Why are Americans Searching for Third Parties

Over the last year interest in alternative political parties in the United States has skyrocketed. The American public is ready for a new political party.

Why? Why is now the time for a new party to emerge in American politics?

1. More Americans are independents than ever before

Since 1988 Gallup has polled Americans about their party preference. 2016 marked the most Independents in the United States since the poll began.

Not only that, there are way more Independents than in either major party. While 42% of Americans are Independents only 29% identified as Democrats and 26% as Republicans. Independents don’t just beat the other parties in membership, they overwhelm it.

Americans simply aren’t finding a political party they are comfortable aligning with. No wonder they are desperately searching for one.

2. It’s time for a third party

During the 20th century, third parties mounted significant bids for the presidency in 1912, 1924, 1948, 1968, and 1992. The pattern has tended to be every twenty or twenty-four years. Appropriately twenty-four years since the last significant challenger, the American people are looking for a shake up to the political status-quo.

But each of these challengers either won electoral votes, or in 1992 won 19% of the vote. This election does not seem poised to meet either of those modest benchmarks. Meaning the American public will go without a legitimate new party voice for longer than they had over the last century!

 3. The parties are realigning

What does it mean to be a Republican or a Democrat? The answer is increasingly nebulous. Writers from Politico, the Washington Post and others are increasingly calling this a realignment for the two parties.

The parties are realigning both in membership and policy. While the Obama coalition starts to become permanent for the Democrats, rural whites are coalescing in ever greater numbers for Republicans.

And while Republicans have long been the party of the free market, they are now supporting protectionist trade policies. Meanwhile the Democrats who have long preached restraint in foreign affairs are running a war hawk for president.

This realignment will naturally leave many Americans looking for a new political home. When combined with the huge number of Americans already not aligned with a political party we are looking at a near future where both political parties combined barely represent half of Americans.

4. There is broad dissatisfaction with the current parties

Not only are Americans leaving political parties at historic rates, even those who stay don’t like them. I could regale you with the polling data, but do you really need it? Americans simply do not like either major party.

 And if that’s not enough, when we actually put these people to work we are disgusted. Congress has an approval rating of 13%, worse than lice, colonoscopies, and Genghis Khan. Elected Democrats and Republicans simply aren’t delivering what the American people expect.

5. Uniquely unqualified candidates

Many Americans focus the most on politics every four years during the presidential election. And those who have turned in are aghast. For the first time since 1820, one presidential candidate is running essentially unopposed. And the one viable candidate is untrusted by 70% of Americans!

The Republican’s candidate meanwhile has insulted prisoners of war, fallen soldiers, the disabled, and won’t rule out a nuclear attack against Europe.

No one who is paying any attention should be surprised that Americans are turning to third parties. Unfortunately the new party options in the United States today are running backwards. Rather than working from the ground up, finding and running qualified local candidates, they are running vanity presidential candidates.

And the most popular third parties today are on the ideological fringes, whereas today’s independents are overwhelmingly moderate.

It is time to begin building a national moderate party. And we need your help. Sign up for the Modern Whig Party today.


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  • commented 2016-12-18 13:22:25 -0500
    i am a African American businessman who used to be conservative in the 80’s and as the 90’s hit became more progressive with social issues, I am ex-military and my leanings do line up a lot with the Whig Party. I researched the original and I found them to excellent for what I wanted to align myself with I am looking for a new party to get back to the business of solving problems and making us strong in the world again. To that effect I like what ive read so far. My only question is I don’t much about social issues, like race in this country or womens issues can the new whig party address where they stand on these issues? Thank you!
  • commented 2016-11-01 07:07:24 -0400
    Jessica, I want to tell you that I am lock step with your analysis here. If you are interested I would love for you to contribute your thoughts on the Whiggism blog I am trying to get going. feel free to contact me over fb.
  • commented 2016-10-27 19:19:09 -0400
    I like the Fair Tax…as used to achieve much success in some progressive nations…

    Jules
  • commented 2016-10-27 17:58:25 -0400
    It is time to eliminate the income tax. I propose that we adopt the “fair Tax” on spending. But because switching from one system to another would in fact cause double taxation (income then spending). To get out of this trap, I suggest that the income tax be continued for the very rich for a short period of time to provide the necessary funds to operate the government. This is unfair to the rich, but will allow us to escape within say 10 years from the tax on income. We should then eliminate the estate tax, hopefully, in time to save the family farm and other small businesses.
  • followed this page 2016-10-27 17:48:52 -0400
  • commented 2016-10-06 09:42:37 -0400
    thanks Jessica…right on…just as Ralph Nader advocates..it all starts with the foundation you mention…namely, becoming involved with the politics of your neighbourhood, your town, your city & state thereby insuring… the highest quality of folks you know will bring change…building, bottom up!
    Americans are notorious for neglecting ground roots politics and somehow, magically, believing that voting every four years, at the presidential level, will bring about change. Such the pity….and so it is
    the Two Party Stranglehold, remains….

