As Ken Walsh reports, a recent study by elections expert Curtis Gains outlines the conditions conducive to a viable third-party candidacy in a presidential election. He cites five minimal conditions for such an occurrence:
- "A deep feeling that the nation is on the wrong track."
- "Disaffection with the two major parties and their candidates."
- "A line on the ballot in every state."
- "Adequate money to conduct a competitive campaign."
- "Candidates for president and vice president who the public can feel are competent to fulfill the duties of those offices and who offer hope of something different than what has occurred" under Democratic President Obama or his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.
President Obama has seen his popularity diminish greatly since the 2008 election. Yet, the Republican Party has struggled to get behind a formidable challenger, with a number of GOP 2012 candidates quickly rising and falling, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, considered the most mainstream candidate, failing to inspire enthusiasm among the party's most conservative wing. Thus, many think 2012 may be the year for a third-party challenger in the presidential race. Donald Trump has already said he would consider running if he was not satisfied with the GOP field. And though Rep. Ron Paul has said he is committed to running as a Republican candidate, he has not ruled out running third-party if he fails to get the nomination. Furthermore, an Internet-based organization called Americans Elect has taken the initiative to get a nonpartisan ticket of candidates elected directly through its site onto the ballots of all 50 states.
What do you think? Would you like the see a third-party candidate in the 2012 presidential race? Take the poll and comment below.
Previously: Who Will Win the Iowa Caucuses?