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!