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Poll
Question: In which decade would a third party be most likely to win a national election?
2010's   -2 (6.3%)
2020's   -8 (25%)
2030's   -5 (15.6%)
2040's   -0 (0%)
2050's   -1 (3.1%)
later   -2 (6.3%)
never   -14 (43.8%)
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Total Voters: 32

Author Topic: Rise of the 3rd Party  (Read 938 times)
R2D2
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« on: August 05, 2012, 01:29:09 pm »
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Go.
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I have been called a troll (and worse) at many forums. But do you know what the opposite of a troll is? A fairy. As in homosexual.
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 02:26:56 pm »
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Barring the cataclysmic, it will never happen.  We are going to be stuck with Republicans and Democrats for the forseeable future, though they may well be increasingly unrecognizable as the decades wear on.    
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Dr. Cynic
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 02:33:37 pm »
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Unfortunately, it'll never happen. The American political system is designed to prevent it.
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The Ex-Factor
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 08:10:53 pm »
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Something more nationally cataclysmic than the Civil War?
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SJoyce
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 08:41:53 pm »
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Partisan hack version: 2012. Gary Johnson.

Non-hack: Probably in 30-40 years.
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Goldwater
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 09:52:04 pm »
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Unless we change the electoral system, the only way a third party can rise is if they replace one of the two major parties.
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SJoyce
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 09:57:21 pm »
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Unless we change the electoral system, the only way a third party can rise is if they replace one of the two major parties.

I could see the Rs imploding in a few decades if they stay as they are.
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Free Palestine
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 12:12:57 am »
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IT WON'T HAPPEN AS LONG AS THE UNITED STATES USES FPTP
It will only happen if the United States adopts proportional representation.  And it's hard to say when such a thing will happen.  Certainly you'll start to see minor parties make inroads into government, but the rise of a new party to major party status is one of those events that just pop out of nowhere.
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Free Bradley Manning
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 01:45:39 pm »
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IT WON'T HAPPEN AS LONG AS THE UNITED STATES USES FPTP
It will only happen if the United States adopts proportional representation.  And it's hard to say when such a thing will happen.  Certainly you'll start to see minor parties make inroads into government, but the rise of a new party to major party status is one of those events that just pop out of nowhere.

Not necessarily true. Canada has FPTP and the NDP (which was a fourth party recently) just became Official Opposition and in Australia, they use a form of PR, but they're really just a two party state as well.
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Senator TNF
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 09:18:34 am »
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Never going to happen. You have a better shot at taking over and ideologically instituting a 'new regime' in either the Democrats or the Republicans than you do creating a successful third party.
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 12:51:51 pm »
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IT WON'T HAPPEN AS LONG AS THE UNITED STATES USES FPTP
It will only happen if the United States adopts proportional representation.  And it's hard to say when such a thing will happen.  Certainly you'll start to see minor parties make inroads into government, but the rise of a new party to major party status is one of those events that just pop out of nowhere.

Not necessarily true. Canada has FPTP and the NDP (which was a fourth party recently) just became Official Opposition and in Australia, they use a form of PR, but they're really just a two party state as well.

Canada and the UK (and Australia) are weird cases.  In the U.S. though, you're unlikely to even have a little party like the Lib Dems that constantly decides the balance of power.
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 11:26:31 pm »
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Partisan hack version: 2012. Gary Johnson.

Non-hack: Probably in 30-40 years.
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2012, 04:35:03 pm »
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Well, to get a third party we would need a large demographic of people who are not represented by either of the current parties AND who are politically conscious enough to know it.  I'm not sure what could prompt that.
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2012, 04:46:19 pm »
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The way to build a third party in the US is to do what the Greens are currently doing in Canada, the UK, and Australia -- pick a single seat. Elect somebody. The next election, keep that seat and elect somebody new. Slowly expand until you have a balance of power (like the LibDems do in the UK) at which point you should usually be big enough to survive a bad election and you can start behaving like a top-two party. (The 'you don't have to be careful anymore once you have the BOP', due to various reasons, has generally not been true in Australia, but in purer FPTP nations like the US, Canada, and the UK is usually the case). You can go ahead and run prominent people for the Presidency, but the mistake third parties make is focusing on that. Initially, when you have nothing, the focus should be on House seats.

There isn't much stopping the US from a system with a great deal of parties besides tradition and really stupid third parties. When a smart third party with an attractive ideology comes along, it will succeed. (I may actually try and do an AH timeline about Greens in the US in the late '90s, when they were popular, becoming a more successful party by focusing on House seats.)
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2012, 08:31:35 pm »
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The way to build a third party in the US is to do what the Greens are currently doing in Canada, the UK, and Australia -- pick a single seat. Elect somebody. The next election, keep that seat and elect somebody new. Slowly expand until you have a balance of power (like the LibDems do in the UK) at which point you should usually be big enough to survive a bad election and you can start behaving like a top-two party. (The 'you don't have to be careful anymore once you have the BOP', due to various reasons, has generally not been true in Australia, but in purer FPTP nations like the US, Canada, and the UK is usually the case). You can go ahead and run prominent people for the Presidency, but the mistake third parties make is focusing on that. Initially, when you have nothing, the focus should be on House seats.

There isn't much stopping the US from a system with a great deal of parties besides tradition and really stupid third parties. When a smart third party with an attractive ideology comes along, it will succeed. (I may actually try and do an AH timeline about Greens in the US in the late '90s, when they were popular, becoming a more successful party by focusing on House seats.)
I want to read that Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2012, 08:33:59 pm »
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A house seat would be all but pointless in the American system. It's a heavy investment as it is, and unlike Commonwealth legislatures there is no procedure for one party to gain its own funding, not to mention all floor votes being decided within the majority party (Correct me if I'm wrong on this) It's a better investment of a candidate's time to run in the primaries and join a caucus once he's elected.

A senate seat could be significant, but the money investment is so massive that the party would become a senator's reelection vehicle.

The problem is no third party, if it wants to be a viable player, wants to even bother on the national level: too much money involved. Nor can one of the party's wings try to split off, because then they're cut off to the two parties' fundraising network.

PR matters less than most people think. Campaign finance reform is number one by far, followed by a federal fusion voting system. If those are put in place a third party could claw its way up in the 2040s.
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