The Fast Fix: Can a third party take the presidency?

Chris Cillizza
The Fast Fix

Americans are getting fed up with Democrats and Republicans, but even so, would a third party stand a chance in the 2012 election?

People don't like Republicans. Ditto Democrats.

With so much unrest in the electorate, the time appears ripe for a third party to emerge in the 2012 presidential race.

And, there are already a number of groups working to set the stage for such a candidacy.

Americans Elect, for example,  is focused on securing a spot on the ballot for a third party candidate and have already done so in eight states. They expect to make the ballot in California this week.

Of course, there's one big problem for the supporters of a third party bid in 2012. They don't have a candidate.

Past successful third party runs have been largely candidate driven -- from Teddy Roosevelt's run as a Bull Moose candidate in 1912 to Ross Perot's two bids in the 1990s.

Without a person to rally around, it's hard to imagine how a third party could effectively capitalize on voter disgust with the two party system.

Third party advocates insist there is still plenty of time to find a candidate before the 2012 presidential election. But, the names mentioned range from people like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who almost certainly won't run, to businessman Donald Trump, who is not taken seriously by most voters.

The desire for another option in party politics is as high today as it has been since 1992. But without someone to articulate those feelings, a third party seems unlikely to make much impact in 2012.


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