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To Get a Third Party on the Debate Stage

Eric Charles,

Originally posted on April 19, 2013


Eric is an assistant professor of psychology with many publications presenting novel research in psychology, and exploring the history and theory of psychology. He has also done medieval and renaissance reenactment, including working from historic manuscripts to rediscover the principles of Italian, German, and Spanish sword work. He has also been known to frequent pirate shanties, dress in steampunk garb, support his campus's skeptics and gaming organizations, and teach his two young daughters gymnastics and martial arts; though not all at the same time. None of that has anything to do with his presentation. You see, like most Americans, he would desperately like to see third party emerge in our political arena, one that would promote values closer to his own. Personally, he is a dedicated proponent of "the American experiment" as embodied in John Dewey's writings about democracy, which render him a Democrat-leaning Libertarian. But he would be pretty happy to see any meaningfully distinct third party emerge. We all know that the major parties have designed the system to make the emergence of a new party very difficult. What is less apparent is that the current rules create a schizophrenic situation in which the most obvious ways to try to get a candidate elected are not the most obvious ways to overcome the artificial political hurdles. In fact, if we stop trying to get people to vote for a third-party candidate elected, and just focus on the fact that most citizens want to see a third party in the fray, some interesting solutions to our political dilemmas arise.
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