What a strange ride it has been.
People have often been critical of the democratic system as a "popularity contest."
So much for that idea.
Consider. If we are indeed left with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as our nominees for president, Trump is viewed negatively by 62 percent of prospective voters in the current polls, and Clinton by 56 percent.
What kind of race would it be, between two polarizing individuals that a majority of Americans and even considerable segments of their own parties dislike, distrust and wish not to have elected?
Almost 50 percent of those polled say they won't vote for Hillary under any circumstances, and slightly over 50 percent say that would never vote for The Donald.
And it isn't just the usual partisan politics, people saying they would never vote for the other party's nominee. A new Rasmussen Reports poll showed that almost 25 percent of prospective voters are saying they would stay home rather than vote for EITHER candidate.
We've had "lesser of two evils" elections before, but this could be the first "none of the above" race.
Trump's own party is reluctant to have anything to do with him. The May Day march to Trump Tower in Chicago by many thousands of people upset over worker and human rights won't help the orange one's status any. Clinton's party, truth be told, probably isn't wetting itself with excitement over her baggage either. And protests from Native American groups upset with her "off the reservation" comments will alienate a few more.
And if their own parties are less than enthusiastic, the opposite parties absolutely despise the two frontrunners and can't wait to rip them to shreds.
What does it all mean? Probably, that a lot of people just won't vote. They'll tune out. Won't care.
And one would assume that a Trump-Clinton slugfest would get down and dirty in a hurry, which would probably add to the numbers who just don't want anything to do with the process.
And, whichever candidate wins in such a matchup, would probably come into office with little public confidence and lagging popularity ratings from the very beginning - which doesn't bode well for getting much done in the four years to come in gridlocked D.C.
Does anyone think Clinton or Trump would be that person to unite the government in nonpartisan fashion? Or bridge the social chasms in the population? Anyone?
What it also means is the stage is as ripe as it perhaps has ever been for a legitimate third-party or independent candidate to jump into the presidential race.
It's almost impossible for an independent to win at this stage. Or at least, it's not been done.
He or she wouldn't be on ballots in all states, wouldn't have the access to the big money needed, and wouldn't get the same stage as the nominees. They would lack the organization, the established advertising campaigns, and the social media penetration.
One could say that Ralph Nader, or Ross Perot, or even Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, made an impact. They didn't win, but may have unintentionally helped to decide which of their opponents could.
But this race would not be about making a point on an issue, it would be about preventing Trump and Clinton from getting to the White House.
What politician today is that universally beloved or trusted?
Would we be shocked if Bernie Sanders ran as an independent? He lacks funds, but polls have suggested him to be more likely to beat Trump by a wider margin than Clinton. He would take votes from Hillary, perhaps, but that might only hand the White House to Trump.
How about Cruz-Fiorina as a third-party? Also no shocker. True conservatives aren't with Trump. Some would no doubt go with an independent Cruz, but could he take votes from Clinton or the immigrant population? Unlikely.
Who else is out there? General Mattis and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who might have achieved some unity, say no way to a run, but could they be convinced if their county came pleading?
Katich - what did he win, one primary? Ron Paul or Rick Perry or Mitt Romney could probably be drafted - but voters have seen them and passed, they are not likely to raise a new buzz.
Maybe a likable wild card Democrat like Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren could be lured in? South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has become a rising Republican rock star since signing the bill to take down the Confederate flag.
If you are looking for someone Teflon, there's ex-NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has the money, and has been Democrat, Republican and Independent - a fiscal conservative who is liberal on social issues.
Maybe a state-level leader from some state with a lot of electoral votes could make a quick dent.
Or, in the state of affairs our country is in, a celebrity might have more of a chance than a statesman or stateswoman. What's Jon Stewart doing these days?
To actually have a shot at winning the election jumping in in say June, it would take someone with massive name recognition and a mountain of money. What's Bill Gates doing these days?
Maybe it doesn't even matter who it is. A third candidate doesn't have to win. All that person would need to do it siphon off 15 percent of the vote and that candidate's group would be recognized as a major political party, qualifying for campaign funding from the government for future elections and given the same considerations as Republicans and Democrats.
And that might scare the blue and the red straight. If there was another game in town, maybe they would have to stop holding issues hostage and actually get something positive done.
The issue, in the end, isn't who could win the presidency, but why the fields of candidates presenting themselves have no one a large percentage of Americans can stomach.
People are losing faith in their political leaders and perhaps in the two party system.
Whoever wins this mess, had better have a big band-aid.