The Crazy American Political System…WOW
(NOTE: THE VIEWS GIVEN IN THE PARTIES DESCRIBED WERE ALL TAKEN FROM WHATEVER SITES I COULD FIND REPRESENTING THESE PARTIES.I WANTED THE INFORMATION STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE BUT CAN’T TAKE CREDIT AS I AM JUST RELAYING THEIR VIEWS WITH MY OPINIONS AFTERWARDS)
If you really want a laugh, read through this list. Some of the parties that have sprung up through the years clearly show that when taking a cross section of Americans you are sure to get some really messed up view. Christians wanting to force biblical style living on non-believers, complete legalization of all drugs, completley closed borders, open borders, and the good ol nazi view can all be found in American political parties…all I can say is wow…
DEMOCRATIC PARTY (DNC) – The Democrats regained control of the US House and US Senate in the 2006 elections, and of the White House in the 2008 elections (plus widened their congressional advantage). An inability to cure the inherited stagnant national economy and voter discontent over health care and other successfully adopted Obama agenda items caused a significant erosion of support, costing the Democrats control of the House and several governorships in 2010. While prominent Democrats run the wide gamut from the near Euro-style democratic-socialist left (Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Raúl Grijalva and the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and traditional liberals (Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) to the Dem center-right (Harry Reid, Heath Shuler and the NDN) to the GOP-style conservative right (Ben Nelson, Dan Boren and the Blue Dog Coalition) to the pragmatic “centrist” moderate-to-liberal style (Mark Warner, Rahm Emanuel). The Democrats swept into office in ’06 and ’08 include a combination of some vocal progressives on the left, some centrists, and a some conservatives on the party’s right. Much of the party’s congressional losses in 2010 came at the expense of Blue Dog and centrist Democrats in swing districts. The party’s strength in 2012 will likely be determined by the state of the national economy.
REPUBLICAN PARTY (RNC) – Republicans lost control of the big job in 2008: the Presidency. The party was swept out of office in response to the public’s high disapproval rating of President George W. Bush. The GOP also held control of the US House from the 1994 sweep until they were ousted from power in 2006 in a backlash to the unpopular Iraq War and a culture of corruption on Capitol Hill. A weak national economy helped the GOP come back strong in 2010, recapturing control of the US House. The GOP also holds several key Governorships (including TX, PA, OH, FL, GA, MI, NJ and VA), and narrowly held majority status in the US Senate in 1995-2001 and 2003-07. Despite the gains, the party is largely split into two warring ideological camps within the Republican Party, battling for control in preparation for the 2012 White House race. The conservative purists say the GOP lost the 2006 and 2008 elections because their Republican leaders “went Washington” when they won control of Congress and “lost sight of true conservative Republican values.” They argue the party needs to become uncompromisingly conservative, seeking ideological purity over pragmatism. US Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), a leading uncompromising purist, said he “would rather have 30 Republicans in the US Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” The GOP pragmatists embrace the “Big Tent” Reagan view that the party is big enough to embrace people of widely varying beliefs — moderates and conservatives alike — so long as all agree on a few key core values. US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explained he wants “to build an open party that could win in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as South Carolina … Winning matters to me. I’m not giving this party over to people who can’t win.” Republicans can generally be classified into several different sub-sets: traditional conservatives (John Boehner, Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor, Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan, and the Club for Growth), the “Religious Right” (Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and the Family Research Council), the rapidly dwindling old Nixon/Rockefeller “centrist” or “moderate” wing (Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Mark Kirk and the Republican Main Street Partnership), libertarians (Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Rand Paul and the Campaign for Liberty), and a “paleo-conservative” wing that backs strict anti-immigration controls (Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan). The influential “Tea Party” movement — split between several groups who each claim the name (Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Nation, etc.) — emerged in 2009 and seem to straddle somewhere between the libertarian and paleo-conservative wings of the GOP.
