Centrist Candidate

Could Jon Huntsman Be The John Anderson Of 2012? What Effect Could It Have On The Presidential Election?

Some speculation and rumors are beginning that Jon Huntsman, the moderate centrist candidate in the Republican race for the Presidential nomination, might abandon the party and run as a third party candidate, appealing to the center of the population. Right now, in reality, he scores exactly one percent in eighth and last place of the Gallup poll, on the Republican race for President, so he might not have any sustaining influence, but who can know this far ahead?:

Huntsman has been depicting Barack Obama as too far to the Left, and all of his GOP opponents as too far to the RIght, and his argument is that the Center, where most people are, needs to have representation in the election.

Huntsman is an appealing candidate in his appearance and speaking manner, and comes across as rational and reasonable to people who are disgusted at the growing right wing extremism of the Republican Party. He has personal wealth, and is courted by the news media, so in theory, he could run a substantial third party of independent bid.

In many respects, he appears to be similar to former Illinois Congressman John Anderson, once one of the top leaders of the Republican minority, who left the party and ran as an Independent in 1980, claiming that President Jimmy Carter had been disappointing and that Ronald Reagan was too far to the Right. After winning a lot of media support and 15 percent in polls, he was able to gain the opportunity to meet Reagan in one debate, with Carter refusing to confront him. Anderson made Reagan look weak in their debate, but then Reagan performed well against Carter and won a landslide victory, with Anderson only winning 7 percent of the vote. Many who flirted with Anderson, including this author, ended up not voting for him, with the recognition that third party or independent candidates only hurt one of the candidates, and cannot win with the Electoral College reality which favors the major party candidates.

If Huntsman were to run, the question is would he hurt Obama or the Republican nominee more? There is no easy answer to this question, but it would certainly “muddy up the waters” of the campaign were he to do that.

Sadly, even if one hoped that such a so called Centrist candidate were to run, at the end we are going to have either Obama or the Republican nominee as our President for the next term, and easily the preference would be for Obama, who the author regards as the best Democratic President since Lyndon B. Johnson!

The author was not thrilled at the time with Jimmy Carter, and often even with Bill Clinton later, but right now, he would be opposed to a Jon Huntsman, or any other, third party candidate, who might just harm Obama and elect the horrors of a Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul!