Unlike other third-party advocates, I embrace the strategy of “spoiling” a race. Continue reading and you’ll understand why Donald Trump can’t win in 2020 without the help of the proverbial “spoiler”.
Spoiling a race a powerful tool that, for whatever reason, third-party leaders shy away from and never want to admit.
Earlier this month, my friend Russell Verney appeared on Neil Cavuto’s show to discuss the potential of Starbucks’ Howard Schultz as an independent candidate.
Russ was the strategic mind behind Ross Perot’s campaigns in 1992 and 1996.
For those who may not recall, Perot had the most successful third party campaign in modern history – despite the business leader dropping out of the race in July of 1992 and returning in October.
Perot obtained 19% of the vote.
But when my doppelganger, Neil Cavuto, asked Russ if Perot spoiled the race, Russ shifted to the old, safe line about the “exit polls” disproving that his candidate spoiled the election for George Bush in 1992.
Russ is a believer in competition and that Americans are intelligent enough to make a non-binary decision.
And he’s correct.
We have no problem choosing one product out of hundreds lining the cereal aisle.
Even Ms. America is narrowed down from 51 contestants to a single winner.
Only in politics do people complain about too much competition . . . and that’s by design.
Republicans and Democrats control who gets a seat at the competitive table of politics – and their tiny table sells at Ikea for $29.95 and is located in the kids section.
But when a candidate fights his or her way onto the ballot, voters are provided with more choices just as a stoner with the munchies can choose between Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Captain Crunch or Fruity Pebbles.
If a store is out of good ‘ole CTC, that stoner is going with the Captain or the Pebbles.
While Exit Polls do present data that supports Russ Verney’s position, the reality is that Exit Polls asking that hypothetical question, “If candidate X wasn’t on the ballot would you have supported candidate Y,” will not be answered honestly due to pride, embarrassment, etc.
It also doesn’t account for influence of outside candidates on the actual race.
Ross Perot’s focus on the national debt led to embarrassing performances by George Bush in the debates. That issue wouldn’t have raised its ugly head without Perot.
The truth is that third party and independent candidates who have no possibility of winning, do spoil a race.
And just as grapes spoil and ferment to make amazing wine, outside candidates bring tones and notes to a race that improve our American lives.
As Russ Verney mentioned in his appearance on Fox News, following Perot’s 1992 run, Newt Gingrich adopted the Contract with America that was ripped from the pages of Perot’s populist agenda and another powerful lobby at the time, Ralph Reed’s Christian Coalition.
While Perot didn’t win in 1992, he forced candidates to address his positions and even forced the Republican political establishment to adopt his policies in subsequent years.
In 1996, even Bill Clinton was forced to steal Perot’s issue of a balanced budget to give his campaign a defining advantage over Bob Dole.
In his second term, Clinton followed through with Perot’s campaign promises. The budget was balanced in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 (under Bush but the budget was proposed by Clinton).
That’s the power of “spoiling” a race.
A strong independent or third-party candidate forces the major party candidates to address substantive issues that impact Americans instead of idiotic wedge issues.
Another significant advantage is this: if planned properly, third-party candidates can reasonably pick the winner of any race within a few percentage points.
While they can’t be the king, independents and 3rds can be literal king makers.
Heading into 2020, we will be faced with another tight election between Donald Trump and a Democrat nominee.
But there’s a high likelihood that Democrats will have a whopping advantage this year.
First, they won’t have (we hope) Hillary Clinton who suppressed turnout among Democrats with her man-handling of the nomination process and generally being a crap candidate.
Second, the media won’t make the same mistake of projecting a win for the Democrat – a move that also suppresses the Democrat vote.
Finally, and this is a maaaasive “finally” I have two words for you, actually a word and a letter: Generation Z.
Gen Zers are reaching voting age and there are there’s 77 million of them – more than the Baby Boomers.
And if you thought Millennials were bad, Gen Zers are Millennials who were born with a Facebook profile that was posting social justice memes in the womb.
Think David Hogg – the annoying little gun control activist that is worse than an embedded tick on a dog. Well guess what? David Hogg just turned 18.
Trump supporters cannot go into 2020 overconfident , especially give the failure of the 2018 midterm elections.
Republicans face a steep, uphill road to keep the White House.
And just as Ross Perot arguably shaved 8.4% of the vote away from Bob Dole in 1996 – securing the reelection of Bill Clinton – Donald Trump will need his own Ross to win reelection.
In 2020, the figurative “Ross Perot” will have to sit about two centimeters to the right of the Democrat nominee — because you can’t go much further to the left of the current Democrat field without being certified bat crap crazy.
2020’s spoiler will have to come from one of two sources: an independent like Howard Schultz (who fits the bill) or the Libertarian Party whose candidates can choose their exact spot on the political spectrum.
Rule out the Green Party as they haven’t been organized enough to get on the ballot in all 50 in their history, plus their candidates can’t attract moderate democrat voters compared to a Libertarian Candidate such as former New Mexico Governor Gary “Allepo” Johnson who ran in 2016 and 2012.
As we head into 2020, Republicans will need a credible spoiler who will be able to shave 5% of the vote away from the Democrat nominee – and GOP donors would be smart to invest in the Libertarian Party to make that happen.
While it won’t be easy attracting a moderate Democrat like former Florida Senator Bill Nelson to seek the nomination of the Libertarians – money talks and the GOP will be desperate to win.