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.
This section includes only parties that have actually run candidates under their name in recent years.
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.
This section includes any party that has a left-liberal, progressive, social democratic, democratic socialist or Marxist platform.
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.
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.
A number of third party, independent, and write-in candidates have performed well in many U.S. elections.
Greens, Libertarians and others have elected state Legislators and local officials. The Socialists had 600 mayors at one time before World War I, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New Haven, Connecticut; Reading, Pennsylvania; and Schenectady, New York. 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 century before. 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. 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%.
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.
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.
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. 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, 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. 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.
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.  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. His participation helped Perot climb from 7% before the debates to 19% on Election Day.
Perot was excluded from the 1996 debates despite his strong showing four years prior. 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, when as many as 62 million people watched the debates, and has continued being in effect as of 2008. The 15% criterion, had it been in place, would have prevented Anderson and Perot from participating in the debates they appeared in.
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.
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.
The 2018 United States Senate election in Vermont was held November 6, 2018, alongside a gubernatorial election, U.S. House election, and other state and local elections. Incumbent independent Senator Bernie Sanders was re-elected to a third term. The primaries were held on August 14.American Party of South Carolina
The American Party of South Carolina is a third party in the United States. Established in 2014, the party is active only in South Carolina.Commonwealth Land Party (United States)
The Commonwealth Land Party of the United States was created in 1924 from the Single Tax Party. Its single-issue platform was based on the free-market tax reform principles defined and popularized by American political economist and public intellectual Henry George, the ideology now called Georgism.Cynthia McKinney 2008 presidential campaign
The 2008 presidential campaign of Cynthia McKinney, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 11th district (1993–97) and 4th district (1997–2003, 2005–07), began on December 16, 2007 as a candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination via YouTube. She and her running mate Rosa Clemente accepted the Green Party's presidential nomination July 12, 2008 at the 2008 Green National Convention. Her campaign focused on issues such as racial profiling, September 11, 2001 attacks, and the Green Party's 10 key values.
She also supported statehood for the District of Columbia, slavery reparations, electoral reforms including instant runoff voting, and calls for abolishing the death penalty and the War on Drugs.On November 4, 2008 McKinney finished sixth in the election with 161,603 votes, 41,744 more votes than the Cobb/LaMarche ticket four years prior.Independent Party of Delaware
The Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD) is a political party in the State of Delaware, United States. As of March 2016, it is the third largest political party in Delaware with 5,696 registered voters. The party supports laissez-faire capitalism, limited government, and supports a clean and healthy environment. It was officially formed on August 29, 2000 to provide Delaware voters with an independent alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties. IPoD works to support independent candidates for public office by providing them with ballot access, distributing information to voters, and encouraging participation in candidate debates.Independent politician
An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.
Independents may support policies which are different from those of the major political parties.
In some parts of the world, electors may have a tradition of electing independents, so standing for a political party is a disadvantage.
In some countries (such as Russia), a political party can only be registered if it has a large number of members in more than one region, but in certain regions only a minority of electors support the major parties.
In some countries (including Kuwait), political parties are unlawful and all candidates thus stand as independents.
In some countries where politics are otherwise traditionally partisan, such as the United States, subnational bodies and offices such as the Nebraska State Legislature and various directly-elected judicial and executive positions are nonpartisan and require politicians to abstain from running for office as part of a political party, even if they may be a member of one.
In some countries where politics is otherwise traditionally partisan, such as Mongolia, the incumbent President must always be an independent and cannot run for reelection as a member of a political party.Some independent politicians may be associated with a political party, perhaps as former members of it, or else have views that align with it, but choose not to stand in its name, or are unable to do so because the party in question has selected another candidate. Others may belong to or support a political party at the national level but believe they should not formally represent it (and thus be subject to its policies) at another level.
In running for public office, independents sometimes choose to form a party or alliance with other independents, and may formally register their party or alliance. Even where the word "independent" is used, such alliances have much in common with a political party, especially if there is an organization which needs to approve the "independent" candidates.John B. Anderson
John Bayard Anderson (February 15, 1922 – December 3, 2017) was a United States Congressman and presidential candidate from Illinois. As a member of the Republican Party, he represented Illinois's 16th congressional district from 1961 through 1981. In 1980, he ran an independent campaign for president, receiving 6.6% of the popular vote.
