The Path to Reform: Third Party Constraints and the Barriers to Third Party Success - A Critical Review.
I. Introduction 3.
II. Methodology .3-6.
III. Devurger's Law: The "Wasted Vote- and the "Spoiler Effect- .6-9.
IV. Presidential Electoral System .9-12.
V. Anti-fusion Laws 12-14.
VI. Financial Constraints .14-16.
VII. Campaign Finance Reform .16-18.
VIII. Public Finance - An Improvement to the Institution .18-20.
IX. The Co-Option of Third Party Agendas .20-22.
X. Conclusion .22.
XI. References .
Exploring the political and social diversity in the American electorate and examining the potential for political change raises an apparent question. How has the two-party system remained dominant with a social environment so constructed for a multiparty system? Are the structural barriers for third party candidates created by the two-party political system removable? The problem is not a lack of challenges to the two major political parties. Both parties have displayed their staying power as shown by Bibby and Maisel: .
"Each has sustained dramatic swings of fortune "landslide victories, demoralizing defeats, cliffhanger wins and losses, major splinter movements, and realignment of bases for electoral support."" .
Institutional barriers must be functioning to keep the two-party system from becoming fractured by the American electorate.
In searching for reasons that explain the institutional barriers for third party candidates, this literary review considers the seminal works on comparative electoral systems, from Maurice Duverger's Law to more recently produced studies by William Riker (1982), Gary Cox (1997), Jae-On Kim and Mahn-Geum Ohn (1992), Alan Ware (1996) and Octavio Amorim Neto (1997). This review also covers studies by Howard Scarrow (1985) and Paul Abramson, John Aldrich, Phil Phaolino, and David Rohde (1995) that adapt this literature to the American system.