There was an insightful article in the Washington Post (reprinted in the National Post) about how the US election in 2016 may evolve into a four-party affair. Both the GOP and the Dems are seeing the establishment being challenged from the base. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz represent this aspect on the Republican front while Bernie Sanders (at least for now) seems to be championing the progressive cause in the Democratic camp.
The last time the US had a genuine four party election was in 1948 (Lyndon LaRouche ...doesn’t count) when my personal favourite Harry Truman triumphed over two other Democrats (Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond) and a Republican (Thomas Dewey) to take the White House honours. George Wallace ensured a genuine three-party race in 1968 as did Ross Perot in 1992 (and to some extent Ralph Nader in 2000 who appears to have inadvertently swung the election towards Dubya in the millennium year) but for the most party US elections are two-party affairs.
Trump and Cruz appear to be genuine contenders within the GOP fold with Trump the more likely to bolt and run as an Independent should his ego be slighted (which won’t take much). Sanders is gaining momentum in New Hampshire but will probably turn out to be 2016’s version of another leftist who failed to launch, Howard Dean (in 2004). We will wait and see. Perhaps Sanders will go it alone as well.
Nevertheless this all makes for an interesting campaign. If nothing else it will shake up the establishment and enliven what potentially would be another dull Clinton v Bush affair. Its these various side plots that make US politics intriguing to follow from an outsider’s perspective. Who needs paid for entertainment, such as the overblown West Wing or House of Cards, when the real thing in 2016 is shaping up to be more of a no-holes barred circus?