Not that it necessarily will happen, but today's political climate is more favorable to a Ross-Perot-type of independent candidate than it has been for quite a while, writes Steve Kornacki at Salon. Three key conditions that help: an incumbent president (check), a lousy economy (big check), and a nominee from the opposition party who leaves lots of people dissatisfied (either Perry or Romney would seemingly fit the bill, for different reasons).
"Of course, whether anyone actually will step forward is another matter, and how a third candidate might affect the two-party race is a complicated question that depends on factors we don't yet know," writes Kornacki. "Presumably, though, the name of Michael Bloomberg, everyone's default third party option, will get some attention. But as (John) Anderson and Perot both showed, it doesn't necessarily take a glamorous name to arouse the public's curiosity when the climate is right." Full column here. (Read more 2012 Presidential Candidates stories.)