There are apparently many Americans who don’t want either political party frontrunner to be president. A recent NPR-Marist poll found 65% of voters don’t want President Bident while 60% don’t want former President Trump. And 14% said they don’t want either. That could mean a third-party candidate may have a chance of winning next November.
Historically third-party candidates have never had a chance of winning, although some have influenced elections. Ross Perot likely took votes away from George Bush in 1992, enabling Bill Clinton to win the White House.
Most recently, in 2016, Green candidate Jill Stein may have siphoned enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to put Donald Trump in the White House. But none of the third-party candidates ever came close to winning. Next November things may be different.
Most Republicans strongly favor Trump’s policies. His economy was one of the best the country has seen in decades. Inflation was low, unemployment was low, interest rates were low and growth was increasing. On national defense, Russia was held in check, North Korea stopped shooting missiles, Iran was on the verge of economic collapse, and therefore not funding terrorism, and China was being confronted.
Yet because of Trump’s personality and actions many from the GOP will never vote for him.
Most Democrats favor Biden’s policies. Until the recent Supreme Court decision, abortion was widely available, climate change is being confronted, discrimination is being minimized and the economic policies are seemingly geared to help the average American.
Yet because of his age and possible corruptive conduct, many Dems will not vote for him.
This may be the perfect time for a third-party candidate to win the White House, especially if the Presidential and the Vice-Presidential candidates are proven politicians who have won elections in their party, yet do not maintain an extreme position.
Mitt Romney as President and Joe Manchin as Vice-president fit the need very well.
Senator Romney was the 2012 GOP candidate for president who was leading in the polls just a few weeks before the election against incumbent Barak Obama. Many believe that had it not been for Hurricane Sandy and Romney’s decision to refrain from campaigning just 10 days before the election, Romney would have won.
Romney is generally a conservative, but he was moderate enough to win the governor’s race in mostly blue Massachusetts. Today a compassionate conservative with moderate social views may be very appealing to a majority of voters.
Senator Machin is a somewhat conservative Democrat but is conservative enough enough to be elected in deep red West Virginia. He, like Romney, could be considered a compassionate conservative.
This matches the country’s usual mood. Prior to Biden’s left turn, the country was always considered to be just right of center.
During President Trump’s term in office, Romney was viewed as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) because he wasn’t conservative enough. Until recently Manchin was viewed as too conservative to appeal to the very liberal parts of the Democratic Party.
Since Biden’s election, Americans have been yearning for leadership that would end the deep divide in America today. Biden has failed to unify the country and Trump continues to make the divide much larger.
Many Americans from both parties refuse to vote for their party’s candidate if the choice is between Biden or Trump. They don’t’ want to waste their vote on a third party candidate believing that none stands a chance of winning. RFK, Jill Stein or any of the others are simply not very appealing to a large audience. Romney/Machin may be very appealing.
Their positions have a strong chance of re-uniting the country. Depending on the make-up of Congress, policies would likely favor a market economy with less government control. That will appeal to most of the country.
On national security Romney favors the “peace through strength” position that has served the country well, but Biden abandoned. Romney wouldn’t avoid confrontation, but he would be more interested in seeking compromise when it benefits the U.S. That won’t appeal to the extremists in either party, but it may appeal to the majority in the middle.
On social issues like abortion, Romney/Machin, similarly, will find policy that won’t appeal to the extremes but will be acceptable to a majority in the middle.
On economic issues the ticket will favor lower taxes, less government control and working toward serious deficit reduction. That too, won’t appeal to the extremes but will be acceptable to the middle.
That’s why Romney/Manchin may be a winner. They won’t appeal to the extremes, but their positions may be acceptable to the middle majority.
Michael Busler is a public policy analyst and a professor of finance at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in finance and economics. He has written op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.
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