Whenever there is widespread disaffection with American politics, a recurrent idea pops up–why don’t we have a third party, one that isn’t like the two we presently have? Why is there no third party for the large majority of Americans who are to some degree hostile toward both the democrats and the republicans? This solution is not all that different from “throw the bums out”. It relies on the premise that our problem is the parties and the individuals that make them up. Today I set out to argue against this. It’s not that our parties are bad, it’s that our system is. The American political system is flush with perverse incentives that guarantee that any major party significant enough to have a chance of winning elections must inevitably become like the two we already have.