Legal Barriers to Third Parties


The 1980 presidential campaign marked the first time that the legal barriers facing third parties and independent candidates have been seriously discussed outside of a narrow circle of political trivia buffs. The experiences of John Anderson and Libertarian Ed Clark, and to a lesser extent, other third party candidates, focused public attention on the problems created by these barriers. This, in turn, raised the question of whether or not the traditional two party system is serving a useful purpose. The third party independent candidate phenomenon has raised the level of awareness that the two party system appears to have a vested interest in its own self-protection and therefore will act to block or stifle political challenges from the outside.

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