How does a third party become viable?

The question came up in an online group: What would it take to get you to support a third party? A number of responses came back. Some said that they’d been too disappointed in others like the Libertarian party (described as Democrats Lite) and thus had gone back to changing the existing Republican party. Others that third parties never ran viable candidates or ended up appearing too crazy. Several said that a third party should abide by the US Constitution and not compromise on that. In addition, a clear set of values needed to be articulated and adhered to. My response was that to truly be viable, a third party would need to not only criticize current policies from major parties, but offer viable, workable alternatives to those policies. It was also noted that to gain support, a third party would need to identify actual problems as opposed to proposing solutions to problems that don’t exist.

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