In these final days of the election, most of the major polls show support is waning for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.
No surprise, right? Haven't we all been told since grade school that third party candidates never really have a chance in a national election?
My own 13-year-old daughter actually just read this exact same conventional wisdom in her social studies textbook. And she came home very angry about it because she thought it was patently unfair not to give every candidate a chance. But, it turns out the experts, textbook writers, and everyone else has it wrong this time. Because this time, there is a third party candidate with a chance to win. His name is Donald Trump.
OK, technically, Trump is the Republican nominee. But for all intents and purposes, Trump has been running a campaign in direct opposition to both the Democratic Party establishment and the Republican Party leaders. But thanks to the surge in new GOP primary voters earlier this year, Trump was able to win the Republican nomination in spite of how deeply he's rankled everyone from Senator John McCain, to House Speaker Paul Ryan, to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
And, since the Republican Party powers did not use whatever powers they had to stop him from officially getting the nomination at the GOP convention in Cleveland, Trump has been able to get the best of both worlds. He continues to promote a message and policies that often fly in the face of Republican orthodoxy, but still gets to have that coveted "R" next to his name on the ballot in all those red states where running as anything other than a Republican is political suicide.