THE “BIG THREE” THIRD PARTIES: (Based upon vote performance over past two election cycles and ballot access)
CONSTITUTION PARTY – Former Nixon Administration official and one-time Conservative Coalition chair Howard Phillips founded the US Taxpayers Party (USTP) in 1992 as a potential vehicle for Pat Buchanan to use for a third party White House run — 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 (below) — into a larger political entity. The USTP renamed itself the Constitution Party in 1999. The party is strongly pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-tax, anti-immigration, trade protectionist, “anti-New World Order,” anti-United Nations, anti-gay rights, anti-welfare, and pro-school prayer. When Buchanan stayed in the GOP, Phillips ran as the USTP nominee in 1992 (ballot status in 21 states – 43,000 votes – 0.04%), 1996 (ballot spots in 39 states – 185,000 votes – 6th place – 0.2%), and 2000 (ballot status in 41 states – 98,000 votes – 6th place – 0.1%). The party started fielding local candidates in 1994, but has fielded disappointingly few local candidates since 1998 (except in a handful of states). The party received a brief boost in the media when conservative US Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire — an announced GOP Presidential hopeful — bolted from the Republican Party to seek the Constitution Party nomination in 2000 (but the erratic Smith quit the Constitution Party race a few weeks later, announced he would serve in the Senate as an Independent, and subsequently rejoined the GOP by the end of 2000). At the 1999 national convention, the party narrowly adopted a controversial change to the 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. The CP’s 2004 Presidential nominee, attorney Michael Peroutka, had ballot status in 36 states (144,000 votes – 5th place – 0.1%). Former three-time GOP Presidential candidate Alan Keyes — a former Ambassador during the Reagan Administration — bolted to the Constitution Party in 2008, but was defeated for the nomination by fundamentalist pastor Chuck Baldwin (note: which prompted Keyes to immediately create his own rival conservative party). In the 2008 election, Baldwin had ballot status in 37 states and won 196,000 votes (5th place – 0.15%), the CP’s best showing to date. In 2010, former Congressman Virgil Goode (R-VA) joined the CP and was elected to the CP National Executive Committee. By contrast, Baldwin left the party in 2011 and rejoined the GOP. Other related sites: Constitution Party News and Constitution Party Discussion Forum.
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES – The Green Party — the informal US-affiliate of the leftist, environmentalist European Greens movement — is one of the two largest third parties in the nation. The party regularly fields candidates for local, state and federal offices in many states, and has established active state affiliate parties in nearly all 50 states. The Greens scored a major political points 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. In the end, Nader was on the ballot in 44 states and finished third with 2,878,000 votes (2.7%). More significantly, Nader missed the important 5% mark for the national vote, meaning the party remained ineligible for federal matching funds. Until 2001, the Greens were 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. That faction — formerly named the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) — was 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, unified national party organization. Nader made another run in 2004 — but ran as an Independent. Instead, Green Party General Counsel David Cobb of Texas won the Presidential nomination (ballot status in 29 states – 120,000 votes – 6th place – 0.1%). Cobb argued the party needed to nominate a candidate who openly belonged to the party (note: Nader had never joined) and was pledged to building the party at the local level. Cobb ran what was seen as a “safe-states” strategy — a controversial move whereby Cobb only made major efforts to gain votes in states where a strong Green showing would not compromise the ability of the Democratic nominee to defeat Bush in the state. Democrats appreciated the move, but it weakened Cobb’s message. For 2008, the Greens dumped the “safe states” strategy and instead tried to run a more aggressive campaign wherever possible. Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) joined the Greens in 2007, moved to California, and easily captured the Green nomination in 2008. McKinney was on the ballot in 32 states and garnered 161,0000 votes (6th place – 0.1%). Look for her to run again in 2012. Official Green Party links include: Green Pages (newspaper), Global Green Network, Green Party News Center, Campus Greens, Lavender Green Caucus, National Women’s Caucus, Disability Caucus, Coordinated Campaign Committee, and Green Party Election Results. The Green Party Platform sets forth the party’s official stances.
LIBERTARIAN PARTY – The LP, founded in 1971, bills itself as “America’s largest third party” (and, along with the Greens, are definitely among the two largest third parties in the nation). The Libertarians are neither left nor right: they believe in total individual liberty (pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-home schooling, pro-gun rights, etc.) and total economic freedom (anti-welfare, anti-government regulation of business, anti-minimum wage, anti-income tax, pro-free trade). 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”). In any given election year, the LP fields more local and federal 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 more media attention. Former 1988 LP Presidential nominee Ron Paul is now a Republican Congressman from Texas — and made libertarian ideological runs for the a 2008 and 2012 GOP Presidential nomination (although Paul remains a “life member” of the LP). The LP’s biggest problem: Congressmen Ron Paul and Paul Broun, humorist/journalist PJ O’Rourke, the Republican Liberty Caucus and others in the GOP who attract ideological libertarians into the political arena by arguing they can bring about libertarian change more easily under the Republican label. In 2008, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) and former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) both switched to the LP and campaigned for the party’s Presidential nomination — and Barr won the nomination (but Barr rejoined the GOP in 2011). As the LP nominee, Barr had ballot status in 45 states and captured 525,000 votes (4th place – 0.4%). In terms of results, the LP hit the high point in 1980 when LP Presidential nominee and oil industry attorney Ed Clark — with billionaire industrialist David Koch as his VP runningmate and campaign financer — carried over 921,000 votes (1.1%). Subsequent LP nominees for the next dozen years, though not as strong as Clark, typically ran ahead of most other third party candidates. The late financial consultant and author Harry Browne was the LP Presidential nominee in 1996 (485,000 votes – 5th place – 0.5%) and 2000 (386,000 votes – 5th place – 0.4%). Computer consulant and tax-resister Michael Badnarik was the LP Presidential nominee in 2004 (397,000 votes – 4th place – 0.3%). And, FYI, the LP typically obtains ballot status for the Presidential nominee in all 50 states. The LP also has active affiliate parties in every state. The party has been divided for years between two fighting factions: a more purist/hardcore libertarian group and a more moderate “reform” faction. The hardcore group are uncompromising anarchistic-libertarians in the Ayn Rand mold. By contrast, the moderates are interested in focusing on only a handful of more popular issues (drug decriminalization, gun rights, tax cuts, etc.) in exchange for attracting a larger number of voters. Allies of the hardcore faction firmly held control of the party from the late-1980s until the moderates seized control at the 2006 national convention and gutted the party’s original platform. Other related LP sites are: the LP News (official LP newspaper), College Libertarians (official student group), GrowTheLP.org (official LP outreach), LPedia (official LP Wiki history site). The LP web site features a link to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz — designed by LP co-founder David Nolan — and take the quiz to see if you’re a libertarian (a bit simplistic, and slanted in favor of the LP, but interesting just the same).
SMALLER THIRD PARTIES:
AMERICA FIRST PARTY – The America First Party was founded in 2002 by a large group of arch-conservative “Buchanan Brigade” defectors who splintered away from the declining Reform Party to form this uncompromisingly social conservative and fair trade party (with a strong foundation in the Religious Right movement). The AFP vows to “protect our people and our sovereignty … promote economic growth and independence … encourage the traditional values of faith, family, and responsibility … ensure equality before the law in protecting those rights granted by the Creator … [and] to clean up our corrupted political system.” Within months of the AFP’s founding, the AFP fielded a few candidates and established affiliates in nearly 20 states — and they hoped to be organized in nearly all 50 states by the end of 2003. Within a year, however, those hopes were dashed. The AFP’s national leaders all resigned in mid-2003 after a radical group affiliated with ultra-right militia movement leader Bo Gritz purportedly grabbed control of key party elements for a short while. In addition to Gritz, pre-existing financial problems and personality divisions within the party also contributed to the AFP’s rapid collapse. The party failed to nominate any candidates in 2004, and has been almost totally inactive since then. New AFP leadership vowed in 2006 to start rebuild the party. However, the AFP has shown little activity since then beyond issuing press releases, making website updates, and running one candidate in Michigan for city council in 2008.
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. In 2000 and 2004, the party’s Presidential ticket embarrassingly failed to qualify for the ballot in any states and were forced to run as write-in candidates. Attorney, anti-gay activist and frequent candidate Diane Templin was the party’s 2004 and 2008 Presidential nominee, but failed to secure any ballot access.
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 fiery populist, 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 — but moved 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 Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, an unrepentant 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. Since the mid-1980s, the AIP has only operated and fielded candidates in California. From 1992-2007, the AIP was a state affiliate party of the national Constitution Party (the AIP simply co-nominated the Constitution Party’s Presidential nominees in 1992-2004). In 2008, the AIP broke from the Constitution Party and affiliated with Alan Keyes’ rival new America’s Independent Party (see below).
AMERICAN NAZI PARTY – Exactly what the name implies … these are a bunch of uniformed, swastika-wearing Nazis! This party is a combination of fascists, Aryan Nations-type folks, “White Power” 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; and the party’s Montana leader was a GOP candidate for a State House seat in 2006). 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, hate and strong totalitarian sentiments.
AMERICAN REFORM PARTY – The ARP, formerly known as the National Reform Party Committee, splintered away from Ross Perot’s Reform Party in 1997. The ARP chafed at Perot’s heavy-handed desire to maintain total control over the RP. In 1998, the ARP fielded some candidates for state and federal offices in “Reform Party” primaries against candidates backed by Perot’s Reform Party with mixed results. The ARP soon shifted left and opted to “endorse” (but not co-nominate) Green Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader in the 2000 elections. Since then, the ARP has become virtually invisible on the political scene — fielding only four state/local candidates nationwide in 2002 (plus co-endorsing several other third party candidates) and no Presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008. Instead, the party spent the past few years involved defending lawsuits filed by a faction which lost control of the ARP several years ago. It reemerged in 2010, but now appears to have evolved into a pro-Tea Party conservative entity demanding smaller government, spending cuts, term limits, strict immigration controls, and denouncing President Obama as a “Marxist.” From a statement on the ARP website, it appears the party intends to continue endorsing candidates of other parties but not field new ARP nominees: “We seek out and support not only Independent candidates, but Republican and Democrat, that are uniquely qualified … and agree to support the platform of the American Reform Party.”
AMERICAN THIRD POSITION (A3P) – The A3P is a new White supremacist political party (they prefer to call themselves “White Nationalists”) founded in 2010. In various policy statements, the A3P state they are “dedicated to the interests vital to the preservation and continuity of ethnic European communities within the United States of America.” Or, in more direct terms, the party states its mission is “to represent White Americans before the political arena.” The party espouses a non-interventionist foreign policy, and call for strict controls on non-white immigration to the US. The A3P identify President Calvin Coolidge (R) and famed aviator/isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh as their political heroes. The party began fielding candidates on the ballot in 2011 in the West Virginia gubernatorial special election. A3P nominated conservative activist and Army veteran Merlin Miller for President in 2012.
AMERICA’S PARTY – Former Ambassador and frequent GOP Presidential candidate Alan Keyes created this party in 2008, after he quit the Republican race for President and failed to win the Constitution Party’s nomination. Originally named America’s Independent Party, they shortened their name to America’s Party in 2011. The party espouses a social Christian conservative platform: pro-life (no exceptions), anti-gay rights, pro-gun rights, pro-strong military (“peace through strength”), pro-Iraq War, anti-tax (supports total repeal of federal income taxes), and opposes federal spending on any programs not explicitly authorized by the US Constitution. In 2008, Keyes was on the ballot in three states as the party’s Presidential nominee and captured a total of 47,768 votes (0.04% – 7th place). In a directly related coup, this party wrested control of the American Independence Party of California away from the Constitution Party, thus capturing ballot status in the state for the 2008/2010 elections. Interestingly, the party does not accept any financial donations. Other official site: AmericasPartyNews.com.
BOSTON TEA PARTY – The BTP was a splinter group that broke from the Libertarian Party in 2006, when the BTP founders believed the LP was straying from its libertarian roots. The BTP platform consists of simple, one-sentence statement of principles: “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In 2008 the BTP fielded sports promoter Charles Jay for President (ballot access in three states – 2,420 votes – 13th place – 0.002%). Charles Jay captured In terms of specifics, the BTP supports an immediate US withdrawal from Iraq, repeal of the PATRIOT Act, federal income tax cuts, and the legalization of marijuana. The BTP claims 2,300 formal party members as of late 2011 and plans to nominate a Presidential candidate for 2012 (although it is not clear if the BTP nominee will have ballot status in any state).
COMMUNIST PARTY USA – The CPUSA — once the slavish propaganda tool and spy network for the Soviet Central Committee — experienced a forced transformation in recent years. Highly classified Soviet Politburo records, made public after the fall of Soviet communism in the 1990s, revealed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) 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 Soviet communists were ousted from power in 1991 — ultimately causing a total overhaul 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 — headed by Stalinist Gus Hall and 60s radical activist Angela Davis — was fielded in 1984 (36,000 votes – 8th place). While the party has not directly run any candidates since the late 1980s, the CPUSA sometimes backs some candidates in various local elections (often in Northeastern industrial communities) and engages in grassroots political and labor union organizing. 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 Marxist ideology remains strong. However, it has evolved now — after the death of Hall in 2000 — into a Gorbachev-style “democratic reform communist” movement headed by activist Sam Webb. Under Webb’s leadership, the CPUSA now touts a platform of true democratic socialism and trade unionism, and frequently encourages votes for Democratic candidates as a pragmatic electoral tactic to defeat conservatives. Other official CPUSA websites include the People’s World party newspaper, Political Affairs monthly party magazine, and the Young Communists League youth organization.
FREEDOM SOCIALIST PARTY – The FSP was formed in 1966 by a splinter group of dissident feminist Trotskyists who broke away from the Socialist Workers Party to create a new party in the “tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.” The FSP has always emphasized “black liberation and social feminsm” — thus the reason Radical Women is an official alternate name used by the FSP. The FSP describe themselves as a “revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers’ democracy that will guarantee full economic, social, political, and legal equality to women, people of color, gays, and all who are exploited, oppressed, and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot — imperialism.” The FSP has party organizations in the US, Canada and Australia, and today remains staunchly Trotskyist in ideology. The FSP occasionally fields a handful of local candidates in Washington, California and New York (often in non-partisan elections) — but has never fielded a Presidential candidate. Official FSP links include the Freedom Socialist newspaper and Red Letter Press (book publishers).
THE GREENS/GREEN PARTY USA (G/GPUSA) – When people talk about “the Green Party” in the US, they are likely NOT talking about this entity. The G/GPUSA is the older, very much smaller, and more stridently leftist of the two Green parties. While the GPUSA also nominated Nader for President back in 2000, Nader rejected the G/GPUSA nomination (while embracing the other Green party, listed above). 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] 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 (which remains the current G/GPUSA platform) and decide for yourself. The G/GPUSA largely emphasizes direct action tactics over traditional electoral politics. A majorty of the G/GPUSA delegates and large number of party activists quit the group and bolted to the larger Green Party of the US in 2001 (forming an informal leftist caucus within the Green Party). The small splinter group remaining within the G/GPUSA are more dogmatically Marxist. The G/GPUSA maintain formal local affiliates only Chicago, St. Louis and Philadelphia. The G/GPUSA has fielded a few state and federal candidates over the years — often running them in Green primaries against candidates affiliated with the larger Green Party of the US. Related G/GPUSA links include Synthesis/Regeneration (party magazine), and Green Politics (quarterly e-newspaper).
INDEPENDENCE PARTY OF AMERICA – 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 2000. While this splinter party shared the Reform Party’s call for campaign finance and other political reforms, the IP shared Ventura’s disagreement with the more social conservative and trade protectionist views espoused by the Reform Party. The IP — which describes itself as “Socially Inclusive and Fiscally Responsible” — is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-medical marijuana, pro-gun rights and fiscally moderate. The IP has fielded crowded slates of Congressional and state candidates in Minnesota in every election since 2000. While Ventura initially said he wanted to take this Minnesota party national and possibly field a Presidential nominee in 2004, few chapter exist in other states and the party to date has never nominated a Presidential ticket. Ventura’s gubernatorial retirement in 2002 was a blow to the IP, although former Democratic Congressman Tim Penny was a credible IP nominee for Minnesota Governor in 2002 (but finished a distant third). Also in 2002, IP co-founder Dean Barkley became the first IP member to serve in Congress when Ventura appointed him to the US Senate to complete the two months of a term left open by the death of incumbent Paul Wellstone (D). As for a national party organization, the Independence Party essentially does not really have one. It seemingly consists of a few separately-organized state affiliates with at most a very informal link to the tiny central national organization which doesn’t seem to coordinate activities between the states. Thus, each state entity goes its own way — and support has clearly dwindled over the past decade. Surviving state parties include the Minnesota Independence Party, Independence Party of Florida, and Independence Party of New York State.
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 1998. Since then, the party has established small chapters in most states. The bulk of the IAP activities, however, remain generally concentrated in Utah and Nevada. The various IAP state parties endorsed Constitution Party nominee Howard Phillips for President in 1996 and 2000. In December 2000, the IAP’s national chairman issued a statement noting third parties in general registered a “dismal” performance in the Presidential election — and questioned the IAP’s future participation in Presidential campaigns. Instead, he suggested that the IAP limit itself to congressional, state and local races in the future. The party routinely fields numerous candidates each election year in Utah and Nevada.
JUSTICE PARTY – Former Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson created this party in 2011 as a new national political vehicle for disgruntled citizens who feel the Democratic Party is not sufficiently progressive. The early documents imply the Justice Party supports universal health care and LGBT equality, backs the Kyoto Protocols to reduce climate change, and opposes “the wars of the Bush-Obama Presidency.” The party intends to field a Presidential candidate in 2012 and seems likely to obtain ballot statuts in at least a few states for its presidential ticket.
LIGHT PARTY – The Light Party is is a generally liberal party — falling somewhere between the Greens and New Age feel of the now defunct Natural Law Party — and seems strongly centered around party founder “Da Vid, M.D., Wholistic Physician, Human Ecologist & Artist” (he was also a write-in candidate for President in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 — and seems to be the only visible leader of the party). This San Francisco-based party’s platform promotes holistic medicine, national health insurance, organic foods, solar energy, nuclear disarmament and a flat tax. Da Vid claims the party has “millions” of supporters — but he counts everyone who supports any position advocated by the party. The party does not seriously seek to elect candidates but advance an agenda. Not that it has anything to do with politics, but the party does sell a nice CD of relaxing New Age music.
MODERN WHIG PARTY – Seizing the name of the long dead Whig Party (1833-1856) of Presidents Zachary Taylor, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore, this new Modern Whig Party was launched in 2008. Nearly all of the party founders and state chairs are Iraq/Afghan War veterans. These new Whigs explain themselves as follows: “We represent moderate voters from all walks of life who cherry-pick between traditional Democratic and Republican ideals in what has been called the Modern Whig Philosophy. This includes general principles of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and bold social progression.” They are centrists — vaguely claiming they have “tens of thousands of members” — who support a strong military, energy independence, increased funding of the sciences and education, more spending on veterans and veteran families, and oppose legislating morality. The party has established state party affiliates around the nation and already fielded a few candidates for Congress and state legislature.
NATIONAL SOCIALIST MOVEMENT – The NSM is yet another of the many odious splinter parties seemingly created in recent years from the remnants of the old American Nazi Party of the early 1960s. “We co-operate and work with many like minded white nationalist groups such as the KKK (Ku Klux Klan), Aryan Skinheads, the Racial Nationalist Party of America and many others which are either neo Nazi or at least, racially aware of our Aryan Heritage,” explains the NSM website. The NSM claims to be the largest Nazi party in the US (note: a claim also made by every other tiny neo-Nazi splinter group). The NSM fielded its first candidate — write-in Presidential hopeful Brian Holland — in 2008. Jeff Schoep is the Commander of the NSM and boasts that Hitler is his role model. Like the other neo-Nazi groups, the NSM members march around in uniforms styled to resemble to Nazi SA brownshirts of the 1930s. The NSM vows to expel all non-Whites, Jews and gays from the US. The NSM saw extensive factional in-fighting caused by their involvement in the 2008 elections (one faction was aligned with official NSM candidate Brian Holland, and the other faction backed rival Nazi write-in candiate John Bowles). The party again fielded a few write-in candidates in 2010.
OBJECTIVIST PARTY – Founded in 2008, the party “seeks to promote Ayn Rand‘s philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm.” Translation: They support a platform nearly identical to that of the Libertarian Party. Party founder Tom Stevens — who is also active with the Libertarians — was party’s nominee for President in 2008 (ballot access in 2 states – 755 votes). The party has again nominated Stevens for President in 2012. The Objectivist Party is unaffiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute or any prominent figures from Rand’s objectivist movement.
PARTY FOR SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION – The Party of Socialism & Liberation (PSL) is “a revolutionary Marxist party” created “to be a vehicle for the multinational working class in the struggle for socialism … Only a multinational party can create the unity necessary to defeat the most powerful capitalist class the world has ever seen … We aim for revolution in the United States … We want a revolution; and, we work hard to make it happen.” Additionally, the PSL explains that “the most crucial requirement for [PSL] membership is the dedication to undertake this most important and most necessary of all tasks: building a new revolutionary workers party in the heart of world imperialism.” The PSL was founded in 2006 by a breakaway faction of the communist revolutionary wing of the Workers World Party. The PSL espouses a pro-Cuba/pro-China view, and the iconic Che Guevarra’s call for continual world revolution against capitalism. The PSL fielded its first candidates in 2008: a Presidential ticket and Congressional candidates. Presidential nominee Gloria LaRiva was on the ballot in 12 states in 2008 and captured 6,808 votes (11th place – 0.005%). The PSL nominated a pure protest Presidential ticket in 2012, in that both nominees are constitutionally ineligible to serve if elected (both are underage, and one is foreign-born). The PSL also sponsors and/or directs numerous popular front groups including International ANSWER, International Action Center, Bail Out the People Network, Stop War on Iran, Troops Out Now Coalition, May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, and many others. Other related PSL websites include: VotePSL.org (party campaign site); Liberation (party newspaper) and Socialism and Liberation (party magazine).
PEACE AND 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 and odious personality, Cleaver carried nearly 37,000 votes (ironically, Cleaver ultimately became a Reagan Republican in the early 1980s, and was later a crack cocaine 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 communist Workers World Party (WWP), which later split into the militant revolutionary Party of Socialism & Liberation (PSL)), Trotskyists, and true democratic socialists. The PFP today is small, with activities centered only 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. The PFP finally regained California ballot status in 2003 — and immediately fielded a sizable slate of candidates. Native American activist Leonard Peltier — an imprisoned cop killer (or innocent political prisoner, depending on your views) — was the PFP nominee for President in 2004 (ballot status in one state – 27,500 votes). In 2008, the party let consumer activist Ralph Nader use their California ballot line in support of his Independent run for President. In 2009, the party announced plans to try expanding into “a nationwide electoral party dedicated to socialism, feminism, democracy, environmentalism, and racial equality.” The communist PSL’s candidates captured several key PFP statewide candidate nominations in California in 2010.
PROHIBITION PARTY – “If you are a reform-minded conservative and a non-drinker, the Prohibition Party wants you,” exclaimed an official party message in 2002. 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 former Congressman John Bidwell received nearly 273,000 votes (2.3% – 4th place). Long-time party activist Earl Dodge ran as the Prohibition Party’s presidential nominee in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 (140 votes, an all-time low for the party) — but died in 2007 during his seventh run for President. The anti-Dodge group wrested control of the party organization by 2003. Control of the party ended up in court, but Dodge died before the court ruled. The 2004 rival ticket led by temperance lecturer, minister and artist Gene Amundson — supported by the anti-Dodge party leadership — appeared on the Colorado ballot under another party name. With Dodge dead, Amundson became the party’s undisputed nominee for 2008 (ballot status in 3 states – 18th place – 658 votes) and united the bickering factions. Retired Baptist pastor Jack Fellure — a frequent GOP candidate for various offices in West Virginia — is the party’s 2012 Presidential nominee. The party also fields a one ot two local candidates from time to time. An additional party-related organization is the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society, a group of party activists that want to turn Prohibition Party policy into law.
