Review: Sifry’s Spoiling for a Fight

Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America
Micah Sifry

This is, I am pretty sure, the only thing close to a complete history of third parties in U.S. electoral politics. I picked it up because of a paper I was writing on fusion voting and the Working Families Party, but it was so interesting, I ended up reading the whole thing.

The Green and Reform Parties and especially Nader’s 2000 run (which I think will go down as the waterloo of third parties for at least a generation) take up a lot of this book. But there is still a lot of room for other, smaller, groups* and plenty of smart thinking on what the domination of electoral politics by two parties means for the way elections play out.** If you’re a political junkie like me, it’s a good read.

*Though you will see more left than right. The Labor Party and WFP figure relatively prominently, The Libertarian party, not so much.

** Lack of political cohesion in presidential candidates political positions, people voting for the guy they like the most because they relate to none of them politically, plus the standard arguments that these fools represent no one.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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