Starting the Conversation on Third Parties

Loved by some and loathed by others, third parties have had a major impact on presidential campaigns in the last few cycles and are increasingly part of the conversation about the future of American politics.

Click below to learn the backstory of third parties in the U.S., and the third party possibilities in 2024 worth keeping an eye on.

So Here’s the Question

At your next gathering or in a group chat, use these questions to spark a discussion:

  • Why do you think the two major parties continue to make it so difficult for a third party candidate to get on the ballot?
  • Why is a third party candidate seen as such a threat to the system?
  • Do you think having a permanent third party on every ballot would hold sitting politicians more accountable?
  • Given all the choices Americans have in all aspects of life, why are we stuck with just two parties to run the government?
  • Who would be your ideal third party candidate? Why?
  • Some say third parties only act as a spoiler – do you agree? Do they hurt one party more than the other?
  • If third party candidates made up a larger portion of the House and Senate, wouldn’t that lead to more compromise and less partisanship? Why or why not?

Something to Consider

Here’s a taste of what people are saying about a third party. We’ve intentionally left out the commenters’ names so you can focus on the viewpoint itself, not the speaker’s affiliations.

Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win.”

The two major parties are more extreme than ever before – at the same time, the percentage of people dissatisfied with the system is larger than ever.”

But there is a need for people who have a conservative to moderate point of view and want to believe in the rule of law and they need a place to go and a place where they can organize and support candidates that are consistent with that."

Without this clash of parties we don't have a capacity to move forward."

In any case, the solution to a potential ‘spoiler’ scenario should never be to silence political opposition and limit democracy to two corporate-sponsored choices.”

Every minor party or independent candidate who has run in modern history has taken some votes from (both parties).

Parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed."

For Deeper Exploration

Looking for more? These resources will help you:

Share with the Community

Find us on social media and make your voice heard in the fight for democracy. Use #DemocracyChats and #JuntoClub to share what you’re learning from your pro-democracy conversations and what questions are sparking the best discussions in your circles.