The Effect of Third Party Candidates in Presidential Elections

1656 WordsOct 17, 19997 Pages
The Effect of Third Party Candidates in Presidential Elections Although citizens of the United States have the opportunity to vote for many different offices at the national, state, and local levels, the election of the president of the United States every four years is the focal point of the American political process. The American political system has maintained a two- party system since its inception. Political scientists argue that a two-party system is the most stable and efficient means of running a democratic nation as a mono-party system leads toward tyranny, and a multi-party system creates over- diversification and gridlock (Mazmanian 6). The Constitution of the United States does not in any way limit the structure of the…show more content…
First, the independent can either split the vote causing the opposing major candidate to win, or second, the independent can withdraw and give their support and potentially a significant voting block, to one of the major candidates in exchange for a change in the candidate's platform to include the independent's views. These influences by an independent, third party candidate were demonstrated in both the 1968 and 1992 elections. George Wallace, independent candidate of the newly formed American Independent Party, took 13.5% of the popular vote in the 1968 election, and won seventy electoral votes in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Georgia, and making him the most successful independent to run for the presidency. The American Independent Party was a "white supremacist . . . , ultra-conservative" (Mazmanian 130) organization founded in reaction to the 1960's civil rights movement and the Supreme Court's overturning of "separate, but equal" (Plessy v. Ferguson) statute that forced integration. George Wallace, then governor of Alabama, was a pronounced racist who became nationally known by refusing to allow the integration of Alabama schools in spite of a federal order to do so. Wallace ran his campaign on a platform of state's rights and increased defense spending and gained a large following of voters in southern states. The political purpose of Wallace's campaign was to force one or both of the major party
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