U.S. POLITICAL PARTIES
THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES:
Republican Party (RNC) - Republicans fall into several different ideological factions but generally support smaller Government, less regulations and lower taxes. The well-designed RNC net site offers news, party positions, educational tools, gifts, chat, links and more. Other official, affiliated national GOP sites include:
- National Republican Congressional Committee, and Republican Conference.
- National Republican Senatorial Committee
- Republican Governors Association.
- Republican Mayors & Local Officials.
- National Federation of Republican Women.
- Young Republican National Federation.
- College Republican National Committee.
Democratic Party (DNC) - Democrats control far-left leaning California and the US House and more. While prominent Democrats run the gamut from the socialist left, most fall as somewhere just liberal, generally supporting bigger Government, more regulations and higher taxes. The official DNC web site offers party news, hearing information, platform positions, links and more. Other official, affiliated national Democratic sites include:
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Speaker of the House.
- Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
- Democratic Governors Association.
- Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
- Young Democrats of America.
- College Democrats of America.
NOTE: Both Parties have supported the continuation of the Police State 'Patriot Act' and other secretive surveillance, data collection and manipulative practices, such as nudging and more, against American citizens.
THE THIRD PARTIES:
(in alphabetical order)
American Party - The AP is a very small, very conservative, Christian splinter party formed after a break from the American Independent Party in 1972. US Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Governor Mel Thomson (R-NH) both flirted with the American Party's presidential nomination in 1976, but both ultimately declined. The party won its strongest finish in the 1976 presidential election -- nominee Tom Anderson carried 161,000 votes (6th place) -- but has now largely faded into almost total obscurity. The party's 1996 Presidential candidate -- anti-gay rights activist and attorney Diane Templin -- carried just 1,900 votes. Former GOP State Senator Don Rogers of California -- the 2000 nominee for President -- did even worse as he failed to qualify for ballot status in any states. The party -- which used to field a sizable amount of state and local candidates in the 1970s -- rarely fields more than a handful of nominees nationwide in recent years, although they do claim local affiliates in 15 states. Beyond the pro-life, pro-gun and anti-tax views that you'd expect to find, the American Party also advocates an end to farm price supports/subsidies, privatization of the US Postal Service, opposes federal involvement in education, supports abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency, supports repeal of NAFTA, opposes minimum wage laws, opposes land use zoning regulations and opposes convening a Constitutional convention. Of course, the AP also opposes the United Nations, the New World Order, communism, socialism and the Trilateral Commission.
American Heritage Party - The AHP, formerly the Washington State affiliate of the USTP/Constitution Party, broke away from that group in 2000 because of religious grounds (i.e., while the CP is clearly a Religious Right party, it is not explicitly a Christian party). Thus, the AHP describes itself as "a political party that adopts the Bible as its political textbook and is unashamed to be explicitly Christian ... [and] whose principles are drawn from Scripture." The AHP plans to become a national conservative party, with the ultimate goal of fielding candidates around the nation in coming years. The party previously fielded some candidate for Congress, Governor and local offices in Washington in 1998 -- and ran just one local candidate in 2000. Party officials plan to run a larger slate of candidates in 2002.
American Independent Party - Governor George C. Wallace (D-AL) founded the AIP and ran as the its first Presidential nominee in 1968. Running on a right-wing, anti-Washington, anti-racial integration, anti-communist platform, Wallace carried nearly 10 million votes (14%) and won 5 Southern states. Although Wallace returned to the Democratic Party by 1970, the AIP continued to live on -- although moving even further to the right. The 1972 AIP nominee, John Birch Society leader and Congressman John G. Schmitz (R-CA), carried nearly 1.1 million votes (1.4%). The 1976 AIP Presidential nominee was former Governor Lester Maddox (D-GA), a vocal segregationist -- but he fell far below Schmitz's vote total. The AIP last fielded its own national Presidential candidate in 1980, when they nominated white supremacist ex-Congressman John Rarick (D-LA) -- who carried only 41,000 votes nationwide. The AIP still fields local candidates in a few states -- mainly California -- but is now merely a state affiliate party of the national Constitution Party. As in 1992 and 1996, the AIP's Presidential candidate in 2000 was again Constitution nominee Howard Phillips.
American Nazi Party - Exactly what the name implies ... this a group of uniformed, swastika-wearing Nazis. This party is a combination of fascists, Aryan Nations-type folks, racist skinheads and others on the ultra-radical political fringe. As a political party, the American Nazi Party has not fielded a Presidential candidate since Lincoln Rockwell ran as a write-in candidate in 1964 (he was murdered in 1967 by a disgruntled ANP member) -- nor any other candidate for other offices since the mid-1970s (although a loosely affiliated candidate ran for Congress in Illinois in a Democratic primary in 2000). The ANP believes in establishing an Aryan Republic where only "White persons of unmixed, non-Semitic, European descent" can hold citizenship. They support the immediate removal of "Jews and non-whites out of all positions of government and civil service -- and eventually out of the country altogether." This miniscule party -- while purportedly denouncing violence and illegal acts -- blends left-wing economic socialism, right-wing social fascism and strong totalitarian sentiments.
American Reform Party - The ARP, formerly known as the National Reform Party Committee, was founded in September 1997. The ARP is a splinter group that broke away from Ross Perot and Russ Verney's Reform Party, claiming the Perot organization was unfocused and anti-democratic when the memberships' views clashed with Perot's views. The ARP fielded some candidates for state and federal offices in "Reform Party" primaries against candidates backed by Perot's Reform Party in 1998. The ouster of Perot's allies from control of the Reform Party at the July 1999 national convention looked like a move towards ending the split. However, the resoration of control to the Perot forces in early 2000 and subsequent takeover of state party affiliates by the Buchanan forces killed any move by the ARP folks to rejoin the Reform Party. Instead, the ARP ultimately shifted towards the left and opted to "endorse" (but not co-nominate) Green Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader in the 2000 elections. There still remains the potential for the ARP to merge with Governor Jesse Ventura's nascent Independence Party at some future date ... and former Reform Party National Chairman and Ventura ally Jack Gargan seems somewhat affiliated with the ARP these days.
