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By Chuck Thompson | Excerpted from the October 2016 Socionomist


In the 2012 Presidential Election, Gary Johnson became the first Libertarian candidate to receive more than a million votes. Polls suggest that Johnson could do much better in 2016, as many voters appear to be looking for alternatives to the two-party duopoly that has dominated U.S. politics for more than 150 years. In the October 2016 issue of The Socionomist, Chuck Thompson looks at this year’s election and the prospects for a strong third-party showing at the polls. Read excerpts from his article below.

Political polarization in the United States is generating strong interest in third-party presidential candidates Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green) in this year’s presidential race. One of them could make a strong enough showing to put the U.S. a step closer to a multi-party political system like those in countries such as Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. …

In the January 1995 issue of The Elliott Wave Theorist, Robert Prechter observed that the positive mood behind bull markets produces centrism, but the “operative word for bear market politics is polarity.” As Alan Hall pointed out in the July Socionomist, political polarization in the U.S. has been surging since the Dow/gold peak in 1999. Hall outlined the increasing political animosity between Democrats and Republicans and the growing number of independent voters and libertarians. …

In the October 1994 Theorist, Prechter said that third parties benefit when negative mood drives voters to “reject the status quo in an attempt to solve the social malaise they are experiencing.” Such rejection occurred in the 1850s, when Dow/gold was in its second plunge in a large-degree sideways pattern from 1834 to 1859. The U.S. was deeply polarized on the issue of slavery, and the Whig Party was nearing its demise. Prior to that time, there had been a Democrat-Whig duopoly in U.S. elections. … Republicans ran Abraham Lincoln as their candidate in 1860 and won the Presidency. …

Third-party candidates have competed in about two dozen presidential elections since 1860. Only nine of them have won more than 5% of the popular vote. … Could this be the year that the U.S. begins to take third parties seriously again? Although a third-party win in the 2016 election is extremely unlikely, the political polarization now gripping the U.S. weighs in favor of third parties having their best showing in decades. …


 

In the rest of this article Thompson looks at the unfavorable ratings that plague the Democratic and Republican nominees, plus the record percentage of voters who identify as politically independent. He looks at Gary Johnson’s performance in the polls, the influence of millennials, polarization between Republicans and Democrats in Congress and what Johnson must do to be included in the presidential debates.

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