In the midst of the battle for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020, one can lose sight of the reality that a third party or independent candidate could affect the election result, as it did in 2016.
Third parties and independent candidacies for President have played a role in past elections, and the death last week of Independent and Reform Party Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot brings that to mind.
Presently, we have two potential spoilers–Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash, who might run as the Libertarian Party nominee against Donald Trump; and billionaire businessman Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame, who might run as an independent nominee, and harm the Democratic Presidential candidate.
Either or both could draw millions of votes, as Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party did in 2016, when Johnson gained 4.5 million votes and Stein gained 1.5 million votes. Additionally, Evan McMullin of Utah, who ran as an Independent, gained about nearly three quarters of a million votes. So together, these three non major party nominees gained a total of about 6.75 million votes , about 5 percent of the total popular votes cast.
Ralph Nader and Patrick Buchanan had played roles in the 2000 Presidential election, as Ross Perot did in 1992 and 1996. And John Anderson was a factor in 1980, as George Wallace was in 1968.
Whether Amash and or Schultz will be a major factor in 2020, and draw millions of votes, is a center of speculation in the summer of 2019!
The idea of a Latino President is becoming more possible, as former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who also was Mayor of the 6th largest city, San Antonio, Texas, has reached the 130,000 donors needed to be able to participate in the third Democratic debate in September.
This development, along with his excellent performance at the first debate and making fellow Texan former Congressman Beto O’Rourke look weak by comparison, elevates Castro to a much more serious candidacy.
With people of Hispanic ancestry being one of every six Americans, and with Mexican Americans being two thirds of all Hispanics, Julian Castro can be seen as a possible President.
There is no larger minority in America than Mexican Americans and of Hispanics totally, and Castro has proved he can govern a major city, and a major federal bureaucracy as a cabinet officer.
Castro would be 46 at the time of the next Presidential inauguration, the third youngest President in American history, about a month younger than Bill Clinton, and about six months younger than Ulysses S. Grant.
It would also mean that “a new generation” of leadership–with John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama—would be added to by Julian Castro, making them the second, third, sixth, and fourth youngest Presidents in American history.
Rumors are spreading that former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley might replace Vice President Mike Pence on the ticket with Donald Trump for the Presidential Election Of 2020.
It seems startling that such would occur, as Mike Pence has been a loyal soldier for Trump, refusing in any way to take a stand against anything Trump says or does, and therefore is perceived as unwilling to challenge his boss.
But Nikki Haley is one of a very few Trump Administration figures to survive with her reputation intact, and adding her to the ticket would help to appeal to women, and would help to improve the image of Donald Trump, who has been clearly seen as a misogynist.
The fact that Haley is also of heritage from India through her parents might also draw some ethnic support to Trump.
Whether this would happen seems unlikely, and one wonders how would Donald Trump reward Mike Pence for his loyalty, if he was to replace him on the ticket.
What position could he offer Pence as solace for losing the opportunity to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency?
One wonders if it is conceivable that the Democratic Party might have two women on the ticket in the Presidential Election of 2020.
Such a combination might be Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for President and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar for Vice President, with an eleven year difference in age between Warren, who would be 71 in 2020, and Klobuchar at age 60.
Also, California Senator Kamala Harris with Amy Klobuchar is another possibility, with Harris being four years younger than Klobuchar at age 56 in 2020.
A bigger question is whether two of these women could actually cooperate and work together well enough, with the clashing egos, to be a success.
And how would the American people react to two women on the ticket?
We do know that many nations have had women leaders, and we also know that New Hampshire and Arizona have had an all women teams in top state government positions in recent years.
As a result of the first Democratic Presidential debates in Miami, Florida, it is clear that the biggest beneficiary of those debates is California Senator Kamala Harris.
She has surged to number two in many polls, just behind Joe Biden, but in striking distance of the former Vice President.
Harris has been able to raise much more funding, and much more attention is being given to the charismatic Senator, often called the “female Barack Obama”, due to her mixed race ancestry, with her mother being born in India and her father in Jamaica.
