Friday, October 21, 2011

The Third Man (or Woman)

Although you might think this is going to be a few paragraphs about the novels of Graham Greene, that is not the case. As we approach the presidential election of 2012 it might be a good time to read up on the history of third party candidates and the elections they ran in.

In their recent book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How We Can Come Back, Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum suggest that a third party candidate in the upcoming presidential election might offer the “shock therapy” necessary to end the monumental gridlock and bipartisan bickering that is currently the norm in Washington. They cite the elections of 1912 (Theodore Roosevelt), 1968 (George Wallace) and 1992 (H. Ross Perot) as examples of third party candidacies that produced changes in the politics of the time. Furthermore, although not winners themselves, these third-party candidates inspired the winners of these elections to initiate policies that they might not have otherwise proposed.

So here are some titles to help us all get to thinking about the possible impact of that third man…or woman:

The History of Third Parties by Vicki Cox

Two Parties—or More? The American Party System by John F. Bibby and L. Sandy Maisel

1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft &;Debs—the Election that Changed the Country by James Chace

Maryellen @ Warrenton

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