Pros and Cons of Third Parties in American Politics

The American political system is dominated by two major political parties, which can be both a blessing and curse at the same time.

However, giving people more choices of candidates is an ideal scenario in any democracy, which ultimately encourages the promotion of third parties.

What are the pros and cons of third parties in American politics? Let’s see.

Pros and Cons of Third Parties in American Politics

Pros of third Parties in the American Political System

Third parties increase choices for voters

Giving people more choices in their political decisions is one of the fundamentals of democracy. Third parties provide people with more options to select their representatives in their legislature.

Currently, the general public has a small number of people to choose from during their elections, which makes the elections much more predictable in most races.

Pros and Cons of Third Parties in American Politics

Political newcomers will join the Congress

Even though third parties are present in the American political system, they are not as strong as they should be under an ideal democratic system.

Thus the likelihood of the political newcomer getting elected to Congress is extremely low, as an incumbency advantage gives career politicians a massive edge in any election.

Third parties will increase the ideological purity in political parties

The promotion of third parties can help the division of major political parties. For instance, many politicians do not share the core ideology of either of the two political parties.

But, as there is no viable third option, they have to join one of these two parties anyway. This results in the creation of small factions within the political parties.

While this is not a discouraging thing, oftentimes, this creates a schism within political parties, which puts different factions at odds.

This results in the overall stalemate of the legislative process. For instance, progressive Democrats wanted to pass the social spending bill more than the infrastructure bill.

However, they compromised, and many of them voted for infrastructure legislation thinking that moderates would vote for their social spending agenda.

But in the end, the social spending bill did not pass, and the infrastructure bill did, resulting in many progressives turning against Biden.

In the case of third parties where all people belong to a specific ideology, these sorts of internal tussles can be minimized.

It will challenge the status quo

Major political parties protect the interests of the status quo and big corporations. This helps them in getting political donations from these entities.

If somehow, third parties become relevant in American politics, it will be a challenge to the status quo, which will eliminate many persisting ill practices perpetuated by big corporations.

Pros and Cons of Third Parties in American Politics

Cons of third parties in American politics


Electoral College will become redundant

While third parties are present in the United States, they are yet to make any significant breakthrough in either congressional or presidential elections.

They struggle even to win a single state in terms of the electoral college. If third parties have to make strides in America, the electoral college would be challenged massively, which would ultimately challenge the status quo.

In the current electoral infrastructure, third parties can not get any major wins due to some significant disadvantages of the electoral college system.

Third parties will split votes

Seen from the perspective of a political candidate of a major political party, having a third party will split votes. For instance, many swing voters vote for a candidate close to their ideology, even if they are not aligned completely with their beliefs.

This practice will end in the case of the creation of third parties, as it will pave the way for a diverse slate of politicians to surface to the national horizon.

Voters will be able to find candidates who are close to their beliefs, resulting in splitting the votes of political parties.

Pros and Cons of Third Parties in American Politics

New parties will struggle to get donations

Even if third parties start becoming viral, bagging political donations would be a hefty task for them. This is due to the fact that most political donors donate to established candidates, as they do not want their money wasted.

Any political donor would be happy to donate for the weakest candidate of a major political party instead of funding the campaign of the strongest candidate of a third party.

And as political donations play a critical role in making or breaking political campaigns, this will make third parties irrelevant once again.


Final Thoughts

While there are many pros and cons of promoting third parties in American politics, doing it is not as easy as it seems. Under democracy, everyone should be given an equal chance of participation, which is being denied due to the absence of small parties.

Not only would the third parties promote competition in the political arena, but it would also be a change in the political infrastructure, which has become monotonous over the passage of time.

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