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Party of 3: A new political party wants to join California politics

File: The California State flag flies outside City Hall, in Los Angeles, on Jan. 27, 2017.
File: The California State flag flies outside City Hall, in Los Angeles, on Jan. 27, 2017.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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California might soon be getting a third political party.

That’s what Chapman University law professor and former California State Senator Tom Campbell is working toward. By 2020, Campbell says the political party dichotomy could be interrupted by a runner-up. “Center Party” and “Bear Flag Party” are among the names discussed to appear on the ballot.

The platform itself remains unclear, too. One potential strategy would be providing an electoral choice for dissatisfied Republicans. Another option would allow candidates to run free from associations to any major platform without the negative connotations of the “No Party Preference” category.

Campbell is optimistic about the prospects, saying that all it’d take would be convincing roughly 60,000 already registered voters to switch over to the new party. By reaching the voters registered with “no party preference” or the American Independent party, the political party could be a success. According to new data by the Secretary of State, nearly half of more than 200,000 pre-registered teens in California are aligning with no party preference and ditching traditional political parties. The other alternative would require gathering around 700,000 signatures.

So how sustainable is a third political party in California? And what are the chances of its success? We discuss.


Tom Campbell, professor of economics and law at Chapman University; he is a former California State Senator (R-Campbell, 1993-1995), U.S. Congressman (1989-1993 & 1995-2001), and director of the California Department of Finance under Governor Schwarzenegger (2004-2005)

Raphael J. Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles