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America's political orphans have options in the presidential election

Sen. Joe Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin could join an already crowded presidential ballot as the No Labels candidate.

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Klug served in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 1999. He hosts the political podcast “Lost in the Middle: America’s Political Orphans.”

Is this the year the first independent candidate can make a serious run for president since Ross Perot rattled Republicans and Democrats in the 1990s? Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they would consider a third-party candidate for president, according to a recent Harris Poll.

This year voters may have a complicated ballot with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and a possible No Labels ticket jockeying for position. Could Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) be part of the rumored No Labels bipartisan ticket, or make a run on his own?

“Voters may be surprised at how many choices they actually have,” Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia, told NBC News. “It’s going to make polls even harder to figure out. It’s an added haze over the whole battlefield.”

There have been three serious independent candidacies in U.S. history. Each of them displayed a unique set of skills. Teddy Roosevelt brought unmatched charisma to the race. Little appreciated was the sophisticated organization of George Wallace, whose campaign was the first to figure out how to tap into direct mail as a fundraising tool. And Ross Perot had a tireless army of grassroots volunteers.

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But in the end, they all fell short. One Hundred and ten years later, Roosevelt still holds the record for third-party candidate success, having won a mere six states. Wallace managed to capture five in 1968. Perot did not win a single state in either 1992 or 1996.

Frankly the major challenge for all of this year’s rumored candidates is navigating the onerous rules put in place by Republicans and Democrats to keep others off the ballot and freeze them out of the debates.

To get perspective, I interviewed Perot’s and Ralph Nader’s campaign managers for my podcast, “Lost in the Middle: America’s Political Orphans.” The United States, they argued, does not tolerate antitrust behavior in the economic system but, sadly, it does in the political world.

We explored the appeal of independent candidates as well as the gauntlet of real-world challenges. I also explained how a campaign rally for one of them cost me my date for the prom.

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President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at the 2019 G20 summit in Oasaka, Japan.

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Trump is a past, present and future threat to national security

Corbin is professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.

Psychological scientists who study human behavior concur that past actions are the best predictor of future actions. If past actions caused no problem, then all is well. If, however, a person demonstrated poor behavior in the past, well, buckle up. The odds are very great the person will continue to perform poorly if given the chance.

Donald Trump’s past behavior regarding just one area of protecting American citizens — specifically national defense — tells us that if he becomes the 47th president, we’re in a heap of trouble. Examining Trump’s past national security endeavors needs to be seriously examined by Americans before voting on Nov. 5.

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It takes a team

Molineaux is the lead catalyst for American Future, a research project that discovers what Americans prefer for their personal future lives. The research informs community planners with grassroots community preferences. Previously, Molineaux was the president/CEO of The Bridge Alliance.

We love heroic leaders. We admire heroes and trust them to tackle our big problems. In a way, we like the heroes to take care of those problems for us, relieving us of our citizen responsibilities. But what happens when our leaders fail us? How do we replace a heroic leader who has become bloated with ego? Or incompetent?

Heroic leaders are good for certain times and specific challenges, like uniting people against a common enemy. We find their charisma and inspiration compelling. They help us find our courage to tackle things together. We become a team, supporting the hero’s vision.

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Former President Donald Trump attends the first day of the 2024 Republican National Convention at Milwaukee on July 15.

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A presidential assassination attempt offers a time to reflect

Nye is the president and CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and a former member of Congress from Virginia.

In the wake of an assassination attempt on an American presidential candidate, we are right to take a moment to reflect on the current trajectory of our politics, as we reject violence as an acceptable path and look for ways to cool the kinds of political rhetoric that might radicalize Americans to the point of normalizing brute force in our politics.

Even though the motivations of the July 13 shooter are yet unclear, it’s worth taking a moment to try to reset ourselves and make an earnest effort to listen to our better angels. However, unless we change the way we reward politicians in our electoral system, it is very likely that the opportunity of this moment to calm our politics will be lost, like many others before it.

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American flags fly near Washington Monument.

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A personal note to America in troubled times

Harwood is president and founder of The Harwood Institute. This is the latest entry in his series based on the "Enough. Time to Build.” campaign, which calls on community leaders and active citizens to step forward and build together.

I wanted to address Americans after the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump. Consider this a personal note directly to you (yes, you, the reader!). And know that I have intentionally held off in expressing my thoughts to allow things to settle a bit. There’s already too much noise enveloping our politics and lives.

Like most Americans, I am praying for the former president, his family and all those affected by last weekend’s events. There is no room for political violence in our nation.

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How Chief Justices Roberts, Marshall responded to presidential bullies

Breslin is the Joseph C. Palamountain Jr. Chair of Political Science at Skidmore College and author of “A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation’s Fundamental Law.”

This is the latest in “A Republic, if we can keep it,” a series to assist American citizens on the bumpy road ahead this election year. By highlighting components, principles and stories of the Constitution, Breslin hopes to remind us that the American political experiment remains, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, the “most interesting in the world.”

Chief Justices John Roberts and John Marshall share more in common than their ordinary forename and stressful day job. They both fiercely defended the reputation of America’s courts; they both presided over thenastiest politicaltrials of their times; and they both couldn’t quite contain their disdain for some of the presidential antics that occurred under their watch.

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