What Are The Third Parties In America's Third Party System

Topics: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Elections, President of the United States, Democratic Party / Pages: 8 (1830 words) / Published: May 2nd, 2017
Third Parties In America over 34% of registered voters are registered as independents. While only 33% identify as Democrats and 29% identify as Republicans. Yet since 1853 either a Republican or a Democrat has been president. In addition no third party candidate has ever been elected to the office of the presidency, despite their best efforts. Third party candidates are a different type of candidate that has to employ different tactics to get over obstacles and make their opinions heard. Since the birth of America’s two party system third party candidates have tried to run without being a Republican and Democrat, and none have succeeded. Some had little influence in the elections outcome and some have change the outcome. America’s two party …show more content…
The first person to challenge the third party system and did so successfully was President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1912 Roosevelt lost the Republican nomination, he founded the Progressive party (nicknamed the Bull Moose Party). He challenged the Republican nominee William Howard Taft and Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt received 28% of the popular vote and received 88 electoral votes (World Almanac). Roosevelt has been the only third party candidate to receive more votes and a major party. However, Woodrow Wilson easily won the election. Wilson won the election because Roosevelt’s new party was so similar to the Republican party that the Republican vote was split between Roosevelt and Taft. This left the Democratic vote whole and led to Wilson easily winning the election. Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas Tech Seth Mckee explained it as “Roosevelt cut the Republican party vote so much that Taft finished third”. This is a main reason why people don't consider third parties. They believe that their vote is “wasted” and would be better used for a candidate that has a better choice of …show more content…
If a third party candidate is “stealing” votes from them, it is easy for them to change the laws and make it more difficult for the third party to be present in the election. The biggest bureaucratic hurdle put in place by this duopoly is the ballot access laws. If you declare your intentions to run for president, you don’t automatically appear on the ballot in all fifty states. You instead have to petition in every state to appear on the ballot in that state. There are no federal ballot access laws. They are decided upon individually by each state. In Oklahoma, for example, you need 36,202 signature just to appear on the ballot (Nadar). This is over 1.08% of the entire state population. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, you have to remember that third parties don’t have tons of money to spend. The collection of these signatures usually entails volunteers going around door to door., and that is just to appear on the ballot. If you don’t receive enough signatures, then you are out of luck, because Oklahoma doesn’t allow write-in votes (Nadar). So if you don’t get 36,202 signatures they you can’t receive any votes in that state. In Virginia you have to collect 10,000 signatures, you need 400 from each congressional district. Also, the petitioners can only petition in the country they live in or one adjacent county (Nadar). This means that third

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