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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CLIV: March 28, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

J. David Gillespie, Politics at the Periphery: Third Parties in Two-Party America


(Columbia, SC: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1993).

[Thesis. A characteristically American classed as responsible parties (12-14).


"pragmatism" has dominated the political Definition: "A third party is an
mainstream in the United States, but organized aggregate of leaders,
third parties of various sorts have played members, and supporters that 1.
an important role by giving expression to designates itself a party, 2. articulates
other impulses—not that they have not perceived interests of its devotees, 3.
also frequently been influenced by presses these interests upon or in
pragmatism.] contradistinction to the American
political and party systems using
Preface. The author has never been electoral and/or other political methods,
associated with any third party; he and 4. either never attains or is unable to
believes there have been too many sustain the primary or the secondary
"structural barriers" to their participation share of loyalties of people making up
in American politics (vii). Politics on the the national body politic" (15). American
Periphery is based on fifteen years of party organization is much less
research, much of it firsthand (vii-viii). centralized than in European
Debt to his wife, Judi, and to a scholarly democracies (15-16). Popular devotion
colleague, Laura Woliver (viii-ix). to parties is weakening in the U.S. (16-
17). Single-party monopoly is "nearly
Introduction. This book was written at impossible" in the American political
a time of "partial atrophying" of the system; third parties do not play a major
Republican and Democratic parties (1-4). role in the national government (17-19).
The latter are thoroughly "pragmatic," A utilitarian analysis of third parties, from
whereas third parties are involved with the points of view of individuals and of
"the politics of redemption," in Glenn society (19-25). Constraints on third
Tinder's phrase (4-5). parties include the cultural consensus in
the U.S. on core values (liberty,
Ch. 1: On the Outside Looking In: individualism, equal rights) and structural
Third Parties and the Political constraints (single-member plurality
Mainstream. The Prohibition Party, elections, electoral college, legal financial
which has existed since 1869 (6-9). V.O. disadvantages, ballot access) (25-36).
Key distinguished between continuing Though conditions are improving for third
doctrinal parties and short-lived parties, parties, the difficulties they face are still
the latter usually a form of economic imposing (36-37). Notes (37-40).
protest; there are also non-national
significant other parties, like the Ch. 2: Brightly Blazing Candles:
Minnesota Farmer-Labor party (9-12). Transient National Third Parties in
Dan Nimmo and Thomas D. Ungs define the Nineteenth Century. Some were
a political party as "a coalition of fairly secessionist parties, others began
stable, enduring, and frequently independently (41-46). The 19th century
conflicting interests, organized to was a golden age for third parties (46-
mobilize support in competitive elections 47). The Antimasonic party (47-50). The
in order to control policy making" (12). abolitionist Liberty Party (50-51). The
The Democratic and Republican parties, Free Soil party rallied around the Wilmot
which are more like porous sponges than Proviso (51-52). The nativist American
large umbrellas or big tents, can be [Know Nothing] Party (52-56). The
Constitutional Union party (56-58). The believers (171-74). The Libertarian party
Southern Democratic party (58-60). The (174-78). The Socialist Labor party of
Liberal Republican party (60-62). Post- Daniel De Leon (179-83). Eugene Debs's
Civil War socialist parties (63-64). The Socialist party (183-91). The Communist
National (Greenback) party (64-67). Party of the USA (191-99). The Socialist
Many ideas of the People's (Populist) Workers party (199-201). Trotskyist
party were co-opted (67-68 & 71-77). parties (201-02). Maoist parties (202-
Inset: Radical agrarianism is the 03). The Progressive Labor party (203-
historical soil out of which Southern 04). The Revolutionary Communist party
conservatism has grown (69-71). Notes (204-05). The Communist Workers party,
(77-79). which in 1985 became the New
Democratic Movement (171-73 & 205-
Ch. 3: Candles in the Wind: 06). The white supremacist radical right
Transient National Third Parties in (206-07). The National States' Rights
the Twentieth Century. There have party (208). George Lincoln Rockwell's
been fewer important third parties in the American Nazi party (208-10). The
20th century (80-82). The claim that National Socialist White People's party
progressivism was "the Wisconsin idea" (210-17). The National Socialist Party of
is a bit overstated (83-84). Theodore America (217-18). The new Populist
Roosevelt's Progressive (Bull Moose) party (218-20). The same doctrines that
party (85-87). Robert "Fighting Bob" La sustain these parties isolate them from
Follette (87-90). The Union Party (1936) mainstream politics, but when they reach
(90-91). In 1948, the Progressive party a certain size they tempt mainstream
on the left and the States' Rights parties to try to co-opt them (220-22).
Democratic party (Dixiecrats) on the Notes (222-25).
right (92-103). The Peace and Freedom
party (103-07). George Wallace's Ch. 6: Non-National Significant
American Independent party (107-22). Others: Important State and
John Anderson's National Unity campaign Community Parties. Bernie Sanders
(122-27). Barry Commoner's Citizens and the Progressive Coalition of
party (127-29). H. Ross Perot (129-37). Burlington, VT (226-30). Similar parties
Notes (137-39). of limited geographical scope (230-32).
The 19th century produced many (232-
Ch. 4: Not Whistling Dixie: Women, 38). Dominance of the two-party system
African-Americans, and the Third in the 20th century (233-34, 239).
Party Course. Class-based politics Sources of strength in the upper Great
(140-41). The National Organization of Plains and Wisconsin (239-42). North
Women (141-43). The Equal Rights party Dakota's Nonpartisan League (242-44).
(143-44). The National Woman's party Minnesota's Farmer-Labor party (which
(144, 148-53). Inset on Belva Ann merged with the Democratic party in
Lockwood (1830-1917) (145-47). The 1944) elected senators, representatives,
National Black Independent Political and governors (244-52). Wisconsin's
party (153-54). The Mississippi Freedom Progressive party (Robert La Follette and
Democratic party (154-55). The Civil his two sons, Robert Jr. and Philip)(252-
Rights movement and black parties (155- 55). NY allows cross-endorsement of
56). The Black Panther party (156-64). candidates (only CT and VT do the
The New Alliance party (164-68). Notes same), which produces fusion
(168-70). candidacies that give third parties
leverage (255-60). In this category,
Ch. 5: Sustained by Faith: Doctrinal single-state third parties have been the
Parties. Doctrinal parties and their true most enduring, and Burlington's
Progressives have "fashioned for their at Least One Percent of Popular
city America's only true three-party Vote for President (295-97).
system today" (260-62). Gillespie would
like to see wider adoption of the cross- Appendix 4: Third-Party Presence
endorsement laws (262-63). Notes (263- (Excluding Independents) in U.S.
66). Congress (298-301).

