The Plausible Third-Party Scenario


Every couple of months, a certain kind of Beltway punditry will go into paroxysms of joy at the thought of a “centrist” independent presidential candidacy. Even Harold Ford’s wildly implausible and now-dropped Senate big became an excuse for touting this sort of thing. Meanwhile, you hear much less about ideas like this which I regard as much more plausible:

Former Colorado congressman and Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo told WND today that if no one to his liking emerges in the 2012 run for the White House, he will consider another bid for the GOP nomination and would not rule out becoming a third-party candidate, as a “last option.”

Tancredo, known for his strong stance against illegal immigration, spoke to WND after a Dutch newspaper published an interview article in which he said he didn’t view the GOP’s 2008 vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, as “presidential.”

Now Tom Tancredo isn’t going to get elected President as an independent candidate. But there’s a real political space for an anti-immigration conservative candidate. The GOP keeps nominating pro-immigration presidential candidates despite very substantial resistance to this stance from within the party base and there’s an anti-immigration constituency among a lot of people who would self-identify as moderate as well.

If he was able to raise money—which would be a real problem—I don’t think it’s hard to imagine a conservative running as an anti-TARP, anti-immigrant “tea party”-friendly candidate getting enough electoral support to potentially impact the final outcome.