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How far is it true that 3rd Parties & Independent Candidates in the USA have little political significance and are destined to fail?

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How far is it true that 3rd Parties & Independent Candidates in the USA have little political significance and are destined to fail? In the political landscape of the USA, two main parties have dominated through out American History. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The theory that 3rd parties/Independent candidates are destined to fail in the American political process may seem easily feasible, however when studying recent election results it becomes clear that the small significance of these anomalies can not be assumed so easily. In the 2000 Presidential Elections, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader gained 3% of the total vote, which arguably would have gone to the Democratic candidate Al Gore and led to a Democratic victory, had he not stood. Therefore, although 3rd parties/independent candidates seem to be only a minor factor, they do have a part to play in American politics, Sceptics have argued that any 3rd party/Independent Candidate wishing to be successful in the American political system is deluding itself. ...read more.


Many believe that this was because the Republican Party had realised the importance of a stable economy to voters and so had adapted to this factor. In this sense, 3rd Party/Independent candidates are useful as a watchdog. They remind the main parties that politics is not just about getting into the White House. There were 3 3rd Party/Independent candidates who ran for office in the 2000 presidential election. Pat Buchanan who stood for the Reform Party, Harry Browne who stood for the Libertarian Party and Ralph Nader who stood for the Green party. The turnout for both Buchanan and Browne showed a good example of the tendency for 3rd Party/Independent candidates to focus on issues that the majority of the voting public find to be extraneous. The Reform and Libertarian Party gained less that 1% of the Total vote between them, this would suggest that 3rd Party/Independent candidates have very little significance. However, Nader's performance would indicate otherwise. His gaining almost 3 million votes which would have arguably gone to Al Gore had he not stood, is believed by many to be the most significant cause of defeat for the Democrats. ...read more.


In actual fact 3rd Party/Independent candidates are extremely significant in raising a single issue that needs to be raised and forcing the two main parties into confronting the issue. The most recent example of this being Ross Perot's emphasis on a federal budget deficit, which Bush senior had ignored in the run up to the 1992 election. He arguably cost the GOP the election on the basis of this one issue. However, although 3rd Party/Independent candidates are significant, the evidence would also suggest that they are doomed to fail in terms of attempting to gain power. With the two main reasons for this being the lack of federal funding and a lack of decent media coverage. Alternatively, it could be argued that they are not doomed to fail in terms of causing change. This is due to the fact that 3rd Party/Independent candidates are probably the most failsafe way to cause a major party to confront an important issue. Therefore it is impossible to say that 3rd Party/Independent candidates are destined to fail especially in a country who's most famous President Abraham Lincoln was actually a 3rd Party candidate in 1860. Wolfshand LTD introduces a Nathan David Stephens-Griffin essay: ...read more.

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