REFORM PARTY – Once a rapidly growing and populist third party, the Reform Party shifted far to the right in recent years. After the shift, it quickly experienced massive waves of conservative defections away into the Constitution Party and the America First Party in 2002, before withering into a mere tiny shadow of its former glory years. First, some history: 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, the more libertarian Jesse Ventura faction, and the social conservative Pat Buchanan faction. A fourth group — a small but vocal Marxist faction led by RP activist Lenora Fulani — generally backed the Perot faction during these fights. To make this even more confusing, the Perot faction ultimately turned to Natural Law nominee and Maharishi follower John Hagelin as its “Stop Buchanan” candidate for President. After several nasty and public battles, the Ventura faction quit the RP in Spring 2000 and the old Perot faction lost control of the party in court to the Buchanan faction in Fall 2000 (and Perot ultimately endorsed Bush for President in 2000). That gave the Buchanan Brigade the party’s $12.6 million in federal matching funds. Within months, the Buchanan allies won control of nearly the entire party organization. Along with Buchanan’s rise to power in the party, the party 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 meant that the party is ineligible for federal matching funds in 2004. The new RP had the opportunity to become the leading social conservative third party (think of it as a Green Party for the right) — but more internal conflicts made this impossible. In 2002, former Buchanan VP runningmate Ezola Foster and two RP state chairs jumped to the Constitution Party. Almost simultaneously, the entire RP leadership in nearly 20 other states (the core of the Buchanan Brigade folks) defected en masse to form the new America First Party — delivering a demoralizing and devastating blow the the future viability of the RP. The remaining pieces of the RP appeared to drift away following that implosion. For the 2004 Presidential election, the remaining RP leaders gave their nomination and their ballot status in several states to Ralph Nader’s fusion candidacy. The RP was just about bankrupt by late 2004, having less than $50 remaining in its bank account. In 2008, retired businessman Ted Weill was the party’s Presidential nominee (22nd place – ballot status in one state – 481 votes). A few state Reform chapters remain active, but the Reform Party is virtually gone as a national entity. After a court struggle between competing factions, the 2005 convention was declared void and the court in 2009 recognized one faction as the rightful heirs to the party. They are now attempting to slowly rebuild the RP with some new state chapters. The party also vows to have their Presidential candidate on the ballot in several states in 2012.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS, USA – The SD-USA has only fielded candidates for local office, and has been only nominally active since the 1980s. The SD-USA is a small group more ideologically centrist, staunchly anti-communist leftists who were more directly aligned with the Democratic Party in the 1970s-1980s than the more traditionally leftist Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). In fact, the views of the SPUSA in 1972 caused the DSA (then named the DSOC) to splinter away in a ideological rift. The SD-USA refused to support George McGovern for President that year because of his opposition to the Vietnam War — versus the DSOC, which supported McGovern and an immediate end to the war. SDUSA also disputes the claims of DSA and SPUSA to be the true heirs to the legacy of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, claiming instead that the SD-USA “is the only legitimate successor” to the party of Debs and Thomas. However, by 2010, SD-USA eventually ceded all rights to the name “Socialist Party USA” to the SPUSA (and, interestingly, retired SPUSA national chair and two-time Presidential nominee David McReynolds now writes columns for the SD-USA’s website). The Socialist International stripped SD-USA of full member status in 2007, deeming SD-USA to be a defunct organization. The SD-USA remnant which still functioned was a mere shell of what it once was several decades ago. SD-USA began a reorganizing process in 2009, with a new leadership team, but which quickly led to a split in the small organization. The majority group is linked above, but there is also a small rival SD-USA splinter faction headed by former SD-USA Executive Director Gabe Ross (note: confusion arises as both factions claim legal rights to the same SD-USA name).
SOCIALIST PARTY USA – The SPUSA 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. The original Socialist Party USA was 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). The party withered and splintered so much that, by the last 1972, it barely existed. The Democratic Socialists of American and the Social Democrats USA –both linked above — are the other splinter groups from the original Debs/Thomas SP entity. Activists from the old SP reconstituted the party in 1976 and began to again field SP national tickets for the first time in over two decades. Peace activist and former SPUSA 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. In 2004, former Democratic State Senator Walt Brown of Oregon was the SPUSA Presidential nominee. In 2008, progressive activist Brian Moore of Florida was the SPUSA nominee for President (ballot access in 8 states – 10th place – 7,315 votes). The party’s youth wing — the Young People’s Socialist League — has been in existence since the early 1900s. Other SPUSA sites: Socialist National Committee / VoteSocialist.org (campaigns/candidates) and The Socialist WebZine.
SOCIALIST ACTION – Socialist Action is a Trotskyist political party of “revolutionary socialists” 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.” This communist party has fielded some local political candidates in the San Francisco Bay area over the years, and ran its first congressional candidate in 2010 (in Connecticut). Other official sites: Socialist Action Newspaper, Youth for Socialist Action and VoteSocialistAction.
