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DEMOCRATIC PARTY (DNC) - The Democrats won the White House in 2008 and 2012, won some key governorships (PA, NY, MO, MN, and CA) -- but lost control of the US House in 2010, and lost the US Senate in 2014. Democrats run the wide gamut from the near Euro-style democratic-socialist left (Barbara Lee, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Dems) and traditional liberals (Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden) to the pragmatic "centrist" moderate-to-liberal style (Hillary Clinton, Mark Warner) to the Dem center-right (Harry Reid and the New Democratic Coalition) to the dwindling GOP-style center-conservative right (Joe Manchin, Blue Dog Coalition). The 2016 presidential nomination contest saw a competitive race between the traditional Democratic establishment (Clinton) and the progressive wing (Sanders), in which the establishment prevailed. The party will aggressively seek to recapture the US Senate in 2016, but control of the US House is likely out of realistic reach this cycle. Official affiliated national Democratic sites include:

REPUBLICAN PARTY (RNC) - Republicans lost control of the Presidency in 2008 and 2012. However, the GOP came on strong in the off-year elections, recapturing control of the US House in 2010 and the US Senate in 2014. The GOP also holds several key Governorships (including TX, OH, FL, GA, MI, IL, WI and NJ). Republicans can generally be classified into several different sub-sets: traditional establishment conservatives (Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and the Club for Growth), the GOP: We're Back!"Religious Right" (Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, and the Family Research Council), libertarians (Rand Paul and the Campaign for Liberty), the "paleo-conservative" wing that backs strict anti-immigration controls (Steve King), the rapidly dwindling "centrist" or "moderate" wing (Mark Kirk, Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker), and the powerful firebrand "Tea Party" movement (Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Mike Lee). The party's 2016 presidental candidate, Donald Trump, is a political nationalist and economic populist who does not fit neatly into any of these traditional GOP factions, and in fact handily vanquished nomination rivals from each of the various other wings of the party. Official, affiliated national GOP sites include:


(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 conservative pundit 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 Howard Phillips (USTP) 1992Party 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 the 2008 election, the CP nominee had ballot status in 37 states and won 196,000 votes (5th place - 0.15%), the party's best showing to date. In 2012, former GOP Congressman Virgil Goode was the party's Presidential nominee and captured 122,000 votes (5th place - 0.09%). Longtime party activist and attorney Darrell Castle is the CP's 2016 Presidential nominee. Due to party internal fighting, a few state CP affiliates are denying Castle the ballot spot and have given their state ballot line to rival 2016 CP presidential tickets.

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 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 Vote Green Partyjust 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. 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. In 2001, the party officially converted 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. For 2008, the Greens dumped the "safe states" strategy. Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) joined the Greens in 2007 and easily captured the Green nomination in 2008. McKinney was on the ballot in 32 states and garnered 161,0000 votes (6th place - 0.1%). Physician and progressive activist Jill Stein was the Green Presidential nominee in 2012 and scored the party's best showing since the Nader days, capturing 470,000 votes (4th place - 0.4%). Stein is again the party's nominee in 2016. Official Green Party links include: Green Pages (newspaper), Global Green Network, Green Party News Center, Campus Greens, Lavender Green Caucus, National Women's Caucus, and Green Party Election Results. The Green Party Platform sets forth the party's official stances.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY - The LP, founded in 1971, bills itself as "America's largest third party" (and, along with the Greens, are definitely among the two largest third parties in the nation). The Libertarians are neither left nor right: they believe in total individual liberty (pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-home schooling, pro-gun rights, etc.) and total economic freedom (anti-welfare, anti-government regulation of business, anti-minimum wage, anti-income tax, pro-free trade). The LP espouses a classical laissez faire ideology which, they argue, means "more freedom, less government and lower taxes." Over 400 LP members currently hold various -- though fairly low level -- government offices (including lots of minor appointed officials like "School District Facilities Task Force Member" and "Town Recycling Committee Member"). In any given election year, the LP fields more local and federal candidates than any other US third party -- although the LP has clearly been eclipsed by the Greens in size since 1996 in terms of having the largest third party following and garnering more media attention. Ed Clark for President / David Koch for VP (Libertarian) 1980 Former 1988 LP Presidential nominee Ron Paul is now a Republican Congressman from Texas -- and made libertarian ideological runs for the a 2008 and 2012 GOP Presidential nomination (although Paul remains a "life member" of the LP). The LP's biggest problem: Congressmen Ron Paul and Paul Broun, humorist/journalist PJ O'Rourke, the Republican Liberty Caucus and others in the GOP who attract ideological libertarians into the political arena by arguing they can bring about libertarian change more easily under the Republican label. In 2008, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) and former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) both switched to the LP and campaigned for the party's Presidential nomination -- and Barr won the nomination (but Barr rejoined the GOP in 2011). As the LP nominee, Barr had ballot status in 45 states and captured 525,000 votes (4th place - 0.4%). In 2012, former GOP New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was the LP Presidential nominee, had ballot status in 48 states, and scored the highest vote total in the party's history: 1,276,000 (3rd place - 1%). Governor Johnson, joined by former GOP Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as his VP runningmate, are the 2016 ticket. It is electorally the strongest ticket in the history of the party. The LP also has active affiliate parties in every state. The party has been divided for years between two fighting factions: a more purist/hardcore libertarian group and a more moderate "reform" faction. The hardcore group are uncompromising anarchistic-libertarians in the Ayn Rand mold. By contrast, the moderates (Gary Johnson and others) 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 somewhat softened the party's platform. Other related LP sites are: the LP News (official LP newspaper), College Libertarians (official student group), LPedia (official LP Wiki history site). For many years now, the LP web site features a link to the World's Smallest Political Quiz (designed by LP co-founder David Nolan) -- it is a bit simplistic, and slanted in favor of the LP, but interesting just the same.


