August 15th, 2008
05:50 PM ET

Why isn’t there more support for third party candidates?

Third party presidential candidates: Ralph Nader (Independent Party), Bob Barr (Libertarian Party), Cynthia McKinney (Green Party). (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are disgusted with our dysfunctional government, right? They overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress and the president, and for straight 6 months now, at least 80% of us say we're dissatisfied with where this country is headed.

So if the system is indeed broken, it seems like lots of Americans wouldn't want to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican in November. However, a new Gallup Poll finds that only 2% of registered voters name a third-party candidate when asked who they'll back for president.

2%... that's compared to 83% who name either Barack Obama or John McCain. The third-party candidates this time around include Bob Barr for the Libertarian Party, Independent Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney for the Green Party.

In 1992, Ross Perot got almost 20% of the vote, one of the best showings ever for a third-party candidate. In fact, Perot may have been the reason why Bill Clinton won the first time around. But, when it comes down to it, the way the two-party system is set up often makes it very difficult for third-party candidates to get any traction. It's an uphill battle to get on the ballot and to get the kind of money necessary to compete.
Here’s my question to you: Why isn’t there more support for third party candidates?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Collin writes:
It's because elections, like everything else in our government, are a racket. There may nominally be two major parties, but there is only one establishment that is devoted to welfare, war and power. Coupled with crippling ballot access laws and the impossibility of third party admission into televised debates, it is nearly impossible for any dissenting voices to be heard.

Omar from New York writes:
Jack, Actually it's you're fault. Well, the collective 'you', as in the media. You don't cover third party candidates. You don't inform us as to their positions…. When they get fair coverage, people will take note of them. As things are, it's a miracle that even 2% vote for them. For the record, I plan to vote for Ralph Nader.

Chad writes:
Give us a competent 3rd party candidate and we'll vote for them.

Marty from Green Bay, Wisconsin writes:
I am supporting a 3rd party candidate. Jack, Bob Barr is the clear choice to lead America. The only reason people continue to vote for one of the two parties is because most people don't take the time to find out what they really believe. They go along with the political wind, just like the politicians back in Washington.

Henry from New York writes:
The reason why is because the media do not pay attention to these third-party candidates. Because of this, the electorate does not know much about these candidates. Therefore, these candidates cannot raise money, which is the main source of running a successful campaign.

D. from Sebastopol, California writes:
Jack, The issues at stake here are far too serious to use the sacrifice bunt play. The sacrifice bunt - voting for the 3rd party candidate - advances the agenda of the candidate, but at the expense of the batter - and that is the American public. America really needs a home run right now.

soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Jackie in Dallas

    I think that there will be, once politicians who retain a modicum of honesty and desire to serve the people who elect them create one. I'd love to see the return of a real choice to our elections!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Jim in British Columbia

    Money. As long as the rules of financing candidates favor the two party system, it will continue to be a two party system.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  3. KarenB in Polk County, Florida

    Yes. It was to be expected. She did not give up the desire for nomination, she did not drop out of the race. Right or wrong, she wants it. Center Stage, not sidelines.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Steven from NJ

    Because they are not covered on TV. If TV News would give them interviews, included them in the debeats and follow them around 24/7 , more poeple would find out about them.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  5. S, Michigan

    Jack- can you list the 3rd party candidates off the top of your head? There- that's why!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Because people like to back someone who has a chance to win, and fair or not, third party candidates have very slim hopes of being elected in a national campaign.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  7. sarah, indiana

    the republicans and democrats have a stranglehold on our government and will not tolerate a third party getting a cut of the money. this is why it is so hard for a third party to get recognition, funding, or even get on the ballots.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  8. Jesse (State College, PA)

    Let me ask you a question Jack. Why isn't there more air time for Ralph Nader's speeches? The more time the media spends on the two major party leaders, the less time is spent on third party leaders running for office.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Jenny Rome Ga

    Show me a viable third party candidate ,Jack and I will show you Hillary deciding to run as an Independent. Boy if that happens, honey there will be more than enough interest in the "third" party.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  10. Allen L Wenger

    Good question, it is one I have been asking for years. The 2 party system is drilled into us throughout our whole education system, it's almost like a religeon. The Democrat and Republican parties work together to block any new party from debates, money, and power. It's too bad they don't work together on anything else.

    Mountain Home, Idaho

    August 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  11. Ralph in New York City

    Jack, you find a third-party individual with a good chance of grabbing the election, and I will change my vote. Perhaps most people feel that such support will not result in their election of our leader, but may only take away from one candidate (Republican/Democrat) allowing a less desirable candidate (Republican/Democrat) to be elected.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  12. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Does anyone know the names of any third party candidates? The corporate powers that be are only interested in their bought and paid for puppets. Anyone who thinks that the public has any input in the government is a fool not living in reality.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  13. Ralph in New York City

    Jack, you find a third-party individual with a good chance of grabbing the election, and I will change my vote. Perhaps most people feel that such support will not result in their election of our leader, but may only take away from one candidate (Republican/Democrat) allowing a less desirable candidate (Republican/Democrat) to be elected President.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  14. Caryn, Washington DC

    In 30 or 40 years, it will be very interested to see how party lines are drawn. But for right now, people want their votes to count.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Shirley -AK OHIO

    Who are the third party candiates?

    August 15, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  16. Bill (Satellite Beach, FL)

    Great question Jack. You would think that with the current state of our government and the results (or lack of should I say) that both parties have demonstrated on countless issues affecting us all, the American people would be rallying for a third party candidate. As for reasons I can only guess that its money, influence and the media.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  17. Thomas , Michigan

    It's clear they're just spoilers in our current system. It's a similar flaw
    to unregulated airways and libelous books that can tip elections.
    Add general voter ignorance to that backdrop and you get the kind of
    governance mess we're sitting with today that's directly attributable to smear machines and spoilers driven by ego. Just think of the lives and
    heartache that would have been avoided without Nader, smear
    campaigns , broadcast liars, and a politicized judiciary.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  18. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    Third-party candidates don't have the money it takes to let people know they even exist.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  19. David, Orlando, FL

    If you people in the media would give equal time to the third party candidates instead of denying them any exposure at all, we might have a Ron Paul-Dennis Kucinich contest, instead of an angry old man and an inexperienced Senator who is only good at giving speeches.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  20. KarenB in Polk County, Florida

    there seems to be a "mind set" that the Big Parties are the only legitimate candidates. I'd be surprised if a third party candidate ever won. unless it was you Jack or Lou Dobbs.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  21. Chad , Los Angeles

    I expect the third party to grow exponentially once the facts are out about the current admin's corruption and deception. Republicans will have to go somewhere when the GOP gets shamed in the coming years, and they won't go to the left side, but more towards independents.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  22. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    Because,this is a democracy. The last thing we need is freedom of choice.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  23. Erico 33139 FL

    The only 'third' party candidate I would vote for is Al Gore, that is, if he decides to go independent.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  24. Ron- San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    Thats easy. Third party candidates don't have the money to compete. The system is not fair. There might be someone there that is very qualified to be president. That individuals personal wealth dictates how much exposure he or she gets. Why don't some of you media hounds get out there and bring some of these folks out of the shadows so we know who they are and what they stand for..

