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20/08/2022
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TOPIC:

The path to a successful 3rd Party in American politics 04 Aug 2022 17:03 #12099

  • Gerardo E. Martínez-Solanas
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Dozens of former Republicans and Democrats announced last week that they had formed a new centrist political party aimed at attracting the support of voters who have become dissatisfied with America’s two major political parties.
The party, called Forward, is led by former Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang, former Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and former GOP lawmaker David Jolly. In an op-ed for the Washington Post outlining their agenda, the trio described Forward as a “unifying political party for the majority of Americans who want to move past divisiveness and reject extremism.”

Attempts to establish a viable third party that could meaningfully compete with Democrats and Republicans are not new, but none of those efforts have succeeded in overthrowing the two parties' hegemony. It’s been more than 50 years since a third-party presidential candidate has won any electoral votes. Ross Perot, who won nearly 19% of the vote in 1992 while running as an independent, was the most successful modern candidate outside of the two major parties.

The problem with so-called "3rd parties" is that they lack identity in the electoral system; they are just called "independent". The serious error of the past attempts to form a third party that emerges from the anonymity of being buried in the "Non-party affiliation" league consists of directing all their efforts to the presidential races or even to the senatorial ones. In order to succeed, they must start from the bottom, concentrating all efforts on obtaining seats in Congress and in state legislatures. After obtaining a decisive presence in Congress, which forces the other two parties to negotiate their initiatives and bills, they will then be able to successfully present candidates to the Senate and governorships, as a preliminary step to participating in a future presidential contest.

This takes time and patience; at least 12 to 16 years of gradual growth.
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