Communist Party USA - The CPUSA, once the slavish propaganda tool and spy network for the Soviet Central Committee, has experiences a forced transformation in recent years. Highly classified Soviet Politburo records, made public after the fall of Soviet communism, revealed that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union illegally funneled millions of dollars to the CPUSA to finance its activities from the 1920s to the 1980s. The flow of Soviet dollars to the CPUSA came to an abrupt halt when the communists were ousted from power there in 1991, ultimately causing a retooling of CPUSA activities. Founded in 1924, the CPUSA reached its peak vote total in 1932 with nominee William Z. Foster (102,000 votes - 4th place). The last national CPUSA ticket -- featuring the team of Gus Hall and Angela Davis -- was fielded back in 1984 (36,000 votes - 8th place). While the party has not directly fielded any of its own candidates for over a decade, the CPUSA has backed some candidates in various local elections (often in industrial communities) and engaged in grassroots political and labor union organizing. In the 1998 elections, longtime CPUSA leader Hall actually urged party members to vote for all of the Democratic candidates for Congress -- arguing that voting for any progressive third party candidates would undermine the efforts to oust the "reactionary" Republicans from control of Congress. As for issues, the CPUSA calls for free universal health care, elimination of the federal income tax on people earning under $60,000 a year, free college education, drastic cuts in military spending, "massive" public works programs, the outlawing of "scabs and union busting," abolition of corporate monopolies, public ownership of energy and basic industries, huge tax hikes for corporations and the wealthy, and various other programs designed to "beat the power of the capitalist class ... [and promote] anti-imperialist freedom struggles around the world." The CPUSA's underlying communist ideology hasn't changed much over the years, but the party's tactics have undergone a major shift (somewhat reminiscent of those used by the CPUSA in the late 1930s). After Hall's death in 2000, communist organizer Sam Webb assumed leadership of the CPUSA. The CPUSA also maintains online sites for the People's Weekly World party newspaper, Political Affairs monthly party magazine, and the CPUSA's Young Communists League youth organization.
Constitution Party - Former Nixon Administration official and Conservative Coalition chairman Howard Phillips founded the US Taxpayers Party in 1992 as a potential vehicle for Pat Buchanan to use as a third party vehicle -- had he agreed to bolt from the GOP in 1992 or 1996. The USTP pulled together several of the splintered right-wing third parties -- including the once mighty American Independent Party -- into a larger, more visible political entity (although some state affiliate parties operate under names other than the USTP). Renamed as the Constitution Party in 1999, the party is strongly pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-tax, anti-immigration, protectionist, "anti-New World Order," anti-United Nations, anti-gay rights, anti-welfare, pro-school prayer ... basically a hardcore Religious Right platform. When Buchanan stayed in the GOP, Phillips ran as the USTP nominee in both 1992 (ballot status in 21 states - 43,000 votes - 0.04%) and 1996 (ballot spots in 39 states - 185,000 votes - 6th place - 0.2%) -- and as the Constitution nominee in 2000 (ballot status in 41 states - 98,000 votes - 6th place - 0.1%). The party started fielding local candidates in 1994. Still, for a new third party attempting to grow, the party fielded disappointingly few local candidates in 1998. The web site features the Constitution Party platform, articles, archives, links and more. The party received a brief boost in the media when conservative US Senator Bob Smith -- an announced GOP Presidential hopeful -- bolted from the Republican Party to seek the Constitution Party nomination in 2000 (although Smith exited from the Constitution Party race just two weeks later). At the 1999 national convention, the party narrowly adopted a controversial change to its platform's preamble which declared "that the foundation of our political position and moving principle of our political activity is our full submission and unshakable faith in our Savior and Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ" -- although the party officially invites "all citizens of all faiths" to become active in the party. Any national candidate seeking the party's nomination is explicitly required to tell the convention of any areas of disagreement with the party's platform.
Family Values Party - This newly founded ultra-conservative, theocratic party seems to exist mainly to promote the 2000 Presidential candidacy of party founder Tom Wells. Wells explained that God spoke directly to him in his bedroom on December 25, 1994 at 2:00 a.m. and "commanded him to start" the FVP. To be exact, Wells said God specifically told him to encourage people to stop paying taxes until the public funding of abortion ends. The FVP political platform is largely derived from religious fundamentalism, including many specific citations to Bible passages. The FVP fielded its first candidate (Wells running for Congress in Florida as a write-in nominee) in 1998.
Freedom Socialist Party - The FSP -- formed in 1966 by a splinter group of dissident Trotskyites who broke away from the Socialist Workers Party -- describe themselves as "revolutionary feminist internationalists ... in the living tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky." They use the typical heavy-handed rhetoric found on most ultra-left party sites (example: "the masses will sweep every obstacle out of their path and ascend to the socialist future"). The FSP has party organizations in the US, Canada and Australia. In 1998, the FSP fielded a handful of local candidates in Washington, California and New York. The FSP has never fielded a Presidential candidate. A nicely designed web site.
Grassroots Party - Originally launched as a Minnesota-based liberal party, the tiny GRP advocates the legalization of marijuana, promotes hemp farming and the establishment of a national system of universal health care (among other things). In general ideology, the GRP is very similar to the Greens -- but with a much stronger emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues. The GRP fielded their first Presidential nominee -- Dennis Peron -- in 1996 (5,400 votes). In 1996, the GRP won permanent "major party" ballot status in Vermont. The Vermont GRP -- linked above -- is more libertarian and "states rights" oriented in philosophy than its leftist sister party in Minnesota. Businessman Denny Lane, the GRP's 2000 Presidential nominee, was on the ballot in only one state and captured just 1,044 votes (12th place - 0.001%). The GRP continues to field a few local candidates in Minnesota and Vermont, although the Minnesota Party has substantially declined in size and activity since the mid-1990s.
