ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-One thing that most people agree about this Presidential election is that voters are not happy with the main candidates. Donald Trump is the least popular presidential candidate in history, while Hillary Clinton is second on that dubious list. That dissatisfaction is leading to a rise in two Third Party candidates.
Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green party candidate Dr. Jill Stein are now polling at 10% and 4% according to the last Quinnipiac University poll. Even though they are steadily climbing in the numbers, political scientists say it likely doesn’t even matter.
Dr. Ken Warren from Saint Louis University says the two-party system has “rigged” the system so that a candidate from a party other than Republican or Democrat really has no chance of winning.
“I think it’s what’s wrong with the system,” says Warren. “The electoral college guarantees that the Republican and Democratic parties are the two dominant parties and a third party run really isn’t realistic. It’s not viable.”
The other problem is with debates. We likely won’t see either of the third party candidates on the debate stage because lawmakers have set up a system to keep them out. It is a necessity for voters to see them in debates to believe they are credible candidates.
“They need to get into the debates to be seen as credible. But the presidential debate commission won’t allow them in,” Warren says.
In 1992, the standard was 5% support among national polls to be allowed into the debates. That allowed Ross Perot to be included in the debates and he did very well in the eyes of voters. On Election Day, Perot got 19% of the popular vote and possibly cost George Bush the election to Bill Clinton.
So the Debate Commission changed the rules to 15% support, which virtually guarantees it will only be the Republicans and Democrats on the debate stage. Between that new demarcation line and the Electoral College, it virtually guarantees that new blood won’t be able to make much of an impact.