Evan Bayh: potential Independent presidential candidate in 2012

After shocking the political world by announcing his decision to retire after this year, U.S. Senator Evan Bayh warned that conditions could be ripe for a Ross Perot-type candidate in 2012. Referred to as a ‘Centrist Democrat’, ‘Blue Dog Democrat’, or ‘Moderate Democrat’, Senator Bayh (D-Indiana) claimed that his retirement was largely due to intense frustration over the partisan-fueled gridlock in DC.  Others, however, believe that he merely wanted to avoid facing a brutal re-election campaign.

Nevertheless, Bayh, considered a more independent-minded Democrat with a mixed voting record, warned that growing anger with the poor performance and hyper-partisanship of both major parties possessed the potential to generate a legitimate third party contender in the 2012 presidential election.  Predictably, speculation immediately surfaced that Bayh himself may have already been quietly considering such a bid, but thus far, he appears to be opposed to the prospect of such an effort.

Having served as the Governor of Indiana and as a more centrist-oriented Senator, some would argue that Bayh would possess the necessary clout and experience to mount an Independent bid.  A Bayh campaign could conceivably draw significant interest from more liberal Republicans, Independents, and moderate Democrats, but would likely face stiff resistance from right-leaning Republicans and progressive Democrats.

At this stage, it appears unlikely that Bayh will launch an Independent third party bid, but in politics, anything is possible, especially when over 50% of Americans seem ready to ditch the two-party duopoly.