Haven't third party and independent
candidates always been "spoilers"?
Can a third party really win?
Every single presidential election year, our country has endured the inevitable but largely pointless debate over the fantasy of a competitive third party. The final verdict has always been the same: Third parties have no chance of winning, which makes them nothing more than “spoilers” — an assessment that has been accurate since the 1912 presidential race between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.
The spoiler argument certainly held true in 1992, when Ross Perot sent Bill Clinton to the White House and George H.W. Bush home, and in 2016, when the number of votes that third-party candidates received in key battleground states was larger than Donald Trump’s margin of victory.
But now — suddenly — the “third party” debate has become pointless for an entirely different reason: It is obsolete. The once herculean task of a third party winning elections is a heck of a lot easier now, because the death of the two-party system has already been initiated, not from the landing blow of a third party at the ballot box, but because the two major parties have finally blown themselves apart.
For years, the significant divisions within the two major parties have acted much like water that freezes inside a rock and eventually breaks it apart. In truth, what all of this proves is there have actually been multiple parties for years, even though they have cleverly disguised themselves as two.
This is yet another reason we must have more players in the game (read more here). The ideological fractures and growing divisions within the existing parties will only make our overall national gridlock much worse. It’s already really bad, but as the only two major parties get more internally jammed up, we are guaranteed that absolutely nothing gets solved. Ever.
The Democratic and Republican Parties have had 193 and 167 years, respectively, to get this right, yet things have progressively gotten worse. We cannot afford to waste any more time traveling the path of least resistance — and voting for the lesser of the who in the heck cares — simply because the two major parties, however wounded, believe they have the perpetual right to keep the playing field all to themselves. They don’t.