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Ron Fournier of National Journal Writes About Potential For New Political Party

Published on February 14, 2013, by in General.

Ron Fournier of National Journal has this essay about the plausibility that the next presidential election will see the birth of a new political party. Although the article is newsworthy, Fournier’s use of the term “two-party system” is flawed. He seems to use “two-party system” as a synonym for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, taken together. Many others use the term in the same way. However, the term was coined in 1911 to describe any system in which two particular parties are far larger than all the other parties. It was first applied to the British party system. But Britain has never been without third parties big and powerful enough to elect multiple members of the House of Commons. Thanks to PoliticalWire for the link.

4 Responses

  1. DSZ

    It’s really interesting that Rand Paul is considering running. As I understand it, he can’t be a Senate candidate in Kentucky while also being a Presidential candidate on the same ballot. If he loses in the primaries can he still run for re-election for Senate in November?

    Also if he pulls the Anderson/Teddy Roosevelt trick and drops out and starts a new party, it would severely hurt his chances of even obtaining full ballot access vs. starting off as a 3rd candidate.

    Lastly, I think the article makes a good point about gerrymandering. But I think more than just disaffecting voters, gerrymandering makes it far more difficult for a 3rd candidate to win a congressional seat to a point that overrides the disaffected voter problem. Also it’s easier to win with 35% support, if you have opponents at 34% and 31% instead of 65% and 10%. In the past, a number of states drew districts that would not divide city or county boundaries. The Supreme Court may want to consider revising one man-one vote, since that put a stop to this form of redistricting. It led to uneven districts population-wise, but I think that is a price worth paying for more competitive seats.

  2. Michael

    Another one?

  3. Joseph McNiesh

    When did the third party if Great Britain start? I forget its name.

  4. Andrew

    #3 – Joseph, that’s a hard question to answer! Our old two-party system was the Liberals and the Conservatives but in the 1920s the socialist Labour Party replaced the Liberals on the left. Many Liberals quit to join one of the other two parties over the next few years but a rump remained and from the late 1950s onwards carved out a niche as a third party. However, in Scotland and Wales there are strong nationalist parties which have elected multiple MPs since the 1970s so there is a four-party system there. I hope that helps!

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