Green Party of the United States (Green Party) - The Green Party -- the informal US-affiliate of the left-wing, environmentalist European Greens movement -- scored a major achievement when it convinced prominent consumer advocate Ralph Nader to run as their first Presidential nominee in 1996. Spending just over $5,000, Nader was on the ballot in 22 states and carried over 700,000 votes (4th place - 0.8%). In 2000, Nader raised millions of dollars, mobilized leftist activists and grabbed national headlines with his anti-corporate campaign message. Nader ignored pleas from liberal Democrats that he abandon the race because he was siphoning essential votes away from Al Gore's campaign -- answering that Gore was not substantially different than Bush and that his own campaign was about building a permanent third party. In the end, Nader was on the ballot in 44 states and finished third with 2,878,000 votes (2.7%) -- seemingly depriving Gore of wins in some key states. More significantly, Nader missed the important 5% mark for the national vote, meaning that the party will still be ineligible for federal matching funds in 2004 (Note: a third Nader run is still possible as he said "I haven't ruled out going in 2004 ... It's too early to say" in August 2001). Until 2001, the Greens are largely a collection of fairly autonomous state/local based political entities with only a weak (and sometimes splintered) national leadership structure that largely served to coordinate electoral activities. This faction -- formerly named the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) -- is the larger and more moderate of the two unrelated Green parties. The ASGP voted in 2001 to convert from an umbrella coordinating organization into a formal and unified national party organization. Other useful Green Party links and information can also be found at the Green Parties of North America (unofficial), Green Information (unofficial), Green Pages (official online magazine), Green Party News Circulator (official - recent news clippings about the party) and Green Party Election Results sites (unofficial). The official youth wing of the party is the Campus Greens. Strong local Green Parties exist -- with ballot status -- in a handful of states. The Green Party Platform 2000 sets forth the party's official views.
The Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA) - The G/GPUSA is the older, smaller and more stridently leftist of the two Green parties. While the GPUSA also nominated Nader for President in 2000, Nader rejected the G/GPUSA nomination and embraced the other Green party. Prominent Nader campaign strategist Jim Hightower described the two Green factions as follows in 2001: "There are two Green party organizations -- the [Green Party of the US/ASGP] whose nomination Ralph accepted and the much smaller one [G/GPUSA] ... on the fringes ... [with] all sorts of damned-near-communistic ideas." Some in the G/GPUSA protested that Hightower's comments were a bit unfair -- but read the G/GPUSA 2000 Platform and decide for yourself. While the Green Party and the rival G/GPUSA appear to be very similar -- they advocate tactical (and some ideological) differences and somewhat compete with claims to the titular leadership of the national Green movement. The G/GPUSA largely emphasizes direct action tactics over traditional electoral politics. A majorty of the G/GPUSA delegates voted that the party's 2001 convention to merge into the Green Party of the US -- but the motion ultimately failed for lack of the required 2/3 majority. That outcome prompted many of the G/GPUSA activists to independently jump to the Green Party of the US -- forming a new leftist caucus within the Green Party of the US -- and leaving the G/GPUSA as a sizably diminished and more dogmatically Marxist party.
Independence Party - After two years of openly feuding with Ross Perot's allies in the Reform Party, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and his supporters bolted from the party to launch the new Independence Party in February 2000. In departing, Ventura denounced the Reform Party as "hopelessly dysfunctional" and far too right-wing (in its embrace of Pat Buchanan's candidacy). While the new party shares the Reform Party's call for campaign finance and other political reforms, Ventura's organization disagrees with the more social conservative and trade protectionist views espoused by many new leaders in the Reform Party. The IP -- which is entirely under the control of Ventura and his allies -- describes itself as "Socially Inclusive and Fiscally Responsible." Like Ventura, the IP is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-medical marijuana, pro-gun rights and fiscally moderate. The IP fielded a slate of Congressional and state candidates in Minnesota in 2000. Ventura hopes to take this Minnesota party national and possibly field a Presidential nominee in 2004. As of 2001, the IP had nascent affiliate parties organizing in a handful of states. The Independence Party Campus Network is the student wing of the party.
Independent American Party - The small Independent American Party has existed for years in several Western states -- a remnant from the late Alabama Governor George Wallace's once-powerful American Independent Party of the 1968-72 era. Converting the unaffiliated IAP state party organizations -- united by a common Religious Right ideology (similar to the Constitution Party) -- into a national IAP organization was an effort started in 1998 by members of Utah IAP. The Idaho IAP and Nevada IAP subsequently affiliated with the fledgling US-IAP in late 1998 ... and the party established small chapters in 12 other states since then. The various IAP state parties endorsed USTP nominee Howard Phillips for President in 1996. The national IAP continued its alliance with the USTP/Constitution Party in the 2000 Presidential race -- as the IAP again co-nominated the Constitution Party's national ticket. In December 2000, the IAP's national chairman issued a statement noting that third parties in general registered a "dismal" performance in the Presidential election -- and questioned the IAP's future participation in Presidential campaigns.
Labor Party - The Labor Party is a liberal political party created by a sizable group of labor unions including the United Mine Workers, the Longshoremen, American Federation of Government Employees, California Nurses Association and many labor union locals. Ideologically, they seem close to the style of the late, labor-friendly Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party circa 1960s. A new party, they endorsed their first state and federal candidates in 1998 in Wyoming ("Green/Labor Alliance") -- and two more candidates in local races in California and Ohio in 2001. This group seems closely aligned ideologically with the New Party. The Labor Party neither fielded nor endorsed any Presidential candidate in 2000 -- seemingly concentrating on advocacy instead of electoral activity.
