Four more years of gridlock

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Somehow, some way we need to break this cycle and scare the “you know what” out of the two established parties. They need to understand that they stand, oh so close, to the abyss, and the American public won’t tolerate this foolishness any longer. The big question is, is there a nationally recognized and well financed figure out there who could step in at this late date and make a serious bid for the presidency? The individual or group would have to be very well established, not seen as a polarizing figure, have unlimited funds and be fearless in the face of a tremendous onslaught from both parties. While such a candidacy might not succeed, it could be just enough to bring the two parties to the simple realization that they had better find solutions now or surely be prepared to face an even tougher challenge in 2016.

Currently there are five major third or alternative parties in the United States and dozens of lesser-known third parties. Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, running on a platform based on legalization of marijuana, and is the leading candidate for the Libertarian party nomination.

Despite dropping out of the Republican race a week before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Johnson has not given up his hopes of competing for the White House in November. Having switched to the third party, Mr. Johnson said he is confident that he will be one of three people to compete in all 50 states in the fall along with Jim Gray, a former California judge, as his vice presidential running mate.

I find it hard to believe Mr. Johnson’s candidacy will have an impact on the results this fall. Despite how frustrated the American public may be with the Washington leadership, and the current two established choices, a third party candidate like Mr. Johnson is just not up to the monumental task of even making a dent in the 2012 political scene. But a serious dent is exactly what’s needed to shake up the established parties and bring them back to getting things done. Until the two parties see their existence and power seriously threatened, why should they alter the good thing they have going? It’s sad but it seems no one is prepared to save us from yet another four years of gridlock reruns, Washington bickering and further indebtedness, and that is my greatest fear of exactly what we’ll have more of regardless of who we elect in 2012.

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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