The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Are Third-Party Presidential Bids a Pipe Dream?

Third-party candidates face dizzyingly steep odds of ever claiming the presidency, which accounts in part for all the criticism that was unleashed on Thomas

Kaleem Kirkpatrick
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 05, 2010

Third-party candidates face dizzyingly steep odds of ever claiming the presidency, which accounts in part for all the criticism that was unleashed on Thomas Friedman’s Sunday column that half-pined for and half-predicted that a serious outside challenger would emerge in 2012. But FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, known for his facility with numbers, provides a long list of reasons for why the odds might not be as long as they seem:

1. Voters have extremely low opinions of both major parties — much lower than in the period from 1992-1994, when electoral constituencies were being re-shuffled and when Mr. Perot lost his bid.

2. By some measures, an increasing number of voters prefer to identify as belonging to neither major party.

3. The Republicans might field a particularly polarizing presidential nominee. Sarah Palin, in particular, were she to be nominated, might have trouble achieving 50 percent of the vote, even if Barack Obama were still fairly unpopular.

4. The employment picture is likely to improve only modestly by 2012, according to most economists, which could contribute toward continued dissatisfaction with Washington.

5. Whichever party wins control of the Senate and the House in November, its majorities are liable to be narrow, which is likely to lead to gridlock and the inability to make good on its campaign promises.

Silver actually goes on to provide fifteen reasons in all, and while it’s hard to gauge their “statistical significance,” they’re a fairly compelling compilation. Odds are, even in such a relatively favorable environment, a third-party candidate would stand little chance of making significant inroads, but the broader point is that Friedman’s critics might not want to deny the possibility outright.

Kaleem Kirkpatrick | Kaleem weaves song and story together with experience from his 12 year career in business and sales to deliver a mesmerizing tale of wealth and anger – the ups and downs of disruption – using his expertise in music and entertainment. His background in philosophy and psychology allows him to simplify the science of why we construct trends, where they come from, and how to alter them to improve outcomes.


$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |