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What Are the Barriers Facing Minor Parties?

In: Social Issues

Submitted By yfl1
Words 529
Pages 3
One of the main barriers minor parties face is debate rules. Debates have formed a large part of the United States electoral process since the 1990s but for the majority of states parties must have cleared 15% in pre-debate opinion polls to take part. The debates are crucial for party publicity and grassroots support but are only traditionally open to the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the two main parties. To take part in the debates candidates also have to be on enough ballot cards in enough states to make it possible to win an electoral college majority, for independent third parties this is often difficult as it usually requires self-funding for registration fee's and the like, such as Ross Perot in 1996 who was a multi-millionaire and able to fund his own campaign and therefore representation on ballots in every state. Since it is often due to the publicity of the debates that parties gain gain funding these limitations tend to put minor parties on the back-foot even before the major campaign starts as they have limited resources and means of publicity to gain enough finance and support for both the ballot registration fees and the 15% in the election polls.

The second limitation on third parties is the winner-takes-all lack of proportional representation in the electoral college. Proportional representation is virtually non-existent in the federal system and is rarely even found in the states. This complete lack of minor party representation means that these parties have no constant presence in the federal governance and cannot therefore gain so much support as political participants other than during elections with their own campaigning.This often means that third parties are only formed to focus on a specific issue as a pressure group rather than as a serious presidential candidate, usually when an interest group does not agree with their...

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