This is Ezra Klein on third party candidates in the US. (This a follow up debate with Matt Miller).
“(…) Miller’s speech implies that what’s holding American politics back is that there are no candidates willing to give this speech, or hold these positions. That’s not accurate. What’s holding American politics back is a polarized Congress that has collapsed into gridlock. What’s holding American politics back is that the minority party understands that the quickest path back to power is undermining the majority party’s ability to govern. What’s holding American politics back is that voters want a government spending at about 23 or 24 percent of GDP but they want taxes around 18 percent of GDP, or maybe even a bit lower.
These types of third-party proposals tend to talk a lot about hard truths, tough choices and unpleasant realities. But in almost all cases, they skirt the hardest political truth of all, which is that politics is hard, often boring, work. We all want political change to come from one dramatic presidential campaign, where the president galvanizes the country with an Aaron Sorkin-esque speech and the barriers to change crumble before the force of an inspired population. That’s the most seductive political promise of all, because it promises that this will be easy, exciting and quick. It promises that it’ll be like the inspirational romp of Obama’s 2008 campaign rather than the tough slog of his subsequent presidency. It suggests that our problem is that we simply lack a leader, not that we lack the necessary consensus, institutions, and popular engagement required for change.
But lack of leadership is not our problem, or at least not our most important problem. Radical change doesn’t begin with the president and filter down. It begins at the bottom and filters up to the presidency.”