Eugene V. Debs
No sooner had Mitt Romney triumphed in the Michigan primary than Rick Santorum edged into his victory by succeeding in winning an equal number of delegates. Romney polled 3 percent higher than Santorum in the popular vote. But that meant nothing in the arcana of counting at the polls that will be translated into 15 delegates each at the Tampa convention in August.
Washington—Watching the great civil rights march on television in August 1963, I couldn't help but notice that hundreds carried signs with a strange legend at the top: "UAW Says." UAW was saying "Segregation Disunites the United States," and many other things insisting on equality. This "UAW" was a very odd word to my 11-year-old self and I asked my dad who or what "U-awe," as I pronounced it, was.
AMERICAN POLITICS isn't physics, but it has rules nonetheless. And one of the clearest has to do with third parties. Since the nation's founding, no third party has knocked off one of the reigning two, and none has taken power. (The Republican Party of the 1850s, sometimes cited as an exception, actually emerged as a major party after the Whig Party expired.) That's not to say third parties always fail; they just succeed in a different way. When third parties succeed, it's because they change the terms of debate. They take a cry from the margins of American life—an issue, or an interest, or a