    Ron San Diego

    August 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  25. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Given the likely two main nominees, there just might be a groundswell of third party votes this year!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  26. Jayne

    Maybe because the Florida votes cast for Ralph Nader in 2000 might have been the proximate cause of the tragedy that has come to be known as the Bush presidency.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  27. Paul

    Because there is no REAL THIRD PARTY. If there was one many people would vote for the third party. A third party needs someone like Lou Dobbs, Wolf Blitzer, or Jack Cafferty to run even have a chance. You know Jack they really need someone that makes sense on issues and not running on just throw the bums out so I can be the new bum.
    Round Rock, Texas

    August 15, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  28. Nick in NJ

    Steven in NJ is 100% correct. As long as the two corporate controlled parties and the corporate controlled media are calling all the shots, third, parties have no chance.
    As some smart people have said, we live in a two party dictatorship.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  29. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    I personally would love to see a viable 3rd party at the national level. However, just look at your own network and see how very little they even mention some of the other candidates like Nadar and Barr. The national media keeps the focus on only the two major parties and totally ignores the others.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  30. Jason, Koloa, HI

    The media.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  31. The BEST political viewer of television -Texas

    Beats the hell out of me, Jack. Could it be that you, the media, doesn't give them the glaour treatment that you do to the 2 major parties. The way Ron Paul was treated this year is a prime example! The news media and big business elect our president, not the people.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  32. JS

    some 3rd party candidates have good things to say, but let's face it, the system is a 2 party system, and if a vote is placed for a 3rd party candidate, it will take away from one of the other two.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  33. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    There is little support for third party contenders this year because Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are nuts! Why throw your vote away by voting for them? I notice they hardly get any coverage by the mainstream media.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  34. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    There is support, but there's no way they can realistically go up against the big boys. Plus, they don't have the money and the players it takes to win a presidential election. I wish they could match up, but they can't. I don't know that they have any more integrity than the other guys, but it would be fun to find out!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  35. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    I would seriously look at any other candidates. But they don't get hardly any media coverage, nobody knows what they represent, and I feel that why would I want to "basically" waste my vote to try to get a hopeless candidate my help? There are a lot of good people in the US with good ideas. But they are not organized enough, have no publicity and will not get enough votes to do any good. When I was 18, I voted for the Isolationist party (their time has sure come now), and I was one of twelve votes in my county. It basically made a point, but wasted my vote.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  36. Rose

    Thanks to lack of Media attention, voters do not have enough information about third party candidates to even consider them as a serious candidate, why not give them equal time, Obama hogs the media with every move he makes. I would rather hear Nader or Barr speak than see Obama swimming in Hawaii!!!!


    August 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  37. Peter Connecticut

    With the exception of Ross Perot, most 3rd party candidates are too radical. Left or right. They may garner some support but not near enough to ever win. Also, as a 3rd party, they would be hamstung in office because they need the 2 major parties to go along with their agenda. Never gonna happen. The public knows this and wont vote for them. Other reasons. Lack of money, difficulty getting on ballots, little if any media attention, did I mention lack of money.
    Perot had all the money he needed, got either 19 million votes or 19% of the vote and zero electoral votes.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  38. CJ in Atlanta, GA

    There's little support because none of them are outstanding and they never win. Cynthia McKinney for the Green Party? GAG!!!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  39. Fem, Knoxville, Tenn.

    Because people are tired of waisting their votes.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  40. Howard M, Bolingbrook IL

    The reason third party groups don't garner more support is because: They normally most strongly represent the extremes and fringe interest of our society.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  41. Rosalynd Florida

    Because America needs a real change leader and not some character claiming to get us a flat tax or some other wishful thinking nonsense. And that's the fact Jack.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  42. Nora Corpus Christi Texas

    I will just say Ralph Nader, then everyone can fill in the blanks.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  43. Randy, Salt Lake City

    There is, Jack! Some of the corporations who are making tons of money from this bought-and-paid-for, corrupt two-party system are MEDIA corprations. A third party, one that might have some honesty and integrity, might take away their tax-free earnings. So, the media simply ignores all third parties along with a few other things. Like facts.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  44. Larry in Florida

    Because third party candidates are for the people. The other 2 parties are for themselves and their cronies. Cronies have all the money. Don't you just love politics Jack?

    August 15, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  45. Bruce St Paul MN

    Because there is not a bonafide third party. Usually the third party candidate is running alone. It takes a boatload of money and lots of state and national organization to run for office. The third party infrastructure is not in place. We elected Jesse the Body in Minnesota because he ran against a couple of lifetime pols, Humphrey and Coleman who kept bickering while he just claimed not to be one of them. Once in office, though, Jesse was the Lone Ranger with no Tonto. It's tough to govern with no party behind you.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  46. Owen, Grand Canyon, AZ

    Well, look at CNN's 'Election Center 2008'. There's no mention of any other party than Dems or Reps. Why is it so hard for the media to list all candidates and parties on their websites, so people can see there ARE other choices.
    And how about the media putting an election survey tool on their websites? People learn more about the candidates and their positions, they're forced to think about the issues and so on. It's common practice in other democratic countries, why isn't it here?

    August 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  47. Ramon Lebron Colon

    Because all third party members either come from the left or right and it is easy for both democrats and republicans to destroy them, they share the same bed in this issue. We need someone like former Gov. Jesse Ventura who takes no prisoner and let everybody knows the reality about these two parties in many issue you can't take them apart.
    Thank you Jack.
    Perris Ca

    August 15, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  48. John, Winston Salem, NC

    Absolutely the people in America should start considering a third choice. How can we keep trusting democrats and republicans while they're playing at pointing their fingers at each other like little boys? Another bad things is, the media contributes to this by only paying attention to the actions of these two parties.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  49. Frank from Peterborough

    It's quite simple actually Jack it's your culture. When I hear Americans talking about socialism and liberalism like they were something to be afraid of it's obvious they just shows how uninformed the majority of your population has become.

    The fact is there are good qualities in some of the policies of both these platforms but your thought process and culture has to advance much farther along than where they presently exists in the U.S.

    You likely won't print this blog but the fact is the U.S. lags far behind many modern societies that have employed both liberal and social programs for their citizens.

    Right now Jack all you people have is a right wing party and an extreme right wing party and a population who are afraid to try any other policies.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  50. Annie, Atlanta

    Two answers say it all, Jack, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr. Good grief!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  51. circy in New Mexico

    Because we Americans have the mindset that there are only two parties. This is re-enforced by the fact that the two parties control most of the wealth. We need to break free from this way of thinking. Other countries manage to function with more than two parties. The Italians, for example, have had as many as a dozen parties at one time, and that seems to work for them.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  52. Jaime, Plantation FL

    Because many people are too lazy to go and do the research on their own. We've become accustomed to being assaulted with commercials telling us how to think, how to think about our candidate, and what to say to people who support the other guy. They make it easy for us to think we sound smart and informed, when the truth is, we're just letting them rot us from the inside out.

    No one who does their own research is going to come on here and write like a mindless political cheerleader. People need to do their research, whether it be on the major candidates sites, sites like campaignforliberty.com, the green party, or the libertarian party.

    Once they do the research they need the courage to vote based on what they think and not what they are told to think.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  53. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Dear Jack
    because of the winner take all representational system set up in the constitution and reinforced by state and federal election laws, it is pointless to vote for a 3rd Party candidate. 3rd parties serve only two functions in our system.
    One, they are incubators of issues not yet ready for prime time, like votes for women and the 8 hour workday. Two, they are quarantine zones for the demagogues, ideologues, and nut jobs andf those true believers nutty enough to follow them!

    Pablo in Arlington Texas

    August 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  54. aaron in Carolina Beach NC

    Until the electoral college is thrown out there will never be a third party with a real shot. Our system is a joke, and it inhibits true democracy.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  55. Keith - Cleveland, OH

    – Lack of media attention;
    – Lack of financial support;
    – Lack of instant recognition;
    – Lack of a bonifide hero, who can restore integrity into our political system that it so desperately needs.

    We sure could use some good ole 'straight shooters', Jack.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  56. Joey

    A third party candiate is always like the step child. No one wants them. They are always more liberal and radical in their thinking than the normal standards.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  57. Jenna Wade

    Why isn’t there more support for third party candidates?

    Money, or lack there of...

    If it were up to me.. we wouldn't have the Democratic or Republican parties, we would have 3 party system; Conservative, Liberal and Moderate parties.

    We would have public financing that would be equal across all 3 parties, we would have campaign time limits and term limits.

    No longer would we be the government of the wealthy, but a government of the people.

    But hey, that is just me...

    Roseville CA

    August 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  58. Kerry Diehl

    Jack, there would be lots of support for a third party (Independently speaking) if you would help us to get Lou Dobbs to run.

    So far, he's waaaay to smart to get involved, but this country really needs him considering our current choices.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  59. Dave of Oregon

    Jesse Ventura will say that third parties are looked upon in askance by both the republicans and democratic parties. As a third party representative, Ventura does not speak very highly of third parties getting due respect which speaks mountains of discourse. It is simply unwanted by the powers that be!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  60. Stacy from Loudoun, Virginia

    Jack, that is simple, third party candidates are usually fringe nutcases that have don’t have the backing of big business. Money drives politics in this country and it is hard to be heard when you have two big parties dominating the airwaves. Ross Perot was probably the most viable 3rd party candidate in recent history and could you imagine him running this country? You cannot show pie charts during the State of the Union address.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  61. Greg in Cabot AR

    Third party candidates are like training wheels on motorcycles, they seem like a good idea until you actually try to use them. They keep you upright when you are stopped or going very slow but just try to get up to speed and you will end up in the ER. With our current system of electing a president, we could possibly have an election where nobody wins enough Electoral votes…..then what??

    August 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  62. Major Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Because the fact is that there are only two real political parties in America; the Winners and the Losers. The people don't acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  63. Scott - Wichita, Kansas

    They don't have enough money. The only one who came close was billionaire Ross Perot, because he has money and is looking for places to spend it.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  64. Ed Reed

    Jack, this is a great question and I hope you find the answer. I've been to the American Cemetary at Colleyville sur Mer in Normandy, overlooking Omaha Beach where my wife's father came ashore on D-Day. On the headstones, each has a name, rank, military unit, and date of death. It doesn't say whether they were Republicans or Democrats. They were all Americans.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    August 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  65. michael byrne

    Because the U.S. political spectrum is about two millimetres wide. Anything outside the range is greeted with suspicion and labelled as "radical". As demonstrated by the U.S. hierarchy at home and abroad – democracy means you can have any government that we like!

    August 15, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  66. wally Ruehmann las Vegas nv

    one word MONEY ...............

    August 15, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  67. Terrance in Hartville, MO

    Because there's noone in a 3rd party worth voting for this time arround. If Ross Perot was to come back, I would vote for him, again...

    August 15, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  68. Stacy from Fairfax, VA

    It's about money. Most third party candidates have to be independently weatlhy to finance their campaigns as the don't have the backing of a national party. Also, experience has shown us that some who run don't appeal to the mainstream with their ideas and/or are a bit off kilter. Remember Ross Perot? He was rich, but kooky. American's don't mind dim presidential candidates, but kooky? Not so much.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  69. Jake, Tillamook OR

    Because the 2 party majority will not allow it to happen. They make the election rules for who can vote and who can be in the debates. For all their spouting of one person, one vote, it is all a lie. True Democracy as outlined by the fouinding fathers cannot and never will exist as long as the 2 parties control who may or may not vote. George Washington warned us about political parties in his Farewell Address in 1796.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  70. Katiec Pekin, IL

    If we had somone credible and could be a true leader of our
    country, 3rd parties would receive more attention. They would
    also get more financial backing. Have yet to see that happen.
    Gosh, if they got some media attention, then the media
    would have to report less negativity about Barack. There
    is no way the media, AP are going to let that happen.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  71. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Jack, third party candidates either seem to be wack jobs (Nader comes to mind) or one issue whiners. Few have had broad appeal. Teddy Roosevelt and Ross Perot are perhaps the exceptions to the rule. Ultimately both lost to the political machines of their day.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  72. Carol Oregon

    There just maybe come November 5, when 34% of us have vote for "non of the above." The trouble is media will have missed the big story.

    Carol in Oregon

    August 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  73. Sam from Philadelphia, PA

    What third party candidates?

    August 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  74. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Now that's a good question. The republicans take us to war, give away our jobs, decrease taxes for the wealthy and big oil. The democrats promise to change things in Washington and end the war and Nancy P doesn't do anything other than whine.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  75. David, Tampa, Fl

    Beats the Hell out of me Jack. But I think the main reason is the major parties do not want to share the graft and proceeds from corruption with others. Come on guys and gals there is enough to go around. I have voted for someone for president only once since I became eligable to vote for that office in 1972. The other times I have voted against whomever I considered the eviler of two or more lessers. I wish so desperately we could have None Of The Above on the ballot.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  76. donna myrtle beach, SC

    Because most of the voters are to dumb to follow thier beliefs, instead getting thier entire knowledge from ads and attacks.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  77. C P in New Mexico

    1) Money, 2) a public perception that third party canidates are a a bit outside the book ends, and 3) A lack of media coverage.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  78. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Nader has lost too many elections and he is older than McCain. He may be a powerful consumer advocate, but is he suited to deal with the huge
    problems that affect America? Nader also lacks a message that people
    want to stay tuned for.

    Robert Barr obviously has not formed a viable coalition that he needs to win an election.

    None of the candidates have the spirit, integrity and critical thinking of
    Obama. Hopefully a vote for Nader or Barr will be a vote against McCain.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  79. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, third party candidates would have to be ultra something, either right or left and in the U.S. that would be a tough sell to the majority of Americans. Here in Canada we have a third and fourth party but they only attract the extreme end of the spectrum and aren't in step with an economy that is based on capitalism. Most Americans and Canadians believe that the issues they care about can in part be addressed by a two party system whose core values are more middle of the road.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  80. Marie, Ewing, NJ

    Because of the powers that be. The RNC, DNC, Corporate Media to name a few reasons. To many Shepards makes it hard to herd the Sheep.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  81. Troy

    Oxford, MS

    I Challenge you guys at CNN to give one day of coverage to a third party candidate. There is an entire system set up to keep them out of debates and off of the ballots. I would bet my soul that if Ron Paul were on all 50 state ballots and was in the debates with Obama and McCain he would defeat them both by a landslide. After 8 years of Bush and the disaster that I am certain Obama will be, Americans may finally be ready to give up on republicans and democrats and try something new.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  82. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    In Canada there are 3 major parties called Conservative Party, Liberal Party and the New Democrat Party which translates into extreme right wing, right wing and left wing.

