Why a guy who’s dissatisfied with the Democratic Party’s leftward drift would drop out and launch a third-party campaign that will almost certainly benefit the Democratic Party, I don’t understand.
But here’s something new to worry about.
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will announce Tuesday he is considering an independent bid for the White House, his campaign announced, as his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination continues to flounder.
Webb will hold a press conference at the National Press Club “to discuss his candidacy, the campaign and his views of` the political parties in the current election cycle,” the campaign said in a statement.
Why is Webb, a Democrat, more of a threat to peel off Republican voters than Democratic ones? It’s a simple function of how the two party’s coalitions align. The Democratic nominee will almost certainly be either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. Left-wingers won’t be thrilled with that, but Clinton and Biden are more liberal than Webb is. Except as a pure protest vote, there’s no incentive for a progressive to back him. On the right, however, we’re staring at a primary process that’s going to produce a nominee who’s deeply dissatisfying to some sizable chunk of the GOP or another. If it’s Trump, you’ll see some conservatives peel off in disgust that he’s too liberal and other because he doesn’t have the right “temperament” to be president. If it’s Carson, some will defect for fear that he doesn’t know the issues well enough and is really just a boutique culture-war candidate. If it’s Jeb, some righties will stay home in droves to protest the RINO dynasty effectively buying the nomination. If it’s Rubio, some tea partiers and libertarians will skip the election to make a statement about amnesty and interventionism, respectively. If it’s Cruz, some centrists will conclude that they could never vote for brinksmanship, shutdowns, and grandstanding towards the right.
We’re not talking about huge minorities of the GOP in any of these scenarios, but you wouldn’t need huge numbers to be decisive in a close election. And Jim Webb, as I said last week, is an attractive heterodox candidate. For everything there is to dislike about him, like ObamaCare for illegals, there are things to like — war hero, former secretary of the Navy under Reagan, willing to buck the left on some cultural hot buttons like affirmative action, and supportive of a more modest foreign policy abroad while also astutely criticizing Obama for weakness. He’s not an ideal candidate for any Republican, but people eager to cast a protest vote aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for one or two very appealing qualities in a third-party candidate that they can seize on and glorify as a reason to prefer that guy to the major-party nominees. Webb has lots of appealing qualities. Trump fans, in particular, might like his blue-collar vibe if Trump falls short in the primaries and they decide that no one in the rest of the Republican field is speaking to them. The only question for Webb is whether he’s willing to run energetically enough, with enough money behind him, to land on voters’ radar. There’s no evidence that he’s capable of that yet given his dismal performance in the Dem primary, but what if, say, Mike Bloomberg got on board? He’s one billionaire away from being a force in the race.
Speaking of dismal performances, here’s the new ad from Team Hillary. It’s five minutes of trying and failing to find one single concrete major achievement from her time as Secretary of State. Among the highlights: She helped light the match for the flaming bag of sh*t that you and I know as the Iran nuclear deal, and she brokered a truce between Israel and Palestine that somehow hasn’t stopped Palestinians from stabbing Jews in the head on the streets of Jerusalem today. Libya and the Russian reset, arguably her two showiest ventures at State, oddly don’t figure prominently. Any theories why?