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Bernard Tamas

Associate Professor of Political Science, Valdosta State University
Chapter Leader: Georgia SSN

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About Bernard

Tamas's research focuses on elections, electoral systems, and third parties. Overarching themes in Tamas's writings include the role of US third parties and how they are currently in a stronger position to influence American politics than most commentators realize; and how the SMP electoral system and winner-take-all elections produce a range of threats to American democracy, including potentially increasing the damage caused by voter suppression measures. Tamas serves as an adviser to the executive board of STOP, an international human rights organization that undertakes a community-led approach for combating human trafficking in South Asia.

In the News

Quoted by Brittany Gibson in "‘It Will Be a Nail Biter’: A Third-Party Scholar on the 2024 Election," Politico, January 10, 2024.
Quoted by Dora Mekouar in "Is Polarized America Primed for a Breakout Third Party?," Voice of America, July 21, 2021.
Opinion: "US Third Parties Can Rein In the Extremism of the Two-Party System," Bernard Tamas, The Conversation, June 22, 2021.
Guest on You Don't Have to Yell, July 16, 2020.
Opinion: "The U.S. Has More Third-Party Candidates Than It’s Seen in a Century. Why?," Bernard Tamas (with Matthew Dean Hindman), The Washington Post, August 31, 2016.

Publications

"The Demise and Rebirth of American Third Parties: Poised for Political Revival?" ( Routledge, 2018).

Illustrates that most explanations for third-party weakness are based on theories that are inaccurate or dated, and that instead third-party strength is closely related to how polarized the two major parties are. Continues demonstrating that contrary to popular thought, third parties have been gradually gaining strength over the past half century.

"American Disproportionality: A Historical Analysis of Partisan Bias in Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives" Election Law Journal 18, no. 1 (2019): 47-62.

States that elections to the House of Representatives have been severely biased long before the current period of extreme gerrymandering.

"Does Fusion Undermine American Third Parties? An Analysis of House Elections From 1870 to 2016" New Political Science 39, no. 4 (2017): 609-626.

Mentions that fusion (or when candidates are nominated by both a third party and major party) had never improved the prospects of third parties.

"Ballot Access Laws and the Decline of American Third-Parties" (with Matthew Dean Hindman). Election Law Journal 13, no. 2 (2014): 260-276.

Discusses that contrary to widespread belief, ballot access laws (or the state laws that determine what candidates are placed on the ballot) do not hurt the prospects of third parties.

"Can Voter Suppression Increase Electoral Bias?," MIT Election Data and Science Lab, December 18, 2020.

Demonstrates that running elections through single-member districts, like in the US, can dramatically increase the negative impact of voter suppression and other methods for underrepresenting voters.