Political Party Project Identify the major ideas of the two major parties

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List of Republican presidential nominees

  • John C. Fremont (Lost: 1856)

  • Abraham Lincoln (Won: 1860, 1864)

  • Ulysses S. Grant (Won: 1868, 1872)

  • Rutherford B. Hayes (Won: 1876)

  • James Garfield (Won: 1880)

  • James G. Blaine (Lost: 1884)

  • Benjamin Harrison (Won: 1888, Lost: 1892)

  • William McKinley (Won: 1896, 1900)

  • Theodore Roosevelt (Won: 1904)

  • William Howard Taft (Won: 1908, Lost: 1912)

  • Charles Evans Hughes (Lost: 1916)

  • Warren G. Harding (Won: 1920)

  • Calvin Coolidge (Won: 1924)

  • Herbert Hoover (Won: 1928, Lost: 1932)

  • Alfred M. Landon (Lost: 1936)

  • Wendell L. Wilkie (Lost: 1940)

  • Thomas Dewey (Lost: 1944, 1948)

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (Won: 1952, 1956)

  • Richard M. Nixon (Lost: 1960, Won: 1968, Won: 1972)

  • Barry Goldwater (Lost: 1964)

  • Gerald R. Ford (Lost: 1976)

  • Ronald Reagan (Won: 1980, 1984)

  • George H. W. Bush (Won: 1988, Lost: 1992)

  • Bob Dole (Lost: 1996)

  • George W. Bush (Won: 2000, 2004)

Additional Notes



DEMOCRATIC PARTY (DNC) - After the 2006 elections, Democrats control several key governorships (including PA, NY, MI, IL, VA, OH, NJ, NC, CO, VA and WA) and many state legislatures. The Dems also recaptured congressional majority status inside the Beltway for the first time since 1994. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean tried a new "50-states strategy" approach to rebuilding the party since becoming DNC Chair in 2005, abandoning the old "targeted states" approach in favor of building a 50-state party organization (which proved highly successful). Dean's fundraising has also been solid as chair, and he replaced the angry demeanor he exhibited during his '04 White House run with a new low-key approach. DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were the other key architects, along with Dean, with the successful 2006 strategy -- even if the two insiders were frequently at odds with Dean over tactics and spending until late in the cycle. While prominent Democrats run the wide gamut from the near Euro-style democratic-socialist left (Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich and the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and traditional liberals (Russ Feingold, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and Dick Durbin) to the Dem center-right (Evan Bayh, Harry Reid and the NDN) to the GOP-style conservative right (Ben Nelson, Gene Taylor, and the Blue Dog Coalition) to the pragmatic Democratic Leadership Council's "centrist" moderate-to-liberal style (Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, The Third Way). The Democrats swept into office in '06 include a combination of some vocal progressive "Deaniacs," some centrists, and some very conservative ex-Republicans. Other official, affiliated national Democratic sites include:

  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), The Stakeholder (DCCC Blog) and the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), From the Roots (DSCC Blog) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

  • Democratic Governors Association (DGA).

  • Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

  • Young Democrats of America (YDs).

  • College Democrats of America ("College Dems").

REPUBLICAN PARTY (RNC) - Republicans hold the big job in DC: the Presidency. President George W. Bush -- regardless of which party holds control on Capitol Hill -- has the ability to largely keep Congress in check with his veto power. The GOP also held control of the US House from the Gingrich "Contract with America" anti-Clinton election sweep of 1994 until they were ousted from power in 2006 in a backlash to the Iraq War and corruption concerns. The GOP also hold several key Governorships (including TX, CA, GA, MN and FL), and narrowly held majority status in the US Senate in 1995-2001 and 2003-07. In the aftermatch of the 2006 defeat, the different ideological camps within the Republican Party are battling for control. Leading Republicans fall into several different ideological factions: traditional conservatives (President George W. Bush, John Boehner, John McCain, and the Club for Growth), the Religious Right (Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, the National Federation of Republican Assemblies and the Christian Coalition), the rapidly dwindling old Nixon/Rockefeller "centrist" or "moderate" wing (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Crist, Rudy Giuliani and the Republican Main Street Partnership), libertarians (Ron Paul and the Republican Liberty Caucus), and a "paleo-conservative" wing that backs strict anti-immigration controls (Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan). Other official, affiliated national GOP sites include:

  • National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Republican Conference.