Libertarian Party - The LP, founded in 1971, bills itself as "America's largest third party." Libertarians are neither left nor right ... they believe in total individual liberty (pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-home schooling, anti-gun control, etc.) and total economic freedom (anti-welfare, anti-government regulation of business, anti-minimum wage, anti-income tax, pro-free trade, etc.). The LP espouses a classical laissez faire ideology which, they argue, means "more freedom, less government and lower taxes." Over 400 LP members currently hold various -- though fairly low level -- government offices (including lots of minor appointed officials like "School District Facilities Task Force Member" and "Town Recycling Committee Member"). Typically, the LP fields more local candidates than any other US third party -- although the LP has clearly been eclipsed by the Greens in size since 1996 in terms of having the largest third party following and garnering the most media attention. Former 1988 LP Presidential nominee Ron Paul is now a Republican Congressman from Texas -- although Paul is still active with the LP. The LP's biggest problem: Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, P.J. O'Rourke, the Republican Liberty Caucus and others in the GOP are working to attract ideological libertarians into the political arena -- arguing they can bring about libertarian change more easily under the Republican label. LP Presidential nominee Ed Clark carried over 921,000 votes (1.1%) in 1980. Subsequent nominees for the next dozen years, though not as strong as Clark, typically ran ahead of the other third party candidates. LP Presidential nominee Harry Browne carried over 485,000 votes (5th place - 0.5%) in 1996 and 386,000 votes in 2000 (5th place - 0.4%) -- and has already stated he will not make a third run in 2004. The LP has affiliates in all 50 states. The LP web site features a link to the World's Smallest Political Quiz ... take the quiz and see if you're a libertarian (a bit simplistic -- but interesting just the same). Keep up on the latest from the LP by reading the Libertarian Party News online. The College Libertarians also maintain a web directory. A "reform" faction (anti-Browne) within the party attempted to wrest control in 1999-2000 away from the incumbent leadership (pro-Browne), alleging that the controlling faction among the incumbents have serious ethical conflicts of interest as to which favored consultants receive the bulk of the LP's money (note: the incumbents deny the allegations ... and this internal dissention is likely to continue for a while).
Light Party - The Light Party is rather odd, defying conventional description. It seems strongly centered around the personality of party founder "Da Vid, M.D., Wholistic Physician, Human Ecologist & Artist" (he was also a write-in candidate for President in 1992, 1996 and 2000 ... and is running again in 2004). This San Francisco-based party describes itself as "a synthesis of the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, and Green Parties ... to create a new reality with health, peace & freedom for all." The party platform promotes holistic medicine, national health insurance, organic foods, solar energy, nuclear disarmament and a flat tax and Jewish ideas.
Natural Law Party - Along with the Libertarian Party, the NLP has been steadily gaining votes over the past few years. The NLP -- under the slogan "Bringing the light of science into politics" and using colorful imagery -- advocates holistic approaches, Transcendental Meditation (TM), "yogic flying," and other peaceful "New Age" and "scientific" remedies for much of our national and international problems. Nuclear physicist John Hagelin was the NLP Presidential nominee in 1992 (ballot status in 32 stares - 39,000 votes - 0.04%), 1996 (ballot status in 44 states - 7th place - 110,000 votes - 0.1%) and 2000 (ballot status in 39 stares - 7th place - 83,000 votes - 0.08%). Hagelin and the NLP also made a failed bid to capture control of the Reform Party in the course of the 2000 campaign -- working with the Perot forces to thwart Pat Buchanan's efforts -- although the NLP did attract some supporters from the breakaway factions within the disintegrating Reform Party. The NLP also made a brief grab for control of the Green Party, but that effort quickly fizzled. In the end, the Reform/Green moves in 2000 helped Hagelin capture quite a lot of headlines but produced less results for the party than the 1996 campaign. Although started in the US, there are now NLP affiliates around the globe. In addition to the national ticket, the NLP regularly fields fields a good amount of Congressional and local candidates throughout the nation. The NLP was founded by followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the founder of the TM movement -- a movement that some have labeled as a cult) -- and many of these TM/Maharishi folks still play a major role in the leadership, although the NLP now claims that many others outside the TM movement are also active in today's NLP leadership. The NLP youth affiliate is the Student Natural Law Party Club. The Institute of Science, Technology & Public Policy think tank is also closely associated with the NLP.
New Party - This leftist party advocates a "democratic revolution" to advance the cause of "social, economic, & political progress" in America. Their agenda is much in the style of the Western European socialist and labor movement -- and somewhat similar to that of the late-1990s formed Labor Party. Rather than fielding their own national slate or local candidates, the New Party has taken to largely endorsing like-minded candidates from other parties (mainly pro-labor Democrats like Chicago Congressman Danny K. Davis). Small informative site with clean layout. An amusing question: if the New Party lasts for 50 years, will they rename themselves the Old Party (or the "Fifty-Something" Party)? The New Party showed no real campaign activity in the 1998 and 2000 election cycles.
New Union Party - Founded in 1980 by defectors from the Socialist Labor Party, this DeLeonist militant democratic socialist party "advocates political and social revolution" but denounces violence and is "committed to lawful activities to overthrow the capitalist economic system." The NUP fielded its first candidates in 1980 -- but has fielded few candidates since then. The site features party history, an archive of past articles and an online "Marxist Study Course."
Peace & Freedom Party - Founded in the 1960s as a left-wing party opposed to the Vietnam War, the party reached its peak of support in 1968 when it nominated Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver for President. Although a convicted felon, Cleaver carried nearly 37,000 votes (ironically, Cleaver ultimately became a Reagan Republican in the early 1980s -- then a crack addict in the late 1980s -- before emerging as an environmental activist in the late 1990s). Famed "baby doctor" Benjamin Spock -- a leftist and staunch opponent of the Vietnam War -- was the PFP Presidential nominee in 1972. Since then, the small party has largely been dominated by battling factions of Marxist-Leninists (aligned with the Workers World Party), Trotskyists and non-communist left-wing activists. The PFP today is small, with activities largely centered in California. In 1996, the PFP successfully blocked an attempt by the WWP to capture the PFP's Presidential nomination (and a California ballot spot) for their party's nominee. In a sign of the party's serious decline in support, the PFP's poor showing in the 1998 statewide elections caused the party to lose its California ballot status. Likewise, they were unable to regain official ballot status by successive failed petition attempts for the 2000 and 2002 elections.
Prohibition Party - The Prohibition Party -- founded in 1869 and billing themselves as "America's Oldest Third Party" -- espouses a generally ultra-conservative Christian social agenda mixed with anti-drug and international anti-communist views. The party's strongest showing was in 1892, when John Bidwell received nearly 273,000 votes (2.3% - 4th place). Long-time party activist Earl F. Dodge has run as the Prohibition Party's presidential nominee in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. Dodge received just 208 votes in 2000 -- the party's worst electoral showing ever. The party also fields a few local candidates from time to time. An additional party-related organization is the Action Prohibitionists, a group of party activists that want to turn Prohibition Party policy into law -- and want to replace Dodge in favor of new leadership.
Reform Party - After running as an Independent in 1992, billionaire Texas businessman Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995 as his vehicle for converting his independent movement into a permanent political party. In 1996, Perot ran as the Reform Party's presidential nominee (8,085,000 votes - 8%). Although an impressive showing for a third party, it was much less than the 19 million votes Perot carried as an independent candidate back in 1992. The party traditionally reflected Perot's center-conservative fiscal policies and anti-GATT/NAFTA views -- while avoiding taking any official positions on social issues (although much of this group seemed to hold generally libertarian social views). The RP was plagued by a lengthy period of nasty ideological battles in 1998-2000 involving three main rival groups: the "Old Guard" Perot faction (led by Perot loyalist Russ Verney), the libertarian Jesse Ventura faction (led by former Perot loyalist Jack Gargan) and the social conservative Pat Buchanan faction. A fourth group -- a small but vocal Marxist faction led by RP activists Lenora Fulani and Jim Mangia -- generally backed the Perot faction during these fights. To make this even more confusing, the Perot faction ultimately turned to Natural Law Party nominee John Hagelin as its "Stop Buchanan" candidate for President. After first winning control at the party's July 1999 national convention -- and suddenly losing control in a February 2000 weekend coup executed by the pro-Perot RP National Committee -- the Ventura-Gargan faction quit the party. Summer 2000 saw the Perot and Buchanan factions holding rival Presidential nominating conventions down the street from each other (one nominated Hagelin and one nominated Buchanan). That led to court fights -- and ultimately to the Buchanan forces prevailing. Buchanan ultimately secured the official Reform nomination (ratified by the FEC and the courts over the objections of the odd Hagelin-Perot alliance) and the party's $12.6 million in federal matching funds. Ultimately, the Buchanan allies won control of nearly the entire party organization. The Perot followers largely abandoned the RP in fall 2000 in favor of the Natural Law Party -- and Perot ultimately endorsed Bush for President. Along with Buchanan's rise to power in the party, the party also made a hard ideological shift to the right -- an ideological realignment that continues to dominate the RP. In the aftermath of the 2000 elections, it is clear that Buchanan failed in his efforts to establish a viable, conservative third party organization (comprised largely of disenchanted Republicans). Buchanan was on the ballot in 49 states, captured 449,000 votes (4th place - 0.4%) -- and later told reporters that his foray into third party politics may have been a mistake. His weak showing also means that the party is ineligible for federal matching funds in 2004. Undaunted, the social consevatives are continuing their efforts to build a social conservative party (think of the RP as the right-wing mirror equivalent to the left-wing Green Party). It is not clear, however, whether or not Buchanan will personally stay active in the RP. Regardless of their 2000 electoral failings, the new RP is clearly the leading social conservative third party -- easily eclipsing the Constitution Party, IAP, American Party and others in size.
The Revolution - This party -- simply named "The Revolution" -- seems to be an ideological hybrid between libertarianism and environmentalism, with a dash of New Deal liberal views thrown into the mix. The Revolution's 20-point platform calls for the legalizations of all victimless crimes (drugs, prostitution, etc.), the use of clean energy to stop global warming, massive tax cuts, an end ot corporate welfare, military spending cuts, an emphasis on human rights in foreign policy decisions, abolishing the CIA, government funding of the sciences to encourage "altruistic scientific and technological projects," and a promise to "repeal five times as many laws as we pass." The party's leader -- a digital culture journalist and cyberprankster who uses the pen name R.U. Sirius -- made a whimsical write-in bid for President in 2000.
Socialist Party USA - The SP-USA are true democratic socialists -- advocating left-wing electoral change versus militant revolutionary change. Many of the SP members could easily be members of the left-wing faction of the Democratic Party. Unlike most of the other political parties on this page with "Socialist" in their names, the SP has always been staunchly anti-communist. Founded by labor union leader, ex-Democratic elected official and pacifist Eugene V. Debs in 1900, the SP was once a mighty national third party. Debs himself was the SP nominee for president five times between 1900 and 1920. Debs received over 900,000 votes (6%) in 1912 -- the SP's best showing ever. Former minister and journalist Norman Thomas was the SP Presidential nominee 6 times between 1928 and 1948 -- his best showing being 883,000 votes (2.2%) in 1932. The SP also elected congressmen, mayors and other officials throughout the 20th Century (largely during the 1910s through 1950s). Peace activist and former SP-USA National Chairman David McReynolds was the party's 2000 Presidential nominee, earning ballot status in seven states (7,746 votes - 8th place - 0.01% ...plus a bunch more write-in votes in New York and other states where election officials refused to tabulate individual write-in votes). The 2000 showing was a far cry from the SP glory days, but a major improvement over the party's 1996 showing. The party's youth wing -- the Young People's Socialist League -- has been in existence since the 1910s. Another official -- and very useful -- SP-USA resource is the Socialist Party USA Campaign Clearinghouse. The SP-USA's Socialist Net is a resource site covering the international democratic socialist movement.
Socialist Action - Socialist Action is a Trotskyist political party originally founded by expelled members of the Socialist Workers Party. While the SA shares the SWP's pro-Castro views, the SA still tries to retain its Trotskyist ideological roots (versus the SWP, which has drifted away from Trotskyism towards a more Soviet communist ideology). The SA states that they "oppose the Democrats and Republicans, all capitalist political parties, and all capitalist governments and their representatives everywhere ... [and] Stalinist and neo-Stalinist regimes from the ex-Soviet Union to China." To date, this group of communists have fielded some local political candidates in San Francisco and a few other communities. Youth for Socialist Action is the youth wing of the party.