    It was a man named Tommy Douglas who founded the CCF party which later became the New Democrat Party and it was this same man who brought Canadians universal health care.

    Contrary to what Americans are told, our health care system is great and Tommy Douglas was overwhelmingly recognized as the greatest Canadian ever for his efforts in bringing this about. Tommy Douglas was a Socialist!

    In short Jack Americans are just too badly brainwashed by the Corporate Elite to be able to recognize the benefits of this 3rd type of political party would bring to themselves and their country.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  83. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The long campaign battle between Hillary and Obama was the newsmaker and nobody wanted to hear from a third party during this period.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  84. Dave in MO

    Jack there absolutely should be. That is why a McCain-Lieberman ticket is so appealing. Unfortunately the Donkeys and Elephants have made it impossible for a third party with there weird rules to get established.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  85. Wendy, San Rafael

    Because the Democratic and Republican parties have colluded to keep them out. No third parties in debates. Harder to get candidates on the ballot.

    Also, if we had instant runoff voting as they do in Australia which allows you to rate your preferences, you could then see the strength of third parties. As it stands, people feel they are wasting their vote.

    With this 2-party system, I doubt that you will see instant runoff voting any time soon as this would benefit third parties and we can't have that, can we?

    August 15, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  86. mitchell ,arkansaw

    gop is third party,too.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  87. Chryssa

    Perhaps with the exception of Ron Paul, third party candidates are generally late to the game. They show up at the last minute, complain loudly and think they're going to inspire a revolution. It's time they quit being so lazy and start operating like public figures if they want support bases.

    Boise, ID

    August 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  88. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It is called money......if 2 percent of the population control 60% of the wealth of this nation........who do you think is actually running the country.............and you can be assured that it is not "third parties."

    August 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  89. William Herman

    Until running for office is completing financed by public funds a third party candidate doesn't stand a chance, special interest money must be stopped. AKA K-Street.

    Bill, Petaluma, CA

    August 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  90. Barbara Barton Cherry Hill,NJ Area

    All those votes can be used for someone else and usually no one likes the third party canidate. It hurts the Dems the most

    August 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  91. Hope M.Madisonville, KY

    Most voters have enough trouble concentrating on 2 candidates, Jack.
    Let's not confuse them any more than they already are. But seriously,
    we won't have a true third party until they have enough money behind them to run a competent race against the Democrats and Republicans. Right now all you have are disaffected people who complain and whine instead of running a coherent campaign, anyway.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  92. Bruce, Georgia

    Our country is split on some very important issues. Usually a voter will find himself really disliking the prospect of either the Republican or Democrat candidate winning so he votes to keep that from happening whih means the candiidate most likely to beat him. Voters have learned from the Perot and Nader effects. personaally I voted for Perot twicw and we basically got what we want from Bill Clinton - a balanced budget and sound economy. Too bad the Nader voters did not get anything close to what they wanted.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  93. Ethan-Minnesota

    I thin that eventually that a third party candidate will be elected to president,most likely it will be the Green Party.We need to elect a far-left or centre-left president that will give us our rights,won't invade other soveriegn nations,and protect the environment.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  94. Bizz - Quarryville, PA

    Jack I think the reason is money. It takes a lot of money to start up and run as a third party candidate. You do not have a chance unless you are someone like Mike Bloomsburg or Ross Perot who has the money and time to make them competitive with a chance of winning on a third party ticket.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  95. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Ignorant voters

    Come to think of it, those are the 3 reasons for everything in politics.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  96. John Johnson

    Third party needs to find a LEADER and the people will be behind him/her.....
    IF a Teddy Roosevelt type came along they would support, however most people these days are into photo opts, fancy talk, and simply self serving book writing actions. How many ex and present Congress, ADM people have been on TV pushing their self serving
    books. They are so not American first people it makes many of us sick.
    John J
    San Diego, CA

    August 15, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  97. Tom in Atlanta

    In European countries with parliments, smaller parties ally themselves with larger parties to form governments.

    I wasted my time in 2000 supporting Ralph Nader. When it was obvious to anyone who wasn't a complete moron how bad Bush was in 2004, Nader decided to run again!

    Ralph says he has the right to run, well maybe he does, but I have the right to never vote for a third party again. All of them look like they're just pretending to run to get as high a percentage of the vote as possible for federal funding.

    Obama has had 2 million small donors (including me!) I've donated to small parties and independent candidates but Bob bar has only raised $50,000 this month.

    Libertarians don't want libertarians to win. They'll fund Ron Paul but not a third party candidate. I'm willing to give time, money and sweat to the right cause but so far, I'm tired of wasting my time.

    No more wasting my time on Ralph Nader and his shadows.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  98. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,this pretty easy,take a look at the third party candidates,Ralph Nader,a professional loon,and Bob Barr,a bitter republican,that doesn't even agree with a lot of the libertarian platform.The fact is Obama is pretty close to a third party candidate,since no one in recent history has been as liberal!!!!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  99. John, Fort Collins, CO

    It would take a major fracture within one of the two existing parties to provide enough momentum and resources to get a viable third party candidate off the ground. Theodore Roosevelt almost pulled it off with the Bull Moose Party, but subsequent attempts never gained traction. Who knows–maybe the Clintons will revolt in Denver and start their own Bullwinkle Moose Party.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  100. Odessa

    because all of third parties think alot like democratics and republicans..

    August 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  101. Nick Obrenovich

    Jack: They're afraid that their vote will be "wasted." Although there have been some good third party candidates, the two major party candidates
    have been so bad in the last thirty, that they no longer have the chance to vote for the better candidate but are forced to vote against the worst. Like now!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  102. Phillip, California

    Simply put, the two major parties right now have "moderate" appealing candidates. They're attracting all the moderates

    That aside, blame the media. With all the attention on the two major parties and their candidates, you've got to be rich and influencial to get any major media spotlight. since those attributes are lacking this election year, without any debates thus far and VERY few planned, tough luck for third-party candidates.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  103. William in Sanford, NC

    There would be a third party formed in a heartbeat if everyone boycotts this November's election. Look what a message that would send. There's no one on the ballot that is qualified to be president anyway. Jack, if we paid you your price, would you be president for one term?

    August 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  104. Julie in LA

    Third parties need effective leadership, national grassroots organization, and a cause to rally around.

    When you have the most famous third party candidate, Ralph Nader, showing up every four years just to get a handout of taxpayer money–then disappear again until the next election–there's no reason to take him (or whatever "party" he's representing this time) seriously at all.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  105. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    because the only way to become a leader is to follow the political machine and to follow that machine can be quite discouraging for real potential human beings that exists out there! So in fact, democracy has lost some of its naive beginnings of believing in a real representative.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  106. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    How's this for a reason, the American voter is as dumb as a post!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  107. Patricia F Pine Plains NY

    The only party I see fracturing is the Republicans. There is that religious right and everyone else. We all know McCain is having trouble please both sides. Seems this party cannot stand for long with all their intolerance.

