OF U.S. POLITICAL PARTIES
TWO MAJOR PARTIES:
DEMOCRATIC PARTY (DNC)
- The Democrats regained the White House in 2020, but barely maintained majority control of the US House, and won narrow control of the US Senate. Democrats also hold several key governorships (MI, WI, IL, NC, NY, CA, VA, others). Democrats run the wide gamut from the
near Euro-style democratic-socialist left (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Dems) and traditional liberals (Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi), to the pragmatic "centrist" moderate-to-liberal
style (Andrew Cuomo, Mark Warner), to the Dem center-right (John Hickenlooper
and the New Democratic Coalition), to the GOP-lite style
"Blue Dog" center-conservative right (Joe Manchin and the Blue
Dog Democrats). Official affiliated national Democratic sites include:
REPUBLICAN PARTY (RNC) - Republicans
lost the Presidency and US Senate control in 2020, but made major gains in the US House. The GOP also
holds several key Governorships (including TX, OH, FL, GA,
MO, MA and MD). Pre-Trump, the Republicans could generally be classified
into several different sub-sets: traditional establishment conservatives
(Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Ben Sasse),
the "Religious Right" (Mike Pence and the Family Research Council),
libertarians (Rand Paul
and the Campaign
for Liberty), the old-style center-right wing (Larry Hogan and Adam Kinzinger), the firebrand Tea Party movement conservatives (Jim Jordan and the House Freedom Caucus), and - since 2016 - the gadfly conspiracy theorist QAnon faction (Marjorie Taylor Greene, etc). President Donald Trump, however, is a political nationalist and economic populist who does not fit neatly into any of these traditional GOP factions, and in fact handily vanquished 2016 nomination rivals from each of the various other wings of the party. The media and political class has also take to calling a group of pro-Trump legislators who incited the MAGA crowds with false claims into making the January 2021 insurrectionist attack on the US Capitol as the "Seditionist Caucus" (Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Mo Brooks, etc). Since 2016, Trump largely bent the party to his outlook - and many from the rival conservative factions of years past are retooling themselves into versions of Trump-lite to appeal to the base. In his final days in office, Trump has toyed with launching a new entity - the Patriot Party - and lead an exodus of Trump/MAGA and QAnon out of the GOP and to his new party. If it occurs, the schism could be electorally devastating to the Republicans. Official, affiliated
national GOP sites include:
"BIG TWO" THIRD PARTIES:
(Based upon vote performance over past two
election cycles and ballot access)
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 Greens support strict environmental protection laws, stronger labor rights, expanded social programs, and higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations. 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 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. In the end, Nader was on the ballot in 44 states and
finished third with 2,878,000 votes (2.7%). 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. Physician and progressive activist
Jill Stein was the Green presidential nominee in 2012 (4th place - 0.4% - 470,000
votes) and 2016 (4th place - 1.1% - 1,456,500 votes). Green Party co-founder and socialist activist Howie Hawkins was the 2020 presidential nominee (4th place - 0.3% - 404,000 votes). Official Green Party links include: Global Green Network, GPUS Black Caucus, Lavender Green Caucus,
Latinx Caucus, and Young Ecosocialists.
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-gay marriage, pro-home schooling, pro-gun rights, generally pro-choice,
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 2020, retiring GOP Congressman Justin Amash (MI) changed his registration to Libertarian, making him the LP's first member to officially sit in the US House. The
LP's biggest problem: former 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 2012, former GOP New Mexico
Governor Gary Johnson was the LP Presidential nominee, had ballot
status in 48 states (3rd place - 1% - 1,276,000 votes). The party's 2016 ticket featured again Gary Johnson, joined this time by former GOP Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as his VP runningmate. Johnson-Weld produce the best finish in the history of the party (3rd place - 3.3% - 4,487,700 votes). Johnson, however, proved to be an unfocused and undisciplined candidate, and he seemingly squandered an opportunity to perform significantly better. 2020 LP presidential nominee Jo Jorgensen, a longtime party activist, finished third place with 1,865,000 votes (1.2%). The LP 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 (like Gary Johnson) 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 include the LP News, Campus
Libertarians and LPedia.
