US politics remains dominated by two big parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, initially suggesting that third parties have no role to play in this two-party system. However, whilst third parties rarely meet with electoral success (and certainly not in Presidential elections!) they do have an important role in raising key issues onto the political agenda, and acting as “spoilers” by influencing voting patterns. Third parties also play a vital role as scrutineers of government and party policies, effectively keeping the major parties “honest”. A good analogy is to think of the Democrats and the GOP as the leading actors in a blockbuster movie, with the third parties playing the supporting roles.
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