This week's presidential numbers for a four-way race in those three states:
- Florida - Clinton tops Trump 42 - 36 percent, with 7 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 3 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein;
- Ohio - Clinton at 38 percent, with Trump at 36 percent, Johnson at 8 percent and Stein at 3 percent;
- Pennsylvania - Clinton at 39 percent to Trump's 36 percent, with 9 percent for Johnson and 4 percent for Stein.
Check out all the minute details here. Huzzah, Pennsylvania: 13% all ready to vote for minor-party candidates! Of course, about 12% of Keystoners either haven't made up their minds or prefer not to answer the question.
But we digress.
Barring hordes of extraterrestrials invading our cities and stealing our iPads, Trump's poll numbers will continue to slide. Stick the proverbial fork in him and see if he's Drumpf yet. Johnson's and Stein's numbers will continue their upward trend, even in the swing states, but they will not cut appreciably into Clinton's lead.
Clinton has plenty of problems, but this election ain't one (apologies to Jay Z). However, I do not see the two-party duopoly lasting much beyond November 2016, as long as the Libs and Greens are ready to keep up the momentum.
Once the duopoly is broken, the Electoral College is next. Hypothetically, in a competitive four-way race, a candidate could win all of a state's electors with just 26% of the vote in that state. Do you think the American people will stand for that? The only solutions will be to
- repeal the XII Amendment and make the presidential election by popular vote, with some form of Instant Runoff Voting, or
- amend the Constitution to limit the number of political parties to two just to keep things simple.
It's enough of a problem in the UK, with its multiple parties, that opposition to its first-past-the-post parliamentary elections is growing. In 2015, the Tories won an outright majority despite capturing only 36.9% of the vote, and this was not due to David Cameron's overwhelming charisma. (BTW, Cameron will Brexit Stage Right in October, thanks to Britons voting by a 52-48 margin to leave the European Union, which is grist for a whole 'nother blog entry.) Electoral number-munchers also point out that the UK Independence Party and the Greens got respectable percentages nationwide, but only a handful of parliamentary seats between them; meanwhile, the geographically concentrated Scottish National Party took 46 seats with just 4.7% of the vote.
Unlike Brexit, the end of the US duopoly and the long-overdue electoral changes will not cause economic meltdowns. I'm looking forward to it with great zeal. It's one of the reasons I get a rush of perverse joy when I see words like "most unpopular major-party nominees ever" from respectable news sources.