Despite an unusual and well-funded effort this year to build a third party under the “Americans Elect” umbrella, nobody emerged and political analysts believe that is because voters now see a major difference between the two dominant parties and are no longer looking for a bolder choice between “Tweedledum and Tweedledee,” as George Wallace said in 1968.
“Rather, the presidential elections of 2004 and 2008 provided a choice, not an echo, and 2012 will do the same,” said Rhodes Cook with Larry Sabato’s Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “In this environment where differences between the major parties are clear, voters — for better or worse – have accepted two options as enough,” Cook added in the latest “Crystal Ball” newsletter.
The presidential season started with hope for a third party. American Elect raised millions of dollars to create a campaign but it never settled on an alternative candidate. Cook said that part of the reason was because the nation doesn’t see a need for a third party, as it did in 1968, 1980 or 1992.
“Since then, the political environment has changed dramatically as Democrats and Republicans have engaged in a series of high-stakes elections in which differences between the two parties have been stark,” he said.