Is the Republican Primary a Breeding Ground for Third Party and Independent Candidates for President?

One contradiction that often goes unnoticed in our politics today, even though it is apparent across a wide variety of polls and surveys, reveals a tension between partisan affiliation and ideological identification.  Though self-identified conservatives consistently outnumber moderates and liberals, Republicans are consistently outnumbered by Independents and Democrats.  Given the fact that so Republican primary voters are essentially big government, far right conservatives, in 2012 we should expect any number of libertarian- and moderate-leaning conservatives to seek the presidency as an Independent or third party candidate.  And the Republican party's presidential primary may be the breeding ground for their candidacies.  From today's column at IVN:
There are no less than four current contenders for the GOP’s presidential nomination who may run for president as a third party or Independent candidate:  Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer.  And, given the success of Americans Elect in its ongoing effort to obtain ballot access in all fifty states, we may see any number of these candidates square off once again to seek the upstart organization’s nomination for president next year.

Buddy Roemer, a former member of the House of Representatives and governor of Louisiana, has already declared his intention to seek the Americans Elect nomination for president in their online primary next year.  “Today I officially announce that I will seek the Americans Elect nomination as a proud Republican but as an even prouder American,” said Roemer in a statement last week.  Roemer’s announcement was likely precipitated by the fact that he has been excluded from the Republican presidential primary debates and has yet to gain traction among GOP primary voters.

“The Republican Party has not allowed me in the debates. Perhaps they don’t like my message about the corrupting influence of money in politics. But, I believe the American people want to hear the message, so I’m going to seek the nomination of Americans Elect which appears eager to welcome diverse and controversial opinions that may upset the status quo,” said Roemer, who will now simultaneously campaign for the GOP nomination as well as that of Americans Elect.
Read the whole thing.

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