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Argersinger. 1980. A place on the ballot: Fusion politics and antifusion laws. American Historical Review 85:287-306.
Adoption of the Australian ballot (defined below) and related reforms in the late 1800s were not innocent institutional reforms: Republican state legislators adopted these anti-fusion laws with the explicit goal of preventing (minority) Democrats from fusing with smaller third parties. The (intended) result was the destruction of independent third parties.
In the late 18th century, Republicans passed a number of laws with a goal of making fusion difficult. The Australian ballot was one such anti-fusion law. Two other examples:
Argersinger presents a qualitative analysis with many interesting historical anecdoates to show that in the late 1800s--especially during the 1892 presidential campaign--these anti-fusion laws and the Austrialian ballot were adopted in an explicit attempt to keep the Democrats weak by undermining their attempts at fusion with smaller parties (notably the Populists). Eventually, the anti-fusion laws made things so difficult for third parties that smaller parties all but disappeared, with members formally joining the large parties.
Research on similar subjects
Argersinger, Peter (author) • American Politics • State Politics (U.S.) • Primary Elections • Elections • Electoral Rules
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