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April 25, 2005


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» Random links from Centerfield
Here a few interesting items that I have come across this week. - E.J. Dionne says that moderates are in revolt. - Ron Brownstein says that there may be an opening for a centrist third party. - Brendan Nyhan says... [Read More]

» Could the internet launch a third-party candidate in 2008? from Politics and Technology
At the L.A. Times, columnist Ronald Brownstein is asking a key question: Given the power of the net to rapidly organize passionate people around a dynamic candidate, could it launch a third-party candidate to the White House? He quotes Joe [Read More]

» Fallacy of Internet Campaigning from Les Jones
Ron Brownstein of the LA Times is promoting the idea that the Internet could enable a viable third party presidential candidate. I'm naturally skeptical following the failure of Internet-based political campaigns to even get a major party candidate ele... [Read More]


I think that some people have decided that modern electoral politics is all about the money and that, given enough money, one can attain instant credibility and electability. They may even think that the only reason George W. Bush was in any way electable was because of a money advantage and think they are following that model.

One may understand Duverger's law yet believe that the Internet is ideal for gathering funds for a massive PR campaign and delivering the message that the third place candidate has a much better chance than reality dictates. I doubt it, but I can see Trippi's ideal scenario. If the major party fields are somehow dominated by politicians with no national name recognition AND someone with national name recognition and a positive reputation made an early declaration of an independent bid, then early polls of the mush-headed public placing that person against an unnamed random Democrat and an unnamed Republican may possibly give the independent somewhere over 20%. Then, either the centrist will fade or overtake the Democrat and it will seem like a two-horse race again, or you will get that bizarro world situation when all three candidates are relatively close to each other and so retain the perception of having a decent chance to win.

Trippi is familiar with the process. He created a well-funded aura of credibility around Howard Dean (a guy who I supported, by the way) which seemed to evaporate. He's probably decided that if you find a talented guy to run a campaign (like himself, snicker, snicker) and give him a boatload of money, he can make anyone with a reasonable resume into a plausible candidate. Trippi may even believe that if he gets enough of the media repeating this meme, then people will believe it is possible and assume that an independent has a shot. Can you imagine what would happen if the major news networks started running polls between an unnamed Democrat, an unnamed Republican, and an unnamed "Internet centrist candidate?"

I agree with you that it requires extraordinary circumstances for a third party candidate to have a chance, but I think that Trippi's ego allows him to believe that he can manufacture those extraordinary circumstances rather than waiting for historical chance.

The Manchurian Candidate (McCain) will draw votes from the Democratic party. Once this is widely recognized the Hillary press will take him out. Otherwise the Republican candidate will win with 47%.

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