  • National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Republican Governors Association (RGA).

  • National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW).

  • Young Republican National Federation (YRs).

  • College Republican National Committee (CRNC).

  • National Teen Age Republicans (TARs).


(Based upon vote performance over past two election cycles and ballot access)

CONSTITUTION PARTY - Former Nixon Administration official and one-time Conservative Coalition chair Howard Phillips founded the US Taxpayers Party (USTP) in 1992 as a potential vehicle for Pat Buchanan to use for a third party White House run -- had he agreed to bolt from the GOP in 1992 or 1996. The USTP pulled together several of the splintered right-wing third parties -- including the once mighty American Independent Party (below) -- into a larger political entity. The USTP renamed itself the Constitution Party in 1999. The party is strongly pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-tax, anti-immigration, trade protectionist, "anti-New World Order," anti-United Nations, anti-gay rights, anti-welfare, and pro-school prayer. When Buchanan stayed in the GOP, Phillips ran as the USTP nominee in 1992 (ballot status in 21 states - 43,000 votes - 0.04%), 1996 (ballot spots in 39 states - 185,000 votes - 6th place - 0.2%), and 2000 (ballot status in 41 states - 98,000 votes - 6th place - 0.1%). The party started fielding local candidates in 1994, but has fielded disappointingly few local candidates since 1998 (except in a handful of states). The party received a brief boost in the media when conservative US Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire -- an announced GOP Presidential hopeful -- bolted from the Republican Party to seek the Constitution Party nomination in 2000 (but the erratic Smith quit the Constitution Party race a few weeks later, announced he would serve in the Senate as an Independent, and subsequently rejoined the GOP by the end of 2000). At the 1999 national convention, the party narrowly adopted a controversial change to the platform's preamble which declared "that the foundation of our political position and moving principle of our political activity is our full submission and unshakable faith in our Savior and Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ" -- although the party officially invites "all citizens of all faiths" to become active in the party. Any national candidate seeking the party's nomination is explicitly required to tell the convention of any areas of disagreement with the party's platform. 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. Conservative attorney Michael Peroutka was the CP's 2004 Presidential nominee (ballot status in 36 states - 144,000 votes - 5th place - 0.1%). Former three-time GOP Presidential candidate Alan Keyes -- a former Ambassador during the Reagan Administration -- bolted to the Constitution Party in 2008, but was defeated for the nomination by fundamentalist pastor Chuck Baldwin. This "Religious Right" party appears to have cemented their place as the third largest third party in the nation.

