In a tight race, even a small base of support could make him a factor. Ralph Nader, for instance, famously won only small percentages of the vote in many states in the 2000 presidential election, yet that arguably helped tip the Electoral College vote to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, denying Democratic Vice President Al Gore, the winner of the popular vote, the presidency.
Webb could also get a boost from the organizers of the general election debates, who are preparing for the possibility of three candidates onstage, albeit ones who thus far, have managed to command far more support than Webb the roughly one percent of Democratic support Webb managed to muster by the time he quote the race.
There’s no ensuring that Webb would be a spoiler for Clinton even as he attacks her. Although he ran as a Democrat to serve in the Senate, he is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran who also served for a time as President Reagan’s secretary of the navy and has won conservative plaudits. Even Saturday’s attack echoed the talking points of Republican candidates and groups.
His public statements, meanwhile, have focused economic populism and breaking the monopoly of the two-party system.