Dissatisfaction with the two major parties is widespread in the United States. This dissatisfaction is not regional or sectional. It is not restricted to one economic or cultural group, but is based on frustration and disappointment which have a historical base.
In the case of the Republican party it began in 1964, when many liberal or moderate Republicans, believing that their position was not recognized or represented in the party's choice of Senator Barry Goldwater, refused to support his candidacy. The nomination of Richard Nixon in 1968 did not wholly allay their doubts about their party. More recently, the Watergate affair and other scandals of the Nixon administration alienated conservative Republicans, as well as the liberals and the moderates. (It is distressing to hear some people say that the final outcome of Watergate proved that the system works. That is like saying that the crossing of the Atlantic by the Titanic was a great success because some people survived. Not all the lifeboats sank -- just the ship.)
Many Democrats experienced frustration in 1968, when candidates and proposals of antiwar Democrats were rejected in Chicago and supporters of those candidates and proposals were beaten and abused in the convention hall, in the Conrad Hilton hotel, and on the streets of Chicago.
One of the slogans of the Goldwater campaign of 1964 was, "A choice, not an echo." A cynical observation on the 1968 campaign was, "Not a choice, but two echoes." Reflecting this unhappiness over the lack of choice, many people were involved in efforts to run a third or fourth candidate in 1968.
In 1972 many traditional Democrats were unhappy with the nomination of Senator George McGovern and with the conduct of his campaign. Many other voters were unhappy with both candidates, as