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Political Parties of the US

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        Introduction
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."Â 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.
American Party
The AP is a very small, very conservative, Christian splinter party
formed after a break from the American Independent Party in 1972. US
Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Governor Mel Thomson (R-NH) both flirted
with the American Party's presidential nomination in 1976, but both
ultimately declined. The party won its strongest finish in the 1976
presidential election - nominee Tom Anderson carried 161,000 votes (6th
place) - but has now largely faded into almost total obscurity. The
party's 1996 Presidential candidate - anti-gay rights activist and
attorney Diane Templin - carried just 1,900 votes. Former GOP State
Senator Don Rogers of California - the 2000 nominee for President - did
even worse as he failed to qualify for ballot status in any states. The
party - which used to field a sizable amount of state and local
candidates in the 1970s - rarely fields more than a handful of nominees
nationwide in recent years, although they do claim local affiliates in 15
states. Beyond the pro-life, pro-gun and anti-tax views that you'd expect
to find, the American Party also advocates an end to farm price
supports/subsidies, privatization of the US Postal Service, opposes
federal involvement in education, supports abolition of the Environmental
Protection Agency, supports repeal of NAFTA, opposes minimum wage laws,
opposes land use zoning regulations and opposes convening a
Constitutional convention. Of course, the AP also opposes the United
Nations, the New World Order, communism, socialism and the Trilateral
Commission.
American Heritage Party
The AHP, formerly the Washington State affiliate of the USTP/Constitution
Party, broke away from that group in 2000 because of religious grounds
(i.e., while the CP is clearly a Religious Right party, it is not
explicitly a Christian party). Thus, the AHP describes itself as "a
political party that adopts the Bible as its political textbook and is
unashamed to be explicitly Christian ... [and] whose principles are drawn
from Scripture." The AHP 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.
Constitution Party
Former Nixon Administration official and Conservative Coalition chairman
Howard Phillips founded the US Taxpayers Party in 1992 as a potential
vehicle for Pat Buchanan to use as a third party vehicle - had he agreed
to bolt from the GOP in 1992 or 1996. The USTP pulled together several of
the splintered right-wing third parties - including the once mighty
American Independent Party - into a larger, more visible political entity
(although some state affiliate parties operate under names other than the
USTP). Renamed as the Constitution Party in 1999, the party is strongly
pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-tax, anti-immigration, protectionist,
"anti-New World Order," anti-United Nations, anti-gay rights, anti-
welfare, pro-school prayer ... basically a hardcore Religious Right
platform. When Buchanan stayed in the GOP, Phillips ran as the USTP
nominee in both 1992 (ballot status in 21 states - 43,000 votes - 0.04%)
and 1996 (ballot spots in 39 states - 185,000 votes - 6th place - 0.2%) -
and as the Constitution nominee in 2000 (ballot status in 41 states -
98,000 votes - 6th place - 0.1%). The party started fielding local
candidates in 1994. Still, for a new third party attempting to grow, the
party fielded disappointingly few local candidates 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.
Grassroots Party
Originally launched as a Minnesota-based liberal party, the tiny GRP
advocates the legalization of marijuana, promotes hemp farming and the
establishment of a national system of universal health care (among other
things). In general ideology, the GRP is very similar to the Greens - but
with a much stronger emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues. The
GRP fielded their first Presidential nominee - Dennis Peron - in 1996
(5,400 votes). In 1996, the GRP won permanent "major party" ballot status
in Vermont. The Vermont 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.
Independence Party
After two years of openly feuding with Ross Perot's allies in the Reform
Party, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and his supporters bolted from
the party to launch the new Independence Party in February 2000. In
departing, Ventura denounced the Reform Party as "hopelessly
dysfunctional" and far too right-wing (in its embrace of Pat Buchanan's
candidacy). While 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.
Labor Party
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.
Libertarian Party
The LP, founded in 1971, bills itself as "America's largest third party."
Libertarians are neither left nor right ... they believe in total
individual liberty (pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage,
pro-home schooling, anti-gun control, etc.) and total economic freedom
(anti-welfare, anti-government regulation of business, anti-minimum wage,
anti-income tax, pro-free trade, etc.). The LP espouses a classical
laissez faire ideology which, they argue, means "more freedom, less
government and lower taxes." Over 400 LP members currently hold various -
though fairly low level - government offices (including lots of minor
appointed officials like "School District Facilities Task Force Member"
and "Town Recycling Committee Member"). Typically, the LP fields more
local candidates than any other US third party - although the LP has
clearly been eclipsed by the Greens in size since 1996 in terms of having
the largest third party following and garnering the most media attention.
Former 1988 LP Presidential nominee Ron Paul is now a Republican
Congressman from Texas - although Paul is still active with the LP. The
LP's biggest problem: Ron Paul, 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).
Light Party
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 &amp; 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
&amp; Public Policy think tank is also closely associated with the NLP.
New Party
This leftist party advocates a "democratic revolution" to advance the
cause of "social, economic, &amp; 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 &amp; 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.
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 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.
Reform Party
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.
The Revolution
This party - simply named "The Revolution" - seems to be an ideological
hybrid between libertarianism and environmentalism, with a dash of New
Deal liberal views thrown into the mix. The Revolution's 20-point
platform calls for the legalizations of all victimless crimes (drugs,
prostitution, etc.), the use of clean energy to stop global warming,
massive tax cuts, an end ot corporate welfare, military spending cuts, an
emphasis on human rights in foreign policy decisions, abolishing the CIA,
government funding of the sciences to encourage "altruistic scientific
and technological projects," and a promise to "repeal five times as many
laws as we pass." The party's leader - a digital culture journalist and
cyberprankster who uses the pen name R.U. Sirius - made a whimsical
write-in bid for President in 2000.
Socialist Party USA
The 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        <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->

				
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