Wednesday, October 6, 2010

277 / Third Parties

Thomas Friedman is now opining that "barring a transformation of the Democratic and Republican Parties, there is going to be a serious third party candidate in 2012, with a serious political movement behind him or her - one definitely big enough to impact the election's outcome."

It's possible. Of course, by my reckoning, anything is possible in the world we make ourselves.

Generally speaking, the actual political result achieved by third party candidacies has usually been counter to what the third party candidate said was the objective. Relatively recent history has one example for each of the traditional "sides" in American politics. Ross Perot gave us Bill Clinton. Ralph Nader gave us George W. Bush.

Revolutions do occur, but not while we "watch." Only when we "do." A third party Obama-like candidacy could achieve a fundamental transformation of American politics. But since Obama-like leaders are pretty scarce, and since the money to do the kind of organization necessary is usually sought from the very same interests that need to be replaced and displaced, "predicting" a fundamental transformation of our politics would not be a safe bet. And in fact, what Friedman is actually predicting is that a serious third party candidacy would "impact the election's outcome."

So, are we looking for another Ross Perot/Ralph Nader result? Friedman is the guy who thought that the Iraq war, as proposed by Bush, was a really keen idea.

Watch out, America!

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