ALLIANCE PARTY - The Alliance Party launched in 2018, formed by fiscally conservative/socially moderate centrists who had been Democrats, Republicans, independents, and third party members (the Modern Whig Party, American Moderates Party and the South Carolina American Party folded into it) who were upset with the dysfucntion caused by status quo political gridlock and the toxic national political divide. They explained: "Americans need not be adversaries or combatants. In reality, we are all pursuing a personal American Dream, and we are allies in our collective pursuit of a more perfect Union." The party supports free trade, reducing the national debt, a strong military, affordable health care, initiatives to combat climate change, gay equality, immigration, gun rights (with limited, constitutionally reasonable regulation), better care for veterans an emphasis on renewable energy, and term-limits. While still very small, the party has active affiliates in many states and fielded candidates in 2020. The NY Independence Party and Florida Reform Party in 2020 became state affiliates of the Alliance Party. Frequent candidate and wealthy businessman Rocky de la Fuente - who has run over the years under many different party banners - was Alliance's 2020 presidential nominee (5th place - 88,200 votes).
AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY - Governor
(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 five 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 Governor
Maddox (D-GA), an unrepentant segregationist -- but he fell far below
Schmitz's vote total. The AIP last fielded its own national Presidential
candidate in 1980: white supremacist former Congressman
Rarick (D-LA), who carried 41,000 votes.
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, but it is entirely independent today of any national parties. The party fielded a few write-in candidates in 2014; endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 in lieu of fielding a candidate; and endorsed Alliance Party presidential nominee Rocky de la Fuente in 2020.
SOLIDARITY PARTY - The American Solidarity Party is founded upon Catholic social teaching. The party is pro-life, anti-death penalty, pro-welfare, anti-gay marriage, pro-universal health care, pro-environmental protection, and anti-military Selective Service/draft. The ASP also wants to cut income taxes on earned wages, while increasing taxes on investment income and corporations. The ASP supports increased banking regulation, wants to end energy and agricultural subsidies, supports clean energy, backs tougher environmental protections, opposes military intervenionism, opposes US arms sales to foreign governments, is anti-pornography, supports a focus on rehabilitation versus arrests for narcotics, and is pro-labor unions. The ASP's 2016 presidential nominee, Mike Maturen, achieved ballot status in one state and write-in status in several others (16th place - 4,655 votes). Retired teacher Brian Carroll was the ASP's 2020 presidential nominee and achieved ballot access in nine states (10th place - 38,600 votes). The ASP is now working to establish a few state affiliates, and also has a Facebook page.
- 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 Independent 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 2016 Presidential nominee (17th place - 4,577 votes). The party did not field their own presidential nominee for 2020 - although Hoefling ran as an Independent that year (1,311 votes).
COMMUNIST PARTY USA - The CPUSA --
once the slavish propaganda tool and spy network for the Soviet
Central Committee -- experienced a forced transformation in recent
years. Highly classified Soviet Politburo records, made public
after the fall of Soviet communism in the 1990s, revealed the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) illegally funneled
millions of dollars to the CPUSA to finance its activities from
the 1920s to the 1980s. The flow of Soviet dollars to the CPUSA
came to an abrupt halt when the Soviet communists were ousted
from power in 1991 -- ultimately causing a total overhaul of CPUSA
activities. Founded in 1924, the CPUSA reached its peak vote total
in 1932 with nominee William
Z. Foster (102,000 votes - 4th place). The last national CPUSA
ticket -- headed by Stalinist Gus
Hall and 60s radical activist Angela
Davis -- was fielded in 1984 (36,000 votes - 8th place). While
the party has not directly run any candidates since the late 1980s,
the CPUSA sometimes backs some candidates in various local elections
(often in Northeastern industrial communities) and engages in
grassroots political and labor union organizing. In 2021, the party announced it would start fielding candidates again going forward. 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 (2000-14), the CPUSA touted a platform of true democratic
socialism and trade unionism, and frequently encourages votes
for the Democratic presidential nominees as a pragmatic electoral tactic to defeat
conservatives. (Webb renounced the party in 2016 and became a Clinton Democrat -- and even denounced Bernie Sanders as needlessly divisive.) Today, under the leadership of Joe Sims, the party has shifted back to its traditional far-left Marxist stances. Official CPUSA websites include the People's
World party newspaper and Political
Affairs monthly party magazine.
