In recent years a growing number of citizens have defected from the major parties to third party presidential candidates. Over the past three decades, independent campaigns led by George Wallace, John Anderson, and Ross Perot have attracted more electoral support than at any time since the 1920s. Third Parties in America explains why and when the two-party system deteriorates and third parties flourish. Relying on data from presidential elections between 1840 and 1992, it identifies the situations in which Americans abandon the major parties and shows how third parties encourage major party responsiveness and broader representation of political interests.
"Rosenstone, Behr, and Lazarus have significantly contributed to our understanding of minor parties ... by carefully and systematically testing the many conventional explanations that we have aggregated into a theory of minor party politics in America."--John R. Petrocik, Political Science Quarterly
"[Third Parties in America] provides a quick and fascinating history of ... alternative political movements ... [and] offers a thoughtful and intriguing analysis of the history and status of 'other parties' in this two-party republic."--T. R. Reid, The Washington Post Bookworld
First edition published in 1984