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES - The Green Party -- the informal US-affiliate of the leftist, environmentalist European Greens movement -- is one of the two largest third parties in the nation. The party regularly fields candidates for local, state and federal offices in many states, and has established active state affiliate parties in nearly all 50 states. The Greens scored a major political points when it convinced prominent consumer advocate Ralph Nader to run as their first Presidential nominee in 1996. Spending just over $5,000, Nader was on the ballot in 22 states and carried over 700,000 votes (4th place - 0.8%). In 2000, Nader raised millions of dollars, mobilized leftist activists and grabbed national headlines with his anti-corporate campaign message. Nader ignored pleas from liberal Democrats that he abandon the race because he was siphoning essential votes away from Al Gore's campaign -- answering that Gore was not substantially different than Bush. In the end, Nader was on the ballot in 44 states and finished third with 2,878,000 votes (2.7%). More significantly, Nader missed the important 5% mark for the national vote, meaning the party remained ineligible for federal matching funds. Until 2001, the Greens were largely a collection of fairly autonomous state/local based political entities with only a weak (and sometimes splintered) national leadership structure that largely served to coordinate electoral activities. That faction -- formerly named the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) -- was the larger and more moderate of the two unrelated Green parties. The ASGP voted in 2001 to convert from an umbrella coordinating organization into a formal, unified national party organization. Nader made another run in 2004 -- but ran as an Independent. Instead, Green Party General Counsel David Cobb of Texas won the Presidential nomination (ballot status in 29 states - 120,000 votes - 6th place - 0.1%). Cobb argued the party needed to nominate a candidate who openly belonged to the party (note: Nader had never joined) and was pledged to building the party at the local level. Cobb ran what was seen as a "safe-states" strategy -- a controversial move whereby Cobb only made major efforts to gain votes in states where a strong Green showing would not compromise the ability of the Democratic nominee to defeat Bush in the state. Democrats appreciated the move, but it weakened Cobb's message. For 2008, the Greens have adopted a strategy resolution which dumped the "safe states" strategy and commits to running an aggressive campaign wherever possible. Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) joined the Greens in 2007 and announced her candidacy for the party's Presidential nominaton, and easily won the Green nomination. Other official Green Party links include: Green Pages (quarterly newspaper), Global Green Network, Green Party News Center, Campus Greens, Lavender Green Caucus, National Women's Caucus, Disability Caucus, Coordinated Campaign Committee, and Green Party Election Results. The Green Party Platform sets forth the party's official stances.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY - The LP, founded in 1971, bills itself as "America's largest third party" (and, along with the Greens, are definitely among the two largest third parties in the nation). The Libertarians are neither left nor right: they believe in total individual liberty (pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-home schooling, 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"). In any given election year, the LP fields more local and federal candidates than any other US third party -- although the LP has clearly been eclipsed by the Greens in size since 1996 in terms of having the largest third party following and garnering more media attention. Former 1988 LP Presidential nominee Ron Paul is now a Republican Congressman from Texas -- and made a libertarian ideological run for the a 2008 GOP Presidential nomination (although Paul remains a "life member" of the LP). The LP's biggest problem: Ron Paul, former NM Governor Gary Johnson, humorist/journalist PJ O'Rourke, the Republican Liberty Caucus and others in the GOP who attract ideological libertarians into the political arena by arguing they can bring about libertarian change more easily under the Republican label. In 2008, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) and former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) both switched to the LP and campaigned for the party's Presidential nomination -- and Barr won the nomination. In terms of results, the LP his the high point in 1980 when LP Presidential nominee and oil industry attorney Ed Clark -- with a billionaire VP runningmate who financed the campaign -- carried over 921,000 votes (1.1%). Subsequent LP nominees for the next dozen years, though not as strong as Clark, typically ran ahead of most other third party candidates. The late financial consultant and author Harry Browne was the LP Presidential nominee in 1996 (485,000 votes - 5th place - 0.5%) and 2000 (386,000 votes - 5th place - 0.4%). Computer consulant and tax-resister Michael Badnarik was the LP Presidential nominee in 2004 (397,000 votes - 4th place - 0.3%). And, FYI, the LP typically obtains ballot status for the Presidential nominee in all 50 states. The LP also has active affiliate parties in every state. The party has been divided for years between two warring factions: a more purist/hardcore libertarian group and a more moderate "reform" faction. The hardcore group are uncompromising anarchistic-libertarians in the Ayn Rand mold. By contrast, the moderates are interested in focusing on only a handful of more popular issues (drug decriminalization, gun rights, tax cuts, etc.) in exchange for attracting a larger number of voters. Allies of the hardcore faction firmly held control of the party from the late-1980s until the moderates seized control at the 2006 national convention and gutted the party's original platform. Other related LP sites are: the Libertarian Party News (official LP newspaper), College Libertarians (official student group), LP Ballot Base (official GOTV site), GrowTheLP.org (official LP outreach), Libertarian Reform Caucus (LP moderates), LP Radicals (LP purists), Libertarian Leadership School (official LP training program), LPedia (official LP Wiki history site).. The LP web site features a link to the World's Smallest Political Quiz -- designed by LP co-founder David Nolan -- and take the quiz to see if you're a libertarian (a bit simplistic, and slanted in favor of the LP, but interesting just the same).