- The Constitution 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. Former Nixon Administration official and one-time Conservative
Coalition chair Howard Phillips founded the party, originally named the US Taxpayers Party
(USTP), in 1992. The
USTP renamed itself the Constitution Party in 1999. The party has fielded presidential tickets since 1992 and congressional and state candidates since 1994 (but only in a small number 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 and rejoined the GOP).
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 2012, former
GOP Congressman Virgil Goode was the party's Presidential nominee
(5th place - 0.09% - 122,000 votes). Longtime party activist and attorney Darrell Castle was the CP's 2016 Presidential nominee (6th place - 0.15% - 203,000 votes). Controversial coal mining magnate Don Blankenship - a former GOP US Senate candidate in West Virginia - was the party's 2020 presidential nominee (8th place - 60,000 votes).
FREEDOM SOCIALIST PARTY - The
FSP was formed in 1966 by a splinter group of dissident feminist
Trotskyists who broke away from the Socialist Workers Party to
create a new party in the "tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin
and Trotsky." The FSP has always emphasized "black liberation
and social feminsm" -- thus the reason Radical Women is an
official alternate name used by the FSP. The FSP describe themselves
as a "revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated
to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers' democracy
that will guarantee full economic, social, political, and legal
equality to women, people of color, gays, and all who are exploited,
oppressed, and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot
-- imperialism." The FSP has party organizations in the US,
Canada and Australia, and today remains staunchly Trotskyist in
ideology. The FSP occasionally fields a handful of local candidates
in Washington, California and New York (often in non-partisan
elections). 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. No candidates in 2016 or 2020. Official FSP
links include the Freedom
Socialist newspaper and Red
Letter Press (book publishers).
THE INDEPENDENT PARTY - This small, centrist party was founded in 1976, although they showed no political footprint before 2010. The TIP claim to be affinity descendents of the small Toleration Party of the early 1800s. Their stances are largely platitudes. Example: "We work and advocate for progress on political and social issues, have adopted policies and the platform that effect positive change, insist on free, open, and equal access to the ballot, media, and vote, equal representation by our elected officials, demand fiscal responsibility, and transparency by our SERVANTS of the people!" TIP's party platform is short but rather incomprehensible. The party fielded roughly a dozen federal and state candidates in six states in 2018, and ran Terry Wheelock for President as a write-in candidate in 2020.
INDEPENDENT AMERICAN PARTY
- The small Independent American Party has existed for years in
several Western states, with an ideology grounded 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. Army veteran and frequent candidate Kyle Koptike was the IAP presidential nominee in 2016 (24th place - 1,096 votes) and 2020 (26th place - 815 votes).
LIFE AND LIBERTY PARTY - Founded in 2019 by dissident leaders from the Constitution Party, the Life and Liberty Party is "a coalition of parties across the nation ... centered on the Constitution of the United States of America, and upholding the rule of law." The party is uncompromisingly pro-life and anti-euthanasia, supports environmental protection laws, and is otherwise somewhat libertarian-consevative on other issues. Currently, the Alaska and South Dakota Constitution Parties disaffiliated from the national CP and now affiliate with the L&L Party. The party has active affiliates in a few states. Party co-founder J.R. Myers was the L&L presidential nominee in 2020 (22rd place - 1,372 votes).
NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE PARTY - The Vermont Progressive Party - which has existed since 1982 and successfully elected candidates to statewide office - launched this national entity in 2020 right after the end of US Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. As in Vermont, the NPP is a democratic socialist party closely aligned with the politics of Sanders. In fact, Sanders was first elected Burlington Mayor in the 1980s as a candidate of the Progressive Party. "Not Bernie, us. We're planting the seeds of a winning new party, taking no corporate money, and championing economic, social, and environmental justice," is how the party described themselves in 2020 after Sanders' presidential run ended. Not yet clear what their national strategy is or when then expect to expand into other states. The new People's Party - below - seems a larger and better organized entity of those who splintered off from the Bernie 2020 campaign.
