A bit of reader insight on my "four truths" post.
Katherine in Australia wrote in with this bit of insight about third parties:
In Britain they have a thriving alternative party known as the Liberal Democrats. The Libdems didn't start out by aiming for power in Parliament, they went for power in the local councils and townships. As they became well known and well respected, it made it possible for them to move up into federal power as well.
The third parties in the US tend to go straight for Federal power, rather than doing any long term planning. Let's say we revived Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party. Let's say the Progs managed to eventually start capturing some power at the county and state levels. Let's also say that this party was then able to prove itself as a positive and effective force that generated great voter loyalty. Eventually, the possibility would be there for them to move up into Federal politics. If nothing else, their popularity might cause the Federal parties to become more left leaning.
This is an excellent point. This is how you build a national party -- by starting on the local, grass-roots level. This is really what the Green Party and groups like them should be trying to do, instead of trying to get a shortcut to relevancy by running Presidential campaigns.