Among Americans who lean toward the Democratic Party, trust in their nation’s elections plunged from 71% on 10-13 January 2008, down to 31% on 15-18 December 2011, and has since edged slightly down to 28% on 13-15 May 2016.
Among Americans who lean toward the Republican Party, trust in their nation’s elections plunged from 46% on 15-16 January 2016, down to 30% on 16-17 March 2016, and is now 29% on 13-15 May 2016.
This is shown in a Gallup news report on May 23rd, « Sanders’ Backers Most Likely to Say Election Process Faulty”, and the question that the respondents there were answering was: « Does the way the presidential campaign is being conducted make you feel as though the election process is working as it should, or not?”
Their recent poll showed that the electoral process is now trusted by 39% of Hillary Clinton supporters, 35% of Donald Trump supporters, 23% of Republicans who supported a different Republican than Trump, and 17% of Democrats who support Bernie Sanders.
Consequently, achieving Party-unity will be determined only by the Republican Party’s major donors, if at all (with them uniting to donate to his campaign instead of to Clinton’s); whereas, achieving Party-unity will be achieved only by the Democratic Party’s voters, if at all; and the possibility that a popular well-known and well-respected person who has high name-recognition and high net-favorable rating could possibly beat both Trump and Clinton (each of whom has high net-unfavorable ratings) if a well-financed write-in campaign for that person were to be waged vigorously nationwide, exists now for the first time in history, but only if such a person comes forward to organize and run such a Presidential campaign, and only if not more than one such person does so (because otherwise a split of the write-in votes could assure victory for one or the other of the major-Party nominees).
If that write-in candidate were to be someone like Michael Bloomberg, whose write-in votes would be at the expense of Trump more than at the expense of Clinton, then he could be throwing the election to Clinton, or else he could win the Presidency.
If, instead, that write-in candidate were to be either Bernie Sanders or else Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose write-in votes would be at the expense of Clinton more than at the expense of Trump, then he could be throwing the election to Trump, or else he could win the Presidency.
However, clearly — considering the plunge that has occurred (after 2008 for Democrats, and after 2015 for Republicans) in Americans’ trust of their nation’s electoral process, and considering the many other anti-Establishment indications during the current electoral season — the possibility does exist, for the first time in American history, that the U.S. Presidency could be won by a write-in candidate. The only proviso for this possibility would be that there mustn’t be more than one such candidate who has high net-favorables and runs a vigorous national campaign.
The possibility really does exist that some of America’s political rule-books could be thrown out by the 2016 Presidential contest. If that does happen, then one or both of America’s major Parties could thereby be transformed or even ultimately replaced (such as, for example, happened in the 1860 Presidential contest, which ended the Whig Party and started the Republican Party).
History is not always to be copied. Sometimes, it is to be transformed.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.