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 America First Partythe declining Reform Party to form this uncompromisingly social conservative and fair trade party (with a strong foundation in the Religious Right movement). The AFP vows to "protect our people and our sovereignty ... promote economic growth and independence ... encourage the traditional values of faith, family, and responsibility ... ensure equality before the law in protecting those rights granted by the Creator ... [and] to clean up our corrupted political system." Within months of the AFP's founding, the AFP fielded a few candidates and established affiliates in nearly 20 states -- and they hoped to be organized in nearly all 50 states by the end of 2003. Within a year, however, those hopes were dashed. The AFP's national leaders all resigned in mid-2003 after a radical group affiliated with ultra-right militia movement leader Bo Gritz purportedly grabbed control of key party elements for a short while. In addition to Gritz, pre-existing financial problems and personality divisions within the party also contributed to the AFP's rapid collapse. The party failed to nominate any candidates in 2004, and has been almost totally inactive since then. New AFP leadership vowed in 2006 to start rebuild the party. However, the AFP has shown little activity since then beyond issuing press releases, making website updates, and running just one candidate in Michigan for city council in 2008.

AMERICAN PARTY - The AP is a very small, very conservative, Christian splinter party formed after a break from the American Independent Party in 1972. US Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Governor Mel Thomson (R-NH) American Party - 1976 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. Beyond the pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay 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. The AP also opposes the United Nations, the New World Order, communism, socialism and the Trilateral Commission. Since 2000, the party's Presidential ticket embarrassingly failed to qualify for the ballot in any states and were forced to run as write-in candidates. Conservative activist Tom Hoefling is the party's 2016 presidential nominee. Note: This party is NOT associated with the American Party of South Carolina -- a one-state only party organization -- which is a moderate/centrist party.

AMERICAN FREEDOM PARTY - The American Freedom Party (originally named American Third Position or A3P) is a white supremacist political party (they prefer to call themselves "White Nationalists") founded in 2010. In various policy statements, the AFP state its mission is "to represent White Americans before the political arena." This racist party espouses a non-interventionist foreign policy, calls for strict controls on non-white immigration to the US, and touts the slogan "Diversity is a Codeword for White Genocide." The party began fielding candidates on the ballot in 2011. The AFP nominated white supremaclist activist Merlin Miller for President in 2012. Miller achieved ballot status in three states but captured only 2,714 votes nationwide (19th place). Miller left the AFP in 2015, forming a new white supremacist splinter group called the American Eagle Party. White supremacist Bob Whitaker, who wrote a widely-circulated racist creed known as "The Mantra", is the AFP's 2016 Presidential nominee.

AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY - Governor George C. Wallace Congressman John G. Schmitz (AIP) 1972(D-AL) founded the AIP and ran as the its first Presidential nominee in 1968. Running on a fiery populist, right-wing, anti-Washington, anti-racial integration, anti-communist platform, Wallace carried nearly 10 million votes (14%) and won 5 Southern states. Although Wallace returned to the Democratic Party by 1970, the AIP continued to live on -- but moved even further to the right. The 1972 AIP nominee, John Birch Society leader and Congressman John G. Schmitz (R-CA), carried nearly 1.1 million votes (1.4%). The 1976 AIP Presidential nominee was former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, an unrepentant segregationist -- but he fell far below Schmitz's vote total. The AIP last fielded its own national Presidential candidate in 1980, when they nominated white supremacist ex-Congressman John Rarick (D-LA) -- who carried only 41,000 votes nationwide. Since the mid-1980s, the AIP has only operated and fielded candidates in California. From 1992-2007, the AIP was a state affiliate party of the national Constitution Party (the AIP simply co-nominated the Constitution Party's Presidential nominees in 1992-2004). In 2008, the AIP broke from the Constitution Party and instead affiliated with the rival America's Party; then in 2012 it became the core of a nascent American Independent Party of the United States.

AMERICA'S PARTY - Former Ambassador and frequent GOP Presidential candidate Alan Keyes created this party in 2008, after he quit the Republican race for President and failed to win the Constitution Party's nomination. Originally named America's Independent Party, they shortened their name to America's Party in 2011. The party espouses a social Christian conservative platform: pro-life (no exceptions), anti-gay rights, pro-gun rights, pro-strong military ("peace through strength"), pro-Iraq War, anti-tax (supports total repeal of federal income taxes), and opposes federal spending on any programs not explicitly authorized by the US Constitution. In 2008, Keyes was on the ballot in three states as the party's Presidential nominee and captured a total of 47,768 votes (7th place - 0.04%). In a directly related coup, this party wrested control of the American Independence Party of California away from the Constitution Party, thus capturing ballot status in the state for the 2008/2010 elections. Interestingly, the party does not accept any financial donations. Party national chair Tom Hoefling was the party's 2012 Presidential nominee and captured 41,000 votes (8th place - 0.03%). Other official site: AmericasPartyNews.com.

BETTER FOR AMERICA PARTY - Wealthy conservative GOP donor John Kingston created Better for America as a one-time (2016 election) electoral platform to place an anti-Donald Trump (and anti-Hillary Clinton) center-conservative presidential candidate on state ballots. BFA has already secured ballot status in New Mexico, and is now seeking it "several" more states. Former Gov & GW Bush Administration cabinet member Christie Whitman (R-NJ) is also a leader of the BFA movement. The party does not yet have a 2016 nominee.

CITIZENS PARTY - Not to be confused with the progressive party by the same name in the 1980s, this new Citizens Party was launched in 2004 as the New American Independent Party. In 2011, the party changed its name to Citizens Party. The CP vows to become a national entity. The CP describe their ideology as a "pragmatic ... mixture of what might appear to be liberal, moderate and conservative views." The party supports fair trade (reciprocity), and opposed free trade policies, NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO; supports gun ownership rights; supports gay marriage and is pro-choice; wants tougher animal cruelty laws; supports legalizing medically assisted suicide; wants to create tax incentives to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US and protect US family farms; opposed the Wall Street bailout; and opposes a "neo-conservative foreign policy." To date the party has only ballot qualified one candidate under its name: a Pennsylvania state legislative candidate in 2006.

