Is the Filibuster Holding Back Third Parties?

I had an interesting conversation with my father-in-law the other day, during which he posited the question about why third parties have had such a tough time gaining traction in American politics.

Sure, we’ve flirted with them a few times over the years–think of the Reform Party, which brought us the likes of Ross Perot and Jesse “the Body” Ventura–but they haven’t won much, and in Perot’s case may have even cost George H.W. Bush a second term. Moreover, third parties seem more like sideshows for the political fringe, the destination for loudmouth characters who couldn’t make the cut in the two respectable parties–what might have been Donald Trump’s fate, had the country not been in such a foul mood.