The Larger Third Parties
(Based Upon Performance and Ballot Access)

AMERICA FIRST PARTY - The America First Party was founded in 2002 by a large group of arch-conservative "Buchanan Brigade" defectors who splintered away from the declining Reform Party to form this uncompromisingly social conservative and fair trade party (with a strong foundation in the Religious Right movement). The AFP vows to "protect our people and our sovereignty ... promote economic growth and independence ... encourage the traditional values of faith, family, and responsibility ... ensure equality before the law in protecting those rights granted by the Creator ... [and] to clean up our corrupted political system." Within months of the AFP's founding, the AFP fielded a few candidates and established affiliates in nearly 20 states -- and they hoped to be organized in nearly all 50 states by the end of 2003. Within a year, however, those hopes were dashed. The AFP's national leaders all resigned in mid-2003 after a radical group affiliated with ultra-right militia movement leader Bo Gritz purportedly grabbed control of key party elements for a short while. In addition to Gritz, pre-existing financial problems and personality divisions within the party also contributed to the AFP's rapid collapse. The party failed to nominate any candidates in 2004, and has been almost totally inactive since then. New AFP leadership vowed in 2006 to start rebuild the party. However, the AFP has shown little activity -- beyond issuing press releases -- since then.

AMERICAN PARTY - The AP is a very small, very conservative, Christian splinter party formed after a break from the American Independent Party in 1972. US Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Governor Mel Thomson (R-NH) both flirted with the American Party's presidential nomination in 1976, but both ultimately declined. The party won its strongest finish in the 1976 presidential election -- nominee Tom Anderson carried 161,000 votes (6th place) -- but has now largely faded into almost total obscurity. The party's 1996 Presidential candidate -- anti-gay rights activist and attorney Diane Templin -- carried just 1,900 votes. Former GOP State Senator Don Rogers of California -- the 2000 nominee for President -- did even worse, as he failed to qualify for ballot status in any states. The party -- which used to field a sizable amount of state and local candidates in the 1970s -- rarely fields more than a handful of nominees nationwide in recent years, although they do claim local affiliates in 15 states. Beyond the pro-life, pro-gun and anti-tax views that you'd expect to find, the American Party also advocates an end to farm price supports/subsidies, privatization of the US Postal Service, opposes federal involvement in education, supports abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency, supports repeal of NAFTA, opposes minimum wage laws, opposes land use zoning regulations and opposes convening a Constitutional convention. Of course, the AP also opposes the United Nations, the New World Order, communism, socialism and the Trilateral Commission. In 2000 and 2004, the party's Presidential ticket embarrassingly failed to qualify for the ballot in any states and were forced to run as write-in candidates. Attorney, anti-gay activist and frequent candidate Diane Templin -- the party's 2004 Presidential nominee -- is again the party's nominee in 2008 (but again without any ballot access).

AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY - Governor George C. Wallace (D-AL) founded the AIP and ran as the its first Presidential nominee in 1968. Running on a fiery populist, right-wing, anti-Washington, anti-racial integration, anti-communist platform, Wallace carried nearly 10 million votes (14%) and won 5 Southern states. Although Wallace returned to the Democratic Party by 1970, the AIP continued to live on -- but moved even further to the right. The 1972 AIP nominee, John Birch Society leader and Congressman John G. Schmitz (R-CA), carried nearly 1.1 million votes (1.4%). The 1976 AIP Presidential nominee was former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, an unrepentant segregationist -- but he fell far below Schmitz's vote total. The AIP last fielded its own national Presidential candidate in 1980, when they nominated white supremacist ex-Congressman John Rarick (D-LA) -- who carried only 41,000 votes nationwide. 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 several 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; and the party's Montana leader was a GOP candidate for a State House seat in 2006). The ANP believes in establishing an Aryan Republic where only "White persons of unmixed, non-Semitic, European descent" can hold citizenship. They support the immediate removal of "Jews and non-whites out of all positions of government and civil service -- and eventually out of the country altogether." This miniscule party -- while purportedly denouncing violence and illegal acts -- blends left-wing economic socialism, right-wing social fascism and strong totalitarian sentiments.

AMERICAN REFORM PARTY - The ARP, formerly known as the National Reform Party Committee, splintered away from Ross Perot's Reform Party in 1997. The ARP chafed at Perot's heavy-handed desire to maintain total control over the RP. In 1998, the ARP fielded some candidates for state and federal offices in "Reform Party" primaries against candidates backed by Perot's Reform Party with mixed results. The ARP soon shifted left and opted to "endorse" (but not co-nominate) Green Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader in the 2000 elections. Since then, the ARP has become virtually invisible on the political scene -- fielding only four state/local candidates nationwide in 2002 (plus co-endorsing several other third party candidates) and no Presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008. Instead, the party spent the past few years involved defending lawsuits filed by a faction which lost control of the ARP several years ago.

