Third Parties Influence

1147 Words5 Pages
Third party candidates lack political influence in the U.S. due to the overwhelming two major party success rates. Their success can be largely attributed to the many electoral institutional rules that contribute to limiting the rise of third parties, their competition. This historically proven major party dominance is due to many factors including institutional arrangements, election laws, electoral college rules, and campaign finance laws that have shaped the course of American elections; however, there are instances in which third parties can overcome electoral institutional challenges and make noticeable progress. The institutional arrangements in the United States have made major two-party success almost inevitable; however, there is…show more content…
In the presidential election a candidate must receive a majority of Electoral College votes, a very difficult task for a party that is up against two of the most historically rooted and powerful parties in America. Although the third parties may be influential, their impact is very limited because “they rarely receive enough support to capture a state’s Electoral College votes” since “support is concentrated” (Hernnson, 3). This acts as a domino effect; if they cannot elect candidates to represent their party then they lose any type of recognition and political influence, let alone a place for their name on a voting ballot. Getting on the voting ballot itself can be an obstacle for third parties. The two major parties have a great advantage; they don’t have to worry about making it on the ballot in the first place because of their large following. If third parties do not receive a number of votes they must pay or receive a state mandated number of signatures to make the…show more content…
Campaign finance laws regarding federal election subsidies, money towards national convention efforts, presidential nominee subsidies, and soft money expenditures are all contributing to the failure of any third party takeoff. The FECA Act of 1974 that “provides subsidies for major party candidates for presidency” based upon the amount of money they raise indirectly impact the ability of minor parties to keep up with such long standing two party competition (Herrnson, 3). Campaign finance laws seem to have driven competition between only the two major parties in the United States as their provisions make it difficult for minor parties to receive enough funds with such a small following, even if that following has large sums of money. Both major and minor parties can qualify for government political funding through acts such as FECA; however, the major parties have great advantage of minor parties when it comes to receiving large sums of money due to their already established base. Major parties also have an advantage over third parties because they automatically receive national convention subsidies; over $13.1 million went to each major party in 2000 to help fund them (Herrnson, 4). FECA also allows federal grants to go to major party presidential nominees; minor parties can qualify for them as well but in much smaller amounts and are rewarded
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