    Therefore there may be the Right Wing Republicans and the Middle of the Road Republicans someday. Not sure how that will work.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:26 pm |

    tampa, fl. simple, until both major parties get off the pot and finish who is running for what, a third party candidate can't announce whom they are running against. besides, lou dobbs still hasn't thrown his hat in the ring.....yet.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  109. Jan/AR

    I for one am glad you asked this question, Jack. I have only been called twice my whole life for a election survey. I have been a voter for 30 years. Both times, I purposely ask the person conducting the survey to tell me all the candidates names who are running for President, Senate and the House of Rep. also those in my state. Interesting, because the person conducting the survey will tell me I am only one of two people who wants to know all the candidates names. The lack of media attention, money, including third parties in debates are the reasons. In 2004, I voted for the Libertarian for the Senate in my state. I found his website and he had the best message and ideas of all the other candidates. He didn't win, but I finally voted outside of the two party system.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  110. Chicago Bob from Illinois

    The US has had two major parties since it's begining. Except for SLAVERY and cecession, which created the Republicans, there has been is no strong issue to form a third party around and the 2 parties have swallowed 3rd parties since.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  111. Ray, Florida

    You kidding me Jack?!
    People have a hard time deciding between two canidate's, let alone three! The only way for a third party to rise, is for one of the other two parties to fall. And if thing's keep going the way they are, That just might happen!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  112. Richard McKinney, Texas

    There has never been a third party candidate elected as president. Ever. A third party candidate is just an illusion. Smoke and mirrors to take votes away from the other two candidates.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  113. Andre/ malveaux

    Jack,There isn't More support for third party candidate,because the american people do not take them seriously.we should have one party!! Houston texas

    August 15, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  114. Diana Trenton Nj

    If Obama does not win this election after the Republicans have ruined our name and ethical standing all over the world.. I WILL VOTE A THIRD PARTY NEXT TIME!.... That is if McCain doesn't get us all killed first.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  115. R.W Graytown Ohio

    Bigfoots been found, and frozen. If "it" can be aknowledged in the media, than so can another chioce for President.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  116. L.M.,Arizona

    Ralph Nader, 2000 election,and George Bush that would make anyone crazy to support a third party.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  117. Cyndy Keith

    Perhaps Mr. Dobbs would be kind enough to actually introduce a few third-party candidates on his "independant" hour, instead of his usual posturing.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  118. George

    Very simple answer. Because the two major parties are to well organized, and well healed. Throwing money to the wind is what it would amount to. No one has money to throw around these days, especailly third party candidates.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  119. John in Atlanta

    Third Party candidates.............Huh?

    August 15, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  120. Jenny Rome Ga

    Jack, Annie in Atlanta left off oneNAme in her list of reasons why the third paty candidates get no support. Cynthia McKinny.
    Again, let Hillary run as an Independent and intrest in the thiird paty would soar.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  121. Jamie of CT

    3rd party are unknown and risky. They don't do much to improve this country but complain. They are as bad as the Republicans.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  122. TLN

    Maybe because they always seem to be disgruntled republicans.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  123. Mickie in Philadelphia, PA

    Is there a question here? Money and dynasties rule this country, not the people. Tell it like it is for a change. This is evidenced by Bush getting into office and by Hillary hijacking the convention with her so-called popular vote. You can't claim to have won the popular vote, when all the states' popular votes weren't even counted. This is a third world country now and we have less to say than the other third world countries we sneer at.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  124. Harry

    Because a 3rd party doesn't have the ad revenue of the current two parties. The media is about profits and nothing else. Until the media actually shows some interest in politics, instead of interest in the money, it will continue on this path.


    August 15, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  125. Ray Kinserlow

    About all that most third party candidates can do is act as spoilers. Since there are usually only two sides to an issue, there are only two parties.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    August 15, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  126. Daniel McCarthy

    My god, Jack! A third party? Isn't it enough that we have to deal with TWO of them every four years? Enough is enough!

    Dan, from NYC

    August 15, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  127. dan in massachusetts

    There might be if they could get some coverage. The only people who know about Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are those paying attention. Everyone else is fed a candidate by a family member, their church, work or you Jack. If we had 5 presidential candidates at the debates, using only 5 million dollars of taxpayer money that is released 3 months before voting day, America would be better served.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  128. Bill from Redding, CA

    Maybe if we could get a national grass roots movement to defeat each incumbent Senator running for re-election this year with the intent to do so again in 2010 and 2012, and defeat half the incumbent Congressional candidates running for re-election (do this by odd or even numbered districts) and get the rest in 2010 we could elevate the status of the various third party candidates as well as show Washington that we are tired of the messes they create.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  129. James, Prescott,Michigan

    Look at the quality of the third party candates. You sure ask stupid questions sometimes, Jack.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  130. KEVIN in PA

    ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  131. Sue from Ga


    August 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  132. Jay in Texas

    As a supporter of Ralph Nader, I can tell you the answer to your question is simple – corporate media and the two major parties have been working together to insure that no candidates, except the Democrats and Republicans, get any national media attention and also are working to exclude the Independent and third party candidates from the debates. Your own CNN poll showed Nader getting 6% of the vote but do you give him 6% of the coverage you give the other major candidates? No.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  133. Duane in Missouri

    Till we have true "citizen legislators" as opposed to a "permanet ruling class" third party candidates will get short shrift.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  134. Denise (Brooklyn, New York)

    Because even with all the modern technology and the information highway, the fact is that Americans are lazy. Instead of searching out the facts as they should, they depend on media soundbites that lack objectivity. If the media does not cover it, the majority of Americans are unaware of it.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  135. Marty, Idaho

    It's all about the money and TV ratings, Jack. The media decides elections based on who they cover and what they say about who they are covering. Without big party money and tons of surrigates pushing sensationalism in the media, there are no big ratings – therefore no money – therefore no coverage.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  136. Bill F

    We never get a chance to hear from them or about their views, and they don't have the capital to change that. Most people think Libertarians are the old ladies that help you find books, and the Green Party supports Kermit the Frog. Along with the lack of exposure, wierdos like Ross Perot and Ralf Nader have given third parties the reputation of being fringe rebels and lunatics. The only way an Independent or third pary candidate will ever win is if he or she brings his or her own name recognition and cash along with them - like Mike Bloomberg.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  137. Dori in AZ

    Look at the mess the two major parties are in! Folks are so tangled up in those webs that it's hard to even find time to look at a third!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  138. Pugas-AZ

    People apparently enjoy being in a rut. A lot of fundamentals have to change before we see any alternatives to what we presenty have.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  139. Jerry from Jacksonville

    Look at who is running, Moe, Larry and Curly. I can say though that any of the three would be better then McBush

    August 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  140. Paul, Columbia, SC

    Wrong, Jack. There is huge support for an honorable, intelligent, fearless, intuitive, untainted and trustworthy leader. That profile does not fit in with the election conspiracy of corporate special interests and the parties. The deck is stacked against us and has been for decades. The only choice we ever get is between Tweedledee and Tweedledum and they both have fleas. 2008 is no exception.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  141. Dave from Maryland

    It's not that some of their ideas don't resonate with the people... it's that the voters don't want to waste their vote. I think most people want to go with a winner and since no 3rd party candidate has ever won... 'nuf said!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  142. Shafi Alam

    Third party candidates are mostly individuals and their intention is not to serve interests of the people. They just want to show off. They want to help the loosing party and destroy the winning party. People have learned about them and want to be away from them.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  143. Ben, Ontario

    As a Canadian, I am scared by the fact that I haven't heard a single thing about the Green Party candidate. It seems the only issues on the minds of Americans are healthcare, the economy and national security. Consequently, that is what the media covers. If there was more awareness about important issues such as saving the planet, then maybe independents would have a chance.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  144. Terry in Fayetteville, NC

    When Democrats and Republicans can't agree on anything else, they will still work together other enough to crush a third party threat. That won't change until the voters realise that six years of firing imcumbents, whether liked or not, is a pretty good alternative to storming Washinton's beltway, pitchforks in hand.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  145. Sandra fromTexas

    No Money and hence no chance to win.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  146. Marie Ontario

    One of the major reasons is voter apathy and the reluctance to accept any new ideas. For some reason old or the norm seems to give people comfort regardless of how bad their situations have become.

