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In a country diverse like no other on the planet, can the myriad of shades of political preference be adequately represented by the two primary colors of the Democratic and Republican parties? An increasing number of Americans are answering no. The fastest growing category of registered voter is independent, formally unaffiliated with either of the two major parties. Is it possible for another collective political voice to fill this gap? Are we on the cusp of the rise of a third party in this country?

Though rare, American history includes the rise and triumph of third parties, the Republican Party being the most significant example. Today, the relative success of Ross Perot's showings in 1992 and 1996 communicate that there is a latent desire for more political choices not far under the surface of the American electorate. Determined efforts to limit participation in key debates confirm that potential threats to the two major parties exist.

What is the nature of this threat and what are the fundamental weaknesses of the current system? Will it take a new party to respond to what many Americans regard as an increasingly thin democracy in this country? Will it take profound cultural reflection and a reorientation of our public policy status quo? What issues need addressing first? Who are the individuals thinking about these questions and acting on their conclusions?