Kansas today, America in 2020

The 2020 presidential contest is likely to feature an incumbent President Trump facing off against a lackluster or extreme-left candidate from the Democratic Party. The best hope for America may be for an independent candidate to step forward who represents the mainstream majority of American voters. Only the two parties benefit from convincing Americans that an independent candidate has no chance; it is in their mutual interest to do so.

Immediately after Election Day in November, two dozen or so Democratic presidential hopefuls will begin their quadrennial odyssey around the country. Sometime next summer, they will face one another on the debate stage. As the field narrows, it is likely to show us what wing of the Democratic Party the eventual nominee represents. It is very likely that the winner will be an individual no more capable of defeating Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton was.

When and if a credible independent jumps into the race, national Democrats will label the independent an “interloper” and howl that he or she will do nothing more than give us four more years of Trump. This may be true — in a world before 2016. Given how divided we are politically and how little the two parties now even attempt to sway the 40 percent of voters who refuse to affiliate with them, it is entirely possible that an independent option would do well. This is not a 50-50 proposition. It’s a 34 percent solution in 50 three-way state races.