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The arrival in power of a third party in the United States

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Par   •  18 Octobre 2021  •  Fiche  •  536 Mots (3 Pages)  •  330 Vues

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The BBC website predicts the arrival in power of a third party in the United States by 2024 and the events of January 6, with the intrusion of Trump supporters in the Capitol, have rekindled talk of the emergence of a third party in the American political landscape.

The Reuters news agency has moreover made public the desire of 120 Republican elected officials to split because of the rise in power of right-wing militias and white supremacists during the Trump presidency.


Is the American two-party system conducive to the emergence of a third party?

The American two-party system appears to be an anomaly among democratic states. This system is based on a first-past-the-post vote without proportional representation, often summarized by the expression: "the winner takes it all". Thus, the power and strength of the Democrats and Republicans make the emergence and prosperity of a third party almost illusory, as shown by the example of the Populist Party created in 1892 and which was eventually absorbed by the Democratic Party.

However, a short precedent can be noted with the creation of T. Roosevelt's Progressive Party, which came second in the 1912 presidential elections with 27% of the vote and 88 electors ahead of the Republican Party. However, the internal reforms of the Republicans in 1916 made the Progressive Party disappear and illustrates the power of the Grand Old Party.

In order to allow for the creation of a third party, the U.S. voting system would have to be changed, but the weight of history shows that this change is difficult to make. The American two-party system has existed since the country's inception and was strengthened when the Democratic-Republican Party split in 1824, creating the Democratic and Republican parties, which buried George Washington's Federalist Party in favour of the two-party system.

Finally, one might ask whether Americans are in favour of a third party. In 2000, less than 35% of Americans supported the creation of a new party. 50% of Americans are in favour in 2019 and 60% in 2021, but this increase is primarily due to temporary reactions within the parties: against the person of Trump or the migration policy of J. Biden, for example.


The emergence of a 3rd party therefore seems impossible in the American political context, which is based on a two-party system. Thus, the successive failures of the Green Party and the Libertarian Party make the rise of another party at the expense of the Democrats or the Republicans illusory. The 1992 presidential election shows this clearly, because even if Ross Perot's party managed to obtain 19% of the votes but no electoral votes, this party will not survive its electoral failure. The other political parties are thus relegated to a role of nuisance that allows the two major parties to question themselves. Moreover, the costs of electoral campaigns and the geographical spread of the United States do not allow the emergence of a pluralism of American political parties. Today, only five parties can participate in U.S. presidential elections: the Democratic, Republican, Green, Libertarian and Constitutional parties. "As a


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