Howard Schultz, the former chief executive of Starbucks, cannot win the presidency as an independent candidate. But is there someone who could? Is there any chance a third-party candidate could contest the presidency and win?
The short answer is no. As long as the United States has an Electoral College and winner-take-all process for presidential elections, third-party and independent candidates will have a hard time finding any traction.
There have been times in American history, though, when third-party candidates have upended the political landscape, winning entire regions of the country, although never the presidency. But unlike Schultz, those candidates weren’t self-proclaimed “independents” railing against “divisiveness” from the center; they were polarizers who built support by cultivating personal followings and sharpening ideological, cultural and geographic divides. [Continue reading…]