Could A Third Party Candidate Win This Election?

Jun 22, 2016

Both major political parties’ presumptive nominees have faced heavy criticism throughout this election cycle. While it may seem like the perfect storm for a third party candidate to rise, Point Park University history professor Edward Meena said he doesn’t believe it can be done.

“I don’t think they’ll be able to gather the momentum and funding or be able to get on the ballot in all 50 states,” said Meena.

Meena said there is still uncertainty as for whom certain sects of voters will cast their ballot.

“It’s going to be a blender election,” predicted Meena. “You don’t really know where the people who didn’t vote for trump in the primaries are going to go. You don’t know where the Bernie Sanders supporters are going to go.”

There has been talk of overturn at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, despite Trump’s primary win in 37 states and more than 31 million votes. Meena says this doesn’t make it impossible to oust Trump, just very difficult.

“It may be possible, but I think it would take a very freaky set of circumstances for not only it to start, but for it to be successful.”

Pre-Civil War Republicans put forth the last successful third party candidate when they backed Abraham Lincoln in the general election. This year, Libertarians are supporting Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson.

Meena said Johnson’s success all depends on him getting into national debates.

“They do have a formidable team and they can get into double figures in the popular vote.”

Though Meena doesn’t expect a successful third party candidate in this presidential election, based on the continual polarization of the country, he does expect more candidates in the future. 

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