Third Parties

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  • Third Parties
    • Ballot Access Laws
      • In certain states they have to gain a number of signatures in a petition before standing
        • In Arizona they need 20,000 signatures
      • In certain states they have tp get a certain % of the vote in the last election
        • Arizona it is 5%
      • Some have managed to do this
        • Ross Perot on all 50 state ballots in 1992, Pat Buchanan in 2000
    • Lack of Funding
      • Small parties can get state funding but only if they qualify by getting 5% of the vote in the last election
      • They will simply not be able to raise the kind of money that the two big parties can and people will not back them because they think they have no chance of winning
    • Lack of Publicity
      • The media tends to ignore smaller parties and they cannot afford the TV ads that bigger parties use
    • Too Few Candidates
      • It will be difficult to attract enough candidates to stand across the USA because they can only focus their attention on limited areas
    • The Accusation of Extremism
      • Two main parties have a wide variety of views within them so a third party would have to have radical and extreme views to stand out
    • Co-Option
      • Probably will only have one or two main policies which they want to bring to attention so if they are popular they could be stolen by the bigger parties
    • How Significant?
      • Some have made an impact on elections
        • Ross Perot stood in 1992 and got 19% of the vote which took away from George Bush Snr. and may have cost him the election
        • The Green party got nearly 3% of the vote in 2000 and may have cost Al Gore victory
      • Some have influenced policy
        • Ross Perot influenced the other parties' policies with his main issue of balanced budget
      • Some still have significant support
        • Libertarian party have over 1/4 million members and the Green party is registered on the ballot paper of 31 out of 50 states
    • The Appeal
      • Ideolody
        • People who feel strongly about an issue might be drawn to a third party for that issue
      • Dissatisfaction
        • Some third parties form when part of a major party breaks off in protest and forms a splinter party
          • 1912 Teddy Roosevelt led a group of dissidents out of the Republican Party to form Progressive Party
      • Geographical location
        • Third parties can be closely tied to a specific region
      • Candidate
        • Some join because the leader is charasmatic but if they leave the party usually falls apart
    • Their Role
      • Introduce new ideas
      • Put issues on the agenda
      • Spoil the election
      • Keep major parties honest
    • Not Significant
      • Limited impact
        • Have had little success and have rarely threatenened the dominance of the two major parties
      • Continued domination of two parties
        • Every President since 1853 has been one of the two major parties
        • The combined vote for each party is normally over 90% and in the last three it has been 99%
        • The two parties totally dominatethe EC vote normally winning all the votes between them
        • In the Congressional elections the two parties totally dominate
        • Even at statelevel the two parties dominate


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