Third Party Presidential Candidates Face Barriers To Election
By Brendan Conley, staff writer – October 4, 2012
More than two people are running for U.S. President. People who are unaware of this may be forgiven, as there has not been a lot of talk about it.
Although the electoral system in many countries features multiple parties, the United States has been dominated by two major parties for most of its history, with the Republican and Democratic parties holding sway since the Civil War. Though many voters are dissatisfied with candidates from the two dominant parties, viable third party or independent candidates have not made much progress.
Not since George Washington served two terms as the first President of the United States has the election been won by someone with no party affiliation. The father of our country warned against a “formal and permanent despotism” that would accompany the establishment of party politics. 
In modern times, third party candidates have never come close to winning the highest office in the land, playing at best the role of spoiler. In 1968, George Wallace of the American Independent Party garnered 46 votes in the Electoral College, though Republican Richard Nixon still won a landslide victory. In the 1992 election cycle, independent candidate H. Ross Perot qualified for the ballot in all fifty states, was included in the Presidential debates, and at one time held a lead in the polls, but he ultimately finished with no electoral votes. The 2000 race was incredibly close, with the Supreme Court finally deciding the election in favor of George W. Bush. Although numerous factors were at play during that election, many Democrats consider Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy to have been a spoiler. Nader insisted that he was the better candidate, and that Al Gore should have withdrawn from the race.