Socialist Equality Party - This fairly new Trotskyist party -- originally named the Workers League -- first fielded a Presidential nominee in 1984. They changed their name to Socialist Equality in 1994. The Michigan-based SEP has regularly fielded Congressional and local candidates in several states (mainly in the Midwest). 1996 SEP Presidential nominee Jerry White was on the ballot in three states (2,400 votes). The SEP surprisingly failed to field any congressional candidates after 1996 and nominated no candidates in 2000 -- implying the party may be moving away from electoral politics. The SEP first evolved into existence when the Socialist Workers Party drifted away from Trotskyism in the early 1980s. The SEP site -- updated daily -- is mainly a news site featuring articles, analysis, history, etc., written with a hardcore internationalist, Trotskyist perspective. Very few direct references to the SEP on this official party site, although there is a news section of the site devoted to coverage of US Elections & Politics from the SEP's perspective. It appears the SEP is planning to soon launch a new offical party site.
Socialist Labor Party - Founded in 1877, the SLP is a militant democratic socialist party. More moderate members of the SLP bolted to create the Socialist Party USA in 1901. The SLP ran Presidential tickets in every election between 1892 and 1976 (the SLP's final presidential candidate won 9,600 votes in the 1976 race). The high cost of fielding a Presidential ticket and restrictive ballot access laws caused the SLP to abandon future Presidential races in favor of nominating candidates for lower offices. The SLP -- which bills itself as the party of "Marxism-DeLeonism" -- still fields a few local candidates (mainly in New Jersey). The site features party history, info on Daniel DeLeon, a Marx-Engels archive, links and more. The SLP newspaper The People, first printed in 1891, also publishes regularly updated online editions.
Socialist Workers Party - Originally a pro-Trotsky faction within the Communist Party USA, the SWP was formed in 1938 after the CPUSA -- acting on orders from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin -- expelled the American Trotskyites. The SWP was for many years the leading voice of Trotskyism in the USA. Since the 1980s, the SWP has drifted away from Trotskyism and moved towards the brand of authoritarian politics espoused by Cuban leader Fidel Castro's style of Marxism (the SWP sites calls Castro's Cuba "a shining example for all workers"). The SWP has run candidates for President in every election since 1948 -- plus local candidates in various states. Marxist political organizer James Harris was the SWP Presidential nominee in 1996 (ballot status in 11 states - 8,500 votes - 0.01%) and 2000 (ballot status in 14 states - 7,378 votes - 9th place - 0.01%). You can also read the SWP's newspapers The Militant (English) and Perspectiva Mundial (Spanish) online.
Southern Party - The Southern Party, founded in 1999 by League of the South activists, describes themselves as "a truly nationalist party of the South." Touting a "National Flag of Dixie" -- the third national flag adopted by the original CSA government (which incorporates the controversial old Confederate battle flag) -- the party is calling for the formation of "a new Southern republic of republics as a free and independent nation" (i.e., a re-formation of the secessionist Confederate States of America ... plus Maryland, Oklahoma and West Virginia). The party attacks the Democrats as "a party of socialism" and the Republicans as "representing primarily the interests of globalist corporations." Generally conservative, the party also denounces the "corrupt two-party system ... the precipitous decline of public virtue and morality ... cultural bigotry and oppression being waged against Southerners by the establishment" and the centralized federal government. Describing themselves as "decent, God-fearing, Southerners," they denounce "an attitude of racial malice towards people of non-European origin" -- while simultaneously attacking their enemies "the news media, left-wing agitators and the entertainment industry." The SP claims to be the among the only national separatist parties in the US (akin, for example, to the Parti Québécois in Canada). The Southern Party also battled nearly two years of internal dissention immediately after the founding -- ultimately leading to the founding of rival party organzations. The SP began fielding candidates for a few local offices in 1999 (even winning a small-town mayoral and a county commission race in Alabama in 2000) -- and formed an alliance in 2001 to endorse the future candidates of the Constitution Party for higher-level offices. Southern Party co-founder George Kalas and his followers bolted in early 2000 -- because of purported disputes with SP National Chairman and co-founder Jerry Baxley -- to found the rival Southern Independence Party. As of the end of 2000, the SP claimed approximately 3,000 members -- all conservatives -- including some blacks, Native Americans, Jews, Catholics and others ("even some former Yankees who moved South," joked Baxley). The youth branch of the SP is the Southern Party Collegiate Club.
Southern Independence Party - The Southern Independence Party is the splinter party founded by dissident members of the the Southern Party. While the rival factions reached a brief truce and reunification in 1999, it fell apart within months. Members from the "re-united" SP had sharp disagreements with SP Chair Jerry Baxley's leadership style and opted to launch this rival entity -- even though both parties espouse nearly identical ideological agendas. Others split off from the SP and vowed to form an "Independent Southern Party." Lots of bitter fighting, accusations and name calling going on between these rival camps. The SIP fielded a few candidates in 2000 and claims to have more members than the rival SP group (note: the SP disputes this). An unofficial SIP page is amusingly named Aw, Shucks!.
U.S. Pacifist Party - This tiny political party fielded a write-in candidate for President in 1996 -- and fielded a US Senate candidate in Colorado in 1998. The party opposes military actions in all circumstances and wants to transform the US military into "a non-violent defense and humanitarian service corps." The USPP platform advocates generally left-wing political stances and slashing the military budget to "zero." Staunchly opposed to nuclear weapons, the USPP believes that "unless nuclear weapons are deactivated, and nonviolent means developed to take the place of military violence for achieving justice and peace, civilization is doomed." The USPP again ran party founder Bradford Lyttle as a write-in Presidential candidate in 2000.
We The People Party - Former town councilman Jeffrey Peters founded this small party and ran as the WTP's write-in nominee for President in 2000. A politically centrist entity, the WTP bills itself as "the American People's Party." Peters competed in the 2000 New Hampshire Democratic Presidential primary in an attempt to capture some media attention for the nascent WTP's "campaign reform" platform but received just 156 votes (9th place) -- and ended up bitterly complaining that the media ignored him and labeled him a "fringe candidate." Peters grabbed a few headlines for his WTP Presidential campaign in early October 2000 with his "Boston TV Party" -- when he vowed to dump some TV sets into Boston harbor to protest the exclusion of third party candidates from the first Bush-Gore Presidential Debate. The WTP vows to "build a powerful Coalition of Independents to win back The White House for the people in 2004" -- although the site seems to imply that Peters will again be the WTP candidate in 2004.
