Before I get into the meat of the post, a quick question, does anyone really think Iowa means dick? All this hand ringing going on about the cataclysmic effects if Paul wins Iowa, who cares? Santorum is surging in Iowa, who cares? Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll, who cares? Huckabee won in the last go around, now he has a show on Fox, hardly a springboard for success or a momentum builder. Iowans have the pulse of America about as much as Cambridge liberals, and offer equal insight (or lack there of) on where the country is at.
Now, on to Gary Johnson deciding to bolt the GOP and run as a third party candidate on the libertarian ticket:
Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process,” Johnson said in a statement released by his presidential campaign. He named GOP candidates Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, saying they have “no national name identification” yet are allowed to participate in debates.
He has a point in his obvious short shrifting in the debates, and counters all that nonsense I’ve been reading here of late on how Fox News is soooooooooo bias, considering that Fox was the only hosting network that included Johnson in their debate. You can’t gain traction without exposure and you can’t get exposure if you are not included in the debates, he was doomed at the outset, pity.
Personally, I am conflicted about the notion of a third party in general. I am as disaffected with out current two political parties as anyone, and taken as a whole they comport themselves pretty much birds of the same feather. Platforms aside, it is not what they say but what they do and both have been poor stewards of the people’s welfare, and which crys out even louder for term limits and the infusion of fresh blood on a regular basis. If more choices present more freedom then a third party, or even a fourth or fifth, should provide the folks a better megaphone for what they want. But reality tells us different. Yes, Ralph Nader does provide us with an example of how a third party can shape an election (I can still here the wailing and weeping from 2000) but has it ever happened before or since? Maybe Teddy with his second go around with his Bull Moose Party, costing Taft the election against Woodrow Wilson. Maybe Ross Perot, OK, maybe there are a few examples, but seriously, how bad can Johnson’s third party bid hurt the GOP?
On the flip side, if anyone here has followed elections in Israel or other nations that have multiple parties, do we really want a president who had the support of 38% of the nation? Multiple party national elections often end up this way, the guy with the highest percentage wins and most often it comes down to plurality over majority, yuck. Sometimes it can work if two or more minority parties lobby together to weld their power and influence over the plurality party, but that can’t happen here, Congress is still run by two parties.
Historically, Libertarian candidates haven’t made enough of a dent to spoil the chances of a major-party candidate, but they tend to “disproportionately hurt Republicans,” says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
True, but Green, Progressive and Communist Party candidates siphon from the left. The fact of the matter is that Gary Johnson’s bid will hurt the GOP candidate, no doubt about it, to what degree though? Even the most optimistic of GOP prognosticators admit, begrudgingly, that with their best man running his best race and bringing his A game, it will be a close election, with the headwinds pointing towards which ever way the economy is going. And even with their best man, that man will have to hoist an apathetic party on his back and carry them. Most Republicans, much like with McCain last year, will hold their nose and vote GOP, if only because 4 more years of Obama is too gruesome to even entertain, But if my sentiment is reflective of many, getting me on board and wildly enthusiastic is going to be an uphill battle. It is never a good sign when your constituents are rooting for a brokered convention and many are.