COMMUNIST PARTY USA - The CPUSA -- once the slavish propaganda tool and spy network for the Soviet Central Committee -- experienced a forced transformation in recent years. Highly classified Soviet Politburo records, made public after the fall of Soviet communism in the 1990s, revealed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) illegally CPUSAfunneled millions of dollars to the CPUSA to finance its activities from the 1920s to the 1980s. The flow of Soviet dollars to the CPUSA came to an abrupt halt when the Soviet communists were ousted from power in 1991 -- ultimately causing a total overhaul of CPUSA activities. Founded in 1924, the CPUSA reached its peak vote total in 1932 with nominee William Z. Foster (102,000 votes - 4th place). The last national CPUSA ticket -- headed by Stalinist Gus Hall and 60s radical activist Angela Davis -- was fielded in 1984 (36,000 votes - 8th place). While the party has not directly run any candidates since the late 1980s, the CPUSA sometimes backs some candidates in various local elections (often in Northeastern industrial communities) and engages in grassroots political and labor union organizing. As for issues, the CPUSA calls for free universal health care, elimination of the federal income tax on people earning under $60,000 a year, free college education, drastic cuts in military spending, "massive" public works programs, the outlawing of "scabs and union busting," abolition of corporate monopolies, public ownership of energy and basic industries, huge tax hikes for corporations and the wealthy, and various other programs designed to "beat the power of the capitalist class ... [and promote] anti-imperialist freedom struggles around the world." The CPUSA's underlying Marxist ideology remains strong. However, it has evolved now -- after the death of Hall in 2000 -- into a Gorbachev-style "democratic reform communist" movement headed by activist Sam Webb. Under Webb's leadership, the CPUSA now touts a platform of true democratic socialism and trade unionism, and frequently encourages votes for Democratic candidates as a pragmatic electoral tactic to defeat conservatives. Other official CPUSA websites include the People's World party newspaper, Political Affairs monthly party magazine, and the Young Communists League youth organization.

FREEDOM SOCIALIST PARTY - The FSP was formed in 1966 by a splinter group of dissident feminist Trotskyists who broke away from the Socialist Workers Party to create a new party in the "tradition of Freedom Socialist PartyMarx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky." The FSP has always emphasized "black liberation and social feminsm" -- thus the reason Radical Women is an official alternate name used by the FSP. The FSP describe themselves as a "revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers' democracy that will guarantee full economic, social, political, and legal equality to women, people of color, gays, and all who are exploited, oppressed, and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot -- imperialism." The FSP has party organizations in the US, Canada and Australia, and today remains staunchly Trotskyist in ideology. The FSP occasionally fields a handful of local candidates in Washington, California and New York (often in non-partisan elections). The FSP also fielded their first Presidential candidate in 2012: socialist activist Stephen Durham, who ran as a write-in when he failed to achieve ballot status in any state. Official FSP links include the Freedom Socialist newspaper and Red Letter Press (book publishers).

THE GREENS/GREEN PARTY USA (G/GPUSA) - When people talk about "the Green Party" in the US, they are likely NOT talking about this entity. The G/GPUSA is the older, very much smaller, and more stridently leftist of the two Green parties. While the GPUSA also nominated Nader for President back in 2000, Nader rejected the The Greens (1980s)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 in Chicago and St. Louis. The G/GPUSA has fielded a few state and federal candidates over the years -- often running them in Green primaries against candidates affiliated with the larger Green Party of the US. Related G/GPUSA links include Green Social Thought (party magazine), and Green Politics (quarterly e-newspaper).

INDEPENDENCE PARTY OF AMERICA - After two years of openly feuding with Ross Perot's allies in the Reform Party, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and his supporters bolted from the party to launch the new Independence Party in 2000. While this splinter party shared the Reform Party's call for campaign finance and other political reforms, the IP shared Ventura's disagreement with the more social conservative and trade protectionist views espoused by the Reform Party. The IP -- which describes itself as "Socially Inclusive and Fiscally Responsible" -- is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-medical marijuana, pro-gun rights and fiscally moderate. Independence Party The IP has fielded crowded slates of Congressional and state candidates in Minnesota in every election since 2000. While Ventura initially said he wanted to take this Minnesota party national and possibly field a Presidential nominee in 2004, few chapter exist in other states and the party to date has never nominated a Presidential ticket. Ventura's gubernatorial retirement in 2002 was a blow to the IP, although former Democratic Congressman Tim Penny was a credible IP nominee for Minnesota Governor in 2002 (but finished a distant third). Also in 2002, IP co-founder Dean Barkley became the first IP member to serve in Congress when Ventura appointed him to the US Senate to complete the two months of a term left open by the death of incumbent Paul Wellstone (D). As for a national party organization, the Independence Party essentially does not really have one. It seemingly consists of a few separately-organized state affiliates with at most a very informal link to the tiny central national organization which doesn't seem to coordinate activities between the states. Thus, each state entity goes its own way -- and support has clearly dwindled over the past decade. Surviving state parties are the Minnesota Independence Party, Independence Party of Florida, and Independence Party of New York State.