Workers World Party - The WWP was formed in 1959 by a pro-Chinese communist faction that split from the Socialist Workers Party. Although the WWP theoretically supports worker revolutions, the WWP supported the Soviet actions that crushed worker uprisings in Hungary in the 1950s, Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and Poland in the early 1980s. The WWP was largely an issue-oriented revolutionary party until they fielded their first candidate for president in 1980. WWP Presidential nominee Monica Moorehead was on the ballot in 12 states in 1996 (29,100 votes - 0.03%) -- and was again the WWP's Presidential nominee in 2000 (ballot status in 4 states - 4,795 votes - 10th place - 0.004%). The militant WWP believes that "capitalist democracy produces nothing but hot air" and that "the power of the workers and the oppressed is in the streets, not in Washington." FBI Director Louis Freeh attacked the WWP in his May 2001 remarks before a US Senate committee: "Anarchists and extremist socialist groups -- many of which, such as the Workers World Party -- have an international presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in the United States" of rioting and street violence. The well-designed site features regularly updated news stories from a pro-Cuba/pro-China communist perspective, so expect lots of dogmatic stories denouncing the US government, sexism, racism, the police and capitalists. The National People's Campaign is the WWP's affiliated direct action arm.
(This "Other" category is for parties that have yet to field or endorse any candidates for office.)
American Falangist Party - The AFP is the newer and smaller of the two Falangist political parties in the USA (the Christian Falangist Party, below, being the other one). A "Falangist" -- just in case you've forgotten -- is a follower of the authoritarian political views advocated by the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (to wit: largely a blend of 1930s fascist ideology, strong nationalism and conservative Catholic theology). Outside of Spain, Falanagists in Lebanan succeeded in electing Bashir Gemayel as President in 1982 -- but he was assassinated by Muslim terrorists before taking office. The AFP states they are "dedicated to the application of these ideas to the Americas." The AFP supports: abolishing the IRS and Federal Reserve System, returning to the silver standard for US dollars, ending "the materialistic, hedonistic, selfish and carnal emphasis" in US culture, "the unification of all the Countries in North, Central and South America into a Confederation of Falangist States," creating one mandatory net portal entrance for all X-rated web sites "so that parents only have to block one web address to prevent their children from viewing pornography or other objectionable material," banning all abortions and repealing gay rights laws, legalizing the right of US citizens "to own fully automatic assault weapons" and demanding the freedom of Falangist political prisoners being held captive in Syria. The AFP seems to be dormant as of late 2001, with the following note posted on their site: "The AFP is currently in reorganization; no new members are being accepted."
Christian Falangist Party of America - The CFPA appears to be the more active of the two Falangist political parties in the US. As for the ideology, they share the general historical and ideological roots expressed by the AFP -- although the CFPA seems more closely affiliated with the Lebanese branch of the Falangist movement. The CFPA, founded in 1985, "is dedicated to fighting the 'Forces of Darkness' which seeks to destroy Western Christian Civilization." The CFPA site explicitly defines "Forces of Darkness" as being "Radical Islam, Communism/Socialism, the New World Order, the New Age movement, Third Position/Neo-Nazis, Free Masons, Abortionists, Euthanasianists, Radical Homosexuals and Pornographers." Numerous attacks against Islam can be found throughout the CFPA site. Yet, despite this lengthy list of foes that it wishes to destroy -- umm, "defend" themselves against (the wording they use) -- the CFPA helpfully notes it is "not a hate organization and does not condone acts of violence or hatred towards those of differing or opposing viewpoints and lifestyles, nor does it condone racism in any form." In 1998, the CFPA and AFP united as one entity -- but differences caused them to break apart after two years. The CFPA desires to be a direct action political movement -- and criticizes the AFP as comprised mainly of "armchair patriots." The CFPA promises to "bring excitement to the otherwise boring American political arena." No candidates fielded to date.
Constitutionalist Party - This quasi-libertarian new party -- with a nice-looking web site -- "seeks to improve America and preserve the freedom of the people by supporting a closer adherence to the Constitution." As for specific issues, the CP is pro-choice (but believes abortion issues need to be decided at the state level), pro-gun rights, anti-death penalty, anti-Affirmative Action quotas, anti-regulation of sexual activities between consenting adults, pro-medical marijuana, pro-flat tax, pro-tax cuts, and anti-United Nations. The entire, detailed platform is posted on the CP site. No site updates in nearly a year.
Constitutional Action Party - The CAP is a Religious Right party that wants to abolish the federal income tax, ban all abortions, end Affirmative Action, impose protectionist trade tariffs, fight pornography and end federal involvement in education. CAP Founder Frank Creel wrote Politics1 in January 1999 that the CAP "has had virtually no success since its 1995 founding. It has no local chapters anywhere, no candidates for office and no prospect of running a presidential candidate in 2000. There is little to no prospect that we will be able to hold a convention anytime soon. ... Only some sort of economic or other catastrophe will produce conditions favorable to the emergence of a new party." Still, the CAP keeps it small web site online.
Democratic Socialists of America - The DSA is the official US full member party of the Socialist International (which includes Tony Blair's UK Labour Party, the French Parti Socialiste and nearly 140 other political parties around the globe). Unlike most other members of the Socialist International, the DSA has never fielded candidates for office. The DSA explains their mission as follows: "building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics." Thus, the DSA is less like a traditional US political party and much more like a political education and grassroots activism organization. The other US full member of the Socialist International is the Social Democrats USA -- a group more ideologically centrist and more directly aligned with the Democratic Party than the more traditionally leftist DSA (although both DSA and SD-USA each claim to be the one true heir to the ideological legacy of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas).
