Political Parties of the US
The United States is commonly classified as a representative democracy. What is that?
In a literal sense,democracymeans government by the people. The word democracy originated in two Greek roots—demos, meaning “the populace” or “the common people”; and kratia, meaning “rule.” Of course, in large, populous nations, government by all the people is impractical at the national level. It would be impossible for the more than 246 million Americans to vote on every important issue that comes before Congress. Consequently, democracies are generally maintained through a mode of participation known as representative democracy, in which certain individuals are selected to speak for the people.
The United States is commonly classified as a representative democracy, since Americans elect members of Congress and state legislatures to handle the task of writing laws.
Unlike monarchies, oligarchies, and dictatorships, the democratic form of government implies an opposition which is tolerated or, indeed, encouraged to exist. In the United States, there are two major political parties—the Democrats and Republicans—as well as various minor parties. Sociologists use the term political party to refer to an organization whose purposes are to promote candidates for elected office, advance an ideology as reflected in positions on political issues, win elections, and exercise power.
So in my report I would like to tell you history of American donkey and elephant. Also I used to think that there are no politic parties in the USA except Democrats and Republicans but that was mistake I changed due to that report.
THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES:
The Democratic Party (DNC) today
After the 2002 elections, Democrats control several key governorships (including PA, MI, IL, VA, NJ, NC and WA) and many state legislatures – but lost control of the US House in 1994, narrowly lost control of the US Senate again in 2002 (but they still hold enough seats to block much legislation), and lost control of the White House in the 2000 elections. While prominent Democrats run the wide gamut from the near democratic-socialist left (Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich and the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and traditional liberals (Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy) to the center-right (Joe Lieberman, the Congressional Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Network) to the GOP-style conservative right (Ralph Hall and Gene Taylor), most fall somewhere into the pragmatic Democratic Leadership Council’s “centrist” moderate-to-liberal style (Evan Bayh, Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle).
Brief History of the Democratic Party
At the start of the 21st Century, the Democratic Party can look back on a proud history — a history not just of a political organization but of a national vision. It is a vision based on the strength and power of millions of economically empowered, socially diverse and politically active Americans. Over two hundred years ago, democsatic party’s founders decided that wealth and social status were not an entitlement to rule. They believed that wisdom and compassion could be found within every individual and a stable government must be built upon a broad popular base.
The late Ron Brown — former Chairman of the Democratic Party — put it best when he wrote, “The common thread of Democratic history, from Thomas Jefferson to Bill Clinton, has been an abiding faith in the judgment of hardworking American families, and a commitment to helping the excluded, the disenfranchised and the poor strengthen our nation by earning themselves a piece of the American Dream. We remember that this great land was sculpted by immigrants and slaves, their children and grandchildren.”
Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792 as a congressional caucus to fight for the Bill of Rights and against the elitist Federalist Party. In 1798, the “party of the common man” was officially named the Democratic-Republican Party and in 1800 elected Jefferson as the first Democratic President of the United States. Jefferson served two distinguished terms and was followed by James Madison in 1808. Madison strengthened America’s armed forces — helping reaffirm American independence by defeating the British in the War of 1812. James Monroe was elected president in 1816 and led the USA through a time commonly known as “The Era of Good Feeling” in which Democratic-Republicans served with little opposition.
The election of John Quincy Adams in 1824 was highly contested and led to a four-way split among Democratic-Republicans. A result of the split was the emergence of Andrew Jackson as a national leader. The war hero, generally considered — along with Jefferson — one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Party, organized his supporters to a degree unprecedented in American history. The Jacksonian Democrats created the national convention process, the party platform, and reunified the Democratic Party with Jackson’s victories in 1828 and 1832. The Party held its first National Convention in 1832 and nominated President Jackson for his second term. In 1844, the National Convention simplified the Party’s name to the Democratic Party.
In 1848, the National Convention established the Democratic National Committee, now the longest running political organization in the world. The Convention charged the DNC with the responsibility of promoting “the Democratic cause” between the conventions and preparing for the next convention.
