you even think of an issue around which the current mayor and retiring Nebraska senator will rally? It cannot be the Iraq war certainly; the herd of Democrat candidates won’t even commit to a zero U. S. military presence there by 2013!

If something strong enough and well funded enough develops from the current third party movements the result certainly could affect who is president as did the Bull Moose effort in 1912 and Ross Perot in 1992, but it will not elect a third way candidate president. The more likely unprecedented happening would be that one of the major candidates accumulates a winning delegate total after February 5 but becomes somehow unelectable between then and the conventions. That could produce a real convention and nomination of a Bill Richardson or Mike Huckabee, but all within the two party system.

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October 9, 2007 at 7:19pm
DemosRating: 4.75
Hits: 1279

Genre: Politics (Western Hemisphere)
Type: Critical
Tags: 2008, election, third, party, Bloomberg, Hagel

George Sullivan   Excellent, articulate analysis! Most depressing to me is tha...
John Cavil   Ohio and Florida are not minor states (#s 4 & t5 of 51 in el...
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