Independent American PartyINDEPENDENT AMERICAN PARTY - The small Independent American Party has existed for years in several Western states, with an ideology grounded at least in part in conservative Mormon political beliefs. In fact, the party's name is derived from an 1844 Mormon prophesy by Mosiah Hancock. Converting the unaffiliated IAP state party organizations -- united by a common Religious Right ideology (similar to the Constitution Party) -- into a national IAP organization was an effort started in 1998 by members of Utah IAP. The Idaho IAP and Nevada IAP subsequently affiliated with the fledgling US-IAP in 1998. Since then, the party has established small chapters in some other states, but shows no real signs of any real growth. The bulk of the IAP activities remain concentrated in Utah, Nevada and Oregon. The various IAP state parties endorsed Constitution Party nominee Howard Phillips for President in 1996 and 2000. In December 2000, the IAP's national chairman issued a statement noting third parties in general registered a "dismal" performance in the Presidential election -- and questioned the IAP's future participation in Presidential campaigns. Instead, he suggested that the IAP limit itself to congressional, state and local races in the future. The party routinely fields numerous candidates each election year in Utah and Nevada. In 2012, the IAP returned to the Presidential arena and nominated businessman Will Christensen, who was on the ballot in just one states (4,500 votes - 13th place).

Justice Party of the USJUSTICE PARTY - Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, a former Democrat, created this party in 2011 as a new national political vehicle for disgruntled citizens who believed the Democratic Party was not sufficiently progressive. The Justice Party supports universal health care, economic justice to financial disparity, and LGBT equality, backs the Kyoto Protocols to reduce climate change, and opposes "the wars of the Bush-Obama Presidency" and domestic spying programs. The party fielded Anderson as the party's Presidential candidate in 2012, and he obtained ballot statuts in 16 states (43,000 votes - 7th place - 0.03%). The party has also run candidates for US Senate, congress, and other offices. The goal of the Justice Party is to ultimately supplant the Greens as the leading progressive political party in the US. Anderson said he would not run again for President in 2016, as he was supporting US Senator Bernie Sanders. It may be too early to tell, but with Anderson not running in 2016, it may already mark the quick end of the Justice Party.

LIGHT PARTY - The Light Party is a miniscule New Age party almost entirely centered around party founder "Da Vid, M.D., Wholistic Physician, Human Ecologist & Artist." He was also the party's write-in candidate for President in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. The party promotes holistic medicine, national health insurance, organic foods, solar energy, nuclear disarmament and a flat tax. The founder is the only candidate this party has ever fielded for office.

MODERN WHIG PARTY - Seizing the name of the long dead Whig Party (1833-1856) of Presidents Zachary Taylor, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore, this new Modern Whig Party was launched in 2008. Nearly all of the party founders and state chairs are Iraq/Afghan War veterans. These new Whigs explain themselves as follows: "We represent moderate voters from all walks of life who cherry-pick between traditional Democratic and Republican ideals in what has been called the Modern Whig Philosophy. This includes general principles of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and bold social progression." They are centrists -- vaguely claiming they have "tens of thousands of members" -- who support a strong military, energy independence, increased funding of the sciences and education, more spending on veterans and veteran families, and oppose legislating morality. The party has established state party affiliates around the nation and fielded a few candidates for Congress and state legislature.

OBJECTIVIST PARTY - Founded in 2008, the party "seeks to promote Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm." Translation: They support a platform nearly identical to that of the Libertarian Party. Party founder Tom Stevens -- who is also active with the Libertarians, often fighting with party leaders -- was party's nominee for President in 2008 (ballot access in 2 states - 755 votes) and 2012 (ballot access in 2 states - 4,091 votes - 16th place). The Objectivist Party is unaffiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute or any prominent figures from Rand's objectivist movement.

PARTY FOR SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION - The Party of Socialism & Liberation (PSL) is alternatately called "a revolutionary Marxist party" created "to be a vehicle for the multinational working class in the struggle for socialism ... Only a multinational party can create the unity necessary to defeat the most powerful capitalist class the world has ever seen ... We aim for revolution in the United States ... We want a revolution; and, we work hard to make it happen." Additionally, the PSL explains that "the most crucial requirement for [PSL] membership is the dedication to undertake this most important and most necessary of all tasks: building a new revolutionary workers party in the heart of world imperialism." The PSL was founded in 2006 by a breakaway faction of the communist revolutionary wing of the Workers World Party. The PSL espouses a pro-Cuba/pro-China view, and the iconic Che Guevarra's call for continual world revolution against capitalism. The PSL fielded its first candidates in 2008: a Presidential ticket and Congressional candidates. Presidential nominee Gloria LaRiva was on the ballot in 12 states in 2008 and captured 6,808 votes (11th place - 0.005%). The PSL nominated Peta Lindsay for Presidential in 2012 -- even though she was constitutionally ineligible to serve due to being underage -- but she was still on the ballot in 13 states and captured 9,400 votes (11th place - 0.01%). LaRiva will again be the PSL presidential nominee in 2016, making it her 7th time on a presidential ticket. The PSL also sponsors and/or directs numerous popular front groups including International ANSWER, People's Power Assemblies, International Action Center, Bail Out the People Network, May 1st Coalition, and many others. The party's offiical newspaper is Liberation and the PSL's campaign website is VotePSL.org.

PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY - Founded in the 1960s as a left-wing party opposed to the Vietnam War, the party reached its peak of support in 1968 when it nominated Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver for President. Peace & Freedom Party - 1968Although a convicted felon and an odious personality, Cleaver carried nearly 37,000 votes (ironically, Cleaver ultimately became a Reagan Republican in the early 1980s, and was later a crack cocaine addict in the late 1980s, before emerging as an environmental activist in the late 1990s). Famed "baby doctor" Benjamin Spock -- a socialist and staunch opponent of the Vietnam War -- was the PFP Presidential nominee in 1972. Since then, the small party has largely been dominated by battling factions of Marxist-Leninists (aligned with the communist Workers World Party (WWP), which later split into the militant revolutionary Party of Socialism & Liberation (PSL)), Trotskyists, and true democratic socialists. The PFP today is small is a self-described "feminist socialist party" with activities centered only in California. In 1996, the PFP successfully blocked an attempt by the WWP to capture the PFP's Presidential nomination (and a California ballot spot) for their party's nominee. In a sign of the party's serious decline in support, the PFP's poor showing in the 1998 statewide elections caused the party to lose its California ballot status. The PFP finally regained California ballot status in 2003 -- and immediately fielded a sizable slate of candidates. Native American activist Leonard Peltier -- an imprisoned cop killer (or innocent political prisoner, depending on your views) -- was the PFP nominee for President in 2004 (ballot status in one state - 27,500 votes). In 2008, the party let consumer activist Ralph Nader use their California ballot line in support of his Independent run for President. In 2009, the party announced plans to try expanding into "a nationwide electoral party dedicated to socialism, feminism, democracy, environmentalism, and racial equality." The communist PSL's candidates captured several key PFP statewide candidate nominations in California in 2010, but then lost control again in 2012 when the PFP nominated comic actress Rosanne Barr for President. Barr was on the ballot in 3 states and captured 67,500 votes (6th place - 0.05%).

