By Dylan Hales
Looks like the saga will continue after Hillary's three-for-four showing tonight. This is a bad sign for the Democratic Party, but a good sign for those like myself that enjoy watching the major parties implode. The Republicans have already opted for the phony maverick who has no appeal with any part of their base. Now it looks like the Dems will kill each other off with a protracted campaign, filled to the brim with dirty tricks and cheap shots.
While I long have felt the best opportunity for a third party challenge was McCain v. Hillary, I am not so sure anymore. Obama is going to be severely weakened by the continued Clinton smear campaign, and the Clintonites have been hinting that they may stay home or vote for Nader if Obama is the nominee. While he is still undeclared, a Bob Barr candidacy looks increasingly attractive to many conservatives who find McCain loathsome.
In 2004 the results were dictated by which ever party got out its base, not who made the stronger appeal to swing voters. This was true not just a the Presidential level, but at the Congressional and state level. In the 2006-2007 corridor the lesson was that the country is far more "radical" than its elected representatives are or could ever have the courage to be. The Dems swept to power behind the cries of a public that wanted a quick end to the war in Iraq and a series of targeted populist campaigns that rallied around the cause of trade and job protection. For their part the Republican masses launched into an open revolt against illegal immigration, forcing the elites within their party to change their tone and drop the infamous "amnesty" bill cold turkey.
If elections are now about appealing to the base of your party, and the major parties are totally out of sync with their respective base's, where does this leave us? Are conservatives really going to rally around the hated McCain? Can Hillary voters ever forgive Obama for blocking her path to the throne? I don't think so. The politics of spite is back and I couldn't be happier. If Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, or god willing Ron Paul are serious, the time is ripe for a populist campaign that speaks directly to the heart of middle American angst...and that is a GREAT thing.