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Although the American political structure has consistently been a two-party system, third parties occasionally influence elections, and third party candidates sometimes obtain elected positions. "Third party" technically refers to the third largest party in a two-party system, but in the U.S. it generally refers to any party running in an election other than the major two. Many third parties have gained some traction throughout American history — at one point, the Socialist Party held 600 mayoral offices, and Theodore Roosevelt obtained a significant number of votes in his presidential bid as the Progressive Party candidate in 1912. Today, the largest three "third parties" as measured by the number of registered voters affiliated with them are the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, and the constitution Party. None of them hold a substantial number of public offices.
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