PIRATE PARTY - The US Pirate PartyUS Pirate Party is the US affiliate of the European-based Pirate Party International umbrella group, a global movement founded in 2006 with affiliates active in nearly 70 nations. The USPP was founded the same year. The various Pirate parties support reform of copyright laws to reflect open source and free culture values, government transparency, protection of privacy and civil liberties, rolling back corporate personhood and corporate welfare, evidence-based policy, and egalitarianism and meritocracy based on the hacker ethic. "We support the legalization of sharing movies, music and other art online, so our opponents would call us the Pirate Party anyway. We feel it’s better to reclaim that name. Historically, pirate ships had a tradition of egalitarian radical democracy, and provided a refuge for social outcasts and escaped slaves from a society unfriendly to them. We’re anti-establishment, so pirates declaring mutiny seems like a good metaphor for us. We believe politics and activism can have a sense of humor while still being dead serious," they playfully explain. The USPP began fielding political candidates in 2012. The USPP has active chapters in 8 states, is a currently forming organizations in 7 more states.

PROHIBITION PARTY - "If you are a reform-minded conservative and a non-drinker, the Prof. Harold Munn for President (Prohibition) 1964Prohibition Party wants you," exclaimed an official party message in 2002. The Prohibition Party -- founded in 1869 and billing themselves as "America's Oldest Third Party" -- espouses a generally ultra-conservative Christian social agenda mixed with anti-drug and international anti-communist views. The party's strongest showing was in 1892, when former Congressman John Bidwell received nearly 273,000 votes (2.3% - 4th place). The late, long-time Prohibition Party's leader Earl Dodge, the party's six-time presidential nominee, scored the all-time low for the party (140 votes in 2004). Retired Baptist pastor Jack Fellure was the party's 2012 Presidential nominee (518 votes - 27th place). Party newsletter editor Jim Hedges, a former Pennsylvania town tax assessor, is the party's 2016 presidential nominee. The party also fields one or two local candidates from time to time. Additional party-related web sites are the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society and Facebook: Prohibition Party.

REFORM PARTY - Once a rapidly growing and populist third party, the Reform Party first shifted far to the right during 1999-2002, before imploding into insignificance due to factional in-fighting. After the shift, it quickly experienced massive waves of conservative defections away into the Constitution Party and the America First Party in 2002, before withering into an insignificant shadow of its former glory years. First, some history: after running as an Independent in 1992, billionaire Texas businessman Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995 as his vehicle for converting his independent movement into a permanent political party. In 1996, Perot ran as the Reform Party's presidential nominee (8,085,000 votes - 8%).Reform Party - 1996 The party originally reflected Perot's center-conservative fiscal policies and anti-GATT/NAFTA views -- while avoiding taking any official positions on social issues. 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. After several nasty and public battles, the Ventura faction quit the RP in 2000 and the old Perot faction lost control of the party in court to the Buchanan faction later in 2000. That gave the Buchanan faction control of the party's $12.6 million in federal matching funds. 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 tiny RP today. In the aftermath of the 2000 elections, it was clear that Buchanan failed in his efforts to establish a viable, conservative third party organization. Buchanan was on the ballot in 49 states, captured 449,000 votes (4th place - 0.4%), and later told reporters his foray into third party politics was likely a mistake. In 2002, the party splintered further, losing most of its conservative activists to other right-wing third parties. The RP was just about bankrupt by late 2004, having less than $50 remaining in its bank account. The party ran technology consultant Andre Barnett for President in 2012, but he only secured ballot status in one state (962 votes - 26th place). A few isolated state party affiliates remain active, fielding candidates from time to time.

Socialist Democrats USASOCIAL DEMOCRATS, USA - The SD-USA has only fielded candidates for local office, and has been only nominally active since the 1980s. The SD-USA is a small group more ideologically centrist, staunchly anti-communist leftists who were more directly aligned with the Democratic Party in the 1970s-1980s than the more traditionally leftist Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). In fact, the views of the SPUSA in 1972 caused the DSA (then named the DSOC) to splinter away in a ideological rift. The SD-USA refused to support George McGovern for President that year because of his opposition to the Vietnam War -- versus the DSOC, which supported McGovern and an immediate end to the war. SD-USA also disputes the claims of DSA and SPUSA to be the true heirs to the legacy of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, claiming instead that the SD-USA "is the only legitimate successor" to the party of Debs and Thomas. However, by 2010, SD-USA eventually ceded all rights to the name "Socialist Party USA" to the SPUSA (and, interestingly, retired SPUSA national chair and two-time Presidential nominee David McReynolds now writes columns for the SD-USA's website). The Socialist International stripped SD-USA of full member status in 2007, deeming SD-USA to be a defunct organization. The SD-USA remnant which still functioned was a mere shell of what it once was several decades ago. SD-USA began a reorganizing process in 2009, with a new leadership team. SD-USA held a nation convention in 2012 and is currently focused on rebuilding the group.

