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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Most. Exciting. Race. Ever.

(Editor's Note: Well, it's a very busy time for me and I did not have the opportunity to write a full-length article. Therefore, I do what all good online columnists do. I'll recycle something I've already written. The following was written on my old website on November 27, 2006. It's an admittedly farfetched scenario, but intriguing all the same. Be sure to check in frequently beginning at the end of this week, as a lot more of my time will be freed up for a stretch.)


The Assumption
Republicans don't want John McCain to win the Republican nomination. He's the maverick Senator. He crosses party lines too often. He worked with liberal Senator Feingold on a campaign finance reform bill. He fought tooth and nail against George W. Bush in 2000. He's 70 years old. He once called televangelist Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance." He exposed the politicians involved in the Jack Abramoff scandal, including fellow Republicans.

Republicans don't want John McCain to win the Republican nomination.

The Set Up
Fast forward to Republican Primary 2008. Senator McCain loses the primary after once again being squeezed out by the Republican Powers That Be (outlined in an earlier blog here). McCain becomes furious. He reflects on the last seven years. He remembers his loss to Governor Bush in the 2000 Primary. He remembers continually standing by the President, despite Karl Rove's dirty politics, throughout his term. He refused to challenge the Republican nomination in 2004. When John Kerry approached him with the VP nomination in 2004, McCain refused. John McCain turned down every chance he had to get even with the Republican think-tank (Red Rover) that defeated him in 2000.

So why did he so admirably fade back into the Senate? Why did he allow the people who wronged him to remain unchallenged? The answer is simple. Come 2008, really his last possible chance to run for President, he thought the party would repay him by their unequivocal support.

But they won’t support him. Once again, due to egotistical neocons who think they can get anyone elected, John McCain will be passed up for the Republican nomination.

The Reaction"We must go beyond today's obstructive and divisive partisanship to confront and solve our nation's biggest problems."

John McCain said that. That's the quote of a man who is getting fed up with the two-party system and its retardation of the federal government. Therefore, knowing this is his last chance to sit in the big chair, and knowing his party does not want to endorse him, he is left with only one option. Leave the party. Run as an independent.

The Battle
Let's go ahead and project the nominees of the two major parties. Methinks Senator Hillary Clinton's bank account is too much to overcome and she wins the Democratic nomination. Looking for a southerner to balance the ticket, she runs with either Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico or Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina as her Vice-Presidential nominee. (John Edwards turns her down, still smarting from once again coming in second for the Democratic nomination, as does Mark Warner, still fuming that the Democrats once again nominated the wrong person.)

The Republican picture is much more muddled. Giuliani is a bit too liberal for the average Republican, Gingrich is a bit too smart, and Romney is a bit too Mormon. However, Romney will present himself as a legitimate conservative in a pool of posers, and should get the nomination. For his running mate, he'll take a strong look at Senators Sam Brownback of Kansas and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. However, he will ultimately choose (wait for it) Jeb Bush of Florida. Yeah. Sorry. (April 10th, 2007 - Editor's note: I've backed off of this prediction. Firstly, Hagel won't accept the #2 position. Secondly, Bush is out of the question. I'd say Brownback is the frontrunner for the Republican's VP nod.)

So you'll have Clinton-Richardson coming at you from the left, Romney-Brownback coming at you from the right, and an entire center waiting to be fought over.

Enter Independent candidate John McCain.

Centrists love him, as do some Democrats and Republicans. To capitalize on this untapped reservoir of voters, John McCain needs a Vice-President with whom he sees eye to eye on the issue of partisan bickering. It must be someone who has nothing to lose by deserting his party to run as an independent. He goes to the most famous independent politician in the country: Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. He brings a lot to McCain’s ticket. Senator Lieberman has the national name recognition, the bipartisan record, the independent moniker, as well as a perfect geographical balance to McCain's Arizona.

Clinton-Richardson (Democrat) vs. Romney-Bush (Republican) vs. McCain-Lieberman (Independent). I'm giddy just thinking about it.

The Specific Result
In the election outlined above, a McCain-Lieberman independent candidacy is extremely viable. I suspect that such a three-way race would keep all tickets under 45% of the popular vote. Moreover, this race might honestly see an electoral college that cannot elect a winner. If no candidate gets the requisite 270 votes, the election gets thrown to the House of Representatives.
Realistically, the McCain-Lieberman ticket won’t win. (If they did, of course, there is no limit to the possible impact of the 2008 election.) First, I can’t possibly see how these two can surpass 270 electoral votes with legitimate Democratic and Republican nominees in the field. Second, if no ticket gets to 270 electoral votes, and the election does indeed go to the House, the Congressmen will surely vote for their parties instead of the two men who were probably lambasting Congress for six months. Third, they're both pro-war, and will have to really accentuate the other issues to get a large enough following for a victory.

So, no, they probably don't win.

However…

The Broad Result
A legitimate three-way race would be a HUGE development in American politics.

First, the amount of new voters this election would produce would be unprecedented. Think of all the people who don’t vote because they hate the two parties, specifically how they continually block and attack each other at the expense of the American people. This new brand of politics will excite many disenfranchised voters, and they’ll be mobilized to the polls on Election Day '08.
Second, politicians will begin to see the potential in crossing the isle in order to get things done for their constituents. What starts with McCain-Lieberman in 2008 could end up in a complete breakdown of the two-party system by 2020.

The Conclusion
The build up to the 2008 election is and will be the most exciting election in decades. Remember, not since 1928 has there been a Presidential election when neither the incumbent President nor incumbent Vice-President is running. It is W-I-D-E open. There has not been a better time to split the country three ways instead of the typical two.

Right now, the American political system is a concealed wound. A legitimate three-way race will be like ripping off the band-aid and pouring antiseptic directly in the orifice. Politicians may feel the pain for a while, but in the long run, it will be for the best.

End of Pipe Dream.
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