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Is it Time for a Third-Party President?

Updated on April 8, 2016

A recent Fox News report offered the tease "Is it time for a third-party President." The two panelists, a Democratic strategist, and a Republican strategist, predictably, spent the entire segment lambasting the opposition's position, while lauding the vision and performance of their own party. Not one word was uttered about the possibility of a third-party candidacy. Isn't this precisely why one is needed?

In Washington today, the political viewpoint has never been more myopic, more inwardly focused on political navel-gazing than at present. The result is that much of American popular opinion goes unheeded. For example, the majority of Americans thinks partial-birth abortion is wrong and should be banned, yet this inhumane practice persists. Most Americans, want the borders secured and immigration laws enforced...yet insecure borders with amnesty for those already here illegally seems the only solution that the Democrat/Republican cogs of government will tolerate.

The "razor-sharp" blade of public opinion is definitely dulled in our current political climate. Is it time for the politicos to receive a deafening wake-up call?

Ross Perot and Ralph Nader are the best recent examples of third-party candidates and their impact on national politics. All the American voters got for either of these candidacies was two-terms for Bill Clinton, and two-terms for George Bush. This really accomplished nothing on the political paradigm shifting front. But I've been a long-time advocate of third-party movements beginning with my first presidential vote; for John B. Anderson, who had even less impact than Perot or Nader.

Perot with his famous charts..

Yet it seems these warning shots go completely unheeded. In the last election, the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives for our district's seat all met in a series of debates. They were Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green and even a couple whose particular party affiliation was indiscernible. But all debates for the presidential candidates only offer a Democratic or Republican combatant.

Several weeks ago, a larger panel openly discussed the merits of a third-party candidate on another Fox News segment. The next day Congress upped the limit for federal matching campaign funds for presidential candidates to $100 million. It certainly seems that the "powers that be" whether Democrat or Republican, desperately want to maintain the status quo.

What is needed is a third-party candidate with appeal to a broad cross-section of American voters, one that has the vision to run for office without $200-$300 million dollars...with only a better idea; a sharper focus on the pulse beat of America. The last time that happened was...let's see...Abraham Lincoln. Is it time for another Abraham Lincoln? I don't think Donald Trump is another Lincoln. But he is the natural out-growth of the current state of things in Washington, D.C.

Dallas Wilkinson is a novelist, satirist, and social commentator. He can be reached at


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    • Dallas Wilkinson profile image

      Dallas Wilkinson 18 months ago

      I agree a third party can't win. I voted for Perot twice I didn't feel I was throwing my vote away. Rather, I was hoping to see more longevity in a third-party effort, a movement if you will, that would eventually evolve into a new Conservative party. Thanks for your insightful comment.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 18 months ago from Auburn, WA

      I don't think a third party can win because his appeal would be mostly to white males disaffected by the economy and a narrow few who are very knowledgeable about the system.

      Women voters are highly unlikely to vote for a non-party candidate. Just like they are less likely to show up at a craps table, watch the NFL on a regular basis or engage in extreme sports. Whether it's biological or sociological, it's a big hurdle to get over. It's not a criticism of women, and I am generalizing. Social Security, health and education dominate their world view. Guys like Perot and Trump are probably not the best messengers. That's why President Obama got elected. As a campaigner, he was an excellent communicator. In office, he gets a C grade on inspiration.

      Independent or 3rd party candidates would appeal to the wonky or angry; those who study and really pay attention, reading every article in Politico or The Economist. They would have strong knowledge of the constitution, budget deals, and the like. Again, a narrow group.

      I see a parallel with regard to the Trump voter (minus the subtle racism). As an "establishment" GOPer, I get into arguments with a lot of them. While I may strongly disagree with them, many have strong knowledge of the inner workings of both the state and federal government, some are very engaged at the local level as well. They just lack a pragmatism that I require of my candidates.

      I loved Perot, but I voted for Bush 41. It was hard for me not to think I was throwing my vote away by voting for Perot. Even back then, I could see he had no appeal outside of white guys between the ages of 25-55.

      Shared. Great topic. Hope you keep writing.