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 Eugene Debs for Presidentof the left-wing faction of the Democratic Party. Unlike most of the other political parties on this page with "Socialist" in their names, the SP has always been staunchly anti-communist. The original Socialist Party USA was founded by labor union leader, ex-Democratic elected official and pacifist Eugene V. Debs in 1900, the SP was once a mighty national third party. Debs himself was the SP nominee for president five times between 1900 and 1920. Debs received over 900,000 votes (6%) in 1912 -- the SP's best showing ever. Former minister and journalist Norman Thomas was the SP Presidential nominee 6 times between 1928 and 1948 -- his best showing being 883,000 votes (2.2%) in 1932. The SP also elected congressmen, mayors and other officials throughout the 20th Century (largely during the 1910s through 1950s). The party withered and splintered so much that, by the last 1972, it barely existed. The Democratic Socialists of American and the Social Democrats USA -- both linked above -- are the other splinter groups from the original Debs/Thomas SP entity. Activists from the old SP reconstituted the party in 1976 and began to again field SP national tickets for the first time in over two decades. Community activist Stewart Alexander was the SPUSA President nominee in 2012 (ballot status in 3 states - 4,430 votes - 14th place). The party's youth wing -- the Young People's Socialist League -- has been in existence since the early 1900s. Other SPUSA sites: Socialist National Committee / VoteSocialist.org (campaigns/candidates) and The Socialist.

SOCIALIST ACTION - Socialist Action is a Trotskyist political party of "revolutionary socialists" originally founded by expelled members of the Socialist Workers Party. While the SA shares the SWP's pro-Castro views, the SA still tries to retain its Trotskyist ideological roots (versus the SWP, which has drifted away from Trotskyism towards a more Soviet communist ideology). The SA states that they "oppose the Democrats and Republicans, all capitalist political parties, and all capitalist governments and their representatives everywhere ... [and] Stalinist and neo-Stalinist regimes from the ex-Soviet Union to China." This communist party has fielded some local political candidates in the San Francisco Bay area over the years, and ran its first congressional candidate in 2010 (in Connecticut). Other official sites: Youth for Socialist Action and VoteSocialistAction.

Socialist Alternative PartySOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE PARTY - Socialist Alternative, founded in 1986 and originally named the Labor Militant, split from the Labor Party in the 1990s in order to pursue a more radical leftist and anti-globalization party. The party is the US member of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), an international association of Trotskyist political paries from nearly 50 nations. SocAlt is not as radical as some Marxist parties, as they espouse democratic socialism and have formed alliances of convenience with non-socialists for political advantage. for example, the party backed Ralph Nader (Green) for President in each of his four runs because they thought his candidacy would help "accelerate the trend of disintigration of the two-party system." The party wants to build a socialist mass workers movement, and is critical of the Leninist-Stalinist historical dictatorships as a perversion of true Marxism. The party supports a $15 national minimum wage, universal free health care, a guaranteed $500/week minimum income for all, public ownership of major banks, forcing bankrupt companies into public ownership, free college education, and slashing the military budget. In a major upset in 2013, Kshama Sawant became the first party member to win an election when she won a seat on the Seattle City Council -- and another candidate nearly won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council on the same day. The party currently has chapters in 15 states.

SOCIALIST EQUALITY PARTY - The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) Jerry White for President (SEP) 1996was originally named the Workers League (WL). The WL was founded in 1966 as a Trotskyist communist group closely associated with the electoral campaigns of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The goal of these Trotskyist groups was a build a working-class labor party in the US affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International (the global Trotskyist umbrella network). They believe that "the egalitarian and internationalist legacy of the Russian Revolution" could have succeeded, but was "betrayed by Stalinism" and its progeny. When the SWP drifted away from Trotskyism in the early 1980s, the WL broke with the SWP and began fielding its own candidates. The WL fielded its first Presidential ticket in 1984. The WL later renamed itself as the Socialist Equality Party in 1994. The Michigan-based SEP regularly fields Congressional and local candidates, mainly in Michigan and Ohio. The SEP is very realistic about its candidates, acknowledging a campaign is an opportunity to "present a socialist alternative to the demagogy and lies of the establishment parties and the mass media." Frequent SEP Presidential nominee Jerry White was on the ballot in three states in 2012 and captured 1,279 votes (21st place). The SEP's news site -- the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) -- is updated daily with articles, analysis, history, etc., written with a hardcore internationalist, Trotskyist perspective.

Socialist Workers Party - 1980SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY - Originally a pro-Trotsky faction within the Communist Party USA, the SWP was formed in 1938 after the CPUSA -- acting on orders from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin -- expelled the American Trotskyites. The SWP was for many years the leading voice of Trotskyism in the USA. Since the 1980s, the SWP has drifted away from Trotskyism and moved towards the brand of authoritarian politics espoused by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro's style of Marxism (the SWP sites calls communist Cuba "a shining example for all workers"). The SWP has run candidates for President in every election since 1948 -- plus many federal and local candidates nationwide. Marxist political organizer James Harris -- the party's three-time SWP Presidential nominee -- was again the candidate in 2012 (ballot status in six states - 4,117 votes - 15th place). The party's weekly newspaper The Militant is the SWP's only online presence.

TAX WALL STREET PARTY - This party, founded in 2013, seems to have appropriated the populist anti-corporate message of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- although the real story of this party is far removed from OWS. The TWSP is run by Webster Tarpley, a vocal conspiracy theorist and longtime activist in the LaRouche political cult. The party supports a 1% sales tax on all Wall Street transactions, wants to "nationalize" the Federal Reserve to make it more responsible to the public, supports single-payer nationalized health care for all, and wants a 15% protectionist tariff (tax) on all imported goods. The party ran a canidate for NYC Mayor in 2013, and a US Senate candidate in Nebraska in 2014 (later disqualified from the ballot).

