First, it was Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s smack down in the Iowa Straw Poll, which prompted his premature evacuation.
Then it was Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann going from first to worst in the blink of an Iowa eye, followed by her Iowegian Chairman stabbing her in the back yesterday.
We Minnesotans have met our Waterloo, Iowa.
Iowa, oh Iowa. We’ve given you Minnesota’s very finest, and you’ve rejected them, for what? A farm subsidy hating Texan? A Bay Stater? Really?
We’ll grant you, our Governor is deadly boring, even to a citizenry that regards boring as a high virtue. And Bachmann’s act — Palin but dumber and meaner — is wearing thin on us too.
But still, we’re freaking neighbors. Does a 275-mile shared border mean nothing to you people?
Maybe it’s Floyd of Rosedale envy. Maybe it’s because we didn’t send enough buses of Minnesotans down to pay your Straw Poll ransom. Or maybe it’s because you’re tired of driving all the way up here only to see our Vikings, Twins, Wild and Timberwolves stink up the joint like an overflowing hog confinement in July.
But come on now, you still have the Food Court at the Mall of America, right?
Whatever it is, we just have to say, it hurts.
In the wake of the Iowa straw poll – a particularly charming incarnation of the poll tax– and the late entry of Texas Governor Rick Perry, the news media is telling us that that the 2012 presidential field is starting to congeal.
Except that it’s not. Not even close. Because we don’t yet know what will happen with third parties. In the end, third parties might very well impact the selection of the next President more than the outcome of the GOP primaries and caucuses that are dominating the news.
At a time when the American electrate is about evenly divided between the two major political parties, and huge numbers are turned off by both parties, this 2012 presidential election could hinge on which third party, or parties, emerges to relative prominence. If it’s a liberal-friendly third party ticket that dominates the third party space in 2012, Obama will almost certainly lose. If it’s a conservative-friendly third party dominating, Obama could still pull it out, despite the environmental mega-trends – lack of peace or prosperity — working against his reelection.
A third party ticket led by Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump or their ilk looms on the right, and a ticket led by Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders or their ilk looms on the left. I’m as interested in those melodramas as I am about the more high profile Perry, Bachmann, Romney scrum.
And beyond the third party machinations on the left and right fringes, keep your eyes on a new third party wild card this year – Americans Elect. Americans Elect looks like it will be a centrist party, and is being promoted by center-left voices like syndicated columnist Thomas Friedman. Here is how they explain themselves.
Continue reading “Third Parties: 2012 Election’s Critical Missing Piece”