As the 19th Century came to a close, the American electorate changed more and more rapidly. The Democratic Party embraced the immigrants who flooded into cities and industrial centers, built a political base by bringing them into the American mainstream, and helped create the most powerful economic engine in history. Democratic Party leader William Jennings Bryan led a movement of agrarian reformers and supported the right of women’s suffrage, the progressive graduated income tax and the direct election of Senators. As America entered the 20th Century, the Democratic Party became dominant in local urban politics.
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson became the first Democratic president of the 20th Century. Wilson led the country through World War I, fought for the League of Nations, established the Federal Reserve Board, and passed the first labor and child welfare laws.
A generation later, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president running on the promise of a New Deal. Roosevelt pulled America out of the Depression by looking beyond the Democratic base and energizing citizens around the belief that their government could actively assist them in times of need. Roosevelt’s New Deal brought water to California’s Central Valley, electrified Appalachia and saved farms across the Midwest. The Civilian Conservation Corps, the WPA and Social Security all brought Americans into the system, freeing people from fear, giving to people a stake in the future, making the nation stronger.
With the election of Harry Truman, Democrats began the fight to bring down the final barriers of race and gender. Truman integrated the military and oversaw the reconstruction of Europe by establishing the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Truman’s leadership paved the way for civil rights leaders who followed.
In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy challenged an optimistic nation to build on its great history. Kennedy proclaimed a New Frontier and dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Lyndon Johnson followed Kennedy’s lead and worked to pass the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Kennedy and Johnson worked together to end the practice of segregation in many southern states. Following Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson declared a War on Poverty and formed a series of Great Society programs, including the creation of Medicare — ensuring that older Americans would receive quality health care.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected president, helping to restore the nation’s trust in government following the Watergate scandal. Among other things, Carter negotiated the historic Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel.
In 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States. President Clinton ran on the promise of a New Covenant for America’s forgotten working families. After twelve years of Republican presidents, America faced record budget deficits, high unemployment, and increasing crime. President Clinton’s policies put people first and resulted in the longest period of economic expansion in peacetime history. The Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 — passed by both the House and Senate without a single Republican vote — put America on the road to fiscal responsibility and led to the end of perennial budget deficits. Having inherited a $290 billion deficit in 1992, President Clinton’s last budget was over $200 billion in surplus. The Clinton/Gore Administration was responsible for reducing unemployment to its lowest level in decades and reducing crime to its lowest levels in a generation. In 1996, President Clinton became the first Democratic president reelected since Roosevelt in 1996. In 1998, Democrats became the first party controlling the White House to gain seats in Congress during the sixth year of a president’s term since 1822.
In the 2000 elections, Democrats netted 4 additional Senate seats, one additional House seat, and one additional gubernatorial seat. Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote for President by more than 500,000 votes. In 2001, Democrats regained control of the Senate under Majority Leader Tom Daschle, while Democrats swept to victory in races all across the country, including races for Virginia Governor and Lt. Governor, New Jersey Governor, and 39 out of 42 major mayoral races including Los Angeles and Houston.
While we have accomplished a great deal — as a nation and a Party, we must continue to move forward in the 21st Century. We must work to incorporate all Americans into the fabric of our nation. The history of our next hundred years can be seen in the gorgeous mosaic of America, from the wheat fields of Nebraska to the barrios of New York City, from the mountains of Colorado to the rocky coast of Maine. The Democratic Party is America’s last, best hope to bridge the divisions of class, race, region, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We will succeed if we continue to govern by the same principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth — the principles of strength, inclusion and opportunity. The Democratic Party is ready to take advantage of the opportunities we have and meet the challenges we face.
The Democratic Donkey
When Andrew Jackson ran for president in 1828, his opponents tried to label him a “jackass” for his populist views and his slogan, “Let the people rule.” Jackson, however, picked up on their name calling and turned it to his own advantage by using the donkey on his campaign posters. During his presidency, the donkey was used to represent Jackson’s stubbornness when he vetoed re-chartering the National Bank.
