The candidate who will give President Obama the most trouble in 2012 may not even be a candidate right now. And she definitely won’t be a partisan nominee. While the Republican nominee may become the next president, it will not be the result of defeating President Obama in a two-way race; it will be because a third alternative entered the fray. 2012 is ripe for a serious challenge from a candidate who won’t be contesting in traditional party primaries.
The 2012 winner will be the candidate who is perceived as the most “grown-up” and who makes people feel that they are the best hope that democracy is at work.
And what better way to appear mature and democratic than to engage in a selection process that is open to all Americans, regardless of partisan affiliation? And can you imagine a more democratic process than an online presidential nomination process to pick the next president (check out the freakishly effective Americans Elect)?