Why Do Minor Parties Find It Difficult to Achieve Electoral Success in the USA

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  • Created on: 15-11-12 09:42
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Why do minor parties find it difficult to achieve Electoral success in the USA? (15 Marks)
1) The electoral system is First past the post, winner takes all systems, All elections whether it is for
president, congress or state local office this always makes it difficult for the national third
parties. Regional third parties can do well, in 1968 George Wallace won 45 Electoral College
votes with 13% of the vote, but this was very small from the Southern states. In 1992, Ross
Perot won no Electoral College votes with 19% of the vote, Perot's votes, by contrast, were
spread throughout the entire USA.
2) Third parties are a disadvantaged by the way they qualify for matching funds, in presidential
elections. Major party candidates qualify by raising at least $5000 in contribution in at least 20
states, this is not a difficult requirement. But third parties qualify by only winning at least 5% of
the popular votes in the previous election. There are a couple of problems with this as only very
few third parties achieve this. In the last 50 years only three third party candidates achieved this,
George Wallace in 1968, Anderson in 1980 and Perot in 1992 and 1996.
3) Third parties lack from media coverage. News programmers do not think of them sufficiently and
newsworthy. The party has very less funding which causes them not being able to afford going in
the media, or either place any commercials. This makes them unpopular; this will make
candidates only think of the Republicans and the democrats. In 2000 only Bush and Gore
appeared in the three presidential debates Nader was excluded.
4) Third Parties are known as extremists, well most of them are, according to the republicans and
the democrats. If they were not, they would be sharing the same ideologies with either the
republicans or either the democrats. Republicans smeared pro-segregation against George
Wallace, " If you liked Hitler, you'll love Wallace". Americans are afraid that the third parties are
extremists as their ideologies follow Extremist view. Such as "red Scare" are always interested
in having a war, this will not bring peace in America.
5) Third Parties lack resources, to some extent. It is hard to gain fund and support when citizens of
the US know the third parties will never win, this causes distress as they do not get enough funds
to do any campaigning. Third parties have to use their hard earned money on ballot petitions
rather than real campaigns like the way Republicans and the Democrats do. For instance in 2008
David Gatchell a candidates for the Independents party was only funded $7,615. This was to less
for him to even campaign, to be on the media or make commercials for his party.


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