Why Third Parties Fail

I see a lot of people complaining about the two-party system in America, saying that it’s failed the American people and we ought to have more parties.  They forget that we have a ton of third parties, those parties have simply failed to gain any significant backing.  While some people trot out the conspiracy thinking to explain the failures of their pet party, the reality is, and will remain, that these parties just don’t offer anything significantly different than what we already have.

But none of the third parties will admit that they’ve really got nothing to offer.  I mean sure, to a tiny minority of single issue voters, they might be interesting, but not to most.  The hard core druggies might like the Libertarians and the ridiculous tree huggers might like the Greens, but outside of those issues, the parties just don’t have a different enough overall platform to really make a difference.

And that’s the problem.  Libertarians are fiscal conservatives and social liberals.  Greens are liberals with a ridiculous environmental focus.  The Constitution Party are hard-right religious fanatics.  But outside of that one or two elements that they blow way out of proportion, they’re not really any different from the Democrats or Republicans.  There just aren’t enough people who care enough about their pet issue to give them any real traction in the polls.

They’re just not honest enough to admit that’s the problem.  But isn’t that the problem with fanatics anyhow?  They just can’t admit why they fail, because they are not rational and they can’t see reality through their ideology.  The Libertarians will never win, no matter how many excuses they make, because their overall platform simply does not appeal to the typical American voter.  The same goes for the Greens.  The same goes for the Constitution Party and the Communists and all the rest.  They just aren’t different enough to matter and the differences they have just don’t make a difference to most voters.  But instead of admitting that their platforms have failed to capture the American imagination, they make excuses for why they lose election cycle after election cycle.  Things never improve for these third parties.  They perform no better today than they did 20 years ago.  In fact, in most cases, they’re performing worse.  And you know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, right?  That’s what being fanatical brings you and it’s nothing to be proud of.

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