Newswise — The 2016 presidential race at one point might have ideal for a third-party or independent candidate to emerge, but former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is self-aware enough to know that he’s not going to be a candidate who could make a significant political breakthrough, a political scientist versed in executive power said.
Daniel P. Franklin is an associate professor of political science at Georgia State University in Atlanta and is an expert on executive power, political culture, presidential legacies, and the relationships between the presidency and Congress.
“The problem for Bloomberg is that he isn’t the guy, and he knows it,” Franklin said.
Franklin is the author of “Pitiful Giants: Presidents in their Final Term” (Palgrave MacMillian, 2014) and “Politics and Film: Political Culture and Film in the United States” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006).
"For the first time in generations, the environment might be ripe for a third-party candidacy,” Franklin said. “The last time something like this happened was in 1948 when the ‘Dixiecrats’ bolted the Democratic Party and [former Vice President] Henry Wallace ran from the left.”
That year, U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, a conservative Southern Democrat from South Carolina, ran for president opposing civil rights legislation under the “Dixiecrat,” formally the States’ Rights Democratic Party, label, while Wallace ran under the Progressive Party banner.
From the Republican Party, Truman faced New York Gov. Thomas Dewey.
The split in the vote proved difficult for Truman.
In 1948, because of the Electoral College system, it meant that while there were large differences in the electoral vote – 303 for Truman, 189 for Dewey and 39 for Thurmond – the difference in the popular vote between Truman and Dewey was only about 2 million votes, with Thurmond and Wallace siphoning about 1.2 million votes each from the major parties.
“The conditions in 2016 are remarkably similar,” Franklin said. “However, party ‘brand’ is strong and Truman still managed to eke out a victory.”
For more information about Franklin, visit at http://politicalscience.gsu.edu/profile/daniel-p-franklin/.