Given whole bunch of political deadlocks and big number of non-aligned voters third US party would be good solution of many US problems.

Why there is no even slightest sign of forming such third major political party in USA?

I heard somewhere that there is some law related to government formation which prevents that. Is that true?

  • Dupe... already discussed earlier (can't find ATM(
    – user4012
    Mar 21, 2014 at 17:10
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    It's a good question for a discussion topic, but it really can't be answered in a concrete way. Mar 21, 2014 at 18:42
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    Actually, I can answer it concretely as a factor of the electoral system. If you reopen it, I can give an answer.
    – Publius
    Mar 21, 2014 at 23:54
  • @Sam I am do you agree to remove hold on the question so Avi can try to answer that?
    – lowtech
    Mar 23, 2014 at 0:43
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    @lowtech - Originally, there weren't supposed to be parties at all, but there have been two major parties since very soon after the constitution was ratified. See the US Party System's history on Wikipedia.
    – Bobson
    Mar 24, 2014 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


There is no law preventing the formation of additional parties in the United States. In fact, we have a number of alternate parties, including the Green Party, American Independent Party, and Libertarian Party. However, these parties see few to no electoral victories.

That said, there is very little possibility of a third party viable in the long term. That is because the United States elects its representatives through a plurality ("first-past-the-post") voting system. In the United States, each state is divided into separate districts (the number of districts being roughly proportional to the state's population), and in each district, the candidate who gets the most votes, wins. This system will always trend towards a two-party system.

If you want a legislative body with multiple parties, you need to have proportional representation. There are a number of proportional voting systems, but in general, they let each voter select a party, the party has an ordered list of candidates, and each party is allocated seats to assign to their candidates in proportion to the number of votes the party received. There are some systems that also let you vote for individual candidates as well, but all of these systems allow for a number of parties.

For an accessible illustration of the way various voting systems work (including their effects on the number of parties), I strongly recommend CGP Grey's videos on the subject. They're only a few minutes long a piece, and are definitely worth watching.

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    have any serious attempts being made in past to change US voting system to allow three or more parties power sharing?
    – lowtech
    Mar 24, 2014 at 4:11
  • Unfortunately, not that I know of. It seems to me that wealthy people who have pet parties (see: Ross Perot) would have great interest in advertising an electoral revamp in a state with an initiative process (like California), but perhaps they feel they wouldn't be met with much success, or perhaps the idea hasn't crossed their mind.
    – Publius
    Mar 24, 2014 at 4:44
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    @avi - I think Approval Voting would be another viable way to introduce more parties while still maintaining the direct election of people (rather than parties) and a plurality system instead of a proportional one.
    – Bobson
    Mar 24, 2014 at 17:52
  • @Bobson approval voting is a way to elect single members rather than bodies and cannot guarantee a Condorcet Winner. Though it seems to remove the spoiler effect, I don't know that it doesn't still tend towards a two party system.
    – Publius
    Mar 24, 2014 at 17:58
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    @Avi - It's basically: one group says "A or B", the other says "C or B", so B wins. I'll poke around and see if there's any data for it or not. I could be totally off base, though, since if people were strictly logical, voting would be much simpler.
    – Bobson
    Mar 25, 2014 at 2:59

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