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. Longtime Marxist revolutionary activist Gloria LaRiva
was again the PSL presidential nominee in 2020 (6th place - 85,500 votes), marking her 8th time on a presidential ticket. The
PSL also sponsors and/or directs numerous popular front groups
including People's Power Assemblies, International Action
Center, Congress of Resistance, 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. Although a convicted
felon, Cleaver captured 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, pacifist 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 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.
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 (6th place
- 67,500 votes - 0.05%). The PFP did not field their own ticket in 2016 or 2020, and instead endorsed the nominees of the PSL.
PEOPLE'S PARTY - The Movement for a People’s Party - which evolved into the People's Party - was created in 2020 by progressive activists who had been involved in the 2016 and 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns. The PP supports Medicare for All, social justice programs, anti-militarism, police reforms and restorative justice, anti-Wall Street regulations, pro-organized labor, etc. They believe the Democratic Party is too dominated by corporate interests and billionaires, and want to use this vehicle for influencing policy and moving the national debate leftward. The first three state chapters - Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio - were launched immediately after their founding national convention (7,600 people participated in the online convention). The party plans to expand with more state and local chapters before the 2022 elections. The PP already registered as a formal party in Maine, and plans to field candidates there in 2022.
PIRATE PARTY - The US Pirate Party is the US affiliate of the European-based Pirate Parties 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 a handful of political candidates in 2012. The USPP has chapters in a few states, but seems fairly dormant for the past few years.
PROHIBITION PARTY - "If
you are a reform-minded conservative and a non-drinker, the Prohibition
Party wants you," exclaimed an official party message in 2002.
The Prohibition Party -- founded in 1869 and billing themselves
as "America's Oldest Third Party" -- espouses a generally ultra-conservative
Christian social agenda mixed with anti-drug and international
anti-communist views. The party's strongest showing was in 1892,
when former Congressman John
Bidwell received nearly 273,000 votes (2.3% - 4th place).
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). The party's 2020 presidential nomination process was a fiasco. First they nominated a neo-Confederate activist, but his radical views caused a party rift and forced him to withdraw shortly after claiming he was "sabotaged." Then they picked a second nominee, but he withdrew soon after citing health problems. Eventually, they settled on conservative activist and frequent candidate Phil Collins as their 2020 replacement nominee (ballot states in 4 states - 13th place - 6,300 votes).
The Prohibition 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
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%). 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 last fielded a national ticket in 2016 (8th place - 33,097 votes). A few isolated state Reform Party entities remain active, fielding random candidates from time to time - although some are now affiliates of the national Alliance Party.
SAVE AMERICA MOVEMENT PARTY - The Save America Movement (SAM) Party was initially created as a vehicle for former Syracuse Mayor and former NY State Democratic Chair Stephanie A. Miner to get on the NY gubernatorial ballot in 2018 as an independent candidate. The party's name was an acronym play using the candidate's own initials. She finished in 5th place with 1% (55,000 votes). However, SAM has lived on beyond Miner's own run for office and taken on a life of its own as a new centrist political party. As the party itself explains, they are "a new political party for the millions of Americans who are tired of choosing between the lesser of two evils ... America's a diverse place and we don't always agree on everything. Neither do SAM members. But we share a set of universal principles and one ultimate goal: to fix a system that has been corrupted by the mainstream parties and the people who prop them up ... The existing parties won’t change. They can’t change. So our only option is to go around them." SAM's central stances center around maximum transparency and electoral reform. Former GOP Congressman David Jolly (FL) became the SAM national chair in 2021, and is also a potential candidate for office in 2022. As of 2021, the party has affiliates in NY, CT and FL, and is organizing in other states.
SOCIALIST PARTY USA - The
SPUSA are true democratic socialists -- advocating left-wing electoral
change versus militant revolutionary change. Many of the SP members
could easily be members of
the left-wing faction of the Democratic Party. Unlike most of
the other political parties on this page with "Socialist" in their
names, the SP has always been staunchly anti-communist. The original
Socialist Party USA was founded by labor union leader, ex-Democratic
elected official and pacifist Eugene
V. Debs in 1900, the SP was once a mighty national third party.
Debs himself was the SP nominee for president five times between
1900 and 1920. Debs received over 900,000 votes (6%) in 1912 --
the SP's best showing ever. Former minister and journalist Norman
Thomas was the SP Presidential nominee 6 times between 1928
and 1948 -- his best showing being 883,000 votes (2.2%) in 1932.