BOSTON TEA PARTY - The BTP was a splinter group that broke from the Libertarian Party in 2006, when the BTP founders believed the LP was straying from its libertarian roots. The BTP platform consists of simple, one-sentence statement of principles: "The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose." In 2008 the BTP fielded its own Presidential ticket for the first time and obtained ballot access for the ticket in a few states. In terms of specifics, the BTP supports an immediate US withdrawal from Iraq, repeal of the PATRIOT Act, federal income tax cuts, and the legalization of marijuana. As of 2008, the BTP had affiliate parties in a small number of states.

CHRISTIAN FALANGIST PARTY OF AMERICA - Time for a history lesson. A "Falangist" is a follower of the authoritarian political views advocated by the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (to wit: largely a blend of 1930s fascist ideology, strong nationalism and conservative Catholic theology). Outside of Spain, Falanagists in Lebanan succeeded in electing Bashir Gemayel as President in 1982 -- but he was assassinated by Muslim terrorists before taking office. In addition to Franco and Gemayel, other deceased heroes of the movement include Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Austrian fascist Engelbert Dollfuss, and Argentinian dictator Juan Peron. The CFPA -- closely affiliated with the Lebanese branch of the Falangist movement -- wants to bring these Falangist politics to the Americas. 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." The CFPA fielded it's first candidate in 2004: CFPA National Chairman Kurt Weber-Heller was a write-in candidate for President. No CFPA candidates in 2006 and 2008.

COMMUNIST PARTY USA - The CPUSA, once the slavish propaganda tool and spy network for the Soviet Central Committee, has experienced a forced transformation in recent years. Highly classified Soviet Politburo records, made public after the fall of Soviet communism in the 1990s, revealed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) illegally funneled millions of dollars to the CPUSA to finance its activities from the 1920s to the 1980s. The flow of Soviet dollars to the CPUSA came to an abrupt halt when the Soviet communists were ousted from power in 1991 -- ultimately causing a 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 -- headed by Gus Hall and Angela Davis -- was fielded in 1984 (36,000 votes - 8th place). While the party has not directly run any candidates since the late 1980s, the CPUSA sometimes backs some candidates in various local elections (often in Northeastern industrial communities) and engages in grassroots political and labor union organizing. 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 Stalinist CPUSA leader Hall in 2000, Gorbachev-style "democratic reform communist" activist Sam Webb assumed leadership of the CPUSA. Related CPUSA websites include the People's Weekly World party newspaper, Political Affairs monthly party magazine, and the Young Communists League youth organization.

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA - The DSA is the official US full member party of the Socialist International (which includes UK's Labour Party, the French Parti Socialiste and nearly 140 other political parties around the globe). Unlike most other members of the Socialist International, the DSA never fielded candidates for office until 2006 when a candidate for Pennsylvania State House qualified for the ballot under the banner of the Social Democrats of Pennsylvania (the DSA's state affiliate). The DSA explains their mission as follows: "building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics." Thus, the DSA is less like a traditional US political party and much more like a political education and grassroots activism organization. The other US full member of the Socialist International is the Social Democrats USA (linked below). Both DSA and SD-USA each claim to be the one true heir to the ideological legacy of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and they dispute the Socialist Party-USA's claim to the title arguing it is a modern-era creation that appropriated the older name of the defunct party of Debs/Thomasy. The DSA -- then named the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) -- split from the SDUSA in 1972 in a rift over the Vietnam War (SDUSA supported the war and opposed McGovern for President; DSOC supported McGovern and opposed the war).

FREEDOM SOCIALIST PARTY / RADICAL WOMEN - The FSP was formed in 1966 by a splinter group of dissident feminist Trotskyites who broke away from the Socialist Workers Party to create a new party in the "tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky." That's the reason they also refer to their entity as "Radical Women." The FSP describe themselves as a "revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers' democracy that will guarantee full economic, social, political, and legal equality to women, people of color, gays, and all who are exploited, oppressed, and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot -- imperialism." The FSP has party organizations in the US, Canada and Australia. The FSP occasionally fields a handful of local candidates in Washington, California and New York (often in non-partisan elections) -- but has never fielded a Presidential candidate. Related FSP links include the Freedom Socialist newspaper and Red Letter Press (book publishers).