The first time the donkey was used in a political cartoon to represent the Democratic party, it was again in conjunction with Jackson. Although in 1837 Jackson was retired, he still thought of himself as the Party’s leader and was shown trying to get the donkey to go where he wanted it to go. The cartoon was titled “A Modern Baalim and his Ass.”
Interestingly enough, the person credited with getting the donkey widely accepted as the Democratic party’s symbol probably had no knowledge of the prior associations. Thomas Nast, a famous political cartoonist, came to the United States with his parents in 1840 when he was six. He first used the donkey in an 1870 Harper’s Weekly cartoon to represent the “Copperhead Press” kicking a dead lion, symbolizing Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who had recently died. Nast intended the donkey to represent an anti-war faction with whom he disagreed, but the symbol caught the public’s fancy and the cartoonist continued using it to indicate some Democratic editors and newspapers.
Later, Nast used the donkey to portray what he called “Caesarism” showing the alleged Democratic uneasiness over a possible third term for Ulysses S. Grant. In conjunction with this issue, Nast helped associate the elephant with the Republican party. Although the elephant had been connected with the Republican party in cartoons that appeared in 1860 and 1872, it was Nast’s cartoon in 1874 published by Harper’s Weekly that made the pachyderm stick as the Republican’s symbol. A cartoon titled “The Third Term Panic,” showed animals representing various issues running away from a donkey wearing a lion’s skin tagged “Caesarism.” The elephant labeled “The Republican Vote,” was about to run into a pit containing inflation, chaos, repudiation, etc.
By 1880 the donkey was well established as a mascot for the Democratic party. A cartoon about the Garfield-Hancock campaign in the New York Daily Graphic showed the Democratic candidate mounted on a donkey, leading a procession of crusaders.
Over the years, the donkey and the elephant have become the accepted symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties. Although the Democrats have never officially adopted the donkey as a party symbol, we have used various donkey designs on publications over the years. The Republicans have actually adopted the elephant as their official symbol and use their design widely.
The Democrats think of the elephant as bungling, stupid, pompous and conservative – but the Republicans think it is dignified, strong and intelligent. On the other hand, the Republicans regard the donkey as stubborn, silly and ridiculous – but the Democrats claim it is humble, homely, smart, courageous and loveable.
Adlai Stevenson provided one of the most clever descriptions of the Republican’s symbol when he said, “The elephant has a thick skin, a head full of ivory, and as everyone who has seen a circus parade knows, proceeds best by grasping the tail of its predecessor.”
The Republican Party (RNC) today
Republicans control a slim majority in the US House, several key Governorships (including NY, TX, OH, GA, MA and FL), recaptured the White House in 2000, and narrowly re-took majority status in the US Senate in 2002. Leading Republicans fall into several different ideological factions: traditional conservatives (President George W. Bush, Denny Hastert, Bill Frist and the Club for Growth), the Religious Right (Trent Lott, John Ashcroft, the National Federation of Republican Assemblies and the Christian Coalition), the old Nixon/Rockefeller “centrist” or “moderate” wing (Colin Powell, George Pataki, the Republican Main Street Partnership, the Republican Leadership Council and the Republican Mainstream Committee), and libertarians (Ron Paul and the Republican Liberty Caucus).
Brief History of the Republican Party
The Republican Party was born in the early 1850’s by anti-slavery activists and individuals who believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. The first informal meeting of the party took place in Ripon, Wisconsin, a small town northwest of Milwaukee.
The first official Republican meeting took place on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The name “Republican” was chosen because it alluded to equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. At the Jackson convention, the new party adopted a platform and nominated candidates for office in Michigan.
In 1856, the Republicans became a national party when John C. Fremont was nominated for President under the slogan: “Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont.” Even though they were considered a “third party” because the Democrats and Whigs represented the two-party system at the time, Fremont received 33% of the vote. Four years later, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican to win the White House.
The Civil War erupted in 1861 and lasted four grueling years. During the war, against the advice of his cabinet, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. The Republicans of their day worked to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth, which guaranteed equal protection under the laws, and the Fifteenth, which helped secure voting rights for African-Americans.
