2016 has been a revealing year in politics. Broader groups of people are seeing for themselves how broken the two party American political system is. Voters are openly disgusted by the state of politics, and a sliver of the electorate are opting out of our two presented choices altogether. Some are willing to put their principles behind their vote and check none of the above. Professor Steven Nemerovski teaches at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, and has authored books about how third parties can become more viable in the future of American politics. Nemerovski also runs None of The Above, a political website dedicated to examining the causes and finding solutions to the deep dysfunction in our political system.
While Prof. Nemerovski is an advocate for third parties, he was clear that the third party structures as we have them now are inadequate to make a lasting impact. “The Green and Libertarian Party aren’t structured to win in American politics,” he said. Citing the rough and tumble nature of U.S. politics as it is now, as well as logistical concerns, Nemerovski like some other political scientists says that the third parties should start from the state level. He mentioned that even if, somehow a third party was able to win the presidency, that they would not have a base to govern from. Instead of using this reality as a way of relegating third parties to minor league status, Nemerovski has written what he calls a “road map to power” for third parties in volumes 1 and 2 of “Third Party”.
In our interview over the phone, Prof. Nemerovski said that this process would not happen overnight, and would take several election cycles. However, the groundswell of support that Bernie Sanders was able to garner does show a way forward. To begin to break the two party duopoly, third parties would have to become a viable threat electorally in a way that they aren’t now. The Democrats, in particular will have to be challenged by The Green Party in a much larger way. Instead of selling fear, as Prof. Nemerovski says, the alternatives posed by a challenger who can win would be a beginning of the solution to the political dysfunction. Even though third parties have a long way to go, that is not entirely enough reason to write them off.
I’d like to thank Prof. Nemerovski for taking the time to reach out to Polite On Society and share his thoughts with our audience here. “Third Party” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBook.