Dr. J. David Gillespie is a political science professor at the College of Charleston and the Citadel. He has written a number of articles on third parties and independent candidates over the years, including a new book entitled “Challengers to Duopoly: Why Third Parties Matter in American Two-Party Politics“. The book, published the University of South Carolina Press, is a clearinghouse for information about third parties in the United States.
Challengers to Duopoly is a well crafted book that offers information on even the most obscure parties in the modern U.S. politics and in American history. Gillespie does not seek to falsely amplify the role that third parties have played in the American political system. Instead, he wisely recognizes the foibles of third parties, while recognizing the important role many of them have played. It is not often that you can find an honest text which acknowledges the futility of many third parties and the paranoia or egoism that’s so common amongst it’s candidates, while also highlighting the fact that third parties have been on the cutting edge of most political evolutions in U.S. history–including breaking race, gender, and sexual orientation barriers and being the first parties to promote abolition of slavery, suffrage for women, child labor laws, and a national healthcare system. Challengers to Duopoly is brimming with interesting accounts of the exploits of major political figures like Jesse Ventura, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, and parties like the Charter Party, Right to Life Party, and American Nazi Party.
Challengers to Duopoly is a book any third party aficionado should look into.