A Fourth Party President

The Republicans are freaking out about Donald Trump’s refusal to rule out a 3rd party run. And why would he rule it out? He is the frontrunner now. If he shows a lack of confidence in himself or his dedication to this run, he may lose supporters. It’s part of what people love about him. He has the courage of his convictions.

The downside of course is that he would split the republican vote, guaranteeing a loss for republicans in the presidential election. Some people are even speculating that because of his past liberal views and support for some liberal politicians that this is his plan. I don’t think so. For one thing, I don’t think Trump’s ego would allow him to envision himself a kingmaker – it’s king or nothing for him.

Anyway let’s look at another possibility. Against all odds, Bernie Sanders has also struck a nerve at the other end of the political scale. He is drawing huge crowds and they are not just the Marxists and Occupiers. Now, Hillary has hit the wall and (at least as of now), she is sliding down until and unless she is able to deflect and recover from her email debacle. So, for now at least, Bernie is the Democrat Party front runner.

I don’t think either of these guys will be their party’s eventual nominee. As candidates drop out on the republican side I think someone other than Trump will pick up their supporters. Democrats are waiting to see who is available that is NOT Hillary. O’Malley may get the nod once people get to know him.

What is to prevent Bernie from mounting a 4th party run? He’s already styled himself a socialist, so there is a party waiting for a candidate. Socialism doesn’t carry the same negative vibe it used to in America. Europeans flaunt it, occupiers embrace it, and Obamacare has been it’s defacto debutante ball in America, so it doesn’t look like Karl Marx anymore, just like a kindly professor….like….Bernie Sanders.

So let’s imagine what could happen. Both men could legitimately say they are heading up a “movement”. This movement is born of dissatisfaction with their current party. Their views and ideas aren’t being heard and certainly arent being acted upon.

Movements generate a lot of energy and a lot of interest. They have the potential to draw a lot of money also. Witness the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, even Greenpeace which started as just such a movement.

So let’s just say conventional wisdom prevails and it’s Bush – Clinton. Which is probably both likely and a worst case scenario. If I were Trump, with the money that he has available to him I would absolutely mount a third-party run. He says he will spend a billion dollars. Even Republicans who don’t like Trump right now will like Bush even less, and this is especially true of conservatives. That situation is an engraved invitation to Bernie Sanders to run.

For Clinton there exists any number of incidents that could blow her candidacy out of the water once she is nominated: Benghazi, 6 billion missing from State, classified emails on her private server, or technology sales to the Chinese. If she blows up and it becomes clear that she cannot win the election, Bernie is a shoe-in for the votes of jilted Democrat voters.

Now we have four candidates for president, all with legitimate numbers. In reality this looks much more like America of 2015 then our standard two party system. Conservatives and liberals have never been further apart in their ideology but their parties have not been able to keep up. They move a little left, a little right, try to keep all the plates spinning and end up with mush mouth candidates who stand for nothing and capitulate to anything to keep their money rolling in.

I think we are a nation of thirds now, not half-and-half. One third conservative, one third liberal and one third who either don’t care or can be convinced of anything. In other words, if the Republicans and Democrats lose their base to ideologic candidates all they have left is the middle of the road/ apathy vote, and they can’t win with that.

This perfect storm is not so unlikely. Trump and Sanders’ front runner status should be enough to convince anyone that there is a roiling discontent with status quo politics in this country. That could be enough to birth a couple of new parties or at least to reform the existing behemoths.

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