The Politics of Political Pluralism: Minor Parties and the Third Electoral System
American conditions involve very great and peculiar difficulties for a steady development of a workers' party.... [I]mmigration...divides the workers into two groups: the native-born and the foreigners, and the latter in turn into (1) the Irish, (2) the Germans, (3) the many small groups, each of which understands only itself: Czechs, Poles, Italians, Scandinavians, etc. And then the Negroes. To form a single party out of these requires quite unusually powerful incentives.
Friedrich Engels ( 1893)
That time has come when party fealty must be a matter of secondary importance. The liquor traffic is dominant,...therefore, we must reconstruct our party affiliations. A vote cast for a party today does not mean the same as it did twenty years ago. In this matter we must heed the Divine command: "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord."
Minutes of the New Jersey Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1892
Although Engels and New Jersey's Methodist ministers had little else in common, each perceptively itemized a behavioral barrier to minor-party voting. As Engels saw it, in the absence of "quite unusually powerful incentives," ethnocultural antagonisms inhibited the development of a transethnic workers' party. The Methodist ministers pointed unmistakably to a recognition of party identification as a powerful constraint on minor-party support.
In fact, these separate obstacles were interrelated, for ethnic and religious conflict had shaped the lines of partisan combat and antagonistic political subcultures had generated party oppositions. Among most social groups partisanship had become inextricably connected with sub-