“For Ron Paul to run as an independent,” Fox News Channel’s Juan Williams wrote back on November 4, “could be the biggest, most consequential third party candidacy in American history. Yes, one that is even bigger than Ross Perot’s candidacy was in the 90s.”
Persistent talk about a Ron Paul third party candidacy by some may be an attempt to sabotage Dr. Paul’s GOP candidacy and enable establishment candidates who support banking bailouts and irresponsible foreign military intervention to win the nomination. Paul has stated he won’t run an independent race for the presidency. But serious analysis of the 2012 presidential race indicates that a major independent challenge is all but certain this year without an anti-bailout candidate such as Paul winning the GOP nomination.
Indeed, a significant third party candidacy need not be headlined by Ron Paul. Plenty of third party candidate possibilities dot the political horizon, each of whom could draw 5-15 percent of the popular vote (or more) and a significant percentage of conservative and independent voters. More on those possible candidates later. But first, let’s outline a few basic facts about the 2012 presidential election.