Working Papers

Spoilers and the Two-Party Myth

http://www.aichi-gakuin.ac.jp/~jeffreyb/research/vote.html
rough machine translation ... [ Eng=>Jpn ]

R. Jeffrey Blair
contact information
Aichi Gakuin University, Nagoya, Japan

While America's two major political parties share responsibilites, benefits, and values with each other, they do everything in their power to withhold recognition from "third" parties and their candidates. This attitude of exclusion combined with a simple plurality voting system creates the phenomenon of the Third Party Spoiler and helps foster apathy among those who fall outside of the so-called Two-Party System.

        On November 19, 2003 it was my privilege to attend a speech by former President Bill Clinton delivered here at Aichi Gakuin University. The title of his speech was Embracing Our Common Humanity: Security and Prosperity in the 21st Century. He talked about the need for the whole world to share responsibilities, benefits, and values in order to make every person count as part of a shared future. At the end of his speech four university students were allowed to ask questions. The fourth question was about political apathy among young people. Clinton responded that there are two causes for this apathy: (a) interest in other things more directly connected with their lives and (b) a feeling that they do not have any power to change things, to make a difference. It was at this point that he referred to the Presidential election of 2000 as an example of how a few voters can make a big difference, then, in an aside, bemoaned the effect of third party candidate Ralph Nader 's participation in that very close election. In this article I would like to address this phenomenon of the Third Party Spoiler in American politics.


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Independent and Third Party "Spoilers"

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The Myth of the "Two Party System"

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Conclusions


Acknowledgments

        I wish to express my sincere thanks to Charles Smith, Mark Hershey, Sean Gaff, and Robert Blair, Jr. for valuable critical comments on earlier drafts and encouragement. Not all of the advice received was necessarily heeded, however, and I retain full responsibility for the final product.
        This paper is gratefully dedicated to Charles B. Smith (Berkeley, Calif.), the late Dexter Cate (1942-1990), Mary Neilson (Aiea, Hawaii), Ken Ellingwood (Oak Harbor, Washington) and all others who participated in that dedicated and caring group of people that kept the optimistic vision of the People's Party of Hawaii alive during the elections of 1974 and 1976.

Points of Contact

        Any comments on this article will be welcomed and should be mailed to the author at Aichi Gakuin University, Junior College Division, 1-100 Kusumoto-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Japan 456-8650 or e-mailed to him. Other papers and works in progress may be accessed at http://www.aichi-gakuin.ac.jp/~jeffreyb/research/index.html.

References

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Clinton, W. (2003). Embracing Our Common Humanity: Security and Prosperity in the 21st Century. Speech delivered at Aichi Gakuin University, Nisshin, Japan November 19, 2003.

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Working Papers
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