The SP also elected congressmen, mayors and other officials throughout
the 20th Century (largely during the 1910s through 1950s). The
party withered and splintered so much that, by the last 1972,
it barely existed. The Democratic Socialists of American and the
Social Democrats USA -- both linked above -- are the other splinter
groups from the original Debs/Thomas SP entity. Activists from
the old SP reconstituted the party in 1976 and began to again
field SPUSA national tickets for the first time in over two decades.
SPUSA activist Mimi Soltysik was the party's presidential nominee
in 2016 (22nd place - 2,683 votes).
In 2020, SPUSA co-nominated Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins. 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 in 1983 by expelled members of the
Socialist Workers Party. While the SA shares the SWP's pro-Cuba
views, the SA still tries to retain its Trotskyist ideological
roots (versus the SWP, which has drifted away from Trotskyism
towards a Soviet authoritarian 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). The party fielded SA National Secretary Jeff Mackler as the 2016 and 2020 presidential nominee, but he was just a write-in hopeful both times. Other official sites: Youth
for Socialist Action and VoteSocialistAction.
SOCIALIST 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 has endorsed the Green Party's presidential nominees in multiple years, most recently in 2020. 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 was reelected in 2015 and 2019. The SocAlt candidates for Minneapolis city council have also been competitive, making the runoffs but not yet winning. The party currently has chapters in a dozen states.
DEMOCRATS, USA - The SD-USA to date has only fielded candidates
for local office. 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.
International stripped SD-USA of full member status in 2007,
deeming SD-USA to be a defunct organization. The 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. As of 2021, chapters currently exist in CA, KS, MA, NY and PA.
SOCIALIST EQUALITY PARTY - The Socialist Equality Party
(SEP) was originally named the
Workers League (WL). The WL was founded in 1966 as a Trotskyist
communist group closely associated with the electoral campaigns
of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The goal of these Trotskyist
groups was a build a working-class labor party in the US affiliated
with the International Committee of the Fourth International (the
global Trotskyist umbrella network). They believe that "the egalitarian
and internationalist legacy of the Russian Revolution" could have
succeeded, but was "betrayed by Stalinism" and its progeny. When
the SWP drifted away from Trotskyism in the early 1980s, the WL
broke with the SWP and began fielding its own candidates. The
WL fielded its first Presidential ticket in 1984. The WL later
renamed itself as the Socialist Equality Party in 1994. The Michigan-based
SEP regularly 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." SEP activist Joseph Kishore
was the party's nominee in 2020 (30th place - 351 votes). The SEP's news site -- the World
Socialist Web Site (WSWS) -- is updated daily with articles,
analysis, history, etc., written with a hardcore internationalist,
WORKERS PARTY - Originally a pro-Trotsky faction
within the Communist Party, the SWP was formed in 1938 after
the Communist Party -- 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 rapidly shifted away from Trotskyism and embraced the brand
of authoritarian communist politics espoused by the old Soviet Union and former Cuban dictator Fidel
Castro (the SWP site described communist Cuba
"a shining example for all workers"). During that ideological shift, the SWP expelled their Trotskyist faction in 1983 (which lead to the founding of the rival Socialist Action party). The SWP has run candidates
for President in every election since 1948 -- plus many federal, state and local candidates nationwide. The SWP's best electoral showing was in 1976, when presidential nominee Peter Camejo captured 90,000 votes (note: Camejo was expelled from the the SWP in 1980 for embracing democratic socialism). Communist political organizer Alyson Kennedy was the SWP's candidate in 2016, and again in 2020 (11th place - 6,791 votes). An interesting quirk is that the SWP requires all members to be "proletarians" by having them take factory jobs in order to advocate for a worker-based communist class struggle. The party's weekly newspaper The
Militant, which was launched in 1928 and pre-dates the SWP, is the party's only online presence. The SWP also owns a book publishing house: Pathfinder Press.
