- Just about every four years, someone – or some group – bravely announces the formation of a political party not named “Democrats” or “Republicans” to change the electoral landscape in the next Presidential cycle.
- In 2022 a group of political heavyweights announced about a week ago that they were forming a new pollical party known as the “Forward Party.”
- As the Washington Post reported,
Former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, former congressman David Jolly, and former Democratic presidential candidate and New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.
Christine Todd Whitman was a successful Republican governor. David Jolly was a Republican Congressman from Florida. Andrew Yang is the Kardashian of politics: Famous for being famous.
- America might be yearning for a Non-D/Non-R political party, but the Forward Party probably is not it.
- A two-party system has existed in the United States since the founding of the current Constitutional system.
- From Wikipedia:
The first two-party system consisted of the Federalist Party, which supported the ratification of the Constitution, and the Democratic-Republican Party or the Anti-Federalists, which opposed the powerful central government that the Constitution established when it took effect in 1789.
- There is no mention of political parties in the Constitution. The current line up – Republicans and Democrats has been in existence since the 1850s although they have swapped ideologies now and again since then.
- The longest continuing third party is the Libertarian Party which was founded as a national party in 1972. In 2016 its nominee for President, Gary Johnson, got over four million (3.3%) votes.
- In the election of 1912, Theodore Roosevelt took control of the Progressive Party which, after it nominated Roosevelt, became popularly known as the Bull Moose Party.
- Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate won in a landslide with 435 electoral votes. Roosevelt came in second with 88 EVs and the Republican candidate, William Howard Taft trailed with only eight electoral votes.
- Four years later, the regular Republicans absorbed the Bull Moose Party which has been the pattern for the next 110 years: Third parties at the national level tend to be personality driven and when the personality leaves the party, the party leaves the national stage as a force to be reckoned with.
- In the 1968 election, the segregationist Governor of Alabama, George Wallace, was the nominee of the American Independent Party. He won five southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, worth 45 electoral votes plus one vote from a faithless elector.
- No third party candidate has won any electoral votes since Wallace.
- In 1992 Ross Perot of Texas ran as an independent against incumbent President George H.W. Bush (R) and Bill Clinton (D). He got almost 19 percent of the popular vote but zero electoral votes and I don’t believe he cost Bush any states,
- Perot organized the Reform Party for the 1996 campaign and got about eight percent of the vote. After that Pat Buchanan ran as the Reform Party candidate but without Perot it was in decline.
- The Green Party was formed in 1984 by 62 people in St. Paul, Minnesota. It reached its zenith in the election of 2000 when Ralph Nader was its nominee.
- In that election, Nader got nearly three million votes (2.7%) but won no electoral votes.
- It is generally conceded that Nader’s 2000 run is the only time in modern U.S. politics that a third party affected the outcome.
- In Florida, GOP nominee Gov. George W. Bush defeated Democrat VP Al Gore by 537 votes and the national electoral college vote 271-266.
- Had Nader’s Green Party not been on the ballot, and siphoned votes from Gore, it is almost certain Gore would have won Florida and thus the election.
- After Nader retired, the Green Party retained its ability to be on states’ ballots, but a great bar bet would be to name its nominee in 2020.
- Howie Hawkins, wins the beer.
- See what I mean?
- According to Ballotpedia.com in 2022, 39.6% of registered voters identify as Democrats. 29.2% identify as Republicans, and 31.2% identify as independent or a member of a third party
- However, the Associated Press reported earlier this year that over one million voters have shifted from D to R since the 2020 election, so don’t go to that on-line betting site to get the early odds just yet.
- Third parties are fun to fantasize about, but it is unlikely that the Green, the Reform, the Forward or any other political organization will have an effect on the 2024 election.
- See you next week.