Are 3rd Parties doomed to failure?

Essay by alaine4488 May 2005

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Third parties rarely win in presidential elections because the Republican and Democratic parties have long dominated the American political landscape. Since 1856, every president elected by U.S. voters has belonged to one of those two parties. Almost every state's governor, members of Congress, and state legislators are also members of these two political groups. But they are not the only political parties active in the United States. There are more than 30 others, which are referred to as third parties. Third parties have always been a part of America's political process and although a third-party candidate has never won the presidency, the organizations play several important roles -- from educating voters on specific issues to affecting real change in government policy. For example, Ralph Nader in 2000 entered the Presidential race in Spring 2000 claiming that his economic policies could solve the deficit problem created by Reagan and Bush. He was way ahead in the polls at first and this caused the Democrat Party to adopt his policy.

While Third Party presidential candidates stand little chance of being elected, members of America's third parties have historically promoted concepts and policies that have been incorporated as important parts of people's social and political lives. For example, both the Prohibition and Socialist Parties promoted women's suffrage during the late 1800's, but it was only in 1916 that this movement gathered the support of the both the Democrats and Republicans, the Populist and Socialist Parties reduced working hours to achieve the 40 hour working week, and it was the Populist and Socialist Party coalition that first supported a "progressive" tax system that would base a person's tax liability on their amount of income in the 1890's.

Third Parties can also "swing" elections. Their potential importance is shown in fact that 5 out of...

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