UNITED STATES PACIFIST PARTY - This
tiny political party fielded party founder Bradford Lyttle as
a write-in candidate for President in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2012 and 2020
(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 (382 votes). The USPP opposes military actions in all circumstances
and wants to transform the US military into "a non-violent defense
and humanitarian service corps." The USPP platform advocates generally
left-wing political stances and slashing the military budget to
UNITY PARTY OF AMERICA - This
small centrist political party was founded by political activist Bill Hammons 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 some state affiiates. In 2020, they fielded Hammons for president, and he achieved ballot access in three states (13th place - 6,647 votes). 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.
WORKERS WORLD PARTY - The WWP
was formed in 1959 by a pro-Chinese communist faction that split
from the Socialist Workers Party. Although the WWP theoretically
supports worker revolutions, the WWP supported the Soviet actions
that crushed worker uprisings in Hungary in the 1950s, Czechoslovakia
in the 1960s and Poland in the early 1980s. The WWP was largely
an issue-oriented revolutionary party until they fielded their
first candidate for president in 1980. 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 (18th place - 4,250 votes). Moorhead was previously the WWP presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000. The WWP failed to field any presidential ticket in 2020. Official news site: Workers World.
WORKING CLASS PARTY - The WCP was founded in 2016 as a socialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist party which asserts "working people need our own party, a party of our whole class, built around the conviction that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common." The party looks at the late socialist Eugene Debs as a hero of their movement, although they seem to express a more radical view that disdains elections. "The working class cannot solve its problems through elections, not in a society where the capitalist class controls all the levels of power. Elections were not the end goal of these candidates, only the beginning," they explain. The WCP wants to have militant unions to fight both "the bosses" and capitalism, and have the WCP act as the political entity to carry on the fight in the electoral venue. The WCP has active chapters and routinely fields congressional and state candidates in Michigan and Maryland.
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. The WFP to date has endorsed candidates in the Democratic presidential contests: Bernie Sanders for President in 2016, and endorsed Elizabeth Warren in 2020. No WFP presidential nominee fielded to date.
(Parties that have yet to field any candidates
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 ... oh, and they want every county in the US to become a separate state.
They endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 - and already endorsed Trump again for 2024 - but did not nominate any
candidates on their own to date.
PARTY - Founded in 2011, this party is solely
focused upon health care -- particularly their anti-vaccination beliefs. They explain they 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 essentially believes vaccines and other medicines cause autism (note: something widely debunked by decades of scientific studies). This single-issue party
wants to address these anti-vaxx concerns with federal government action.
PARTY USA - Founded
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 dont 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.
SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA - The DSA is the official US full
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 on its own ballot line. 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. Working within the Democratic Party primaries starting around 2010, the DSA fields and endorses Democratic Socialist candidates against more mainstream Democratic incumbents. In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) became the first DSA members elected to congress.
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/Thomas). 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,
Socialist Forum, Democratic Left (publication) and Religious Socialism.
PATRIOT PARTY - In his final days in office, President Trump floated the idea of leaving the Republican Party and creating a new entity - the Patriot Party - as the new home for his nationalist populist ideology, and his MAGA and QAnon supporters. Various self-proclaimed "Patriot Party" entities immediately sprang to life. Trump's official political organization in January 2021 disavowed all these nascent Patriot Party groups as unauthorized and unaffiliated with Trump. A month later, Trump said he had no intention of creating a separate party to compete against the Republicans, but instead intended to target anti-Trump Republicans in GOP primaries. This didn't stop one MAGA group from creating an unofficial national group, and others from launching various self-organized state parties (CT, NJ, etc).
LABOR PARTY - The PLP is a
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 Fasmine," "Fascism
Grows In The Auto Industry," "The Road to Revolution." Articles
in English, Spanish, Russian, German, etc.
COMMUNIST PARTY USA - The RCP
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.
UNITED AMERICA PARTY - The UAP is a social conservative party that splintered off from the Constitution Party in 2021. No candidates fielded to date.
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.
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