TWELVE VISIONS PARTY - In a nutshell, TVP describes their libertarian "Prime Law" philosophy as follows: "The purpose of human life is to prosper and live happily. The function of government is to provide the conditions that let individuals fulfill that purpose. The Prime Law guarantees those conditions by forbidding the use of initiatory force, fraud, or coercion by any person or group against any individual, property, or contract. No person, group of persons, or government shall initiate force, threat of force, or fraud against any individual’s self, property, or contract. Force is morally-and-legally justified only for protection from those who violate [it]. No exceptions shall exist." Got it? The party also says it "reveals the 3000-Year-Old Secret brought to you by the Twelve Visions Party National Executive Committee." They fielded TVP co-founder Jill Reed for President in 2012 (2,877 votes - ballot status in one state).

US Pacifist PartyUNITED STATES PACIFIST PARTY - This tiny political party fielded party founder Bradford Lyttle as a write-in candidate for President in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012 (and ran a US Senate candidate in Colorado in 1998). In 2008, for the first time, Lyttle achieved ballot status in one state (110 votes), a feat he again matched in 2016. The USPP opposes military actions in all circumstances and wants to transform the US military into "a non-violent defense and humanitarian service corps." The USPP platform advocates generally left-wing political stances and slashing the military budget to "zero."

UNITY PARTY OF AMERICA - This small centrist political party was founded after the 2004 elections. For the first decade the party was only active in Colorado, and began fielding candidates there starting in 2006. In 2016, the party began expanding, launching affiiates in many states and vowing to field a presidential ticket. The party supports a balanced budget constitutional amendment, federal term limits, replacing the federal income tax with other reveue sources, development of clean alternative energy sources, and ending gerrymandering by having all election districts drawn by nonpartisan panels of judges.

VETERANS PARTY OF AMERICA - The Veterans Party of AmericaVeterans Party was founded in 2003, but legally disolved in 2013. In 2014, the group began a new attemp to reorganize because of their anger over the 2013 federal government shutdown. The party explains it was "formed when Congress chose to balance the budget by reducing the cost of living allowance for military retirees, including those medically retired after sustaining injuries during combat with the enemy." The party describes itself as "moderate and inclusive." The party has qualified for ballot access in at least one state (Mississippi) for its 2016 Presidential slate, with USAF veteran Chris Keniston leading the party's first national ticket. It's platform can be viewed on their website.

WORKERS WORLD PARTY - The WWP was formed in 1959 by a pro-Chinese communist faction that split from the Socialist Workers Party. Although the WWP theoretically supports worker revolutions, the WWP supported the Soviet actions that crushed worker uprisings in Hungary in the 1950s, Griswold--Holmes (WWP) 1980Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and Poland in the early 1980s. The WWP was largely an issue-oriented revolutionary party until they fielded their first candidate for president in 1980. The militant WWP believes that "capitalist democracy produces nothing but hot air" and that "the power of the workers and the oppressed is in the streets, not in Washington." FBI Director Louis Freeh attacked the WWP in his May 2001 remarks before a US Senate committee: "Anarchists and extremist socialist groups -- many of which, such as the Workers World Party -- have an international presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in the United States" of rioting and street violence. The more revoltionary wing of the WWP broke away in 2006 to form the Party of Socialism & Liberation (PSL). After the WWP-PSL split, the WWP failed to field a Presidential ticket in 2008 and 2012. In 2016, the party nominated longtime party activist Monica Moorhead for President. Moorhead was previously the WWP presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000. Other official site: Workers World (WWP news site).

WORKING FAMILIES PARTY - The WFP, founded in 1998 by a coalition of labor unions, was for many years a one-state party which operated only in New York. During 2006-08, the WFP expanded by launching new chapters in a few other states. By 2008, the WFP obtained ballot access and nominated congressional candidates in New York, Connecticut and Oregon. The WFP essentially operates as a "fusion" party which co-nominates candidates of established parties. This fusion move allows WFP candidates -- who are almost exclusively Democrats -- to appear on a second ballot line in the same election. Fusion "gives voters a way to 'vote their values' without spoiling an election," explain the WFP's website. The WFP exists to advance a pro-labor union political agenda focused almost entirely on liberal economic and employment issues.

(Parties that have yet to field or endorse any candidates for office)

AMERICAN EAGLE PARTY (AMERICAN FREEDOM UNION) - Launched in 2015, the AEP is the political party of the white supremacist splinter group American Freedom Union, which formed from a 2014 split in the American Freedom Party. The AEP/AFU founder is Merlin Miller, who was the AFP's 2012 presidential nominee. Both parties have nearly identical right-wing platforms opposing non-white immigraton to the US, and railing against communism, the "New World Order" and the decline of white "European-American" culture in the US. No candidates fielded to date.

AMERICAN PATRIOT PARTY - The APP, established in 2003, was "founded on the basic principals set forth by our founding fathers, that the federal government should only have the powers set forth in the framework of the Constitution and all other power to be delegated back to the states. Although everyone has thier own opinions on all issues, we believe it is up to the states to decide what should and should not be mandated, banned or regulated." The APP supports a crackdown on illegal immigration, making English fluency a requirement of US citizenship, abolishing the IRS and repealing the federal income tax, imposing steeper taxes and tariffs on imported goods, abolition of the centralized Federal Reserve System, withdrawing the US from the Untied Nations, imposing a foreign policy of non-interventionism, and ending federal involvement in education. No candidates fielded to date, but the APP have formed party chapters in several states -- with the Oregon state party group taking the lead in attempting to organize a national effort. The APP vows that their candidates will be "statesmen, not politicians." They endorsed Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) for President in 2008, but did not nominate a candidate.

