Will 2020 Bring The Rise of Independents?

To date, almost all of the focus for 2020 has been on the ever-growing list of Democrats jockeying for position. It’s likely to be record-setting as the battle for the heart and soul of the party, combined with the perceived weakness of President Trump, is driving ambitions among Democrats across the country. 

Other than the historically factual information that President Trump has a 65% chance of winning re-election in 2020, there isn’t anything that anyone can credibly tell you about what to expect in next year’s election. It’s why I’ve dedicated no time to the topic up to now and won’t until the Democratic debates begin this summer at the earliest. 

But what would be relevant to 2020 if it happened early this year? The announcement of Independents entering the race. Something Democrats don’t have to worry about is getting on the ballot in all 50 states. That’s the biggest obstacle for any third-party or indie candidate. Starting early is critical to gain access to all state ballots. It takes three things: time, money and infrastructure. 

There are three names to watch that could prove to make 2020 the first year that 3rd party candidates make national waves since Ross Perot in the ’90s. Those are Howard Shultz, Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Cuban.

They all have the potential for all three. Howard Shultz made waves this weekend by sounding off on President Trump being unfit and putting together what could best be described as an exploratory committee. Here’s the interesting thing. There can be strength in numbers. In other words, generally the less competition there is for the office, seemingly the more likely it would be that someone considering might run. 

For the possible independents, it might be the opposite. The more credible candidates there are running, the better the chance you can dilute the vote enough that someone other than a Democrat or Republican wins. In 1992 Ross Perot won 19% of the vote nationally but didn’t win any states. Had there been another candidate pulling double-digit percentages of the vote, potentially pulling more votes from Democrats than Republicans, it would have been game on.  

Whatever you think of Shultz, Bloomberg, Cuban, etc., they’re all highly intelligent people who are logical. If one gets in, it creates more room, not less, for the others to consider doing so as independents. 

Photo by: Al Drago/Getty Images

 

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