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Discussion 11: parties and interest groups

Initial Post:
American politics, as we know today, are primarily run by a strong two-party
system, however that is not to say that third party candidates do not alter or
shape the system as well. There are many reasons why the two-party system has
been institutionalized and succeeded in American politics. First, the “winner-take
all” system describes when voters vote for one of the popular two parties
because voting for a third party, to them, would be like throwing their votes
away. Usually, big money runs the election business while congressional
conventions are held to gather money to support their candidates. This big
money is heavily entwined with the two-party system, where money is
particularly centralized amongst the top candidates. Also, many state laws
mandate specifics in party approvals such as number of ballots to become a party
candidate, or a minimum number of votes casted on their previous election
ballot. Either way, the two-party system has been the strongest proponent in
American politics, but with the help of third party candidates, votes towards one
of the top two parties are greatly determined. Though not often, third parties can
greatly affect the outcome of third parties. “For example, if Ralph Nadar had not
run as a third-party candidate in 2000, Al Gore would have probably won the
Electoral College vote as well as the popular vote (Barbour; Wright, 10492).” 
1st follow-up:
Sabrena,
Before reading this chapter, I had no idea the extent to which third parties place
in the election process stood. I understood they were valued because of their own
specific thoughts about certain topics were addressed; influencing the decisions
and directions of the two-parties. However, I had not known until reading that
there were actually laws put into place that limited the amount of popularity or
rather presence third parties can show in each election. I wonder if these laws
were taken how, how different the election process might be. 
2nd follow-up:
Cynthia, 
Since the process of forming parties began, the influence of big money, people
and tradition have continued to dominant the characteristics of elected parties. I
believe, what we talked about last week, specifically how we were influenced by
certain political groups and often it is because of demographics, family, age, etc.
Nonetheless, tradition in the election process has shown us that people are
comfortable with electing from within this "two-party" system. Outliers or third

parties may never be the norm because the public is too ready to elect from
within traditional party candidates.