Comment: Is it time to build a third political party? | Local
Then it was the Whigs – yes, a third – who emerged among the disgruntled elements of the major political forces in the 1830s. It was a party that fielded candidates and won elections, including those for four presidents.
Abraham Lincoln’s successful presidential candidacy in 1860 was also part of a third-party effort – that of the Republicans.
The history of the United States is replete with other examples of successful third parties, such as the Populist Party, which emerged in the late 20th century, led by farmers. This party’s platform – to root out corruption in politics and harness corporate power – is what many people now see as critical issues in American politics.
The Populist Party and its supporters were part of the movement to create antitrust legislation, most notably the Sherman Antitrust Act, which was passed in 1890 after years of debate, then the Clayton and Federal Trade Commission laws.
Populists also defended the post and sought balanced budgets.
In Minnesota, the Farmer-Labor Party was formed in 1918 and eventually merged with the state Democrats. To date, the full name of the Minnesota Democratic Party is the Democratic-Farmer-Worker Party.
Prior to this merger in 1944, the Farmer-Labor Party fielded candidates in successful campaigns, winning the governorship three times, as well as bringing many senators and representatives to power under that party’s banner. He created a real policy with real effects, including a moratorium on agricultural foreclosures, aid to the unemployed, banking reform and new state forests.