<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Finally, party success is strongly influenced by local election laws. Someone has to write the rules that govern elections, and those rules help to determine outcomes. In the United States, such rules have been written to make it easy for existing parties to secure a spot for their candidates in future elections. But some states create significant burdens for candidates who wish to run as independents or who choose to represent new parties. For example, one common practice is to require a candidate who does not have the support of a major party to ask registered voters to sign a petition. Sometimes, thousands of signatures are required before a candidate’s name can be placed on the ballot ( [link] ), but a small third party that does have large numbers of supporters in some states may not be able to secure enough signatures for this to happen.

Kevin Liptak, “’Fatal Flaw:’ Why Third Parties Still Fail Despite Voter Anger,” http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/21/politics/third-party-fail/index.html (March 13, 2016).

An image of one person holding a clipboard, shaking hands with another person. A third person stands nearby.
Costa Constantinides (right), while campaigning in 2013 to represent the 22nd District on the New York City Council, said, “Few things are more important to a campaign than the petition process to get on the ballot. We were so pumped up to get started that we went out at 12:01 a.m. on June 4 to start collecting signatures right away!” Constantinides won the election later that year. (credit: modification of work by Costa Constantinides)

Given the obstacles to the formation of third parties, it is unlikely that serious challenges to the U.S. two-party system will emerge. But this does not mean that we should view it as entirely stable either. The U.S. party system is technically a loose organization of fifty different state parties and has undergone several considerable changes since its initial consolidation after the Civil War. Third-party movements may have played a role in some of these changes, but all resulted in a shifting of party loyalties among the U.S. electorate.

Critical elections and realignment

Political parties exist for the purpose of winning elections in order to influence public policy. This requires them to build coalitions across a wide range of voters who share similar preferences. Since most U.S. voters identify as moderates,

Morris P. Fiorina, “America’s Missing Moderates: Hiding in Plain Sight,” 2 February 2013, http://www.the-american-interest.com/2013/02/12/americas-missing-moderates-hiding-in-plain-sight/ (March 1, 2016).
the historical tendency has been for the two parties to compete for “the middle” while also trying to mobilize their more loyal bases. If voters’ preferences remained stable for long periods of time, and if both parties did a good job of competing for their votes, we could expect Republicans and Democrats to be reasonably competitive in any given election. Election outcomes would probably be based on the way voters compared the parties on the most important events of the day rather than on electoral strategy.

Questions & Answers

In which areas do you think peoples rights and liberties are at risk of government intrusion?
camille Reply
whenever......new government
Marjan Reply
clearly,who was meant to be in charge of this new government?
Marjan
What is and who is required to file a foreign agent registration statement form
David Reply
Anything on the Mayflower Compact
deborah Reply
What do you really mean by the final draft of articles
Eliza Reply
According to pluralist theory of government
Rachel Reply
Pluralist theory stating what?
Kalu
Meaning
Eliza
What is government mean?
Benedict Reply
compare and contrast a federalist system of govt to a confederate system
Jewles Reply
how does one separate from State or government
Joni Reply
I do Not understand well, so if the abachis want. To seperate, acording to this declaration every one shoud Support them
Ich Reply
what is liberty
Luna Reply
You feel free and you decide and do and achieve the right for you
Ich
was the Bill of rights a necessary addtion to the constitution?
noor Reply
So, if I'm clear a member of the Congress CANNOT live in the state they represent?
Jeremy Reply
what is government
Seth Reply
why is today's government so corrupt?
Julius Reply

Get the best American government course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'American government' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask