Juleanna Glover is someone I have a lot of respect for, but I'm skeptical of her scenarios for a "serious third-party run" in 2020:
Ask your neighbor whether the idea of a Joe Biden-Ben Sasse independent ticket is appealing — with Mr. Biden pledging to serve only four years (to address concerns about his age). Jeff Flake or Bob Corker could be a contender.
Another possibility: a business executive with a record of sound leadership, moral authority and a quick wit: the financier David Rubenstein, Ginni Rometty of IBM or Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, perhaps? How about a centrist Republican governor like Larry Hogan of Maryland, John Kasich of Ohio or Charlie Baker of Massachusetts? And then, of course, there's Oprah.
For years I've been trying to get Michael Bloomberg to run for president along these lines, and I am a happy constituent and fan of Governor Baker's. But I don't see it happening with these people in this cycle. Let's take them one at a time:
Biden-Sasse: Would this administration or candidacy be for the Trump tax cuts (Sasse) or against them (Biden)? Politically, Sasse has more in common with Republicans than he does with Biden, and Biden has more in common with Democrats than he does with Sasse.
Corker: This guy is basically responsible for the terrible Iran nuclear deal.
Flake: It's hard to see a coherent ideological rationale for making the guy president. If he wants to run, good luck to him. What's the slogan: "Vote for me, I'm basically a Republican, but find Donald Trump to be embarrassing/vulgar/aesthetically displeasing"? I mean, there are plenty of people who agree with that proposition, but as an organizing principle for a political party or even a presidential candidacy, it seems kind of makeshift.
David Rubenstein? Great patriotic philanthropist and could self-fund, but by the time his opponents are done running negative commercials about Carlyle's Saudi connections and the New Yorker article about Rubenstein and the carried interest deduction, he'd be toast.
Ginni Rometty? Since she took over as CEO of IBM its share price has been roughly flat, while the S&P 500 Index is up more than 100%.
Jamie Dimon? His annual shareholder letters usually make a lot of sense. But put Donald Trump and a "Wall Street banker" in a three-person presidential race against Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, and there's a real chance that Trump and the banker split the capitalist vote and wind up handing the presidency to a socialist.
The electoral math for a Hogan, Kasich, or Baker is as challenging as it would have been for Bloomberg. Say they sweep New England and also pick up Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and New York. That only gets them 201 of the 270 electoral votes they need. Centrist or liberal Republicans have a better shot at winning by forgoing the independent route and simply leveraging New Hampshire into the Republican presidential nomination, as Mitt Romney and John McCain showed was possible.
Oprah? Trump already fills the "television celebrity" lane. And if she wants to run against Trump, let her compete in the Democratic primary.
Again, I'm somewhat sympathetic to the goals here. But the Acela corridor already has a lot of influence in presidential candidate selection through the instruments of fundraising and press coverage. If primary voters and caucus goers in places like Iowa and New Hampshire don't want to back the candidates that the donor and pundit class tell them to, it's not clear that that "problem" will be solved by bypassing those primaries and caucuses and putting an Acela Party candidate on the general election ballot. Imagine that there had been such an Acela Party candidate — say, Jeb Bush, or Mike Bloomberg — on the general election ballot in 2016. I don't think either one would have actually won. Instead they would have either siphoned from Trump (leaving President Hillary Clinton) or from Clinton (leaving President Trump).
Now, one might say, even without winning the presidency, such a third-party bid might be worth the money and effort because it would demonstrate that there's a large constituency dissatisfied or not well represented by the existing parties. Could be. But people as competitive and successful as Bloomberg like to run to win, not just to make a point.