I'm not going to predict any individuals but i will predict that the election will be decided by at least two strong third party candidates. I'm not saying one of them will win but they will decide the election. Of course it won't be the first time, Ross Perot's race gave Bill Clinton the win in 92 and Ralph Nader gave the election to George W. Bush in 2000.Jazz and I discussed the possible Bloomberg independent run here and here. That alone would all but guarantee a Republican in the White House in 2009 but will it be the only third party run?
This time it will be different there will be two strong third party candidates, one on the left and one on the right. If Hillary gets the nomination there will be a large chunk of the Democratic base will be looking for an alternative. It really doesn't matter who gets the Republican nomination. The party has reached the point where the party itself is polarized and a large portion will not support the nominee regardless of who it is. The 2008 election will be like none we have ever seen.
The awakening of the Libertarians
Ron Paul's War Chest Swelled in 4th Quarter
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul may lag behind in public-opinion polls. But after raising about $19 million for the final three months of the year, he is now among his party's front-runners in the race for campaign cash.Dr Paul has a lot of enthusiastic support. Just head over to the Libertarian site LewRockwell.com. Keep in mind that Ron Paul has not ruled out a run as a candidate for the Libertarian party. Now the Libertarian Party is already a recognized party in most states. He would be expected to take votes from the Republican candidate and would probably take some independent votes from Bloomberg. While he is a social conservative he would leave social issue decisions to the states - probably not enough for the theocons.
The Huckabee Factor
Mike Huckabee is the Republican's worst nightmare - a social conservative and an economic populist. The Republicans have been forced to attack Huckabee but run the risk of driving off the Religious Right in the process. Even if the Religious Right does not field it's own presidential candidate this important part of the Republican base may just stay home.
There are too many variables to predict who the next president will be but it is safe to say they won't get a majority of the popular vote and will not have a "mandate".