The last time a third party candidate actually had a chance of being elected probably goes back at least to the Dixiecrat rebellion of the 50's. Third party candidates have been spoilers but never posed even a remote chance of winning. As events are now shaping up, it appears that a credible (that means not Ralph Nader or any of the fringe parties) third party candidate could just maybe have won this year if he had laid the groundwork. It's probably too late now, as the major parties have made ballot access nearly impossible in the best of situations. Bush has clearly been a mediocre president at best. He did get tax cuts passed, and he has nominated some superb judges, although most of the best have not been confirmed. Otherwise, he has been pretty much a disaster. He has let the government expand horribly, homeland security has been turned into a huge bureaucratic mess, even after 9/11 the immigration laws are not enforced and he even proposed a psuedo-amnesty, and of course the Iraqi war has been shown to be possibly unnecessary and clearly incompetently managed. All in all, an uninspiring record that cries out for a replacement. The putative replacement, John Kerry, however is a weak and vacillating leader who has been on the wrong side of virtually every national security issue for over 20 years. He apparently learned nothing from the Clinton administration's failures in fighting terrorism and would go back to a law enforcement approach, with pleas to the UN to protect us. Although his frequent flip-flops make relying on anything he says tricky, his apparent intentions for the economy can be expected to derail the recovery and could easily create a global depression. In short, as unappealing as Bush is, Kerry is unthinkable. Personally, I regard both John McCain and Wesley Clark as borderline nutcases. However, I think they could have put together an impressive and plausible "national security/national unity" ticket that would have swayed many independents, conservative Dem's and disaffected Republicans. Could they, or a similar ticket, actually have been elected? Probably not, but I think our politics would have been changed forever by the attempt.