I don’t think it would have a noticeable effect one way or another. I doubt that he will even get Nader numbers. The only people he will get are those so disgusted with both nominees that they would rather just throw away their vote than vote for either party. If Webb wasn’t in the race, they would probably either stay home or vote some other minor party ticket, say Green or Libertarian.
I was a huge fan of Webb back in 2004, but today Webb will have no impact at all, either as a Democrat or as an independent. He lost his chance to be a serious politician when he walked away from his Senate seat to do nothing in public service.
It’ll hurt Hillary because she is much more competitive than Obama, Kerry and even Gore in AR, MO, WV, KY, and Webb would get social moderate/cons and economic liberals. Trump is gonna have to go to the economic right if he gets the nod, or if Cruz gets it, it hurts Hillary much more.
I agree that it probably hurts Hillary in those states. But I can’t see how that matters. If those states are remotely competitive, Hillary wins in a landslide. If they aren’t competitive, it doesn’t matter for him to hurt her there.
I see any votes Webb can draw in competitive states as being largely split. Be interesting to see some actual data…
I’ve got to question the hypothetical here. Since the debate, with his newly heightened visibility, Webb’s been polling 1% in the Dem polls. If he ran as an independent, I’d be surprised if he managed even 0.5% of the vote.
His effect on the election would be so immeasurable that nobody would bother to measure it.
It will wreak his removal from the only televised debates he has a chance of appearing in, making him even more of an irrelevance. If he thinks it sucks to not get enough time at a debate, he should imagine what it’s like to never be invited in the first place.
And he only has a chance of hurting anybody if he makes it on the ballot, which he has not demonstrated he’s capable of achieving. Getting on the ballot as an independent is a serious task in many states. A family-run blog earning around $200,000 a month is probably not going to have the resources to do that.
Maybe if he actually makes it on to some ballots, he’ll be invited to one of the whiny loser debates that the third parties throw every year, tape-delayed on C-SPAN3 at 4:17 AM on a Sunday.
Webb is capable of having a John Anderson-sized impact on a general election, but he has to actually be motivated to make a real campaign of it. Just being there isn’t going to cut it.
That being said, there’s always room for a centrist in a national race where the Democrats want to get to the left of Barack Obama and the Republicans want to get to the right of Genghis Khan. But if Webb is serious, the FIRST thing he needs to do is start talking to people with more motivation than he has about a joint ticket where Webb would be the VP. Guys like Jon Huntsman, Evan Bayh, Michael Bloomberg, or Chuck Hagel. Bloomberg/Webb obviously has the best chance to make an impact given Bloomberg’s money and the huge ideological space available for a centrist candidate in this race.
JFTR, I was a volunteer for John Anderson’s 1980 campaign.
But there was a real space, then, for a centrist candidate. For one, each party had a candidate that a lot of people in that party were unhappy with. On the Dem side, Carter was seen as weak, and people had been rooting for Ted Kennedy to jump in and save things. (One out of two ain’t good.) And on the GOP side, there were still a lot of moderate Republicans (the party still had people like Lowell Weicker in Congress) that couldn’t deal with Reagan.
But how about now? If there were massive dissatisfaction with Hillary because she was too far left, Jim Webb would be the voice of that dissatisfaction. 1%. And if there were really enough moderate Republicans of the Howard Baker/Bob Dole mode left to make a difference, they sure aren’t visible.
So there’s a space of sorts there, but there don’t seem to be many actual voters in it. Rather than a single spectrum with voters distributed along a bell curve, we seem to have a bimodal distribution (IOW, two separate bell curves) with voters in each party having fundamentally different assumptions about how America should be governed.
I think it’s less that there aren’t enough centrist American voters and more that Jim Webb is a terrible candidate. Even as a Democrat he should be polling in the 10-20% range in the primaries. But he’s just not trying and even if he was he makes Al Gore look like JFK on the charisma scale.
Even though the Democratic coalition has changed, there’s still a lot of moderate to conservative white guys still carrying around DEM on their voter registration card who would come out for a Carter/Bill Clinton type candidate. A lot more than 1% for sure.
Just go away, Jim Webb. And take Lincoln Chafee with you. Go ahead and spend your money getting on the ballot. If that’s what floats your boat, go ahead and float. You want some more time? Tell you what, we’ll give you an extra hour in your day on November 1. Time on the stage to debate people who actually have a following? Forget about it.
I think this is probably a plea for attention by Webb, probably with the hopes of spooking the DNC into getting him more speaking time at the next debate, in addition to more national attention by the media. I very much doubt he’s seriously considering it. If he did run, I doubt he’d even get to 1% nationally, but he might get enough in Virginia to harm one party’s candidate or the other (not sure which one he’d harm more). But we’ll see.
If the Democratic Party were comprised entirely of idiots, then he could get at most the same share of the D vote in the general election as he’s getting in the primary. But even that is a hard ceiling for him: Some of the people who support him in the primary are just going to blindly pull the D level without even looking at the name, and some of them might actually prefer him but know better than to Naderize the election. Plus, of course, the “supporters” who pick him in the polls just to troll the pollster.
I suppose it’s conceivable that he could draw off a few voters who would otherwise have gone R, and if that happens, it would of course benefit the real Democrat in the race. But I highly doubt there will be relevant numbers of that, either.
Running as an independent is a credible threat for the likes of Trump, who’s getting a (bafflingly) large share of the primary polls. Coming from Webb, though, all it can do is further reinforce the voters’ impression of him as “Jim who?”.
Hmm, it definitely sounded like a plea for attention to me, but it never occurred to me that he might try to use it as a tactic to get more speaking time at the next debate. He certainly was pissed at his lack of speaking time at the first debate, though. I wonder if there’s any chance in hell that threatening a third party bid would actually get him more speaking time. I doubt it, but I kind of wish it would. I was surprised that he was acting so pissed, as he ought to know by now that the bulk of debate time is always given to the candidates who are polling the best. I wish it weren’t so, though, and I’d love to see debate time spread a bit more equally in both parties.
I think it depends on who the Republican front-runner is. If the front-runner is conservative enough, I think it’s plausible that moderates might choose to vote for Webb rather than, say, Cruz or Carson.
He’d have had more effective speaking time if he hadn’t used so much of it in whining.
A Democratic Webb has gained no traction, and one without even the exposure of the debates will not, either. Yes, he might get some of the none-of-the-above vote that fuels whimsical candidates like Ralph Nader or John Anderson, but those votes aren’t available to the party nominees anyway.
I don’t know how much VA is in play this time around, but wouldn’t he potentially tip it over to the Republican? Still, I think iiiandyiiii is right, though, in that this is more a plea for attention than any real threat to run as an I.