THE GREENS/GREEN PARTY USA (G/GPUSA) - When people talk about "the Green Party" in the US, they are likely NOT talking about this entity. The G/GPUSA is the older, very much smaller, and more stridently leftist of the two Green parties. While the GPUSA also nominated Nader for President back in 2000, Nader rejected the G/GPUSA nomination (while embracing the other Green party, listed above). Prominent Nader campaign strategist Jim Hightower described the two Green factions as follows in 2001: "There are two Green party organizations -- the [Green Party of the US] whose nomination Ralph accepted and the much smaller one [G/GPUSA] ... on the fringes ... [with] all sorts of damned-near-communistic ideas." Some in the G/GPUSA protested that Hightower's comments were a bit unfair -- but read the G/GPUSA 2000 Platform (which remains the current G/GPUSA platform) and decide for yourself. The G/GPUSA largely emphasizes direct action tactics over traditional electoral politics. A majorty of the G/GPUSA delegates and large number of party activists quit the group and bolted to the larger Green Party of the US in 2001 (forming an informal leftist caucus within the Green Party). The small splinter group remaining within the G/GPUSA are more dogmatically Marxist. The G/GPUSA maintain formal local affiliates only Chicago, St. Louis and Philadelphia. The G/GPUSA has fielded a few state and federal candidates over the years -- often running them in primaries against candidates affiliated with the larger Green Party of the US. Related G/GPUSA links include Synthesis/Regeneration (party magazine), and Green Politics (quarterly newspaper).

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 2000. In departing, While this splinter party shared the Reform Party's call for campaign finance and other political reforms, the IP shared Ventura disagreement with the more social conservative and trade protectionist views espoused by the Reform Party. The IP -- which describes itself as "Socially Inclusive and Fiscally Responsible" -- is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-medical marijuana, pro-gun rights and fiscally moderate. The IP has fielded crowded slates of Congressional and state candidates in Minnesota in every election since 2000. While Ventura initially said he wanted to take this Minnesota party national and possibly field a Presidential nominee in 2004, few chapter exist in other states and the party did not nominate a 2004 Presidential ticket (although the Illinois branch endorsed Nader). Ventura's retirement in 2002 was a blow to the IP, although former Democratic Congressman Tim Penny was a credible IP nominee for Minnesota Governor in 2002 (but finished a distant third). Also in 2002, IP co-founder Dean Barkley became the first IP member to serve in Congress when Ventura appointed him to the US Senate to complete the two months of a term left open by the death of incumbent Paul Wellstone (D). As for a national party organization, the Independence Party essentially doesn't have one. It seemingly consists of separately organized state affiliates with no central national leadership or organization to coordinate activities. Thus, each state entity does goes its own way -- and support (even in Minnesota) is clearly dwindling. The above link goes to the Minnesota IP. Other related links include: Independence Party of Florida (state affiliate), and the Independence Party of Illinois (state affiliate),

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 ... the party established small chapters in 15 other states since then ... and has contact persons now in all of the other states. The bulk of the IAP activities, however, remain generally concentrated in Utah. The various IAP state parties endorsed Constitution Party nominee Howard Phillips for President in 1996 and 2000. In December 2000, the IAP's national chairman issued a statement noting third parties in general registered a "dismal" performance in the Presidential election -- and questioned the IAP's future participation in Presidential campaigns. Instead, he suggested that the IAP limit itself to congressional, state and local races in the future. Since the 2002 elections, the IAP largely "adopts" conservative candidates from various other conservative parties (mainly the Constitution Party). Thus, as the party has attempted to grow as a network of activists, it has also largely withdrawn from actively fielding any IAP nominees for elective office.

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 other labor union locals. The party explains 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. The party 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 holds national conventions and seems to be making an efforts to revive itself as a forum for political debates. The Labor Party endorsed its 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 during the 2002-2004 cycles. The party organized a state affiliate in South Carolina and attempted to gain ballot access for its candidates there in 2006. Labor Party rules do not allow the concept of endorsing "fusion" candidates from other parties, and they remain committed to only nominating candidates who actually belong to the Labor Party.

