A credible third-party candidate would not have much chance of winning the White House in November, but they may push Republicans and Democrats back to the political center.
Roll Call's Morton Kondracke says he hops someone with "political celebrity" uses the 50-state ballot access offered by Americans Elect to force Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to address touchy political issues like tax and entitlement reform and infrastructure funding.
He says a true centrist ticket would be able to draw support from independent and moderates, which could scare Romney and Obama.
All third-party candidates in the past have failed to win, of course, but some have moved — or scared — the major parties into addressing issues they were otherwise avoiding. And that’s the great benefit that a credible AE candidate could perform in 2012.
This year, it’s not one issue that needs addressing — it’s a whole series of problems that Republicans and Democrats can’t or won’t solve because they are so ideologically divided.
The problems start with getting job creation started again, which includes investment in education, research and infrastructure (which Obama favors) and tax reform (which both candidates merely give lip service to).
They include tackling the massive federal debt, which will increase under Obama’s budget from 80 percent of gross domestic product now to a crushing 124 percent by 2050, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.