Libertarian National Socialist Green Party - Politically correct Nazis? These Libertarian Green Nazis are either the strangest conglomeration of diametrically opposed political ideologies of a political party I have ever seen -- or one of the most wry political practical jokes found anywhere on the net. This party purports to be comprised of atheist, peaceful, pro-gay, pro-drug legalization, anti-racist, environmentalist Nazis who acknowledge the Holocaust likely occurred (but are neutral as to its justification) and oppose the government sponsored killing of Jews, Christians & gays and the disabled. The LNSGP "rejects Judeo-Christian moral standards, victim mentality political behavior, capital-centric value systems, and authority." While membership is open to anyone regardless of their race or sexual orientation, individuals who openly profess a belief in either Judaism or Christianity are denied party membership. Articles, platform, FAQ and graphics. Clean, well designed site. Worth a visit -- even if only to decide for yourself if this is a joke or if it is serious. In the past -- and as an indicator that the LNSGP is probably a practical joke -- the LNSGP's site had sections dedeicated to claims of participation in a public service project named the "Jewish Community Brothership" (to "Communicate the modern interpretations of Nazism and its implications for Jews in today's multicultural Reich") and some links to very bizarre "news" articles (example: "Nazi Moon Bases Established in 1942").
Multicapitalist Party - This quirky party supports "capitalism for all people equally" -- but it is hard to tell exactly what that means. The MP equally denounces capitalism ("The rich riding on the backs of the poor") and communism/socialism ("The weak riding on the backs of the strong"). Instead, the MP claims to be an economic ideology whereby "the government insures that every citizen will become a successful capitalist and land owner without excessive taxation or loss of privacy or freedom." Beyond the economic issues, the party believes all social issues (drugs, sex, abortion, criminal punishment, etc.) should be decided by a direct democratic vote of the nation in plebiscites -- with the states individually following the positions held by a majority of the voters in each state.
Pansexual Peace Party - The PPP is a generally left-wing party that has yet to field any candidates -- they don't take themselves too seriously -- and, oh yeah, and the PPP is founded on Wiccan (i.e., witchcraft) roots. Check out the PPP platform plank on sexual issues, which carries the title: "Sex is Good! Sex is Great! Yea, Sex!" The PPP site also contains a short but harsh anti-libertarian essay. To date, the PPP's political activities seem confined to printing some PPP t-shirts and bumper stickers.
Pot Party - The Pot Party is exactly what you'd expect -- a bunch of marijuana legalization advocates ("mandate pot growing") ranging in age -- seemingly -- from late teens to middle aged. One profile of a Pot Party leader boasts that he won High Times magazine's "Bong-of-the-Month" Award. Unlike the denials of a certain prominent politician, these people quite obviously, proudly and regularly inhale. No real candidates fielded to date (but they did endorse an unsuccessful candidate in 2000 for the Green Party's nomination for US Senator from California). They also seem to be actively involved in an online fantasy government entitled the USA Parliament (official description: "A coalition of US voters based on votes cast, where 1/100th of the votes cast elects one of the one hundred members of parliament").
Progressive Labor Party - The PLP is a New York-based, militant, Stalinist-style communist party dedicated to bringing about a world-wide, armed, communist revolution. The PLP abhors democracy, elections, freedom of nearly any sort, capitalism and religion -- while praising dictator Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union as their role model. Because they denounce all elections as "frauds," the PLP vows to never field any candidates for public office (for these guys, its either armed victory or nothing at all). Lots and lots of online ideological articles written in the typical dogmatic communist style ... with titles like "The Hoax of the 1932-33 Ukraine Famine," "Fascism Grows In The Auto Industry," "The Road to Revolution." Articles in English, Spanish, Russian, German, etc.
Revolutionary Communist Party - The RCP is based upon the teachings of the late Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-tung (a form of communism derivative of Leninist-Stalinist Marxism). The party strongly denounces capitalism and advocates a "Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Programme" as "a battle plan for destroying the old and creating the new [and] is a kind of road map for how to win the revolution." Even the RCP's logo is consistent with the proletarian revolutionary theme (i.e., note the red flag flying from a rifle bayonet). The RCP clearly advocates change through revolution, not elections -- so don't look for any RCP candidates on the ballot. RCP Chairman Bob Avakian and his writings also recieve extensive coverage on the party's official site. The party's newspaper -- Revolutionary Worker -- is available online in English and Spanish versions.
The Third Party - The Third Party's site states that it is working towards fielding a candidate for the 2004 Presidential election. Frustrated by traditional partisan politics and the quality of national media coverage of elections, this party proposes to seek "direct input" from the public to mold this new politically centrist party into a vehicle that unifies America in the 21st Century. The posted forum page is creatively entitled "Convention Floor." In the interests of promoting an informed electorate, The Third Party's site even provides links to the web pages of all the competing US political parties.
Workers Party, USA - The WP-USA is a hardcore Marxist-Leninist political party founded by Michael Thorburn in 1992. The party was established to "bring the working class out as an independent class force." The WP-USA shares much of the CPUSA's ideology -- and likely is a splinter group with CPUSA origins. While the WP-USA has yet to field any candidates, the Chicago-based party publishes a bi-weekly newspaper named The Worker and a quarterly theoritical journal named -- not surprisingly -- The Worker Magazine. The WP-USA site features an extensive on-line archive of dogmatic screeds largely denouncing "monopoly capitalists," Western imperialism, the USA, etc. -- and praising the working class and "revolutionary politics." Thorburn's Anti-Imperialist News Service ("assisting the people's struggles against war and militarism") is also affiliated with the WP-USA.
World Socialist Party of the USA - The WSP-USA are seemingly utopian Marxists. They believe true socialism can only work when it is established worldwide. They renounce violence, Soviet-style totalitarianism, money and all forms of leadership. They advocate a classless, "wageless, moneyless, free access society" without any national borders. They don't run candidates nor endorse other socialist or left candidates as they believe a vote for ANY candidate under the current system is a vote in support of capitalism. Understanding that world socialism "has clearly not yet been established," they believe that "democratically capturing the State through parliamentary elections is the safest, surest method for the working class to enable itself to establish socialism" -- although they have yet to field any US candidates in the period to date since the international WSP was founded in 1904.
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