2008 Nominees and Third Party Candidates
by Andy Katz, Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 03:01:08 PM EST
One important facet that has largely been ignored so far in discussing the 2008 presidential candidates is which ones are likely to draw third or even fourth party candidates into the race. This largely overlooked factor could be crucial in determining the electability of various candidates. Follow me over to the flip for my view of which candidates are likely to draw 3rd party challenges to the detriment of their party.
THE REPUBLICANS-The "conventional wisdom" is that John McCain and Rudy Guliani would be the most difficult candidates to beat in a general election. I disagree. Both candidates would likely draw a 3rd or even 4th party candidate that will siphon off votes from what you would expect a Republican to receive.
The fact that John McCain is simply loathed by much, if not the overwelming majority, of the religious right is a well known fact. This very large part of the Republican base has been "spoiled" because of how "pampered" it has been over the years. Ironically, these people are both use to getting their way within the GOP AND use to feeling unsatisfied and underappreciated. McCains nomination will enrage these people. Therefore, he will be faced with a third party religious oriented candidate.
This eventuality will be particularly harmful to McCain in the south. I think McCain will lose up to a third of the R base in the south because of a third party candidate. This means that the entire south will be in play if the Dems nominate an individual like Edwards who will maximize our vote there (honesty note-I am a big Edwards supporter).
Defections from the religious right are not the only thing that McCain has to be concerned about. There is also a good chance that some nut like Tancredo will run an anti-immigration "fourth" party campaign if he is the nominee. Faced with these two challenges, plus the Iraq albatross, I doubt if McCain will get 40% of the vote.
The story with Guliani-if he ever gets around to running-which I doubt, is essentially the same. True, for some reason you find conservative leaders talking as if they could support RG. Yet, I think this is an example of political insiders not knowing the people who they claim to represent. There is no way the religious right will fall behind a pro-choice, pro-gay rights gun control advocate. Certainly, there will be a right wing religious challenger to "Americas Mayor" (gag).
Even Romney, who is getting some support from the leadership of the christian conservatives, is likely to face a right wing challenger because of his past support for abortion and gay rights.
THE DEMOCRATS-The Democrats are not immune from this possibility. Our party's front runner in terms of name identification and ability to raise money, Hillary Clinton, is also the most likely to attract a third party challenge from the left. In fact, our old friend Ralph Nader has already stated that he may very well run if HC is the nominee. See http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics /story/494810p-416853c.html. Thus, not only is Hillary the least electable candidate in terms of how many people dislike her, her history of leadership of what I call the Republican wing of the Democratic Party makes her the most likely to attract a third party challenge to our detriment.
I dont think any other Democrat will attract a liberal third party challenger just because I dont think any other DLC types (Biden comes to mind) have a chance at getting the nomination. Something to think about as we head into the 2008 presidential campaign