The Corner

Third Parties

Mickey Kaus has also suggested that the Internet makes third parties more viable. Some of his readers have pointed out that the requirement for a plurality of the vote to win a statewide race militates against third parties. I’d add another point. Kaus says that conservative Christians could form a third party, and could decide in the end to endorse the Republican nominee. But the law would make it hard for such a party to maintain a long- or even medium-term presence. Most states don’t let candidates run on more than one party’s ballot line. So either the third party has to endorse another party’s candidate and stay off the ballot, or get on the ballot and run the risk of helping to elect the candidate they like least. . . . And even if state laws were amended to make life easier for third parties, it is not necessarily the case that they will be able to act as an effective ideological discipline on the larger party they seek to influence. The New York Conservative Party is the longest-running refutation of that hope.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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