The U.S. Has Had Third Parties All Along

How come your story on third parties, "In '96, three may not be a crowd" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Sept. 4), dealt only with party-less individuals and ignored an already established third party? Not only does the Libertarian Party already exist, but it's the only party that responds perfectly to the country's current longing for less government, more personal liberty, and responsibility in both the social and economic arenas. Apparently, you don't consider the Libertarian Party as newsworthy as media luminaries like Ross Perot and General Colin Powell. But if 40 million Generation Xers vote Libertarian, you will.

Alan M. Perlman

Highland Park, Ill.

Your article overlooks some important and relevant history. You assert that the two-party system in this century went "virtually unchallenged--until the last 25 years." This overlooks the alternative party bid of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 as well as those of Henry A. Wallace and Strom Thurmond in 1948. In both years, these parties significantly affected the outcome of the election (Roosevelt came in second) and manifested deep problems in the politics of the time. If we think "politics is broken" now, then all the more need for us to learn the lessons of history.

Henry J. Grantges


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