After the dust has settled from the second Super Tuesday, one thing has become clear to both the voters and the pundits. After weeks of shocking statements by Trump and allegations of criminal behavior against Hillary, a significant portion of the electorate are not happy with the GOP and Democratic front-runners.
Exit polls from both Republican and Democratic primary voters tell the tale of discontent. According to ABC and NBC, exit polls suggest that over one-third of voters would consider a third-party candidate were Trump to get the Republican nomination.
EXIT POLL: If the race is Trump v. Clinton in Nov., 37% of GOP primary voters say they'll consider a third party. pic.twitter.com/lUq05LTpiu
— Meet the Press (@meetthepress) March 15, 2016
And ABC goes further; two-thirds of those who currently oppose Trump would seriously consider a third-party candidate if he were to get the nomination.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 15, 2016
Some Republicans who oppose Trump may not even show up at the polls if he wins the nomination. This is, in large part, due to Trump’s increasingly xenophobic and violent incantations which have translated into violence against protesters at rallies.
According to The Washington Post, the only third-party that could get enough Republican support to get on the ballot in critical states is the Libertarian party. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is currently the Libertarian candidate, and his platform may look attractive to Republicans looking for an alternative candidate to support come November.
His policies are non-intrusive, with an emphasis on personal freedom and small government, which could appeal to a large number of GOP voters disenchanted with Trump and other members of the current pool of Republican candidates.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton faces the same challenges with Bernie Sanders supporters. Contrary to media depictions, many “Bernie or Bust” voters are not young, male voters. They are voters tired of adhering to the status quo. They are tired of being spoon-fed meaningless platitudes and hunger for the real change they see as possible with Bernie Sanders.
A solid one-third of those voters likely will not vote for Clinton in the general election if she gets the nomination. According to the Wall Street Journal, 33 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters “cannot see themselves” voting for Hillary in the general election. Thirty-two percent of Sanders supporters also have a negative opinion of Clinton.
— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) March 17, 2016
A large number of these folks have pledged to either write Bernie Sanders in or vote for the Green party’s Jill Stein come November should Clinton get the nomination. A February piece by The Inquisitr revealed that 14 percent of Bernie supporters would never vote for Hillary. If post-March 15 exit polls are accurate, more than twice as many voters now feel that way compared to the polls taken a mere three weeks ago.
As H.A. Goodman writes in the Huffington Post, the “lesser evil theory” illustrates how both parties betray the voters. Hillary’s positions on foreign policy, the economy, and even some social issues are more Republican than some Republicans, essentially merging the Republican and Democratic parties into one if she wins the nomination.
“The lesser evil theory should also apply to the long-term future of the Democratic Party. We only have a two-party system and if Clinton moves the country even further to the right in terms of war, foreign policy, Wall Street and other issues, then we essentially have a one-party system.”
He also had some harsh words to say about her less-than-palatable comments regarding black youths.
“In today’s world, Trump’s overt racism is evil, but Hillary Clinton’s reference to black youth as ‘super predators’, her 3 a.m. ad against Obama, Clinton’s willingness to accept prison lobbyist donations…and her racist 2008 campaign isn’t evil; it’s just politics. The problem with Hillary supporters is that they have no concept of hypocrisy.”
If we keep rewarding the Democratic Party for being less evil, they'll just continue being less goodhttps://t.co/BZK3fZSvug
— Alison Spalding (@AlisonSpalding2) March 15, 2016
Currently, both parties are in damage control mode of varying degrees. Talk of a brokered convention if Trump wins the most delegates is making the rounds on the internet and in the media. And DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is fighting her own battle with “Berniecrat” Tim Canova, a progressive running a campaign against her in Florida.
Despite Bernie Sanders’ pledge to support Hillary if she wins the nomination, it simply won’t be enough for his supporters. In that case, a four-way race between the GOP, Democrats, the Green Party, and Libertarians could make 2016 one of the most interesting and heated presidential elections in modern political history.
[Photo: Justin Sullivan]