Third party (United States)

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Third party is a term used in the United States for American political parties other than the Republican and Democratic parties.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Contents

Current U.S. third parties

This list does not include political organizations that do not run candidates for office but otherwise function similarly to third parties. For non-electoral political "parties", see here.

Largest (voter registration over 100,000)

Libertarian Party (United States) National political party in United States

The Libertarian Party (LP) is a political party in the United States that promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, laissez-faire capitalism, and limiting the size and scope of government. The party was conceived in August 1971 at meetings in the home of David F. Nolan in Westminster, Colorado, and was officially formed on December 11, 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The founding of the party was prompted in part due to concerns about the Nixon administration, the Vietnam War, conscription, and the introduction of fiat money.

Libertarianism in the United States Political Movement

Libertarianism in the United States is a movement promoting individual liberty and minimized government. Although the word libertarian continues to be widely used to refer to anti-state socialists internationally, its meaning in the United States has deviated from its political origins to the extent that the common meaning of libertarian in the United States is different from elsewhere.

Laissez-faire is an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from any form of government intervention such as regulation, privileges, imperialism, tariffs and subsidies. Proponents of laissez faire argue for a complete separation of government from the economic sector. The phrase laissez-faire is part of a larger French phrase and literally translates to 'let [it/them] do'; however, in this context, the phrase usually means 'let go'.

Smaller parties by ideology

This section includes only parties that have actually run candidates under their name in recent years.

Right-wing

This section includes any party that advocates positions associated with American conservatism, including both Old Right and New Right ideologies.

The Old Right was an informal designation used for a branch of American conservatism, which never became an organized movement but was most prominent circa 1910–1960. Most members were Republicans, although there was a conservative Democratic element based largely in the Southern United States. They were called the "Old Right" to distinguish them from their New Right successors who came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. Among the latter were Barry Goldwater, who came to prominence in the 1960s and favored an interventionist foreign policy to battle international communism.

New Right is a descriptive term for various right-wing political groups or policies in different countries. It has also been used to describe the emergence of Eastern European parties after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism.

State-only parties

Alaskan Independence Party political party seeking independence for the U.S. state of Alaska

The Alaskan Independence Party (AKIP) is a political party and independence movement in the U.S. state of Alaska that advocates an in-state referendum which includes the option of Alaska becoming an independent country. The party also advocates positions similar to those of the Constitution Party, Republican Party and Libertarian Party, supporting gun rights, privatization, home schooling, and limited government.

Conservative Party of New York State Conservative third party in the United States

The Conservative Party of New York State is a political party founded in 1962. The Party was founded due to conservative dissatisfaction with the Republican Party in New York. Since 2010, the Conservative Party has held "Row C" on New York ballots—the third-place ballot position, directly below the Democratic and Republican parties—because it received the third-highest number of votes of any political party in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 gubernatorial elections.

Centrist

This section includes any party that is independent, populist, or any other that either rejects right-left politics or doesn't have a party platform.

American Solidarity Party American minor third political party

The American Solidarity Party (ASP) is a Christian democratic political party in the United States. Its motto is "Common Good, Common Ground, Common Sense." Founded in 2011 and officially incorporated in 2016, the party has a National Committee and is active in state and local chapters and through on-line communication. ASP is a minor third party, with no elected officials in national or state government, and one city official elected in 2019.

Citizens Party of the United States

The Citizens Party of the United States is a political party in the United States. Founded by Michael Thompson in Wayne, Pennsylvania in 2004 as the New American Independent Party (NAIP), the first meeting took place in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on the day of the general election in 2004. The New American Independent Party changed its name to the Citizens Party in January 2011. The transition to the Citizens Party lasted several months.

Modern Whig Party American Political Party

The Modern Whig Party is a political party in the United States founded in 2007. The party describes itself as a mainstream, middle-of-the-road grassroots movement representing voters who do not strictly accept Republican and Democratic positions. The party's general platform supports fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and integrity and pragmatism in government.

State-only parties

Left-wing

This section includes any party that has a left-liberal, progressive, social democratic, democratic socialist, or Marxist platform.

State-only parties

Ethnic nationalism

This section includes parties that primarily advocate for granting special privileges or consideration to members of a certain race, ethnic group, religion etc.

Also included in this category are various parties found in and confined to Indian reservations, almost all of which are solely devoted to the furthering of the tribes to which the reservations were assigned. An example of a particularly powerful tribal nationalist party is the Seneca Party that operates on the Seneca Nation of New York's reservations. [1]

Single-issue/protest-oriented

This section includes parties that primarily advocate single-issue politics (though they may have a more detailed platform) or may seek to attract protest votes rather than to mount serious political campaigns or advocacy.

State-only parties

Notable elections

A number of third party, independent, and write-in candidates have performed well in many U.S. elections. [2]

Greens, Libertarians, and others have elected state legislators and local officials. The Socialist Party elected hundreds of local officials in 169 cities in 33 states by 1912, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New Haven, Connecticut; Reading, Pennsylvania; and Schenectady, New York. [3] There have been 20th century governors elected as independents, and from such parties as Progressive, Reform, Farmer-Labor, Populist, and Prohibition. There were others in the 19th century. However, the United States has had a two-party system for over a century. The winner take all system for presidential elections and the single-seat plurality voting system for Congressional elections have over time created the two-party system (see Duverger's law).

Third party candidates sometimes win elections. For example, such a candidate has won a U.S. Senate election twice (0.6%) since 1990. Sometimes a national officeholder not affiliated with and endorsed by one of the two major parties is elected. Previously, Senator Lisa Murkowski won re-election in 2010 as a write-in candidate and not as the Republican nominee, and Senator Joe Lieberman ran and won as a third-party candidate in 2006 after leaving the Democratic Party. [4] [5] Currently, there are only two U.S. Senators, Angus King and Bernie Sanders, who are neither Democratic nor Republican, while no U.S. Representative hails from outside the major parties. Although third party candidates rarely actually win elections, they can have an effect on them. If they do well, then they are often accused of having a spoiler effect. Sometimes, they have won votes in the electoral college, as in the 1832 Presidential election. They can draw attention to issues that may be ignored by the majority parties. If such an issue finds acceptance with the voters, one or more of the major parties may adopt the issue into its own party platform. Also, a third party may be used by the voter to cast a protest vote as a form of referendum on an important issue. Third parties may also help voter turnout by bringing more people to the polls. Third party candidates at the top of the ticket can help to draw attention to other party candidates down the ballot, helping them to win local or state office. In 2004 the U.S. electorate consisted of an estimated 43% registered Democrats and 33% registered Republicans, with independents and those belonging to other parties constituting 25%. [6]

The only three U.S. Presidents without a major party affiliation were George Washington, John Tyler, and Andrew Johnson, and only Washington served his entire tenure as an independent. Neither of the other two were ever elected president in their own right, both being vice presidents who ascended to office upon the death of a president, and both became independents because they were unpopular with their parties. John Tyler was elected on the Whig ticket in 1840 with William Henry Harrison but was expelled by his own party. Johnson was the running mate for Abraham Lincoln, who was reelected on the National Union ticket in 1864; it was a temporary name for the Republican Party.

Bill Walker of Alaska was from 2014 to 2018 the only independent Governor in the United States. He was also the first independent Governor since Alaska became a state (although not the first third-party governor). In 1998, Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota on the Reform Party ticket. [7]

As of 2019, the only independent U.S. senators are Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine; both Senators caucus with the Democratic Party. Representative Justin Amash, originally elected as a Republican, is the only independent in the House.

Barriers to third party success

Libertarian party 1972 2016.png

Winner-take-all vs. proportional representation

In winner-take-all (or plurality-take-all), the candidate with the largest number of votes wins, even if the margin of victory is extremely narrow or the proportion of votes received is not a majority. Unlike in proportional representation, runners-up do not gain representation in a first-past-the-post system. In the United States, systems of proportional representation are uncommon, especially above the local level, and are entirely absent at the national level. In Presidential elections, the majority requirement of the Electoral College, and the Constitutional provision for the House of Representatives to decide the election if no candidate receives a majority, serves as a further disincentive to third party candidacies.

In the United States, if an interest group is at odds with its traditional party, it has the option of running sympathetic candidates in primaries. If the candidate fails in the primary and believes he or she has a chance to win in the general election he or she may form or join a third party. Because of the difficulties third parties face in gaining any representation, third parties tend to exist to promote a specific issue or personality. Often, the intent is to force national public attention on such an issue. Then, one or both of the major parties may rise to commit for or against the matter at hand, or at least weigh in. H. Ross Perot eventually founded a third party, the Reform Party, to support his 1996 campaign. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt made a spirited run for the presidency on the Progressive Party ticket, but he never made any efforts to help Progressive congressional candidates in 1914, and in the 1916 election, he supported the Republicans.

Ballot access laws

Nationally, ballot access laws are the major challenge to third party candidacies. While the Democratic and Republican parties usually easily obtain ballot access in all fifty states in every election, third parties often fail to meet criteria for ballot access, such as registration fees. Or, in many states, they do not meet petition requirements in which a certain number of voters must sign a petition for a third party or independent candidate to gain ballot access. [8] In recent presidential elections, Ross Perot appeared on all 50 state ballots as an independent in 1992 and the candidate of the Reform Party in 1996. (Perot, a multimillionaire, was able to provide significant funds for his campaigns.) Patrick Buchanan appeared on all 50 state ballots in the 2000 election, [9] largely on the basis of Perot's performance as the Reform Party's candidate four years prior. The Libertarian Party has appeared on the ballot in at least 46 states in every election since 1980, except for 1984 when David Bergland gained access in only 36 states. In 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2016 the party made the ballot in all 50 states and D.C. The Green Party gained access to 44 state ballots in 2000 but only 27 in 2004. The Constitution Party appeared on 42 state ballots in 2004. [10] Ralph Nader, running as an independent in 2004, appeared on 34 state ballots. In 2008, Nader appeared on 45 state ballots and the D.C. ballot. For more information see ballot access laws.

Debate rules

Presidential debates between the nominees of the two major parties first occurred in 1960, then after three cycles without debates, took place again in 1976 and have happened in every election since. Third party or independent candidates have been included in these debates in only two cycles. Ronald Reagan and John Anderson debated in 1980, but incumbent President Carter refused to appear with Anderson, and Anderson was excluded from the subsequent debate between Reagan and Carter.

Debates in other state and federal elections often exclude Independent and third party candidates, and the Supreme Court has upheld such tactics in several cases. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a private company. [11] Independent Ross Perot was included in all three of the debates with Republican George H. W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992, largely at the behest of the Bush campaign.[ citation needed ] His participation helped Perot climb from 7% before the debates to 19% on Election Day. [12]

Perot was excluded from the 1996 debates despite his strong showing four years prior. [13] In 2000, revised debate access rules made it even harder for third party candidates to gain access by stipulating that, besides being on enough state ballots to win an Electoral College majority, debate participants must clear 15% in pre-debate opinion polls. This rule remained in place for 2004, [14] [15] when as many as 62 million people watched the debates, [16] and has continued being in effect as of 2008. [17] [18] The 15% criterion, had it been in place, would have prevented Anderson and Perot from participating in the debates they appeared in.

Major party marginalization

A third party candidate will sometimes strike a chord with a section of voters in a particular election, bringing an issue to national prominence and amount a significant proportion of the popular vote. Major parties often respond to this by adopting this issue in a subsequent election. After 1968, under President Nixon the Republican Party adopted a "Southern Strategy" to win the support of conservative Democrats opposed to the Civil Rights Movement and resulting legislation and to combat third parties with southern agendas. This can be seen as a response to the popularity of segregationist candidate George Wallace who gained 13.5% of the popular vote in the 1968 election for the American Independent Party.

In 1996, both the Democrats and the Republicans agreed to deficit reduction on the back of Ross Perot's popularity in the 1992 election. This severely undermined Perot's campaign in the 1996 election.

See also

Related Research Articles

1992 United States presidential election 52nd quadrennial presidential election in the United States

The 1992 United States presidential election was the 52nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 3, 1992. Democratic Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas defeated incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush, independent businessman Ross Perot of Texas, and a number of minor candidates.

Ross Perot American businessman

Henry Ross Perot was an American business magnate, billionaire, philanthropist, and politician. He was the founder and chief executive officer of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems. He ran an independent presidential campaign in 1992 and a third-party campaign in 1996, establishing the Reform Party in the latter election. Both campaigns were among the strongest presidential showings by a third party or independent candidate in US history.

Reform Party of the United States of America American political party

The Reform Party of the United States of America (RPUSA), generally known as the Reform Party USA or the Reform Party, is a political party in the United States, founded in 1995 by Ross Perot.

American Independent Party political party

The American Independent Party (AIP) is a far right political party in the United States that was established in 1967. The AIP is best known for its nomination of former Governor George Wallace of Alabama, who carried five states in the 1968 presidential election running on a segregationist “law and order” platform against Richard M. Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey. The party split in 1976 into the modern American Independent Party and the American Party. From 1992 until 2008, the party was the California affiliate of the national Constitution Party. Its exit from the Constitution Party led to a leadership dispute during the 2016 election.

The Union Party was a short-lived political party in the United States, formed in 1936 by a coalition of radio priest Father Charles Coughlin, old-age pension advocate Francis Townsend, and Gerald L. K. Smith, who had taken control of Huey Long's Share Our Wealth (SOW) movement after Long's assassination in 1935. Each of those people hoped to channel their wide followings into support for the Union Party, which proposed a populist alternative to the New Deal reforms of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

The United Citizens Party (UCP) was first organized in 1969 in the U.S. state of South Carolina in response to the state Democratic Party's opposition to nominating black candidates. The party's objective was to elect blacks to the legislature and local offices in counties with black majority populations. The party ran candidates in 1970 and 1972; as a result in 1970 the first three black candidates were elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives since Reconstruction.

Ralph Nader 2004 presidential campaign

The 2004 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer and attorney began on February 23, 2004. He ran for the United States presidency in the 2004 election, as he also had in several previous elections. In 1996 and 2000, Nader was the candidate of the Green Party; in the 2004 election, however, he ran as an independent candidate. Nader won the 2002 endorsement of the Reform Party USA, and thus appeared on the ballot as the Reform Party candidate in several states. In some states, Nader was on the ballot as an independent candidate, while in other states, Nader was deemed not to have met the requirements for ballot access. In Delaware, Nader accepted the endorsement of the Independent Party of Delaware on August 15. In New York Nader was nominated by the Independence Party at their party convention, and also appeared on the ballot under the Peace and Justice Party ballot lines.

United We Stand America was the name selected by Texas businessman H. Ross Perot for his citizen action organization after his 1992 independent political campaign for President of the United States. Perot's 19% showing in the 1992 election was sufficient to entitle him to federal matching funds for the 1996 campaign. After the campaign, Perot announced, on January 11, 1993, the formation of a non-profit watchdog organization named United We Stand America.

Independence Party of New York Third party in New York, United States

The Independence Party is an affiliate in the U.S. state of New York of the Independence Party of America. The party was founded in 1991 by Dr. Gordon Black, Tom Golisano, and Laureen Oliver from Rochester, New York, and acquired ballot status in 1994. Although often associated with Ross Perot, as the party came to prominence in the wake of Perot's 1992 presidential campaign, it was created prior to Perot's run. It currently has one registered member of the New York State Assembly, Fred Thiele.

Ross Perot 1992 presidential campaign

In 1992, Ross Perot ran unsuccessfully as an independent candidate for President of the United States. Perot, a Texas industrialist, had never served as a public official but had experience as the head of several successful corporations and had been involved in public affairs for the previous three decades. Spawned by the American dissatisfaction with the political system, grassroots organizations sprang up in every state to help Perot achieve ballot access following his announcement on the February 20, 1992 edition of Larry King Live. James Stockdale, a retired United States Navy vice admiral, was Perot's vice presidential running mate.

2000 Reform Party presidential primaries

Following Ross Perot's impressive showing during the 1996 presidential election, the Reform Party of the United States of America became the country's largest third party. The party's 2000 presidential candidate would be entitled to $12.5 million in matching funds. Several high-profile candidates vied for the nomination, including Donald Trump, Pat Buchanan, and physicist John Hagelin. For a brief time, Congressman John B. Anderson and Congressman Ron Paul were considered potential candidates, but both ultimately declined to seek the nomination.

Ted Weill American politician

Theodore C. Weill was the nominee for President of the United States of the Reform Party of the United States of America in the 2008 election.

In the United States, Presidential plurality victories are those elections in which the winning candidate received less than 50% of the popular votes cast but the largest share of votes.

Russ Verney American campaign manager

Russell J. Verney is a political advisor who served as chairman of the Reform Party of the United States from 1995 to 1999. He worked on the presidential campaigns of Ross Perot and Bob Barr.

This article contains lists of official and potential third party and independent candidates associated with the 1996 United States presidential election.

1996 United States presidential election in New Jersey

The 1996 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place on November 5, 1996, and was part of the 1996 United States presidential election. Voters chose 15 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president. The major contenders were incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican Senator from Kansas Bob Dole, with Reform Party candidate Ross Perot – listed as an "Independent" in New Jersey – running a distant third.

The United States presidential election debates were held during the 2000 presidential election. Three debates were held between Republican candidate, Texas Governor George W. Bush and Democratic incumbent Vice President Al Gore, the major candidates. One debate was held with their vice presidential running mates, Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. All four debates were sponsored by the non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which has organized presidential debates since its establishment in 1987.

2016 United States presidential election in New Mexico

The 2016 United States presidential election in New Mexico was held on November 8, 2016, as part of the General Election in which all fifty states and the District of Columbia participated. New Mexico voters chose electors to represent them in the Electoral College via a popular vote.

References

  1. Herbeck, Dan (November 15, 2011). Resentments abound in Seneca power struggle. The Buffalo News. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  2. Arthur Meier Schlesinger, ed. History of US political parties (5 vol. Chelsea House Pub, 2002).
  3. John Nichols (2011). The "S" Word: A Short History of an American Tradition. Verso. p. 104.
  4. "Senator Lisa Murkowski wins Alaska write-in campaign". Reuters. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  5. Zeller, Shawn. "Crashing the Lieberman Party - New York Times". archive.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  6. Neuhart, P. (2004-01-22). "Why politics is fun from catbirds' seats". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  7. Kettle, Martin (2000-02-12). "Ventura quits Perot's Reform party". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  8. Amato, Theresa (December 4, 2009). "The two party ballot suppresses third party change". The Record. Harvard Law. Retrieved April 16, 2012. Today, as in 1958, ballot access for minor parties and Independents remains convoluted and discriminatory. Though certain state ballot access statutes are better, and a few Supreme Court decisions (Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23 (1968), Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983)) have been generally favorable, on the whole, the process—and the cumulative burden it places on these federal candidates—may be best described as antagonistic. The jurisprudence of the Court remains hostile to minor party and Independent candidates, and this antipathy can be seen in at least a half dozen cases decided since Nader's article, including Jenness v. Fortson, 403 U.S. 431 (1971), American Party of Tex. v. White, 415 U.S. 767 (1974), Munro v. Socialist Workers Party, 479 U.S. 189 (1986), Burdick v. Takushi, 504 U.S. 428 (1992), and Arkansas Ed. Television Comm'n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666 (1998). Justice Rehnquist, for example, writing for a 6–3 divided Court in Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351 (1997), spells out the Court's bias for the "two-party system," even though the word "party" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. He wrote that "The Constitution permits the Minnesota Legislature to decide that political stability is best served through a healthy two-party system. And while an interest in securing the perceived benefits of a stable two-party system will not justify unreasonably exclusionary restrictions, States need not remove all the many hurdles third parties face in the American political arena today." 520 U.S. 351, 366–67.
  9. 2000 Presidential General Election Results, Federal Election Commission, retrieved 2007-12-20
  10. "Official General Election Results for United States President" (PDF). Public Records Office Election Results. United States Federal Election Commission. November 2, 2004. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  11. Lister, J (September 1980), "1980 Debates", The New England Journal of Medicine, Commission on Presidential Debates, 303 (13): 741–44, doi:10.1056/NEJM198009253031307, ISSN   0028-4793, PMID   6157090 , retrieved 2007-12-20
  12. What Happened in 1992?, opendebates.org, retrieved 2007-12-20
  13. What Happened in 1996?, opendebates.org, retrieved 2007-12-20
  14. What Happened in 2004?, opendebates.org, retrieved 2007-12-20
  15. 2004 Candidate Selection Criteria, Commission on Presidential Debates, September 24, 2003, retrieved 2007-12-20
  16. 2004 Debates, Commession on Presidential Debates, archived from the original on 2008-06-11, retrieved 2007-12-20
  17. The 15 Percent Barrier, opendebates.org, retrieved 2007-12-20
  18. Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Sites, Dates, Formats and Candidate Selection Criteria for 2008 General Election, Commission on Presidential Debates, November 19, 2007, archived from the original on November 19, 2008, retrieved 2007-12-20

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