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Third parties in the US

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
There is an interesting article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune today discussing the effects of third parties on elections. Link to the story is here.

I know many Democrats that blame the results of the last election on Ralph Nader's Green Party run for president. He got about 2.7% of the vote, and many people think that those votes would have gone to Al Gore. Now, the intent of this post is not to re-hash the last election fiasco, but to put forth the question - what will it take in this country (United States) to have more than two major parties?

Like the article points out, Perot shows it is possible - he got over 18% of the vote when he ran for president. Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota as a third-party candidate, but he also had celebrity name recognition. (I think Arnold Schwarzenegger would have won the election in California without the Republican party endorsment for the same reason - celebrity.) Are these flukes, or just celebrity? Or are people really ready to start backing candidates from outside of the 2 major parties?
post #2 of 6
You know, the Republican blame Perot for Clinton being elected too, so really it cuts both ways.

I don't think that a third party Presidential candidate will do anything for quite a while to come, mainly for one reason. They have no track record, just their word. That may be OK for local elections and that is where they should start. Once a third party established what they stand for with real experience, they can be taken seriously. Until then, no matter how well known they are or how much money they can put into the campaign, they simply will not get elected as President. No one wants someone running the country who doesn't have experience.
post #3 of 6
i honestly think it's going to take a whole rethinking of voting for most people. i'm sick of the mentality that a vote for a third party candidate is a "wasted" vote.

part of the problem is that third party candidates do not get the funding that the two major (and alarmingly similar) parties get, making them exempt from debates...and therefore, they do not get the exposure and publicity needed to have people want to vote for you.

the whole thing rather depresses me.
post #4 of 6
I think that a person should go with whatever Politica belief system that they are most comfortable with. Personally, I don't really have faith or belief in either the Democrats or Republicans. I think it's too bad that we can't see beyond the Political party, and on to the man or woman and his or her stance.
post #5 of 6
Maybe some europeans can chime in here, if I'm off base. I think in other democratic countries, which have a parliamentarian system of democracy, individuals are elected to parliament or some form of congress. Since they come from local elections, they do include minority party members. Since a certain number of votes are needed to elect a Prime Minister, coalitions which include minority political parties are often needed.

The US was not set up that way,where we elect a president, with the winner take all electoral college model, where a difference of 1 vote can throw the state to one party or another. If the electoral college system was changed to distribute its votes based upon percentages, a third party candidate for president could get a more significant number of electoral votes. Local elections for things like governors or mayors can and are won by third party candidates for various reasons. I think in national elections however, people are unlikely to vote for a third party candidate for many reasons, some of which are self-fulfilling prophecies. Some of the smaller parties, Perot's as an example, seem to spring up more from unhappiness with the current system, than because they represent anything in particular. The Independent party which I think Ventura originally was part of, kind of self-imploded and I think he may have pulled out of it while he ran for government.
Even when Perot ran for President, he had some bizarre guy chosen as his VP, a long retired admiral I think. And Perot ran for ego purposes as much as anything else, although unlike Nader, he didn't run just to be a spoiler. I think he believed he could win.

Given that only half of the eligible voters in the country do actually vote, I think they are more traditionalists who are going to vote for one of 2 parties. For all we know, many of the Perot & Nader voters, voted for the first time to vote for that specific candidate. Getting more people voting could also change the landscape.

Have all of you who have posted to this thread consistently voted in your local and national elections? I've voted in mine, except for the last one for city council, since our current member had abt 90% of the votes in polling, and that was the only race in my district.
post #6 of 6
since i turned 18 3 years ago, i have voted in every election that i can. as i've said in another post, i'm am a firm believer in the saying "if you didn't vote, you can't complain about the outcome."

you are right though, it's sickening how few people utilize their right to vote. especially people in my age category....it's so embarrassing! vote people, VOTE!
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