A couple days ago, Tom Friedman predicted a centrist third-party presidential challenger in 2012. Nyhan, along with a number of other bloggers, thinks not:

I've written at great length about the reasons that successful third party candidacies are extremely unlikely. Along these lines, Steve Kornacki of Salon (where I cross-post) has posted an excellent response to Friedman showing how structural obstacles and the incentive to avoid a "wasted" vote doomed John Anderson's centrist presidential campaign in 1980 (a context with many potential parallels to 2012 if the economy doesn't recover).

And even if a third party candidate did pull off a miracle and win the presidency, it would not create the "superconsensus" that Friedman wants, particularly in Congress.

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