Sunday, December 21, 2008

Know Your Third Parties: A Conclusion

We hope you have enjoyed reading our series on America's Third Parties, and perhaps learned a thing or two.

As you may have noticed, we tried to cover a large spectrum of these minor political organizations. They include left and right wing splinter parties, such as the Greens or Constitutionists. They include parties of forgotten, but important ideologies, such as the Libertarians.

Some of these parties – like the Modern Whigs – appear to be on the rise. Others – like the Reformers – are dying down. Some – like the Prohibitionists – are really dying down.

And then there are the parties for extreme ideologies – like the several Nazi and Communist parties – which do considerably more marches and rallies than actual politicking.

Because of the traditions in the American electoral system, it is more than difficult for a Third Party to become a major party – it is virtually impossible. First-past-the-post elections and single member districts make a choice between two parties easier for the voter than a choice between three – thus Third Parties almost always appear to be a waste of a vote.

But Third Parties do have a very real place in American society – they offer organization and a platform for those who have their beliefs overlooked by the masses (for better more often than worse, probably) or are fed up with the crass partisanship that the Two Party System seems to offer.

Although it is unlikely to ever see a Third Party match the Democrats or Republicans, they will remain in the American political realm for ages to come – and it doesn't hurt to know who they are.

For those with further interest, visit

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