SOCIALIST EQUALITY PARTY – The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) was originally named the Workers League (WL). The WL was founded in 1966 as a Trotskyist communist group closely associated with the electoral campaigns of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The goal of these Trotskyist groups was a build a working-class labor party in the US affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International (the global Trotskyist umbrella network). They believe that “the egalitarian and internationalist legacy of the Russian Revolution” could have succeeded, but was “betrayed by Stalinism” and its progeny. When the SWP drifted away from Trotskyism in the early 1980s, the WL broke with the SWP and began fielding its own candidates. The WL fielded its first Presidential ticket in 1984. The WL later renamed itself as the Socialist Equality Party in 1994. The Michigan-based SEP regularly fielded Congressional and local candidates in several states in the late 1980s and 1990s. 1996 SEP Presidential nominee Jerry White was on the ballot in only three states and captured just 2,400 votes. After 1996, the SEP failed to field any candidates for the next seven years. The SEP subsequently fielded a 2004 Presidential ticket and a few other candidates. The SEP is very realistic about its chances for success, acknowledging that they would “win only a limited number of votes.” To the SEP, a campaign is an opportunity to “present a socialist alternative to the demagogy and lies of the establishment parties and the mass media.” The SEP fielded only one write-in congressional candidate in 2006, ran frequent SEP nominee Jerry White as the party’s write-in Presidential candidate in 2008, but returned to listed ballot status in 2009 with a Detroit mayoral candidate and a 2010 Michigan state legislative candidate. The SEP’s news site — the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) — is updated daily with articles, analysis, history, etc., written with a hardcore internationalist, Trotskyist perspective.
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 fielding Presidential tickets after 1976, and instead concentrates on 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. The SLP held its most recent national convention in 2007.
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 federal and 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 newspaper The Militant online. Marxist political organizer and journalist Róger Calero was the SWP Presidential nominee in 2004 (ballot status in 14 states – 10,791 votes – 9th place – 0.01%) even though he was constitutionally ineligible as a foreign citizen living in the US as a Permanent Resident alien. Calero’s ineligibility forced to party to field James Harris as a surrogate nominee in several of those states. The SWP again nominated Calero as their Presidential nominee in 2008 (ballot status in 10 states – 7,561 votes – 9th place – 0.01%).
U.S. MARIJUANA PARTY – Founded in 2002, the US Marijuana Party (USMJP) is — as you would expect — a marijuana legalization entity espousing generally libertarian views. “The civil rights of Americans have been compromised by the war on drugs. Because the vast majority of citizens who use any illegal substance use only marijuana, the war on drugs is basically a war on marijuana. If you can pull the plug on the war on marijuana, you end the war on drugs as we know it. You shut down the prison industrial complex, and you restore the liberties that have been eroded because of this futile war on marijuana,” explains the USMJP. The party — which has chapters in a few states — is seeking marijuana legalization on a state-by-state basis. The USMJP has fielded a few candidates on state ballots under the party banner starting in 2004 — but most USMJP nominees to date have been relegated to running as write-in candidates. .
U.S. PACIFIST PARTY – This tiny political party fielded a write-in candidate for President in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and a US Senate candidate in Colorado in 1998. In 2008, for the first time, the USPP Presidential nominee achieved ballot status in one state (110 votes). The USPP 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.” To date, the USPP has run party founder Bradford Lyttle — a lifelong activist for pacifism — as a Presidential candidate four times. He plans to run again in 2012.
VETERANS PARTY OF AMERICA – The Veterans Party was founded in 2003. The party vows to “give political voice for the first time since 1776, to the men and women who were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for this country. No longer will they have to grovel and beg and fill out paperwork for years just to get what they proudly earned and were promised.” The VPA fielded a few candidates in 2004, including a US Senate candidate in Florida. The party is not limited only to veterans, but is also intended to advocate for the families of US veterans. The centrist party has already registered in eight states, and is in the process of attempting to organize in dozens of additional states. As for issues, the party avoids many of the social/morality issues. “If you want religious issues, go to your congregation and discuss it there … Morals and morality come from your family not the govt. so if you want to tell other people how to live their lives, how to think, how to dress or what they can and cannot do to their bodies, then become a prison warden, or a political party in some middle eastern country and rule there,” explains the party’s platform preface. The Veterans Party wants to represent the rights and needs of veterans across the political spectrum — which is why the party’s top priority is improving the lives of those who served. Bitter in-fighting caused the party to split into two rival factions in 2006, and showed little sign of life since 2008.
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 more revoltionary wing of the WWP broke away in 2006 to form the Party of Socialism & Liberation (PSL). While the WWP formerly sponsored or directed numerous popular front groups — including International ANSWER and the International Action Center — those groups all broke away and are now aligned instead with the rival PSL. As for the 2008 Presidential race, the WWP declined to field a Presidential slate and instead endorsed Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney. The WWP described McKinney’s campaign as “Black-led, anti-imperialist, working-class-centered and has a multinational radical base with the potential of unlimited growth.” Other official site: Workers World (WWP news site).
WORKING FAMILIES PARTY – The WFP, founded in 1998 by a coalition of labor unions, was for many years a one-state party which operated only in New York. During 2006-08, the WFP expanded by launching new chapters in a few other states. By 2008, the WFP obtained ballot access and nominated congressional candidates in New York, Connecticut and Oregon. The WFP essentially operates as a “fusion” party which co-nominates candidates of established parties. This fusion move allows WFP candidates — who are almost exclusively Democrats — to appear on a second ballot line in the same election. Fusion “gives voters a way to ‘vote their values’ without spoiling an election,” explain the WFP’s website. The WFP exists to advance a pro-labor union political agenda focused almost entirely on liberal economic and employment issues.