The Republican Party also played a leading role in securing women the right to vote. In 1896, Republicans were the first major party to favor women’s suffrage. When the 19th Amendment finally was added to the Constitution, 26 of 36 state legislatures that had voted to ratify it were under Republican control. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican, Jeannette Rankin from Montana in 1917.
Presidents during most of the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were Republicans. While the Democrats and Franklin Roosevelt tended to dominate American politics in the 1930’s and 40’s, for 28 of the forty years from 1952 through 1992, the White House was in Republican hands – under Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. Under the last two, Reagan and Bush, the United States became the world’s only superpower, winning the Cold War from the old Soviet Union and releasing millions from Communist oppression.
Behind all the elected officials and the candidates of any political party are thousands of hard-working staff and volunteers who raise money, lick the envelopes, and make the phone calls that every winning campaign must have. The national structure of the party starts with the Republican National Committee. Each state has its own Republican State Committee with a Chairman and staff. The Republican structure goes right down to the neighborhoods, where a Republican precinct captain every Election Day organizes Republican workers to get out the vote.
Most states ask voters when they register to express party preference. Voters don’t have to do so, but registration lists let the parties know exactly which voters they want to be sure vote on Election Day. Just because voters register as a Republican, they don’t need to vote that way – many voters split their tickets, voting for candidates in both parties. But the national party is made up of all registered Republicans in all 50 states. For the most part they are the voters in Republican Presidential primaries and caucuses. They are the heart and soul of the party.
Republicans have a long and rich history with basic principles: Individuals, not government, can make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.
The symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. During the mid term elections way back in 1874, Democrats tried to scare voters into thinking President Grant would seek to run for an unprecedented third term. Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly, depicted a Democratic jackass trying to scare a Republican elephant – and both symbols stuck.
For a long time Republicans have been known as the “G.O.P.” And party faithfuls thought it meant the “Grand Old Party.” But apparently the original meaning (in 1875) was “gallant old party.” And when automobiles were invented it also came to mean, “get out and push.” That’s still a pretty good slogan for Republicans who depend every campaign year on the hard work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to get out and vote and push people to support the causes of the Republican Party.
Origin Of The Republican Elephant
This symbol of the Republican party was born in the imagination of cartoonist Thomas Nast and first appeared in Harper’s Weekly on November 7, 1874.
An 1860 issue of Railsplitter and an 1872 cartoon in Harper’s Weekly connected elephants with Republicans, but it was Nast who provided the party with its symbol.
Oddly, two unconnected events led to the birth of the Republican Elephant. James Gordon Bennett’s New York Herald raised the cry of “Caesarism” in connection with the possibility of a thirdterm try for President Ulysses S. Grant. The issue was taken up by the Democratic politicians in 1874, halfway through Grant’s second term and just before the midterm elections, and helped disaffect Republican voters.
While the illustrated journals were depicting Grant wearing a crown, the Herald involved itself in another circulation-builder in an entirely different, nonpolitical area. This was the Central Park Menagerie Scare of 1874, a delightful hoax perpetrated by the Herald. They ran a story, totally untrue, that the animals in the zoo had broken loose and were roaming the wilds of New York’s Central Park in search of prey.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast took the two examples of the Herald enterprise and put them together in a cartoon for Harper’s Weekly. He showed an ass (symbolizing the Herald) wearing a lion’s skin (the scary prospect of Caesarism) frightening away the animals in the forest (Central Park). The caption quoted a familiar fable:
“An ass having put on a lion’s skin roamed about in the forest and amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met within his wanderings.”
One of the foolish animals in the cartoon was an elephant, representing the Republican vote – not the party, the Republican vote – which was being frightened away from its normal ties by the phony scare of Caesarism. In a subsequent cartoon on November 21, 1874, after the election in which the Republicans did badly, Nast followed up the idea by showing the elephant in a trap, illustrating the way the Republican vote had been decoyed from its normal allegiance. Other cartoonists picked up the symbol, and the elephant soon ceased to be the vote and became the party itself: the jackass, now referred to as the donkey, made a natural transition from representing the Herald to representing the Democratic party that had frightened the elephant.