CANARY PARTY - Founded in 2011, this unusual party is entirely focused upon the issue of health care -- particularly as relates to autism. According to the party's official history, Revoltuionary Communist Partythey were founded by "a group of parents of children who were suffering from neurological and autoimmune disorders, and who had been active for years in their efforts to get mainstream medicine to address the causes of, and find treatments for, their children's poor health, faced the realization that while they had been earnest in their engagement of both the private medical industry and government public health officials, the medical establishment was not working in good faith with them." This party believes the pharmaceutical industry -- abetted by government and medical profession silence -- have "launched a massive and uncontrolled experiment on a generation of Americans. In an unprecedented intervention in human immune development, this complex has succeeded in promoting an explosion in medical industry revenues and profits; this explosion has been accompanied, however, by an epidemic of death, disability and chronic disease, much of which can be traced directly to these medical and chemical exposures." This single-issue party wants to address these concerns with federal government action.

CENTRIST PARTY / CENTRIST MOVEMENT - Professor Charles Wheelan founded the Centrist Party movement in 2013, based upon ideas espoused in his manifesto book, as a moderate "insurgency of the rational." According to the party's website, they believe their platform "should not be a series of muddling compromises between the two parties; rather, it should take the best of both parties, cut loose the tails, and build something better." The party aspires to run candidates for US Senate, where they believe they can elect candidates by plurality votes in three-way races in key states. By winning just a few Senate seats, the party believes they can control the balance pf power in DC, forcing a shift towards the ideological center between the two major parties.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY USA - Conservative Party USAFounded in 2009, this conservative party has yet to field any candidates. The party's mission statement reads as follows: "To re-establish the limits and boundaries of Government as framed in the Constitution." They claim they were formed as a new party because the GOP cannot be trusted ("The Republican Party has consistently failed to uphold conservative principles ... Trying to change the GOP is like drilling holes in water because they donít stand for anything except getting elected"). This is how the party describes their agenda: "The primary duty of the President is to protect America from its enemies, both foreign and domestic; Veterans must be honored and supported for their sacrifices; Marriage is between one man and one woman; Life begins at conception; Budget Earmarks must be eliminated and fiscal discipline restored; Illegal immigration must be stopped; Healthcare must include meaningful Tort Reform." Note: This party has no affiliation with the well-established Conservative Party of New York State.

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA - The DSA is the official US full Democratic Socialistsmember 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 fields candidates for office. The DSA explains their mission as follows: "building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics." Thus, the DSA is less like a traditional US political party and much more like a political education and grassroots activism organization. DSA, Social Democrats USA and the Socialist Party USA each claim to be the one true heir to the ideological legacy of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas (and DSA disputes the Socialist Party-USA's claim to the title arguing it is a modern-era creation that simply appropriated the older name of the defunct party of Debs/Thomasy). The DSA -- then named the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) -- split from the SD-USA 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). Official DSA affiliates include: Young Democratic Socialists, Democratic Left (magazine) and DSA Labor Network.

PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY - The PLP is Progressive Labor Partya New York-based, militant, Stalinist-style communist party dedicated to bringing about a world-wide, armed, communist revolution. The party was formed in 1961 by members of the CPUSA who felt the Soviet Union had betrayed communism and become revisionist and state capitalist. Founders also felt the CPUSA had adopted unforgivable reformist positions such as "peaceful coexistence" with the US, turning to electoral politics, and hiding communist views behind a veneer of reform-oriented front groups. In the 1960s, the PLP heavily infiltrated the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) group. Today, the PLP still abhors democracy, elections, freedom of nearly any sort, capitalism and religion -- and praises dictator Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union as their role model. Because they denounce all elections as "frauds," the PLP vows to never field any candidates for public office (for these guys, its either armed victory or nothing at all). Lots and lots of online ideological articles written in the typical dogmatic communist style ... with titles like "The Hoax of the 1932-33 Ukraine Famine," "Fascism Grows In The Auto Industry," "The Road to Revolution." Articles in English, Spanish, Russian, German, etc.

REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST COMMUNIST PARTY USA - The Revoltuionary Communist PartyRCP is based upon the teachings of the late Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong -- a form of rigid communism derivative of Leninist-Stalinist Marxism. The party strongly denounces capitalism and advocates a "Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Programme" as "a battle plan for destroying the old and creating the new [and] is a kind of road map for how to win the revolution." Even the RCP's logo is consistent with the proletarian revolutionary theme (i.e., note the red flag flying from a rifle bayonet). The RCP clearly advocates change through revolution (and various popular front groups), not elections -- so don't look for any RCP candidates on the ballot. The RCP's most visible activity is running several branches of a store called Revolution Books. RCP Chairman Bob Avakian and his writings also receive extensive coverage on the party's official site, as he has been the party leader since 1979.

WORKERS PARTY, USA - The WP-USA is a hardcore Marxist-Leninist political party founded in 1992 by the late Michael Thorburn. The party was established to "bring the working class out as an independent class force." The WP-USA shares much of the CPUSA's ideology. While the WP-USA has yet to field any candidates, the Chicago-based party publishes a bi-weekly newspaper named The Worker and a quarterly theoretical journal named -- not surprisingly -- The Worker Magazine. The WP-USA site features an extensive on-line archive of dogmatic screeds largely denouncing "monopoly capitalists," Western imperialism, the USA, etc. -- and praising the working class and "revolutionary politics." Thorburn's Anti-Imperialist News Service ("assisting the people's struggles against war and militarism") is also affiliated with the WP-USA.

WORLD SOCIALIST PARTY OF THE USA - The WSP-USA are seemingly utopian Marxists. They believe true socialism can only work when it is established worldwide.World Socialist Party USA They renounce violence, Soviet-style totalitarianism, money and all forms of leadership. They advocate a classless, "wageless, moneyless, free access society" without any national borders. They don't run candidates nor endorse other socialist or left candidates as they believe a vote for ANY candidate under the current system is a vote in support of capitalism. Understanding that world socialism "has clearly not yet been established," they believe that "democratically capturing the State through parliamentary elections is the safest, surest method for the working class to enable itself to establish socialism" -- although they have yet to field any US candidates in the period to date since the international WSP was founded in 1904.

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© 1997-2017 by Ron Gunzburger. All rights reserved. Contents can be quoted with attribution.