16 May 2012

No third party in the foreseeable future

From a column by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:
The nascent third-party movement called Americans Elect assembled a dream team of prospective presidential nominees: Mike Bloomberg! Colin Powell! Chris Christie! Mitch Daniels! Condi Rice! Rick Santorum! Hillary Clinton!

There was only one problem: None of these candidates wanted the nomination. Neither did the other “draft” candidates who received support on the Americans Elect Web site, including Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Howard Dean, Donald Trump, Al Gore, Sarah Palin and David Petraeus.

Americans Elect had taken care of just about everything a third-party candidate would need. It spent about $35 million on marketing, technology and ballot access. As of Tuesday it had won a place on the November ballot in 28 states (and it still expects to be on the ballot in all 50 by Aug. 1). It had attracted 3.5 million people to its Web site. But what it couldn’t — or hasn’t yet been able to — do is persuade a plausible candidate to submit himself or herself to the ravages of a presidential run. 

“We’ve had hundreds of [candidate] briefings,” Kahlil Byrd, the group’s chief executive, told me on Tuesday. “We have met with current and former governors, current and former senators, university presidents, think tanks, mayors of large cities and people who have been running Fortune 300 companies.”

But the main objection Byrd heard from these would-be candidates: “Do I want to put myself and my family through what it takes?” Looking at the prospect of running, Byrd said, candidates saw only negative ads and attack politics. Among would-be candidates, there was fear and loathing of “the permanent and negative campaign.”..
Americans Elect says it will announce its next steps on Thursday. But, really, the group already delivered on what it set out to do. The lack of takers suggests the political system is farther gone than the reformers realized. 


  1. For many of the potential candidates listed, particularly those who hold or held office, they still have too much vested interest in their parties to jeopardize to risk the low probability of a third party candidate. Why risk the strong networks and connections they've built on a long shot to commit career suicide?

  2. A third party called Americans Elect? Is this a joke? Any organization that would include clowns like Trump, Santorum and Palin on a list of what they consider viable third party candidates deserves all the ridicule that can be heaped on them.

    Then again, this is from a column by Dana Milbank, one of the premier clowns of punditry.

    1. Amen, what a rogue's gallery of worthlessness. How would this be any different than electing them as center right Dems / and far right Republicans? No difference.

  3. As a non-American, so perhaps not qualified to enter the vitriolic debates that Americans have about their candidates, I don't see why these candidates clowniness reflects on Americans Elect any more badly than it reflected on the official parties where they are senior politcians who ran to be the presidential candidates.

    I think, however, that the post's point is more interesting than a 2012-centric party political issue. It's a reminder of the particular limitations of the American implementation of democracy. In the UK we have three 'serious' parties. The third one was long considered to have no chance at all, but people still voted for it, and it's currently in the coalition government.

    On a tangential note, I often wonder what system of government will come after democracy. Something else will come, that is the nature of history; I wish I had some insight into what.

    1. "I don't see why these candidates clowniness reflects on Americans Elect any more badly than it reflected on the official parties where they are senior politcians..."

      Excellent point.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...