THE THIRD PARTIES:
(in alphabetical order)
America First Party
The America First Party was founded in Spring 2002 by a large group of Buchanan Brigade defectors who splintered away from the declining Reform Party to form this new, uncompromisingly social conservative and fair trade party (with a strong foundation in the Religious Right movement). The views of the party largely echo those espoused by commentator Pat Buchanan during his three Presidential bids. The AFP is dedicated 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 a month of the AFP’s founding, ten former Reform Party state chapters formally broke away from the RP and affiliated with the AFP. By the August 2002 National Convention, the AFP had affiliates in around 20 states – and they hoped to be organized in nearly all 50 states by the end of 2003. Now, those hopes seem dashed. The AFP’s national chair, vice chair and treasurer have all resigned in mid-2003 after a hardcore group affiliated with ultra-right militia movement leader Bo Gritz purportedly grabbed control of key party elements. Others in the AFP denied this, saying the Gritz complaints were just a pretext to mask serious financial problems and personality divisions within the party that really caused the collapse. So – for whatever reasons – many AFP state parties apparently left the national party for the same reason. The AFP National Convention – set for July 2003 – was cancelled. The party even abandoned the possibility of fielding a Presidential candidate in 2004. A Buchananite AFP faction reported that they will attempt to reorganize at mid-2003 meeting – placing a greater emphasis on building state party strength.
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 planned 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 – but ran just one local candidate in 2000 and another one 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. For the past three presidential elections, the AIP simply co-nominated the Constitution Party’s Presidential nominee.
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). 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. 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). The ARP vows to rebuild in the coming election cycle.
Christian Falangist Party of America
The CFPA appears to be the more active of the two Falangist political parties in the US (the American Falangist Party (AFP), below, being the other one). 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.” The CFPA is fielding it’s first candidate in 2004: CFPA National Chairman Kurt Weber-Heller is running as a write-in candidate for President.
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 the death of hardline communist leader Hall in 2000, Gorbachev-style “reform communist” activist 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.
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 since 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. In Spring 2002, Pat Buchanan’s 2000 VP runningmate Ezola Foster and many Reform Party leaders from California and Maryland defected to the Constitution Party, providing a nice boost to the party. In a blow to the party, many of the Buchanan’s followers from the 2000 race launched the nearly identical America First Party in 2002 (although it seemed to implode less than a year later). The Young Constitutionalists are the youth wing of the party.
Constitutional Action Party
The CAP is a tiny 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, and recently updated the design. The CAP fielded its first candidate in 2002, when CAP Chair Frank Creel ran for Congress in Virginia.
Family Values Party
This ultra-conservative, theocratic party seems to exist mainly to promote the frequent federal candidacies 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. This “party” remains largely an alter-ego of Wells – who always seems to be running as a write-in candidate for President or Congress (or both).
Freedom Socialist Party / Radical Women
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.” That’s they reason they also refer to their entity as “Radical Women.” 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.
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 affiliate was initially more libertarian and “states rights” oriented in philosophy than its leftist sister party in Minnesota (linked above) – and 2000 Presidential nominee Denny Lane, came from this group (on the ballot in only one state and captured just 1,044 votes – 12th place – 0.001%). Since 1996, most Minnesota GRP activists jumped to either the Green Party or the Democratic Grassroots Caucus. In 2002, many of the libertarian-leaning Vermont GRP leaders bolted to the Libertarian Party – a move that has restored the Vermont faction to largely being a leftist, marijuana/hemp legalization party. The remnants of the Minnesota GRP disbanded and merged into the Liberal Party of Minnesota in 2002.
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” in February 2002). 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 Green Alliance is an officially sanctioned, national network of Green Party political clubs.
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] 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.
