Thankfully, some journalists recognize the problem. This week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman stood out among his peers for his level-headedness on this issue. In a response to Fournier, he writes that while “the rise of a third-party presidential candidate in 2016 is entirely plausible,” he is “much more dubious” about the idea that the two-party system is in disarray

I am fully aware of the paradigm-busting power of modern technology… However, I still believe that the institutional biases in the system—some of them embedded in the Constitution, others in federal and state laws, such as Georgia’s difficult ballot-access laws—dictate the existence of a two-party system.

History tells us that third parties come and they usually go; on rare occasions, they stick around and eventually replace one of its predecessors. The time may indeed be ripe for one of those periodic upheavals.

However, once the smoke clears and the system stabilizes, it will revert to its traditional bipolar, two-party nature.

Fortunately, the playing field for competition to traditional punditry is now far more open and competitive. The third-party fever dream may never die, but reality-based commentary like Bookman’s may at least strengthen the incentives for other pundits to be more measured in their predictions about the future.

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Brendan Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College. He blogs at and tweets @BrendanNyhan.