There’s an old adage in baseball that “you’ll always win one-third of your games and you’ll always lose one-third of your games. It’s the other third that determines success.” Historically, the adage is fairly accurate. The number of times a team has won less than 1/3 or more than 2/3 of their games is rather small — enough to be considered the exceptions that prove the rule.
Our two-party political system has pretty much succumbed to the same adage, which is why I’m not pinning my hopes on a third-party candidate saving us from the Trump-Clinton nightmare campaign we’re about to endure.
If you know me at all, you know what I think about Cheeto Jesus, the talking spray tan that’s stolen the Republican party. He’s a threat to our nation, and our standing as the last world leader.
I have a lot of regrets that the Democratic party steamrollered all possible opposition in the service of getting the first female President elected. I don’t think the Democratic campaign really showed us any kind of an alternative – it was basically the Hillary Clinton Coronation Tour, and this was definitely the wrong year for that stunt.
That said, I don’t think a third-party candidate can help. And I’m falling back on the baseball adage for my reasoning.
We’re at a point where 1/3 of this country’s voters will blindly vote for anyone with an (R) next to their name, 1/3 will blindly vote for anyone with a (D) next to their name, and the candidates are fighting over the other third.
And that’s why a third-party candidate can’t win. All they can do is either (1) take a few “third third” votes away from the other two candidates, with the election going to the one the third-party candidate damages less, or (2) if they are strong enough, throw the election to the House of Representatives, where the Republicans will give us President Cheeto Jesus.
It would take a third-party candidate of extreme popularity and high public regard to break into either solid party 1/3 — but Dwayne Johnson isn’t running for President. Gary Johnson is, and most of the twin thirds have no idea who he is or why he’s running. They certainly have no motivation, as yet, to move to him from their usual R or D perch.
Even Bernie Sanders, with his high visibility among millenials, probably won’t be able to crack the party-line voters. He’s not “really” a Democrat (he’d been an independent in the Senate and registered Democratic only to get into the primaries), and Republicans who might like his ideas will be more likely drawn to Trump’s more strong-handed populism.
I don’t like it, but any option other than “put my vote in the best place to ensure we don’t get President Cheeto Jesus” seems far too risky this year. Hopefully, by November, it’ll feel more palatable.
And I’m not putting my hopes into a Republican insurrection in Cleveland. If they do dump Trump, the likely alternatives are slightly less-unhinged versions of Cheeto Jesus with better hair.
In the long run, we’ll all be dead. But before then, it would be nice if the mainstream of both parties took the nomination process back from the extremists, so that maybe we’ll have a choice we won’t have to hold our nose and vote for in 2020.