US political parties: Difficulties facing minor parties

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  • Difficulties facing minor parties
    • Rarely win a sizeable proportion of votes
      • In 2008, their votes combined popular vote was less than 1%
    • First-Past-The-Post electoral system
      • In 1992, Ross Perot won no electoral college votes despite wining 19% of the popular votes. His votes were spread throughout the entire USA.
    • 'Matching funds'
      • Third parties qualify by winning 5% of the vote in a previous election
        • Within the last 50 years there has only been 3 third party candidates.
          • Wallace (1968)
          • Anderson (1980)
          • Perot (1992 & 1996)
    • State ballot access laws
      • In New York a third party candidate must gain a certain number of signatures in every country to get their name on the state ballot.
      • In California the number of signatures required is equal to 1% of the electorate in the state.
      • In 1980, Anderson had to spend about $3 million getting his name on the ballot in all 50 states
    • Media coverage
      • Can't afford their own advertisement& news programmes consider them not news worthy
      • In 2000, Nader was exluded from TV debates
    • Ideology
      • Most ideologies are  covered by the major parties & Americans tend to vote for mainstream parties.


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