Third party, anyone?

Get to know the three most known third parties

You know the Democrats, and you know the Republicans. But how familiar are you with America’s third parties?

In U.S. politics, the term “third party” refers to a political party other than the Democrats or Republicans. Throughout U.S. history, there have been numerous third parties. However, such political parties seldom win legislative elections.

Due to the presidential Electoral College, where electoral votes are given to the candidate who receives a plurality of the vote, third party candidates rarely win congressional elections and have never won a presidential election. It is extremely rare for a third party to be a national officeholder.

Although they might not often win elections, third parties are still important to U.S. politics. They can draw attention to issues which may have otherwise been ignored by the dominant parties. If a third party does well in an election, they may be accused of having a spoiler effect on the election.

In the United States, there are three major third parties with over 100,000 registered voters: the Constitution Party, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party.

The Constitution Party
Virgil Goode
Former Republican Rep.

Founded in 1991, the Constitution Party is a conservative political party. The party’s platform is based on the principles of the nation’s founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.. According to the Constitution Party, the sole purpose of the government is to secure Americans’ unalienable rights given to them by their Creator.
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The Green Party
Jill Stein
Physician & Former Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts

The Green Party of the United States, founded in the 2001 as a reincarnation of the former Association of State Green Parties, first gained widespread public attention during Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential run. Greens stress environmentalism, social justice, nonviolence and grassroots organizing. It is the Green Party’s objective to “crack down on political corruption and strengthen the voice of the people at all levels of government,” according to their platform.
(Information found at

The Libertarian Party
Gary Johnson
Former Governor of New Mexico

Founded in 1971, Libertarians “seek a world in which individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one if forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.” Libertarians’ political platform favors individual rights, a free and competitive market and minimal government regulation.
(Information found at