For years as a political reporter in Washington, I wrote about the public’s disgust with the U.S. political system and predicted the rise of a third party and outsider presidential candidates. I railed against the Republican-Democratic duopoly and chased the mythical “white knight” who would put country over party — and then put the two major parties out of business.
I was hunting a unicorn when I should have been herding reindeer.
While a viable third party is as elusive as a horned horse, there exists a rare-but-real creature in American politics that can systematically dismantle the status quo: the independent. Untethered to the two major parties, growing in sums and significance, independent candidates and officeholders are the reindeer of American politics.