- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2016

There will be a lot of also-rans in the 2016 presidential election. According to the Federal Election Commission,  1,928 hopefuls have filed a “statement of candidacy” for president this year, otherwise known as FEC Form 2. The convenient application also covers those who want to run for the Senate and House.

It’s a straightforward process to file the form; actually running for president, however, is a more complicated matter. But hope springs eternal. See the collection of applications here

In the meantime, third party fever continues, and many disenchanted voters are still paying attention. Fox Business Network host John Stossel moderated a formal town hall on Friday for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, complete with questions from a live audience.

Mr. Stossel previously hosted similar events for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson; his campaign is now the subject of major documentary film, due for release next month. A public petition to include him in the first sanctioned presidential debate on Monday boasts just under one million signatures. Mr. Johnson asked to receive national security briefings just like rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — but the request was denied by the General Services Administration.

Other independents remain on the campaign trail. Constitution Party hopeful Darrell Castle, independent conservative Evan McMullin and Transhumanist Party candidate Zoltan Istvan continue their feisty voter outreach, offering interviews and appearing in myriad online broadcasts and public rallies. None, however, have landed a national network debate or town hall — though such an alternative bout might yield interesting moments.

In the meantime, Ms. Stein remains ready to rumble — as do her fans, who organized more than 100 watch parties around the nation for the Fox event. The nominee insists the Green Party be represented at Monday’s debate and plans to show up with a troop of demonstrators at host venue Hofstra University in New York to have her say. It is familiar exercise. Ms. Stein was arrested for demonstrating during outside the presidential debates in 2012.


SEE ALSO: Trump forming Catholic advisory to help woo bloc


“We will be at the debate to insist that Americans not only have a right to vote, but we have a right to know who we can vote for,” the candidate says, calling the strict debate focus on Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump “two-party tyranny, not democracy.”

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

Calm before the storm, perhaps. Donald Trump — who was in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida this week — has one jumbo rally in Roanoke Virginia on Saturday. Then he presumably leaves the campaign trail to contemplate one of the most important events of the entire campaign, which is, of course, the presidential debate on Monday, which some analysts speculate could draw over 100 million viewers. Running mate Gov. Mike Pence, meanwhile, headlines the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Fall Family Banquet” on Saturday, joining such high-profile folk as Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Joni Ernst, Michele Bachmann and Steve Forbes.

Hillary Clinton has also presumably left the rigors of the campaign. But her surrogates are very busy. Running mate Sen. Tim Kaine appears at a fundraiser in Oklahoma City while former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack will campaign on Mrs. Clinton behalf across the Hawkeye State through Sunday. Daughter Chelsea Clinton appears at events in Ohio and Michigan; Sen. Elizabeth Warren will campaign in New Hampshire over the weekend.

O’REILLY’S PREDICTION

“If he starts with ‘you’re crooked, crooked Hillary,’ He’ll lose. That’ll be the end of him. On the other side, Hillary is calling him all kinds of names. Misogynist. Racist. If she starts that, she’ll lose.”

— Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, offering some debate night strategy for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, to ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel.

IT WAS EVER THUS

As the United Nations General Assembly met in New York City this week, former President Bill Clinton was busy indeed. He hosted the Clinton Foundation’s annual “Global Initiative, even as spouse Hillary Clinton trudged the campaign trail.

“The foundation has become a serious political liability in Hillary’s presidential campaign,” writes Commentary Magazine columnist Jonathan S. Tobin, who calls the organization’s splashy doings this week “another in a series of colossal mistakes.” Critics, analysts and even some journalists now suggest the Clintons step away from the foundation until after the election results arrive.

But Mr. Clinton will be Mr. Clinton, apparently.

Even when it’s about Hillary, it always comes back to Bill. Always,” says columnist Stephen Green, a contributor to Instapundit.com who has a message for Hollywood.

“The producers of ‘Veep’ might try pitching a sitcom about the antics of a Bill Clinton-like character returning to the White House as ‘First Gentleman’. Even the title is satirical,” Mr. Green observes.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: “Il Poggio” estate, built in 2002 on 70 acres in Washington, Connecticut. Contemporary mansion features granite, sandstone, limestone cedar, birch, teak and other natural materials; five bedrooms, nine baths; 15,000 square feet. Twelve fireplaces, three-bedroom guest house, gate house, squash court, tennis courts, indoor pool, five-acre swimming pond, outdoor Greek temple with 50-seat amphitheater. Commanding views, extensive landscaping and plantings. Priced at $14.9 million through Washingtonctmodernestate.com

POLL DU JOUR

• 57 percent of registered U.S. voters report they are “frustrated” with the 2016 campaign; 55 percent of Donald Trump supporters and 53 percent of Hillary Clinton’s supporters agree.

• 55 percent overall are “disgusted” by the campaign; 53 percent of Trump voters and 48 percent of Clinton voters agree.

• 46 percent are “scared” of the campaign; 46 percent of Trump voters and 41 percent of Clinton voters agree.

• 33 percent of Trump voters say they are voting for him because “he is not Clinton“; 27 percent say because he is a political outsider, 26 percent because they like his policy positions, 19 percent for his personality..

• 32 percent of Clinton voters are voting for her because “she is not Trump“; 32 percent cite her experience, 22 percent cite her policy positions, 12 percent her personality.

Source: A Pew Research center poll of 3,941 registered U.S. voters conducted August 16 to September 12 and released Thursday.

Churlish remarks, curious asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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