Here is an article on third parties from “The Godfather.” There is some to agree with and much to disagree with.
Trying to get elected as a third party candidate in American politics is extremely difficult if not impossible since the electing process is not by majority vote. Ballot access is also an obstacle since third parties have to meet additional criteria not required of Republicans and Democrats. Reform Party candidate Ross Perot was able to get on the ballot in all 50 states in 1992 as was Pat Buchanan in 1996. Perot was a nationally known figure who had lots of money to pour into the process. The Reform Party affected both elections but did nothing to advance it as a genuine third party player. While Perot received nearly 20 percent of the popular vote in 1992, he did not receive a single electoral vote.
Trying to change America’s political system by running a third-party presidential candidacy is a pipe dream.
IMO, the point of a third party presidential candidate is not to win, at least not in the near term, and anyone who thinks it is is bound to be disappointed and frustrated. The point of a third party presidential candidate is to punish the party closest to your beliefs for being insufficiently faithful, to provide a safety valve and home for those unwilling to compromise and vote for the lesser of two evils, and to hopefully build the party base so you can better challenge the two major parties in the future. Given our current system of first past the post, the long term goal is not to become a “viable” third party, but to replace one of the major parties.
Ballot access is also an obstacle since third parties have to meet additional criteria not required of Republicans and Democrats.
Regardless of where you stand on the usefulness of third parties, every fair minded person should agree that the Republican and Democrat parties having an exalted status and “third” parties having additional barriers is fundamentally wrong.
May I suggest that we discuss this article at “The Godfather’s” website. No registration is required to comment.
Cross posted (in somewhat different form) at Independent Political Report.