Jim Webb Opinion Piece: America Needs an Independent Presidential Candidate

Jim Webb

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.

10 thoughts on “Jim Webb Opinion Piece: America Needs an Independent Presidential Candidate

  1. Matt Cholko

    Ehhh. Whatever. I don’t think we need a centrist, as Webb seems to suggest. I think we need “leaders” that will work to get government out of the way, and that’s really all we need them to do.

  2. NewFederalist

    I like the Jim Morrison view of “centrists” myself or as he put it “fence sitters”.

  3. Andy Craig

    He seems to be seriously pursuing the idea. I wonder if he’s had a chat with anybody who knows about ballot access yet. He doesn’t mention it, and that’s kind of telling.

  4. steve m

    ah think “always dangerous” that we don’t need leaders…. we need disruptors.

    Ron Paul disrupted the Republicans during the primaries (2008 and 2012)
    Bernie Sanders is disrupting the Democrats (2016)
    Ralph Nader disrupted the Democrats from out side (2000)
    John Anderson disrupted the Republicans from out side (1980 not enough but)
    Ross Perot disrupted the 1992 election

    if you can get the bucks Jim run run run

  5. steve m

    get a well financed “independent” candidate to join in the lawsuit against the two party debates.

  6. Bondurant

    If Webb was serious he wouldn’t have willingly offered himself as controlled opposition in the Democratic debates.

  7. NewFederalist

    I also seriously doubt that he understands how difficult it is to get significant ballot status.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    sm, why do we need disruptors? Your list indicates that they have been inconsequential to date, as the nation’s trajectory has if anything worsened.

  9. Gene Berkman

    He makes a valid point that Republicans are trying to outdo each other over who will get us into a war in the Middle East most quickly, and exposes the role of Hilary Clinton in promoting thoughtless interventions in that region that have created chaos and led to more terrorism.

    A losing Independent campaign for President is not likely to stop interventionist Presidents from making the mess worse. We need more antiwar members of Congress; Libertarians should work to elect members of Congress that can oppose international interventionism whether by a Republican or a Democrat in the White House.

    It is true that many Democrats in the House, and a minority of Democrat Senators opposed Bush’s War in Iraq, which almost all Republicans backed. But some of these anti-war Democrats were prowar when President Clinton bombed Yugoslavia. Even Bernie Sanders felt it important to show he is not a pacifist by mentioning, in the first Democrat debate, that he supported the bombing of Yugoslavia and he supports the bombing of Syria.

    And that is why we need a third party.

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