Peter the Lefty
Imagine this crazy scenario:
It's 2015. President Barack Obama is a lame duck who is now quite disliked by progressives, due to his perpetual budget "compromises." The Occupy movement is still alive and well, and is gaining more momentum. The Republicans have moved further to the right. Among grassroots Democrats, there is much more desire for a "class warfare" and social justice-oriented candidate for president. Bernie Sanders has already formed a national Progressive Party based on the Vermont one, but it works within the Democratic Party in primaries, and acts a bit like a party within a party. They often cite the work being done by Canadian Prime Minister Thomas Mulcair and his NDP government as a model. Unfortunately, efforts to draft Senator Elizabeth Warren fail. The Democratic primaries are dominated by Andrew Cuomo, as sort of a Mitt Romney type of figure, except that he sticks to his positions rather than changing them. The progressive candidates, Russ Feingold, Dennis Kucinich, Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, Rueben Diaz, Jr., and Sherrod Brown, fail to gain any traction. Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden both line up behind Cuomo, making it clear that while Obama is attempting to remain "above the fray," he wants Cuomo to win. Soon, he does win, and makes Amy Klobuchar his running mate. The Republican frontrunners at first appear to be Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio. Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman all try again, but Cain and Bachman are unable to attract the same support that they did before. Marco Rubio emerges as the Tea Party candidate, in spite of Jindal's efforts. Jindal then backs out in favor of Rubio. Huntsman emerges as the main centrist candidate. Rubio trounces Huntsman and becomes the candidate. He makes Susan Collins his running mate in an attempt to win back moderate voters. Michael Bloomberg announces his intention to run as an independent center-right candidate. In a bold move, he appoints Jon Huntsman as his running mate. The pair are endorsed swiftly by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Christ, Colin Powell, and Lincoln Chaffee. With Andrew Cuomo's platform seeming center to center-right, Bernie Sanders announces his candidacy as a Progressive candidate for President, with the party ditching the Democrats. He makes Van Jones his running mate, and the Sanders/Jones ticket wins the support of Kucinich, Feingold, Stabenow, Warren, Brown, Diaz, Rocky Anderson, Tammy Baldwin, Ralph Nadar, labor unions, and the who's who of American Progressivism. The 2016 election sees a total unraveling of the two party system. In the end, Cuomo wins with 41% of the vote. Rubio gets 37%. Sanders gets 12%, while Bloomberg gets 6%. Ron Paul, who just doesn't know when to quit, gets 3% as a Libertarian. Others get a mere 1%.
I realize, of course, that the chances of this happening are about the same as the Liberal Democrats' chances of winning a majority government in the 2015 British election under Nich Clegg's leadership. But hey, it's fun to dream.