Political influence by third parties is evident


Third parties seem too obscure for most people to bother with. Some may even see them as irrelevant. When half of all eligible voters don’t even vote for two classic parties, who’s going to go out of their way to familiarize themselves with third party candidates?

Not many people ever do. Third parties are viewed often as the spoiler party, the one in which your vote doesn’t matter because in the end, third parties never win.

Facing many obstacles, third parties have many troubles in gaining and keeping voters. Third parties must have received at least five percent of the vote in the previous election to be eligible to receive federal funding for campaigning, which makes gaining momentum challenging. In addition, both the Democratic and Republican parties benefit from the weaker third parties, as it prevents additional competion.

However, in today’s age, we see third parties on the rise because of recent unpopularity of both major parties. In fact, according to CBS News, the amount of people who voted for third parties in the last presidential election echoed the effect of independent candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 election, displaying that dissent was indeed running high among voters.

Third parties exist in our political sphere for good reason. They form because of dissatisfaction with the mainstream political parties, powerful ideologies or strong regional popularity.

Third parties today represent something larger than just dissent and wasted votes. They represent a stronger movement of change; that both parties have deviated too far or too long one way or the other, or that they are neglecting something that cannot be ignored any longer. In a sense, the rise of third parties indicate a warning for the two major parties.

The pressure third parties have on Democrats and Republicans can definitely have an impact. In the case of the 1992 presidential election with candidate Ross Perot, he drew away votes from the Republican base and led the Democratic candidate Bill Clinton to win by a landslide.

This worry of votes being taken away can galvanize the party losing voters to redefine their platform. In a way, this is a small check against the bipartisan system.

Until recently, I also was disapproving of third party voters. Voting for third-party candidates wasn’t paying off and the two party system has been in place for so long that change in the current election system seems unlikely.

But with third parties gaining popularity and receiving greater support, a vote for third party candidats isn’t a vote wasted; rather it is a vote that has the louder voice. By voting third party, a voter states that neither major party is suffcient.

It’s a motivator for change, no matter how small, for the two major parties. This trend of third parties won’t last for long. History has proven this time and time again. But during the current midterms and the next presidential election, the influence of third parties will matter and will rein in the two major parties. Only the future will tell how far third parties will go to change our political system.