OPINION – Looking at the list of hopefuls who have announced their intention to run for the presidency in 2016, I don’t think any one of them, from either side, will emerge as the winner.
The next president is still out there somewhere, undeclared, I think.
The early money, of course, pinned it down to Republican Jeb Bush facing off against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
I don’t think that will happen. Both seem to be struggling with voters and both are combating some major image problems.
I seriously doubt there are many voters who would like to see a third Bush occupy the White House, and Clinton, despite all the hoopla, is far from a shoo-in because I think it was easier for voters to elect a man with African-American heritage than a woman. I mean, the only roots deeper than racism in the U.S. are those that sprout sexism.
Besides, a matchup between Bush and Clinton would result in one of two things. Either voters would be so turned off by the prospect of another Clinton or Bush that they would avoid the polls in droves, or it would pave the way for at least one – and possibly two – candidates to run under a different banner.
There are, undoubtedly, numbers crunchers in the Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and – hold your breath – Sarah Palin camps looking at that very angle.
If ever there was a time when a nascent party could actually steal the election, this is it.
There has been much fragmentation since the last time we gathered to vote for president. There are many in the Democratic Party who view Hillary Clinton as too conservative for their tastes and those who think Sanders stands too far to the left.
On the Republican side, while Donald Trump seems to be drawing large support from those who dwell in the lower income, less-educated demographic, he is seriously at odds with the mainstream party. The problem with the Republicans is that there are so many in the race already that by the time they get around to the convention, the bloodletting will be so bad they may not be able to recover.
While I do have a favorite among the crowd – I like Sanders and his progressive stance – his age and liberal philosophy make him a tough sell across the board.
However, if it comes down to Clinton and Bush facing off, the whole thing goes topsy-turvy and a seriously new, complex, and confusing chapter of U.S. history could be written because of that outdated, ridiculous thing we call the Electoral College.
It takes 270 Electoral College votes to secure the Presidency. A third-party candidate would have to win a couple of key states – California, New York, Texas and Florida, are the biggies – to do any real damage and prevent a mainstreamer from reaching the majority. That would then, of course, send the election to the House of Representatives, unless the third-party candidate was able to strike a deal with either of the other candidates and turn his or her delegates over before the Electoral College convenes on Dec. 19, 2016.
I can only imagine the intensity of those negotiations.
I would hate to see the consequences if the election is placed in the hands of the House.
That’s why the archaic, preposterously elitist practice of the Electoral College should be abolished. Remember how Ross Perot won nearly 20 percent of the popular vote in 1992, but failed to garner even one Electoral College vote?
Perot was a fairly popular candidate with a certain segment of voters, leading all polls at one point during the campaign before wigging out and revealing a rather paranoid, delusional side that cut his popularity in half.
He tried again in 1996, but floundered.
His success in 1992 was a simple case of the voters being dissatisfied with the status quo. Perot grabbed the attention of the populist vote and rode it. Had he not melted down near the end of the campaign, he could have been a real factor.
We find ourselves in the same situation today.
Very few voters are satisfied with the way things are going, which is why a guy like Trump, with no political experience, has gained a lot of attention. It will be interesting to see if Trump has the determination to mount a third-party candidacy should the party leaders, who do not like him, prevail and successfully guide the mainstream GOP in another direction.
Sanders, as an Independent from Vermont who aligns himself with the Democrats, has already bolted the two-party system, so if he decided to go solo, it would be no surprise.
There’s a lot of race yet to be run, a lot of mud just waiting to be slung.
But this just could be the most interesting and historic Presidential race in the nation’s history.
That is unless some dark horse candidate emerges from the woodwork and sweeps voters off their feet.
Right now, none of the folks who have already tossed their hat in the ring seem capable of doing so.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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