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 this splinter party shared 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 said he hoped to take this Minnesota party national and possibly field a Presidential nominee in 2004. However, as of 2002, the IP had nascent affiliate parties organizing in just a handful of states. Ventura’s retirement decision in 2002 was also a blow to the IP. Retired Congressman Tim Penny – a former Democrat – was the IP nominee for Minnesota Governor in 2002, but he 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 the incumbent. 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 15 other states since then. 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 that 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. In 2001, the IAP voted to formally associate with the Independent National Committee (INC), an umbrella organization for like-minded third parties. Based upon that affiliation, the IAP in 2002 “adopted” over 50 candidates from various other conservative parties.
The Labor Party is a liberal entity created in 1996 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. The party says it was formed because “on issues most important to working people -– trade, health care, and the rights to organize, bargain and strike -– both the Democrats and Republicans have failed working people.” Ideologically, they seem close to the style of the late, labor-friendly Vice President Hubert Humphrey and US 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 – but none since then. This group seems closely aligned ideologically with the New Party. The Labor Party has adopted a policy of “running candidates for positions where they can help enact and enforce laws and policies to benefit the working class and where we can best advance the goals and priorities of the Labor Party.” The party also gets involved in local and state ballot initiatives. The Labor Party held a national convention in 2002 and seems to be making some efforts to revive itself as a forum for the debate of issues.
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, former NM Governor Gary Johnson, PJ 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 most 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%). 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 denied the allegations and held control of the LP’s top posts … but this internal dissention is likely to continue for a long while). Other related sites are: American Liberty Foundation (Browne’s group) and GrowTheLP.org (LP outreach).
The Light Party is is a generally liberal party – falling somewhere between the Greens and New Age feel of the Natural Law Party – and seems strongly centered around of party founder “Da Vid, M.D., Wholistic Physician, Human Ecologist & Artist” (he was also a write-in candidate for President in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 – 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.
Natural Law Party
Along with the Libertarian Party, the NLP was been steadily gaining votes over the past few years (although they lost some ground in the 2000 elections). 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. In 2002, the NLP tried a new strategy of stealthy infiltration by running NLP activists as candidates under various party labels including NLP, Democratic, Republican, Green and Libertarian. In 2004, the NLP is actively supporting the Presidential candidacy of Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich shares their “New Age” views and has close ties to Hageling and the NLP national leaders in Iowa. 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.
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 (but the NP has more of a controlled growth outlook on environmental issues). 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) and focusing on grassroots organizing. 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, to date, has endorsed candidates in about 400 local races around the country, and has active affiliate chapters in some communities. The NP site details the party’s long-term strategy.
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. However, the PFP finally regained its ballot status in 2003 – and is already fielding candidates in 2004 for Congress and other offices.
“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 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, 2000, and again in 2004. 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 – but 2002 was the first time since the 1860s that the party failed to field any candidates for any public office. An additional party-related organization is the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society, a group of party activists (somewhat independent of Dodge’s control) that want to turn Prohibition Party policy into law. The anti-Dodge folks – led by new National Chairman Don Webb – seem to have wrested control of the party by fall 2003, and have now demoted Dodge to just be the party’s “provisional” nominee for President. This is largely a matter of semantics, as Dodge will continue to run as the party’s nominee and the party will back him if he secures ballot status in some states. If he doesn’t gain ballot status, the party vows to hold a new nominating convention in Spring 2004 to pick a new ticket. Howeverm all of this in-fighting could result in the party being Presidential nominee on the ballot for the first time since 1872.
Once of rapidly growing, populist third party, the Reform Party shifted far to the right in recent years – but then experienced massive waves of conservative defections away into the Constitution Party and the new America First Party in 2002. 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 Spring 2002, former Buchanan VP runningmate Ezola Foster and the California and Maryland RP leaders 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 now appear to be trying to reorganize back into a more centrist party – similar to the original one Perot wanted to create in the 1990s. But – without Perot’s involvement (and deep pockets) – even a new, centrist RP may have serious trouble rebuilding itself. Another official RP site is the State Party Organizations/RPUSA.
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 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