The Independents Are Coming

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September 13, 2015 – The Republican and Democratic parties have mostly offered the regular party insiders as potential candidates for the 2016 presidential election. Both parties’ insider candidates are busy campaigning against each other and are focused on dividing the country. They are engaged in tired old political rhetoric of fear and seem to be more worried about the Middle East than Main Street America. Democrats and Republicans both look towards Wall Street and the military industrial complex to solve our problems. All the while, our leaders have been stealing from our kids and have mortgaged their future to fulfill their insatiable appetite for spending. Therefore, it should not be a surprise to see the popularity of Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders from the Democratic side.

The American public’s anger, disillusion and frustration with Washington is manifested by the attention both candidates are getting. Trump’s ascendancy in the recent polls has thrown a monkey wrench to the Republican Party leadership’s plan of anointing one of their own. They even got him to sign a pledge not to run as an independent. However, it is not binding and there is nothing anybody can do to stop him from running as an independent, if he feels that he is not fairly treated by the Republican Party. On the left, Sanders has been catching up to or is even ahead of Mrs. Clinton, according to recent polls. Both Trump and Sanders do not seem to fit the profile of their party’s potential nominees chosen by the party leaders. After scrambling for a while, power brokers in both parties will figure out a way to get Trump and Sanders out of a possible nomination from their sides.

One of the reasons this will happen is due to the Presidential Campaign Industry (PCI), a multi-billion dollar operation and a part of The Beltway Beast. It is projected that the 2016 presidential campaign could cost $5 billion, a significant chunk of which will go to the PCI. There are 56 separate categories for political professionals, according to the American Association of Political Consultants, who primarily make a living out of political campaigns. Trump, who is the master of marketing and branding, does not need any pundits, pollster or image makers. Having him in the race will reduce their potential source of income during the Republican presidential primary. Even worse is if he gets the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election. Sanders’ strategy on the other hand is not to spend time on fundraising. He has raised about $8 million with an average donation of $40. Therefore, he would not need the PCI machinery for his campaign either.

Trump is in a win-win position. He does not need to work for a living nor does he need the Republican nomination. However, he seems to be having a good time stirring the pot, so to speak, in the Republican primary. Moreover, running for President can only help his brand. How else can he get so much free air time? Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is the longest serving independent member of congress and reflects the public’s mood at this moment in time and again is not obligated to the Democratic leadership for his allegiance.

Therefore, a likely scenario of a four-way race of two independents, a Republican and a Democrat may take shape given the public’s discontent with traditional politicians and the way Washington works.