Ch. 7: What Manner of Men and Appendix 5: Third-Party and


Women? Beliefs and Personalities of Independent Gubernatorial Popular
Third-Party Leaders. Ideas are Elections (302-05).
probably less and leaders more
motivating than once thought (267-68). Appendix 6: Study Statements and
In a 1982 study, Gillespie identified a Factor Scores (306-10).
"Leftist/Libertarian Belief System," a
"Nazi Belief System," and a Glossary. 46 terms (311-15).
"Conservative Belief System" (268-76).
Political agitators (rather than Suggestions for Further Reading. 93
administrators—Harold Lasswell's books.
distinction) are especially attracted to
left/libertarian and Nazi third parties Index of Parties, Associations, and
(276-80). Beliefs of left/libertarians are People. 12 pp.
not far from the mainstream: "The key
political problem for many About the Author. J. David Gillespie
leftist/libertarians is not that they reject is a retired professor of political science
mainstream values; it is that they who taught for 27 years at Presbyterian
embrace some of them too radically" College; his 1964 B.A. and 1967 M.A. are
(281). Notes (281-82). from Wake Forest university, and his
1973 Ph.D. is from Kent State.
Ch. 8: Looking Back, Looking Ahead:
The Third-Party Legacy and the [Additional information. J. David
Future. As Ross Perot, the Greens, and Gillespie is also the author of
others show, third-party impulses are Challengers to Duopoly: Why Third
"alive and kicking" (285; 283-88). Notes Parties Matter in American Two-Party
(288-89). Politics (2011). Now semi-retired, he
consults and teaches part-time at The
Appendix 1: Returns from November Citadel and College of Charleston.]
3, 1992, Presidential Election (291-
92). [Critique. Politics on the Periphery is a
sprightly textbook with a common-sense
Appendix 2: Addresses of Third approach that takes an encyclopedic
Parties (293-94). approach to American third parties that
yields no startling aperçus but that
Appendix 3: Third-Party and covers the ground in a workmanlike
Independent Candidacies Receiving manner.]