Harris has a great passion and intensity, which is very appealing, and she has a delightful laugh, and her good looks make her a very attractive potential President.
If she can do well in the early caucuses and primaries, and win the California Primary on March 3, 2020 convincingly, she will be hard to stop for the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.
Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of Texas, who came within a few points of defeating Senator Ted Cruz in 2018, seems to be on the road to oblivion at this point.
After a heralded amount of attention during the Senate race and when he came out as a Presidential candidate, O’Rourke seemed to be a hot item.
But he has deteriorated in his polls and raising of money, and his performance at the first Democratic Presidential debates was lackluster at best, and fellow Texas Julian Castro challenged him, and came out the winner, and has seen his prospects improve, as O’Rourke’s prospects have deteriorated.
It is not yet the time to write him off, but right now, Beto O’Rourke is in a decline, and he will need to restore his fortunes at the second Democratic debates at the end of July in Detroit, or else his candidacy will likely be finished.
It could be that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren might neutralize Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as a Presidential candidate.
After the first set of debates, Warren has surged in support, and is expressing much of the same message as Sanders.
In the first polls coming out after the debates, she has been shown to be ahead of Sanders in several polls.
The fact that she is younger by eight years, and comes across to many as much more pleasant and cordial and sincere than Sanders does, is a major problem for the Vermont Senator.
One gets the sense that Bernie Sanders may have reached his peak, and may be on the decline, and not just temporarily, but time will tell.
America has never seen such a level of nepotism as it now sees with Donald Trump daughter Ivanka Trump and son in law Jared Kushner.
It is illegal since 1964 for a Presidential relative to work for the government for the President, after a law was passed to bar it following the time when Robert F. Kennedy was Attorney General for his brother, John F. Kennedy.
The fact that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are not paid a salary does not matter, as neither has gained a high security clearance, and Jared Kushner in particular, has become a risk with his ties to Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, and his close relationship with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It is clear that corruption is occurring, and that either or both Ivanka and Jared could face prosecution, and that would be great news, as both act entitled and privileged, and need their comeuppance.
National Security Adviser John Bolton, a true “hawk” on foreign policy, and one of the major culprits in bringing on the Iraq War, and known to be an advocate of war with Iran, seems to have been sidelined by Donald Trump.
After Trump came within ten minutes of bombing Iran over a shooting down of an American drone, but pulling back, the star of John Bolton seems to have been sent into space, so to speak.
Bolton was not present when Trump met Kim Jong Un of North Korea at the DMZ between North Korea and South Korea, and instead had been sent on a mission to Mongolia, which seems like being sent into space, ironically.
It would be great if Bolton was fired by Donald Trump!
The fact that Trump seems at times to be a bluster bully with words, but not actions, is, of course good, but it still destabilizes American foreign policy.
In any case, it could be that John Bolton may be shown the exit soon, and let us hope for that.
Donald Trump has proven to be totally contradictory in his policy toward North Korea and Iran.
After blustering and threatening war with North Korea, Trump has now met Kim Jong Un three times at summits, and has shown himself to be totally weak and easily manipulated by praise, and he has claimed he has a love affair with Kim.
This is despite the fact that Kim is the most blood thirsty leader in the world, and leads the most oppressive government, having starved his people, and murdered many of his countrymen, including his own top officials, and two relatives.
At the same time, Trump has ripped up the Iran Agreement, and now Iran is starting to expand nuclear production, and suddenly, Trump talks about negotiations, when the Iran Agreement was working. Now Iran has no interest in such talks, and Trump came close to starting war with Iran, and then backed off with ten minutes to go before a military strike was arranged to occur, due to the Iranian shooting down of an American drone.
Why would Iran wish to talk, when the Iran Agreement on nuclear development was destroyed, and when Trump now seems close to accepting the North Korean nuclear program, rather than insisting on its elimination?
Why would any nation feel the need to give up nuclear development, when Donald Trump is so inconsistent and contradictory in his utterances and actions?