    Then there are the news medias and talk show hosts who constantly bombard the public with lies and distortion and the majority of people don't have the intelligence or desire to discover the truth on their own.

    Michael Moore's movies put everything in perspective but I would bet a large majority of Americans consider him unpatriotic as that seems to be the best way for the right wing extremists to suppress the truth and keep the masses in line.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  147. Aaron, Denver CO

    In any other year I would consider a 3rd party. I was only 17 in 2000 but would probably have considered one then, hindsight aside. With the next president having such a huge impact on the supreme court, the war, the economy, social security, and renewable energy; this is too important an election to vote for someone with no chance of winning.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  148. Mike in Phoenix

    Jack, a lot of people think a third party or more for that matter is the way to go. That's how they do it in France. Come to think of it, that's all I need to say .

    August 15, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  149. Gail- NYC

    Easy, Jack. Lack of serious and equal media coverage, except as a "fringe" candidate, no political machine to back them, and not enought money to run a full-blown campaign.

    However, if Senator Clinton decided to run as an independent, that would do great harm to our two-party system of electing a president and then the media would have to treat third party candidates equally.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  150. gail Centre, Al.

    Everyone that's ever run as a third party candidate is a joke thats why their not taken seriously. Look at Nader, Barr and MCkinney. MCkinney is a real joke. Lord help us all.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  151. Ryan, Philly

    Those who identify with a party are more likely to be politically active campaigners. So, I would say that these third parties have not been able to get the remaining people to identify with them. Independents typically do not want to be branded and weak leaners aren't as politically active. There is not an openning when it comes to forming a coalition for these third parties.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  152. kendall

    Democrats are voting Obama,
    Mccain is going to have a problem with his own base potentially.
    But the third party candidates will start making a fuss after the conventions nd the General Election is in full swing.

    The only person not benefiting from this will be McCain, he's all over the place flipping and flopping like a fish,

    Conservatives vote for consistency and Barr has a better consistency than McCain

    August 15, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  153. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    1) Look at the options.
    2) Why waste a vote and ensure another four years of Bush policies.
    3) Look at the options.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  154. Derick, Greenlawn NY

    A third party that really wants to win the presidency needs to find a credible standard bearer who has name recognition, like Hillary Clinton or the John McCain of 2000. From there it would build a comprehensive platform that doesn't focus on a single issue, and realize it will take several cycles to get double-digit support in a national election. The real problem? It's career suicide for the standard bearer.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  155. Nuwan Sam

    Realistically, the political system of this country is formed such that, a establishment of a third party is almost impossible. Money is a huge factor among many other things. So why would people support for an idea that has a little to no chance of getting materialized.

    – Nuwan from Houston, TX

    August 15, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  156. me46

    Third parties don't do well because there's nobody for them to argue with. I think it's that yin and yang thing. Almost everything we know has polar opposites. Everything that you like, I hate and vise versa. We have no time to set up common goals and establish priorities because we are too busy arguing with one another to get anything done. Even presidential elections split right down the middle. Third parties just seem to interfere with the bickering so no one wants to listen to them. In presidential elections, a third party can succeed only by driving one of the others out, kinda like Joe Liebermann did with the republicans in Connecticut.

    las vegas

    August 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  157. Bob S Philadelphia, PA


    There would be if they didn't make it so hard for a third party candidate to file the paperwork and get the same funding that the other parties get. Make it easier and on the same playing field and trust me we will have someone like Jesse Venture running for President

    August 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  158. Judi - Kentucky

    Because they wouldn't have any support in DC.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  159. Janice Pound

    Because the MEDIA , VISUAL & PRINTED , refuse to be truly non-partisan , If they were democractic , in real sense of the word, they would be showing the public all the candidates, what they are saying and in fact giving almost as much time to them as the Dems & Reps. There are 3 other candidates and you know what, they might be just as knowledgeable ,intelligent, & forthcoming as the 2 we hear all the time. Wouldn't it be nice to be presented with a real choice!

    August 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  160. Chuck, Eugene Oregon

    My my Jack. Look who is on the third party ticket and that should answer that quesiton. None of them are worthy of a vote at least not my vote.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  161. Michael Sparks, NV


    I really have no idea but I have to ask, why would anyone throw his or her vote away on a third party candidate who has a snowballs chance in hell of wining? I do not mean to offend but honestly, people have to have some sense of reality and understanding of the political process.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  162. Chris - Ottawa, Canada

    Here's a radical idea. Instead of having a third party how about abolishing all political parties. That way only individuals could run for office and it would end the ridiculous partisan divide that is destroying the US.

    And by the way, in Canada we have five major parties: Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, and the Marijuana party. And believe me, they're all idiots. A third party won't solve the problem, it just spreads the misery.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  163. Ken in NC

    Multiple crooks running for office only makes for more confusion as is evident with the House and Senate and then all the locals running for office too. Besides, two parties will gang up on the third to defeat the third party candidate. Same problem that we have now. Nothing changed. Nothing gained.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  164. Debra Rich, Washington,DC

    The reason there isn't more support for third party candidates is they are always too extreme. They generally only represent one point of view, and have little to say on issues that matter to most of the people. Ross Perrot came close to being universal in thinking. The other issues are money and exposure. Perot had both, but stiil had a "one trick pony" issue point of view that would not satify the needs of all the people. I wished 8 years ago there was a third party candidate that we could have voted on, then maybe we wouldn't have been in the mess we're in now.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  165. Matt

    The obvious answer is money, of course. However, those of us who know our nation's history ( which of course is an extreme minority ) know that third-party efforts fail because the major parties will adopt the third-party positions and fold them into their own platform if they ever gain traction with the voting public, and thus negating any chance for a third party to succeed.

    St. Augustine, Fl.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  166. Charles A. ( Maryland )

    It's simple jack, we all want change. Period!!!!!

    August 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  167. Raymond Duke/Gatesville,Tx.

    That is simple. The wrong canidate is running on the third Party. If that was Lou Dobbs running as an Indepedent you would see an over whelming move for a third party. It would throw the electoral numbers into a frenzy. I think he could easily beat both partys.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  168. John

    Simple Jack

    The two parties will not let the other parties participate. They write rules that block them from debate participation and they block them from getting on the ballot. Un-American? You bet!

