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Politics: Why Third Parties Have Never Won Presidential Elections in US

Updated on May 22, 2014

The reason why third party have never been successful at US presidential level is that in America, the two party systems has had a big influence to the countries’ political system. Stated differently, the two party systems have been a tradition in US where majority of the populace are accustomed to it. The third party is therefore an alien concept to many of such people and they cannot receive the required support for presidential elections. In fact, the nation’s constitution began with a two party system and this is the main reason why the two party system has been maintained over time.

Though third parties have been prevalent in all US electoral processes, they have never succeeded because the winner takes all the electoral system does not give them a chance to win such elections. It should also be considered that the American citizens are generally a homogeneous group of people. In essence, they have over time-shared common ideas, principles and belief patterns. This does not however translate that they are the same. Rather, American can be considered as a state that is pluralistic where distinct groups and cultures are considered. It is interesting to note that different religions, ethnic communities and social groups share and compete to exercise the political power in the nation. Despite this, there is still a general agreement with divergent groups on significant matters. This is the reason why there are only two major parties with different ideologies in the country.

Role of the Campaign Process in Maintaining a Two Party System

The large portion of the American constitution does not encourage minor parties. The winner takes all system is exacerbated by the Electoral College since a candidate with popular votes is the winner of all the electoral votes of the states. The electoral regulations tend to be in favor of a two party system, giving third parties a hard time in effectively competing with the major parties in the campaign process. In their campaign, Democrats and Republicans usually act in reiterating and emphasizing on the American law, which does not support third parties (Howe, 2011).

Again, it should be noted that in successfully participating in a federal election, parties require heavy financing for campaign, advertising and other expenditure. Fundraising, plays a significant role in making a candidate to be elected in a political office. Without adequate finance, a candidate has a low chance of being elected into a public office. Small parties find this finance extraneous to raise or to utilize in a game, which they are not sure of winning. The major parties however, would find it easy to raise this type of money owing to a large support base.


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