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.