    Without participation people will continue to think they are "wasting a vote" by voting for someone who isn't even on all 50 states and they won't vote for someone who they have not seen and these candidates don't have the money or the ability to get into the debates in order for them to be known. Remember, Ross Perot was independently wealthy and spent a lot of his own personal money to get that 20+%. I don't think any of the third party candidates fall into that category so they end up as afterthoughts because of the broken system the two parties control.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  169. Negbe O

    Simple. We do not want some third party to distort the voice of America's majority. They should vote reasonably, sit back and hope for the best.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  170. TonyInKentucky

    There will be plenty of space for new parties to come to the table when the Republicans are completely marginalized.

    Right now it's to ugly a dogfight and every vote not for Democrats, including staying home is a direct endorsement of the status que.

    Republicans have been making a direct assault on America for the benefit of sheiks, corporate interests, the multi-generational wealthy, and their own desire to cripple government to the point of being ineffectual to promote their own ideas.

    When we end the threat on our Constitutional form of government and individual self determination then new parties can actual debate the direction of the country as long as it's not towards fascism, which is the anti-thesis of what America is supposed to be about.


    August 15, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  171. mark, Temple TX

    There are no 3rd party candidates who could do the job. Bob Barr as president /are you kidding.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  172. Phil from Sutton, MA

    The Libertarian Party is actually the most sensible party. If you look into economics, political science, history, and the facts surrounding the terrorist problem, you will see they have solutions for all our long-term problems whereas Republicrats and Democans simple tell ignorant people what they want to hear and attempt to buy votes with tax exemptions, welfare, and affirmative action instead of a permenent tax reduction, sound money, and free market economics. Even social questions, such as gay marriage and drug gangs are encompassed in the LP's comprehensive plan to restore America to Greatness. So, the reason why we don't hear more about them? They attempt to appeal to people's intellect, not realizing that most people are just blank slates and need to be convinced with emotion. In other words: they're too sensible!

    August 15, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  173. mike adkins

    because third party candidates are usually a joke. i'd have better success knocking down a statue with a snowball in phoenix than any third partry candidate has of winning anything.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  174. LaLa, Norwalk, CA

    There isn't more support for 3rd party candidates because the two parties are addressing the issues that most Americans care about. Barack Obama listens to and will take action on all the issues that I and all Americans care about. Vote Obama 2008!

    August 15, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  175. Vance P. Frickey, Denver CO

    The reason, Jack, is that we opted to not copy the excellent Parlimentary system Great Britain and many other countries use, which provides an excellent way of making political parties accountable to the voters. I can't imagine either of our two major political parties surviving as long as they have in any country with a Parliament instead of a Congress and a separately-elected Chief Executive. It's time to change our government to be more accountable to the people who pay the bills – our current setup isolates the major parties from the consequences of their failure to govern properly.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  176. ET

    That should not be a question. Look who's running-DUMB- DUMBER-AND DUMBEST.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  177. Joan, Southern Illinois

    Did you watch the debates? Who got most of the questions in the 2 parties we have now?
    If a candidate can't get air time, how will people know they are even running? When did CNN ever have the other parties on the air for a debate? When did any other network have the other parties on the air?
    I did see some of them on C-Span. No other network would carry the debates of other candidates.
    The media picks who gets on the air. The media decides who will get the most questions and you see the result.
    The media sure spent enough time on John Edwards AFTER the affair became known. Long after it was news.!!!!!

    August 15, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  178. Louise L.Gallone

    Voters are concerned that a third party would not be able to attract enough votes and therefore, they stick with the devil they know.

    Louise Indiana

    August 15, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  179. stephanie/houston/tx

    Right now we need a change from Republican to Democrat so we won't have a Lam Duck President. In the event this doesn.t work I'd vote for you Jack. You're just enough of an old sour puss to save us from voting for Lou Dobbs. I could see it all now as you throw them their walking papers with just the Look of disdain they all deserve.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  180. Pat in Hampstead , MD


    Because the American People are Stupid as a whole. At least half have no idea what their party represents or what the issues really are. They only hear sound bites because they are too busy trying to live. It dosent help when the media has been replaced by celebrity. America needs a third party like it needs a hole in its head. They dont get issues completed now. Add a 3rd view and watch it die completely.

    Jack you tell it like it really is and you are the diamond in the rough. You arent as hot as Suzanne Malveaux but we love ya anyway. Stay in the politicians faces and make them accountable. We just need to hear the truth. Most of us can at least recognize that.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  181. Louise L.Gallone

    Jack, If the third party was "Neither of the above, demand a do over", I think it would have a chance.

    Louise Indiana

    August 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  182. Michael Moran

    3rd party candidates don't get noticed; because the media ( – All networks. ) won't let them have the access, for it. The Media, like the rest of the 21st century U.S.; obsessively "worships the almighty dollar" ! You WANT the political "status – Quo" maintained [ "A vs. B" / Democrat vs. Republican. ]; as this maintains your 'key' audience, in the most "cost – effective" manner possible. You KNOW where your 'power' lies ( – Like Politicians . . . Through mis – direction, dis – information & "half – truthing" ! ).

    August 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  183. Dunne in NC

    FEAR! The best tool of the Washington Control. Fear will convince people that we need to have the same career politicians, cut from the same mold to do the same things we hate and tell us why we can't do without them. I'm not afraid Jack. I'd vote for Wayne Allen Root before I'd vote for these two. My desire is to have a President and a Congress made up of soccer moms and shoe salesmen. Someday maybe everyone will get it too.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  184. hollis from north georgia

    that's an easy one, Jack.
    because your not running.

    cafferty and maher (or jack and bill) '08
    Yes We Can!!!

    August 15, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  185. Kelly, Philadelphia

    The media wants a fight between two contenders. They know too many candidates would confuse too many of us.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  186. John in CA

    When you have third party candidates like Nader someone who only shows up every 4 years to get taxpayer's money for declaring his candidacy, you will never build a three party system.

    A political party takes leadership, organization, commitment and a strong message. People like Nader aren't interested in governing, so they won't do the work needed to

    August 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  187. Paul

    Note 1980 I voted for Anderson, 1992 I voted Ross Perrot. The media does not support a third party in its coverage of the news. There is no money for a third party to get electable. Ross used a lot of his own cash to be taken seriously. Anderson made news because of Iranian hostage crises, and problems in the enconmy in 1980. I believe Ross's name was on all 50 states. Anderson's was on only 36 state ballots. I think 4 states

    August 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  188. Kelly, Philadelphia

    Look what Nader did to Gore and who we got in office for eight miserable years as a result. I for one run scared of third party candidates.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  189. Robert in Atlanta

    It's spitting in the wind!

    August 15, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  190. Dan Bratten

    Because the vast majority of voters don't do research on candidates. The press(including you) don't cover them much. The federal government is in charge of elections and debates. But in all honesty it comes down to the voter. If you keep voting for the same two parties nothing will change. Thanks to Ron Paul I will vote for either Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party or Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party. Depending if they can get on the ballot,of course.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  191. james winter


    Because we still consider it a throw away vote. More often than not, it also strengthens the republican candidate more than it strengthens the democrat. This year, nobody wants to give McCain more strength than needs be.


    August 15, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  192. No McCain!


    It takes money to make money. The lack of media attention is another problem.

