(Roger Stone/The Stone Zone) – As it dawns on voters that they may well have a choice between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney a majority of voters favor a 3rd choice, if not a 3rd party. A stunning Washington Post/ABC News poll recently showed 61% of American voters wanted another choice in addition to these two standard bearers.
Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party are examples of growing unrest in the country and the public’s complete disgust with politics in general and their dislike of both parties whom they believe are both to blame for our current economic downturn and a trillion dollar foreign policy they see as wasteful and unfocused. The Occupiers and the Tea Partiers embody this visceral and intellectual anger of the voting public.
Third-party candidates rarely win elections, but historically fare better when the nation is howling for change. The coupling of an economy in recession and a false promise against raising taxes helped Ross Perot and the Reform Party grab 19% of the vote in 1992. It is not inconceivable that a third-party candidate could grab as much or more in an upcoming election as voters start to see through the illusion of a two-party government.
Arguably, the most fractured time in our nation was mended by the work of third party presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. At the time, Lincoln, of the newly founded Republican Party, won 39% of the popular vote, taking the election out of the hands of the Democratic and the Whig parties, despite being left off the ballots in many southern states.
As Lincoln said in 1856, “Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.” The public is ready for additional options as well as radical solutions for a system they see as broken.
The answer could be helped from a new group known as Americans Elect, which is self-identified on it’s website as, “America’s first direct presidential nomination.” Americans Elect, founded in part by investor Peter Ackerman and his son, is already backed by $22 million in funding and has posited its intentions of securing ballot positions in every state. Which candidate could be a question hotly debated in the upcoming weeks and months.
The group believes it has found a system that is not stymied by political favor, agenda or special interest, a system where any citizen can influence, delegate and participate. The group has also expressed that it is intent on serious candidates and vote-getters, that six potential candidates will square off to win the party’s nomination. The winner of the party nomination would then make a grab for a vice-presidential candidate from another party.
Whether those running Americans Elect can actually get on the ballot in 50 states and hold a fair online nominating convention as they propose or whether they are just well meaning but naive good government types short of political mechanical skills, like those who supported Adlai Stevenson, remains to be seen. Americans Elect has brought on experienced and respected public opinion pollster Doug Schoen which lends credibility to the group.
Although American’s Elect claims no ideological bias the heavy fingerprints of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are on the group. In fact, Americans Elect previously existed as Unity 08, a subterranean ballot effort to preserve the options for Mike Bloomberg to run as an Independent three years ago. This does not mean Bloomberg will take the Americans Elect nomination. He won’t. Bloomberg is reportedly realistic about his prospects in a national 3-way race particularly given the difficulties of his 3rd term.
While Americans Elect would love Hillary Clinton to be their candidate they also seem to favor a David Walker, a person I’ve actually never heard of. It’s hard to see Ron Paul as the nominee of Americans Elect even though a recent CBS poll showed Ron Paul with 18% of the vote in a 3-way race while Mike Bloomberg only polled 13%.
Donald J. Trump is focused on defeating Obama and while he has preserved his option to run as a self funded Independent candidate, his endorsement of a Republican is more likely. Trump’s book “Time to Get Tough” is rumored to be a manifesto of how to fix the countries ills and it’s a sure bet that Chinese asses will be sore after this book hits the market in early December.
The Libertarian party is likely to be on 50 state ballots. The party is healthy and growing and has demonstrated some ability to raise money in the previous presidential election. Their nomination of former congressman Bob Barr three years ago was unfortunate. Barr is not in any way a Libertarian and a golden opportunity to articulate a Libertarian governing philosophy was lost.
Ron Paul or former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson both make interesting and articulate candidates to carry the Libertarian banner and while the election of either is unlikely the Libertarians are poised to drain votes from Mitt Romney if he is the Republican nominee.
For the life of me what I don’t understand why Republican National Chairman Reince Pribus doesn’t understand this imminent danger. Locking Governor Gary Johnson out of the current Republican debates will increase the chances the Johnson bolts the party and has a strong rationale to do so.
The Chairman should be lobbying ABC for Johnson’s inclusion in their December 10th debate. With Johnson running no worse than former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum or Obama’s Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman he should be included. Based on his Fox debate line that “his next door neighbor’s dog created more shovel ready projects then Barrack Obama” show Johnson would contribute to a lively debate.