LIGHT PARTY - The Light Party is is a generally liberal party -- falling somewhere between the Greens and New Age feel of the now defunct Natural Law Party -- and seems strongly centered around 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. In terms of votes, the party has nothing to show for all of Da Vid's White House runs. 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.

MODERATE PARTY - The Moderate Party is relatively new federal party founded in 2006 by Bill Scheuer. It first fielded a candidate in 2006 (Scheuer, seeking an Illinois Congressional seat), registered with the FEC, and subsequently registered as a party in Florida. The Moderates hope to expand into more states in 2008 and field a handful of congressional "peace candidates." As for issues, the party platform covers only a few main points: ending the Iraq War and returning the US "to its primary role as international peacekeeper," cut federal spending, abandon the current tax code in favor of a flat tax or consumption tax plan, protect the envinromnent, strengthen the separation of church and state, protect second amendment gun ownership rights, protect a women's right to choose on abortion, and support for same-sex civil unions. The Moderate Party is closely affiliated with the PeaceOverParty.org and Honk4Peace.org groups -- which were both created by Scheuer.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST MOVEMENT - The NSM is yet another of the several odious splinter parties seemingly created in recent years from the remnants of the old American Nazi Party of the early 1960s. "We co-operate and work with many like minded white nationalist groups such as the KKK (Ku Klux Klan), Aryan Skinheads, the Racial Nationalist Party of America and many others which are either neo Nazi or at least, racially aware of our Aryan Heritage," explains the NSM website. The NSM claims to be the largest Nazi party in the US (but so do all the other neo-Nazi splinter groups). The NSM is fielding its first candidate -- Presidential hopeful John Bowles -- in 2008. Jeff Schoep is the Commander of the NSM and boasts that Hitler is his role model. Like the other neo-Nazi groups, the NSM members march around in uniforms styled to resemble to Nazi SA brownshirts of the 1930s. The NSM vows to expel all non-Whites, Jews and gays from the US. "The leaders of the movement promise to work ruthlessly -- if need be to sacrifice their very lives -- to translate this program into action," vows the NSM website.

NATURAL LAW PARTY - The Natural Law Party was a New Age entity founded and run by followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the founder of the TM movement -- a movement that some have labeled as a cult). The NLP -- under the slogan "Bringing the light of science into politics" and using colorful imagery -- advocated holistic approaches, Transcendental Meditation (TM), "yogic flying," and other peaceful "New Age" and "scientific" remedies for much of our national and international problems. The party ran nuclear physicist John Hagelin as 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%). The NLP also made a failed bid to capture control of the Reform Party in the course of the 2000 campaign. The NLP also made a brief grab for control of the Green Party, but that effort quickly fizzled. In 2002, the NLP tried a new strategy of stealthy infiltration by running NLP activists as candidates under various party labels including Democratic, Republican, Green and Libertarian. In 2003, the NLP endorsed the Presidential candidacy of Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Unexpectedly, the NLP suddenly shuttered its doors in mid-2004 and announced it was disolved as a national party (just as it did with the other NLP entities around the globe). However -- and the reason the NLP remains posted here -- is that the NLP cut loose their various state affiliate parties to decide individually whether they also wished to disband or continue to function as independent state parties. It appears a few state NLP groups are still functioning, with the Ohio NLP remaining the most active one. The NLP entirely abandoned using electoral politics to advance their agenda and, instead, are now advocating something they call the US Peace Government.

NEW PARTY - This leftist party advocates a "democratic revolution" to advance the cause of "social, economic, & political progress" in America. Their agenda is much in the style of the Western European socialist and labor movement -- and somewhat similar to that of the late-1990s formed Labor Party (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 candidates from the like-minded Working Families Party) and focusing on grassroots organizing. The New Party, to date, has endorsed candidates in hundreds of 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 -- and ran party leader Jeff Miller as a US Senate candidate in Minnesota in 2006 -- but ran very few candidates during the years in between. While the old NUP site featured party history, an archive of past articles and an online "Marxist Study Course" -- the new version of the NUP website is devoted nearly entirely to Miller's 2006 campaign.

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