    Obama '08

    August 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  193. Darr/Cleveland/Ohio

    There is no support for there is no media coverage-besides those who run under a different platform than democratic or republican tend to lose their appeal, seem foreign, have no charisma and most importantly, no money usually except for Ross Pero, but his goofy, looks doomed him.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  194. Vegas

    There will be if Hillary would run...

    August 15, 2008 at 5:54 pm |
  195. monica

    Oh, this is an easy one. Money, first of all. Our electoral process has become solely dependent on money. And.....our electorate has become a bunch of sheep who will blindly follow whatever their "side" can afford to tell them.

    Add to that, what part Nader played to help elect that sad example of a President that is in the oval office today. It will be interesting to see how many votes Barr takes away from McCain. And he will. As for Nader, he just comes across as an arrogant fool now. After all of the good that he had done in the past, this is a pity. But I will for the rest of my life, think twice before I vote for a third candidate after the Bush fiasco.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  196. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    We do have a "third party" developing very rapidly. Its the Clinton/PUMA party. They owe millions of dollars they can't pay back, their supporters are a rabid bunch, and they will break the rules if it gets them what they want. Wow, they sound legit to me!

    August 15, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  197. John from phoenix

    Because there are more flaws for these third- party candidates than there are with Obama and McCain especially with Ralph Nader and Bob Barr trust me I did my research.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  198. KenB, MI

    Why aren't there more losers to waste our time?...good question.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  199. Paul in Nevada

    The two-party system of political machines is quite a marvel, isn't it? They can change their philosophies as often as shifts in the wind. It saves the time that elected officials would otherwise be wasting in negotiating for the best legislation. They don't have to spend time bargaining for support and forming coalitions with other parties.

    It took two years and about $1 billion of other people's money to buy the presidency this time around.

    How many parties do they have over there in Italy? What the reputation of corruption in Italian government?

    G.Washington had it right. Do you have a better idea to fix the problem?

    August 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  200. Eric

    Unless you can rally up $50 million, then you cant compete with the 2 party system. Sure someone like Donald Trump could rival finances with the Reps and Dems but even then no one would vote for him because he's not on one side or the other. That's not saying I want The Donald running this country but he might be a better choice to fix our economy than the other 2 guys.
    Wilson, NY

    August 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  201. Joan

    Third parties cannot succeed in the U.S. because although we talk about electing a third party candidate, we do not know how to organize one in order to feel secure that they will have a chance. We become afraid that a party we do not want to get in, will win and this keeps us from voting the way we really want to. I think this should end.
    If I had known the choice we have ended up with, I would have encouraged a solid campaign for a third party!

    August 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  202. Patricia Cavanagh

    Dear Jack, there are many of us for a third party candidate, but the media ignores them. Chuck Baldwin from the Constitution Party is
    running but not even a mention of him. Baldwin and Bob Barr are
    both for really ending the war and controlling spending – just what
    Americans want. Give them some air time and their numbers will
    surprise you.
    Pat Cavanagh, Coldwater, Michigan

    August 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  203. Madelyn Hoffman

    As Ralph Nader's Vice Presidential running mate for NJ in 1996 and the Green Party candidate for Governor in 1997, my experience taught me just how much our elections are heavily weighted in favor of the Democrats and Republicans. Ross Perot's strong showing in 1992 was a result of his being independently wealthy and capable of purchasing large blocks of paid advertising on TV. When virtually every news story mentions ONLY the Democrat and Republican running for President, when the Presidential Debates are restricted to the Democrats and Republicans, it is virtually impossible for the independent/third party to compete. Finally, the closeness of the past two Presidential elections, and the strong feelings on BOTH sides that a few votes here or there would swing the election toward the "worst of the two evils," any traction gained by third parties in the 1990s has been destroyed. This is a backlash from Democrats who still believe erroneously that Ralph Nader's presence in the 2000 election cost Al Gore the election and sealed the election for George W. Bush – complete with all its controversies, violations of the U.S. Constitution and ill-fated domestic and foreign policies.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  204. Ron in Saint Louis

    Jack, we have the lame-brained president we have today because people voted for Ralph Nader. There is no way I'm going to vote third party and help elect George W. McCain.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  205. Nate

    the reason for an absence of 3rd party support is that most of the general population, while disgusted by the lack of results, still feel that one of the two major parties represent their viewpoints. most 3rd party candidates also offer far too radical an approach to appeal to the cautious natures of most Americans.

    the problem isnt the fact that there are only 2 parties. the problem is the lack of true action once Republicans or Democrats assume office. their loyalties revert from the positions they took during their campaigns to chase after the interests and influences that can assure them of their positions of power beyond the term they are currently serving.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  206. Jason, New Hampshire

    Jack, I hate to say it, but the American people and their closed minds are to blame for this. Both parties are inept, corrupt or both, but they wouldn't be in office if it weren't for all the morons who vote for them. There are alternatives out there, but nobody ever gives them a chance. Until the people smarten up, both of these parties will continue to injure us.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  207. Carol Sacher

    Third party candidates do not get the media coverage, thus, people feel like they are 'throwing away' their vote. If the media were to spend time reporting on the underdog candidate as if they had a "real chance of winning", that candidate would have a real chance!
    Carol in Arkansas

    August 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  208. Sarge

    It is because they are kooks! That term should not be confused with the term – idiots. That term is reserved for those that We The People
    have in Washington!


    August 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  209. Bill Schmanke, New Jersey

    Why isn't there more support for third party candidates, Jack? Because given our history they know that with all the money behind the major party candidates, third parties do not stand a chance. Voters are therefore unwilling to spend the time, energy or gas money to get out the third party vote. If they did, Ron Paul would be elected overwhelmingly!

    August 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  210. Ben B

    1) A broken primary system. Iowa and New Hampshire should not dictate or limit our country's choices on such an important national office. A single national primary day is needed.
    2) Media attention to the 3rd party candidates. Ross Perot had a good showing due to media coverage 16 years ago.
    3) 3rd Party Candidates can compete with the embedded 2 Party systems money for media adds.

    Ben B

    August 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  211. Mark

    One, Ross Perot hurt the cause by his thin-skinned reactions to events during the `92 campaign.

    Two, people don't want to be blamed if a third-party candidate does in this election what Ralph Nader did in 2000.

    Third, people think third-party candidates have so low a chance of winning that a vote for them is throwing your vote away.

    But the main reason is people figure the GOP and Dems are the ones who can wangle benefits for the various special-interest groups making up the two major parties.

    Greenville, OH

    August 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  212. Roy - River Falls, WI

    Gang mentality. Youve got two huge groups of people that no one can approach but the other big group. Strength and security in numbers, and thus you see the downfall. Since you have to go with one or the other, both can turn around and make outrageous policies since the other will as well.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  213. sege

    Even my two weeks old nephew knows we all have a pair of everything, two legs, two hands, two kidneys, two testicles as are ovaries, with two parties, the poem rhymes. Talk about 3 parties, talk about a congenital anomaly, look for a surgeon.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  214. Madelyn Hoffman

    P.S. If the United States would implement a policy of preference voting or instant runoff voting, where voters could cast their votes for their first and second preference, people could cast a vote for a third party without fear that their vote would ensure a victory for the other side.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm |