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USA - Modern Minor Parties

When large numbers of Americans are working harder than ever but getting nowhere, and see most economic gains going to a small group at the top, they suspect the game is rigged -- that government and the wealthy (including big corporations) are somehow in cahoots, conspiring against the rest. Some of these people can be persuaded that the culprit is big government; others, that the blame falls on the wealthy and big corporations. The result is more partisanship, fueled by anti-establishment populism on both the right and the left of the political spectrum.

Constitution Party

Delegates attending the National Convention in September 1999 voted to change the name of the US Taxpayer’s Party to “Constitution Party” to better reflect the party’s primary focus of returning government to the U.S. Constitution’s provisions and limitations. For a third and last time, Howard Phillips was nominated to serve as the standard bearer for the newly named Constitution Party for the 2000 election. Missouri surgeon Dr. J. Curtis Frazier was the nominee for Vice President. The convention was held in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Constitution Party achieved ballot access in 41 states in 2004 and, at its convention in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, it nominated Maryland lawyer Michael Peroutka, founder of the Institute on the Constitution, as its presidential nominee with Florida minister and commentator Chuck Baldwin as its nominee for Vice-President. Although the Constitution Party was on fewer state ballots in 2004, the vote tally increased by 40 percent compared to the 2000 elections while other ‘alternative’ parties lost ground or barely matched their 2000 vote totals.

At its 2008 Kansas City, Missouri national convention, the Constitution Party nominated its 2004 nominee for Vice President, Chuck Baldwin of Florida, to be its 2008 nominee for President, selecting attorney and Constitution Party activist Darrell Castle of Tennessee, to serve as the Vice-presidential nominee.

In 2012 former six-term Virginia Congressman, Virgil Goode, was nominated for President at the Constitution Party National Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee. Three-term Constitution Party National Chairman, attorney Jim Clymer of Pennsylvania, was nominated to serve as Goode’s running mate. In 2016 founding Constitution Party member, three term Vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Constitution Party, and 2008 Constitution Party Vice-presidential Candidate Darrell Castle was nominated for President. Mr. Castle’s running mate was Dr. Scott Bradley of Utah who holds a PhD in Constitutional Law. The campaign garnered over 200,000 votes setting a Constitution Party record. In Colorado's 2010 race for governor, moderate Democrat John Hickenlooper is facing two conservatives, Republican Dan Maes and former Republican representative Tom Tancredo, who was running under the banner of the American Constitution Party.

The Constitution Party had been recognized previously in South Dakota – offering candidates for Governor in 2006, Presidential electors and the Public Utilities Commission in 2008 and a candidate for Secretary of State in 2010. The Constitution Party previously lost its organized status in South Dakota as a result of not running a gubernatorial candidate in the 2010 general election.

The Constitution Party of Maryland formed in 1995 as the Taxpayers Party of Maryland. In 1996, it was recognized as an official party by the State Administrative Board of Election Laws, but returned to "partisan organization" status in 1998, when its candidates failed to receive 3% of the votes cast in the 1996 general election. The Taxpayers Party of Maryland reformed as the Maryland Constitution Party in February 1998, was recognized by the State Board of Elections on August 18, 2000, then lost its official party status in 2002. The Maryland Constitution Party requalified on April 27, 2004, lost its official status on May 9, 2007 and was recognized as an official party by the State Board of Elections on August 25, 2008. The Party was renamed the Constitution Party of Maryland on April 24, 2009. By January 1, 2011, the Constitution Party of Maryland was unable to meet the requirements to retain its status as a recognized political party in Maryland.

Green Party

The Green Party originated as an American parallel to the European Green movement of the 1980s, an activist movement committed to ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence. In 1990, Alaskan voters validated that states' Green movement as a political party; in 1991 the California Green Party gained ballot access and a loose nation-wide Green political organization was formed, emphasizing local and state-level activism.

The Green Party is linked to the environmental Green movement around the world. The Green Party became important in American politics when activist Ralph Nader became its first presidential candidate in 1996. He got more than seven hundred thousand votes and finished fourth in the election. In 1996, Green politicos formed the Association of State Green Parties, today known as the Green Party of the United States. As of January 2004, 204 Greens held political office throughout the United States, 67 in California alone.

"The Green Party supports viable solutions to our greatest challenges, from climate change and drought, to historic income and wealth inequality. Ending poverty through green living wage jobs, affordable housing, single-payer health care, workers' rights and food security for all A publicly-owned state bank to invest in California instead of Wall Street. Education instead of incarceration, and tuition-free public college/university, by progressive taxation."

Sometimes the two major parties object to candidates from third parties competing in the presidential race. They say these candidates receive votes that would have gone to one of the two main candidates. For example, in 2000, the Democrats asked Ralph Nader not to compete for president. They said he would take votes away from their candidate, Vice President Al Gore. Political experts say that is what happened. Some say Gore would have won the election if Ralph Nader had not been a candidate.

Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party was first organized in late 1971, after several months of debate among members of the Committee to Form a Libertarian Party. By 1972 the party was made up of over 80 members and fielded its first national candidates, who were on the ballot in two states.

At its inception The Libertarian Party viewed both the dominant Republican and Democratic parties as having diverged from what they viewed as the libertarian principles of the American founding fathers towards more authoritarian political positions. By 2017 the Libertarian Party was the third-largest political party in the United States; it claims 590 current office holders.

The Libertarian Party asserts that it " hold[s] that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose." To this end, Libertarians prescribe reducing the size of government (eliminating many of its current functions entirely), and cutting taxes.

"Libertarians stand for something: Freedom. We believe that the most peaceful, most prosperous, most socially fair and tolerant and progressive society is one that solves its problems without government force. We believe that social woes like inaccessible healthcare, inadequate social justice, economic instability, and racial disparity are caused and perpetuated by officials who would rather increase their power instead of truly solving any problems."

Peace and Freedom Party

"The Peace and Freedom Party is a working-class party in a country run by and for the wealthy and their corporations. We can tax the rich, whose wealth is created by workers, to pay for society's needs. We favor Social justice & equality: *Free universal health care for all. *Decent jobs and labor rights for all. *Free education for everyone, preschool through university. *Ending all discrimination. *Comprehensive services for disabled people. *Marriage equality. *Full rights for immigrants. *Bringing the troops home now. *Ending drone attacks. * Legalizing marijuana. We advocate socialism, the ownership and democratic control of the economy by working people."

Tea Party

The Tea Party is not a political party but more of a grassroots conservative and libertarian movement dedicated to reducing the power and size of the central government in the lives of ordinary Americans. The Tea Party movement did not have one leader and is made up of hundreds of small activist groups around the country. Tea Party is a grassroots movement "calling awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, the United States of America." Many claim to be the founders of this movement.

On the night of 16 December 1773, a group of colonists went out in a small boat. They got on a British ship and threw all the tea into the water. The colonists were dressed as American Indians so the British would not recognize them, but the people of Boston knew who they were. A crowd gathered to cheer them. That incident -- the night when British tea was thrown into Boston harbor -- became known as the Boston Tea Party.

Using the tea party movement, conservative activists defeated several centrist Republican incumbents. Their efforts reverberated through the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, forcing candidates to the right on economic issues. The U.S. Republican Party enjoyed a major victory in 2010 congressional midterm elections, winning back control of the House of Representatives and gaining seats in the Senate. Republicans gave the conservative Tea Party movement a lot of credit for their success, but political analysts said the Tea Party could turn into a mixed blessing in the months ahead. Tea Party activists overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates and gave the party new life after big congressional losses in 2006 and 2008.

Former Republican Congressman Dick Armey of Texas was one of several national organizers of the Tea Party movement. Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) was, in effect, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the United States, with interests in manufacturing, trade, and investments. The long rise of the Tea Party movement was orchestrated, well funded, and deliberate. Themes of a Tea Party anti-tax, anti-regulation, and antigovernment revolt were then developed almost simultaneously by two of the largest tobacco companies—Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds—under the guise of political and business coalitions to fight excise taxes In 2016 by Jeff Nesbit wrote "a Tea Party movement network were all funded and in place by that spring of 2009—the Sam Adams Alliance to direct grassroots efforts; the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity to direct propaganda efforts in state capitals across the United States; the State Policy Network to coordinate funding and free-market policies at state-based think tanks; hundreds of grants from the Koch foundations to American universities that were linked in through SPN; and, of course, CSE’s successor, Americans for Prosperity, built to coordinate the effort nationally."

Paul H. Jossey wrote August 14, 2016 that " the spontaneous uprising that shook official Washington degenerated into a form of pyramid scheme that transferred tens of millions of dollars from rural, poorer Southerners and Midwesterners to bicoastal political operatives. What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned the movement’s true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes."

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Page last modified: 27-06-2017 18:58:37 ZULU