Show me you can handle power on a small scale, that you are even competent on a small scale, then maybe I’ll start believing you can handle the bigger stuff.
Unless you know of some voodoo magic, all third party candidates are viable (if they’re registered in enough states). If people vote for your uncle Gerald, your uncle Gerald will be the President. He doesn’t need a party. He doesn’t need counties or states. He just needs 50%.
Pretending that there is voodoo magic is unhealthy. If we’re not happy with the party candidates, there’s no reason to vote them in. Only if we can’t agree on a third party candidate does it make sense to back the person you think “everyone else will vote for”.
What’s voodoo magic is pretending you can get 50% of the votes from nowhere.
What does Gerald need to get people to vote for him? He needs national recognition. He needs a core of supporters to advocate for him. He needs a message that’s been tested and shown to work. He needs to have people in his organisation with proven talent who have learned how to make him win. He needs spokespeople who can be trusted to carry his message to the media. He needs the media to give a shit about him. He needs a nationwide get out the vote infrastructure. He needs tens of thousands of volunteers delivering leaflets, handing out yard signs, preaching the good word. He needs people who know the ins and outs of local and state politics across the country, because all politics is local. He needs an election winning machine, in short. To run one, of course, he needs money, which implies both grassroots fundraising and the ability to win major donations - both of which need an existing platform. And finally, he needs a clear field.
Trump, for example, has money, national recognition and access to the media; he could have run as third-party if he chose. And if he had, he wouldn’t be anywhere *near *50% because he’d have no national organisation, no regional or local experts, no senators or governors to go to bat for him, and a Republican opponent splitting his vote.
You also need a system that outlaws districting so that 15% support can translate to about 15% representation.
I agree. The first three steps of the OPs plan would be effective at getting a party to have more power and influence and get more of their policy implemented. But step four would likely result in either the new party or the established party it’s split off of being the spoiler.
Again, it depends. One possibility would be serious coalition-building: the Greens (for example), with a clearly ginormous chunk of the American electorate behind them, could negotiate an agreement to influence Democrats mightily. Maybe they’d agree to endorse the Democratic candidate as long as the Democratic platform adhered to certain conditions. Maybe they’d agree to run a candidate as a joint Green/Democratic candidate. Maybe they’d negotiate for the Dems to step aside, but would make major concessions.
A third party has not reached this level on the national stage since well before the Civil War, to the best of my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong). How it’d be handled is unprecedented. I do NOT think it’d be handled as a surprise, however, with the spoilage shocking people; rather, professional politicians would do what pols do best.