Posted to the Washington Post
America needs an independent presidential candidate
By Jim Webb October 30
Jim Webb, a U.S. senator from Virginia from 2007 to 2013, ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president on Oct. 20.
The greatest trend in American politics does not involve the demographic differences that separate voters by ethnicity and age, although these are considerable, but that an increasing plurality of our citizens strongly dislikes both political parties as well as their entrenched leaders.
Equal-opportunity disgust is at play here, a phenomenon much different from, say, the dramatic tilt in 1974 toward the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal or the surprising emergence of the Republican majority in the 1994 elections. Far more Americans consider themselves to be political independents than Democrats or Republicans. Seasoned political commentators tend to dismiss this trend, since many independents say they “lean” toward one party or the other. But our pundits are misreading the reality of the numbers just as badly as they have misinterpreted so many other aspects of this year’s unusual presidential election cycle.
The scramble for the Republican nomination is all over the board. The Republican base is searching for a candidate who might have a vision for domestic and foreign policy and the ability to lead the world’s most complicated bureaucracy, but who above all symbolizes their disdain for the present leadership. The end result could hand the reins of power to one of a host of candidates who have either no experience in Washington or thin leadership résumés and will not be capable of governing. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) notwithstanding, the Democratic Party has coalesced around a member of a powerful, moneyed dynasty whom at this point most Americans do not trust and half do not like. If successful, she would guarantee further gridlock; if unsuccessful, she could lead the Democratic Party to the same dismal results it experienced in the elections in 2010 and 2014.
Tectonic shifts occur slowly but eventually they produce earthquakes. It is becoming ever clearer that we are on the cusp of a new era in U.S. politics, driven by the reality that a large percentage of Americans really do dislike both political parties and their leaders. They want and deserve something different, and nowhere is that reality more clearly seen than in the presidential race, in which the extremes that have taken over the nominating process have become glaringly obvious.
There can be no better answer to these developments than electing as president a tested, common-sense independent who can bring to Washington a bipartisan administration to break the gridlock paralyzing our political debates and restore the faith of our people in their leaders.
I am in the process of deciding whether to mount such a campaign. Clearly, the need for another option grows stronger and more apparent by the day.
Finish reading the article here.
Thanks to Nathan Hetzel for the article.