Third party talk is in the air. Due to the dissatisfaction with the two likely candidates for President by the Democratic and Republican parties, there is a not-so-quiet whispering campaign that perhaps the time is right for a third party presidential ticket for people who prefer an alternative to the obvious frontrunners. In fact, it is not even a whisper.
The source for the angst varies. For Democrats the biggest cause for concern is the age of the President. The problem is not with the policies per se of the current administration, although there is disagreement there. The problem instead is that a person moving along in the ninth decade of his life is starting to resemble the Foxhub depiction of him. The death of Diane Feinstein and freezing of Mitch O’Connell only serve to reinforce the view that it is time for a younger candidate.
On the Republican side, the situation is different. Here the candidate only is in the eighth decade of his life. Soon he will be in the ninth too and already there are some signs that he is slowing down. Since the immature child with the emotional maturity of a three-year old always has been an incoherent moron, the dumbest person in the room, it is difficult to discern whether his recent outpourings on social media are a sign of mental deterioration or whether it is simply the stress of being under indictments which is taking its toll on him.
So question here is how many people simply have had enough. People are exhausted by never knowing what loony tune comment he will make next. People are tired of the constant increase in law suits. Who wants to keep track of the number of trials yet alone the charges with more to come. He has been exposed as pond-scum slime and fraud in his business career even before he became President. People are catching on to if the self-made man had simply taken the $413 million given him by his father and just invested it in the S&P 500, then he would be far wealthier than he is today. But then no buildings would have his name on it. ENOUGH!
Third parties come in different flavors. Sometimes they may be gadfly parties. These are nuisance parties that turn out in close elections to make the difference. Ralph Nader in 2000 and Jill Stein in 2016 come to mind. Though they had no chance of winning a state yet alone the nation, they attracted just enough votes in battleground states to detract from the Democratic candidate and enable the Republican to win.
Politicians still debate whether Ross Perot took more votes from the reelection of George Bush to throw the election to Bill Clinton or not. Think of how different things might have been without Perot and the reelection of Bush:
Colin Powell as the nominee to succeed Bush in 1996
No Monica Lewinksy
No Florida battleground in 2000
No invasion of Iraq
No Obama to question the invasion of Iraq…
The list of hypotheticals goes on and on. In hindsight, then, the third-party candidacy of Ross Perot may have been the most significant third party in American history.
The Robert Kennedy candidacy falls into this category. Both parties are frightened of the votes he may draw from their respective candidate. The Kennedy name still resonates with many Democrats. His anti-vaccine conspiracy positions attract MAGA who may have grown weary of the Trump baggage. The quick condemnation of him by the Republican National Committee and Trump reveal there is another populist candidate around who could harm the MAGA one. The issue, of course, is not how well Kennedy would fare nationally, but how he would do at the state level.
George Wallace in 1968 also deserves scrutiny. His election marked the turning point when LBJ’s prediction started coming true. Confederates switched their votes from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. We can see that battle continues to unfold in the gerrymandering such as in Alabama or in the Republican takeovers today in many Democratic cities.
In this regard, the 1948 third party candidacy of Strom Thurmond was a party before its time. Truman still won regardless of what the Chicago Tribune claimed.
The last of big third party candidates in the past century was that of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. This future Mount-Rushmore president did fairly well as a second-party candidate but not well enough to defeat Woodrow Wilson.
The 2024 election is unprecedented, a term frequently heard. Besides the shortcomings of the ticket at the top, there is the ticket at the bottom.
The MAGA Party has been a clown show ever since the Republican Party took control of the House earlier this year. It should be noted that “clown show” is a term Republicans themselves use about their own party.
Let’s consider some of the highlights of the MAGA performance so far this year:
1. the 15 round battle to elect at Speaker to start things off
2. the elevation of Hunter Biden to the second-coming of Seth Rich as some kind of mastermind criminal dynasty figure
3. the impeachment of Joe Biden, a much ado about nothing, there is no there, Seinfeld feeble attempt to manufacture something out of nothing effort
4. the almost shutdown of the government over nothing
5. the evacuation of the Speaker position, when eight, count them, eight, MAGAs held the Republican Party hostage against the wishes of 96% of the Representatives
6. the vacant Speaker of the House during the latest battle between Israel and Hamas ensuring that nothing can be done that requires Congressional approval: there is more to the world than Ukraine.
7. Hundreds of military positions remain open even as the United States is involved in Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and China.
8. Ambassador positions remain open precisely the Middle East where war rages.
Who knows how much longer the clown show will last?
Now consider the plight of real Republicans. At the top of the ticket is a twice-impeached, four-times-indicted, facing bankruptcy for his fraud immature child with the emotional maturity of a three year ranting and raving incoherently on social media who is even scarier when he is understood.
Running with him are candidates pledged to undo the 2020 election, convict the Bidens, trash the Constitution, and otherwise wreak havoc.
This is why a third-party ticket of real Republicans could prove impactful. Take New Hampshire for example. The lasted poll had Joe Biden up by 52% to 40%, a sizeable amount in a sometimes battleground state. Now add a third party Real Republican ticket of Romney-Cheney. What would the impact be? Would they take away votes from Biden while leaving Trump untouched? Unlikely. Suppose the popular Real Republican Governor supported the Real Republic ticket? If anything, the MAGA vote is likely to decrease the Republican vote total now that Real Republicans do not have to hold their noses and close their eyes before voting.
Or how about Georgia? Georgia is a slightly Republican state but not a MAGA state. Republican candidates win statewide elections. MAGA candidates do not. In 2020, over 30,000 Republicans voted but left the top of the ticket blank, more than enough to give Trump the state. The same scenario could repeat itself in 2024. But suppose there was a third party ticket of Real Republicans that people who would never vote Democratic could vote for? Take Georgia off the list of battleground states.
In battleground states where the Democrats did very well in 2022, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, a third party of Real Republicans is likely to strengthen the Democrats statewide at the expense of the MAGA candidates. The same is probably true of Wisconsin.
A third party ticket of Real Republicans does not even need to be in all 50 states to seriously impact the MAGA Party and defeat Trump. To give Republicans the opportunity to vote for Real Republicans like Romney and Cheney would directly impact the total Republican Party vote in each state. The MAGA vote may be sufficient to win a gerrymandered Congressional district but it is not necessarily enough to win a competitive state. By offering Republicans a non-Democratic Real Republican alternative, the impact would be far greater than having a nuisance third party. It could rid the country of the wicked witch of the west wing once and for all.