Is it time for America to have a legit third party yet? This question guides Rafi Schwartz’s reflection in Mic:
America is, for all its bluster — or perhaps as a result of it — a nation obsessed with simplicity and repulsed by nuance. We like our history told in grand sweeping metaphors and our moralizing done in easily understood binaries. America is founded on stories of being unambiguously good in the face of unambiguous evil — whether it’s monarchal England, the Spanish, the Germans, or some other monolithic opposition against whom the country could measure itself.
It’s with this spirit of simplistic dualities that American politics has locked itself into a de facto two-party stalemate — the sort that has relegated a significant portion of political fights to the disparate “wings” of both the GOP and the Democratic Party, who are now forced to spend energy on intra-party fights that could otherwise be used to push an agenda in the broader political arena. While the ossification of American politics into the binary it exists within today is neither total nor has it always been the case, it is the modern political reality by which we live and die.
The problem can be traced back to a “decades-long realignment of the party coalitions” in the middle of the past century, explained political scientist and two-party foe Lee Drutman in Foreign Policy in 2019. Where once the two-party system was more akin to a fairly overlapped Venn diagram in which moderate agreement often carried the day, the 1950s and ’60s — particularly the civil rights movement — upended everything. “Politics nationalized, and pragmatic economic materialism gave way to culture wars and fights over national identity,” Drutman wrote.
Read the full story here. Democracy Chronicles has put together an in-depth review of the majority of America’s third parties in a handy overview where all the country’s political parties, other than the two big parties, are separated into categories and contextualized. Links to their websites and party platforms are included too. See the overview of all American political parties at Democracy Chronicles Third Party Central.