Third Parties In The Third Party System

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Third Parties in a Two Party System
Darlene Singh
San Jose State University

The United States of America is heavily entrenched in a two party system. Most Americans can count the third party candidates they know on one hand- and for a good reason. Third parties are prevented from winning elections through institutional barriers, lack of financial support, and a general lack of faith. These barriers are undemocratic, and prevent fair elections from taking place.
One of the biggest barriers preventing third parties from gaining political power in the United States is institutional. The U.S. uses a winner take all system, a system in which the winner of an election gets all the electoral votes for that state. This …show more content…

No one wants to feel as if they are “throwing away their vote” by supporting a third party which is much less likely to win. By doing so, they would be taking that vote away from a Democrat or Republican candidate that may align with at least some of their views, if not most of them. Most people would rather vote for the lesser of two evils than to essentially give a vote to a candidate whom they do not agree with. This results in a fiercely competitive winner take all system, third parties can not …show more content…

Third parties are often much smaller, and have tighter purses- even the Libertarian Party, one of the largest and most organized third parties, has a small budget compared to Democrats or Republicans. Individuals and corporations can donate unlimited amounts of money to political candidates (despite the undemocratic nature of these donations) in an attempt to curry favor and have policy passed that is favorable to them. These corporations have more faith in the two major parties, and Democrats/Republicans are very well funded as a result. Third parties simply cannot compete with the sea of resources that major parties have available to them. Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington, says himself, “What’s very clear is that reporters focus on the two major-party candidates. So if you’re a third-party candidate and you don’t possess the vast personal fortune of a Ross Perot, you’re going to be ignored,” The only reason third parties are becoming more relevant in recent years is due to the internet- which allows them to spread information more cheaply than say, a campaign

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