    respectfully, Observer Jules
  • commented 2016-10-06 07:38:01 -0400
    Jules,

    With due respect, the lesson from Mr. Nader, from the Greens and Libertarian and Socialists and so forth, has been that what they’re doing isn’t working. They’ve been doing the same thing for decades — putting up candidates for high office without a foundation — and it’s has the same results: nobody elected.

    To fix this, you have to build the foundation, and that means (1) fixing the voting system via ranked or tiered or approval voting so that people aren’t scared away from voting for minor party candidates and (2) recruiting good candidates to run, now that they have an actual shot. Then, once there are minor party office holders, we need to overhaul the Electoral College. Then — and only then — do we actually have a shot at the White House.

    Where is the Whig Party backing for Question 5 in Maine? Where is our outreach to other minor parties to start petitioning for similar measures in other states to make better voting systems a reality? Where is there evidence of us building the foundation, so that we can eventually build the house?
  • commented 2016-10-05 23:05:48 -0400
    Happily, I had the opportunity to do a “one on one” with Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader back in 2008.
    I believe him to be a real and true American genius.
    His comments were an echo of what we are trying to learn today….get involved, in your neighourhood politics, town, city, county, and state…. and the Presidency will take care of itself.
    That’s how you build party coalition….honour the Greens, the Libertarians, the Socialists and others….by listening and by learning…..in other words, by actively taking part in the process. This must also include The MWP.

    Observer Jules
  • commented 2016-09-27 19:26:31 -0400
    The real question then is how do we keep Americans interested in politics in the intervening 4 years? Presidential elections always boost public interest. But as soon as the election is over (or at the very most by January 20th) public interest drops to not caring. By the time the public interest is back to levels necessary to achieve change it is less than a year away from the election again, which doesn’t provide enough time to affect the change. How do we keep public interest in the off years?
  • commented 2016-08-02 12:39:37 -0400
    Well of course it’s focusing on the presidential race. That’s the answer to the question posed. Americans tune into politics during the presidential race and they are very disillusioned. But perhaps you should scroll all the way to the bottom of the article.
  • commented 2016-08-02 12:28:48 -0400
    Unfortunately, this article — like so many others — focuses on the Presidential race. Again. sigh

    As things stand, third-party candidates stand precisely zero chance of winning a Presidential election. Not because of corruption, or media collusion, or any of the usual roster of conspiracy theories. Rather, they stand precisely zero chance because of the reality of our winner-take-all voting method and the practical consequences of the Electoral College system as defined in the 12th Amendment. The unfortunate consequence of the combination of those two factors is that we are systemically geared for two-party politics.

    This is particularly true for the Presidential election, where a clear majority (rather than a mere plurality) of Electoral votes are necessary to secure the election; without it, the election is decided by the House of Representatives rather than the voting public, and that is sadly the most likely result of an actual three-way race with three strong candidates.

    I get it; nobody likes being told, “That candidate you like, the one on on the minor party or independent ticket? There’s no way he can win the Presidency because they’re not in one of the two major parties.” But the uncomfortable truth is that because of our voting methods and the 12th Amendment, it’s true: there’s no remotely realistic way a third-party or independent candidate can win the Presidency.

    Now, do you want to change this?

    Step one is to work hard at the local level to get third-party candidates elected locally. School board, city council, etc.

    Then work just as hard at the county level.

    Then do it again at the state level.

    Then again at the national level.

    At each and every point, while you’re doing this, push as well to replace winner-takes-all voting with either Instant Runoff Voting or Approval Voting. Look at Question 5 in Maine, which is a major step in this direction (implementing tiered voting for everything except the Presidential race).

    And when at long last you have significant third-party representation in state governments and Congress, push to reform the 12th Amendment to switch it as well to Instant Runoff or Approval voting.

    It’s not a fast process. It’s not an easy process. And there’s no guarantee that it will pay off in the end; mustering the kind of political will to do these things is difficult in a country where most people won’t bother voting in local elections or primaries, and half skip even the top ticket. But it’s the only realistic avenue to get what you want: a realistic chance for votes for third-party candidates to do anything better than act as spoilers (and usually benefiting the majority party least closely aligned with you).