Born in Rockford, Illinois, Anderson practiced law after serving in the Army during World War II. After a stint in the United States Foreign Service, he won election as the State's Attorney for Winnebago County, Illinois. He won election to the House of Representatives in 1960 in a strongly Republican district. Initially one of the most conservative members of the House, Anderson's views moderated during the 1960s, particularly regarding social issues. He became Chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1969 and remained in that position until 1979. He strongly criticized the Vietnam War as well as President Richard Nixon's actions during the Watergate scandal.
Anderson entered the 1980 Republican presidential primaries, introducing his signature campaign proposal of raising the gas tax while cutting social security taxes. He established himself as a contender for the nomination in the early primaries, but eventually dropped out of the Republican race, choosing to pursue an independent campaign for president. In the election, he finished third behind Republican nominee Ronald Reagan and Democratic President Jimmy Carter. He won support among Rockefeller Republicans, independents, liberal intellectuals, and college students.
After the election, he resumed his legal career and helped found FairVote, an organization that advocates electoral reforms such as instant-runoff voting. He also won a lawsuit against the state of Ohio, Anderson v. Celebrezze, in which the Supreme Court struck down early filing deadlines for independent candidates. Anderson served as a visiting professor at numerous universities and was on the boards of several organizations. He endorsed Ralph Nader in 2000 and helped found the Justice Party in 2012.
Anderson died on December 3, 2017 in Washington D.C. at the age of 95.List of candidates in the United States presidential election, 2008
The following are lists of candidates in the 2008 United States presidential election. Candidates who are not on any state ballots, withdrew from the race, suspended their presidential campaign, or failed to earn their party's nomination are listed separately.List of political parties in the United States
This is a list of political parties in the United States, both past and present.Objectivist Party
The Objectivist Party is a political party in the United States that seeks to promote Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm. The party was formed on February 2, 2008 by Tom Stevens; the date was chosen to coincide with the date of Rand's birth. The Governing Board of the party currently consists of founder Tom Stevens, Alden Link, Dodge P. Landesman, and Executive Assistant John Connor.The Objectivist Party has no official support from either the Ayn Rand Institute or The Atlas Society.Ralph Nader 2008 presidential campaign
The 2008 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer and attorney began on February 24, 2008. He announced his intent to run as an independent candidate, on NBC's Meet The Press. It was Nader's fifth campaign; he ran in the four election cycles prior to 2008: 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. The 2008 election was the third in which he had officially run a national campaign. While Nader ran as an independent, in some states he had ballot access with the Independent-Ecology Party, the Natural Law Party, and the Peace and Freedom Party. Nader received 738,475 votes.Reform Party of the United States of America
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.
Perot, who received 18.9% of the popular vote as an independent candidate in the 1992 presidential election and wanted to participate also in the 1996 presidential election, thought Americans were disillusioned with the state of politics as being corrupt and unable to deal with vital issues. Perot claimed to represent a viable alternative to Republicans and Democrats, and, as a result, founded the Reform Party. Perot won 8.4% of the popular vote in 1996. Although he came nowhere close to winning the presidency, no other third-party or independent candidate has since managed to receive as high a share of the vote.
The party has nominated several notable candidates over the years, including Perot himself, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader. Donald Trump ran for president on the Reform Party ticket in 2000 before switching to the Republican Party and becoming president in 2016. Its most significant victory came when Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998, although he left the party shortly into his term. In around the year 2000, party infighting and scandals led to a major decline in the party's strength. Beginning with Buchanan's poor showing in the 2000 election, no Reform Party presidential candidate has ever been able to attain at least 1% of the vote.Serve America Movement
The Serve America Movement (SAM) is a political organization founded by Morgan Stanley lawyer Eric Grossman in 2017. The party achieved its first state party in New York with ballot access, the party has stated they intend to surpass the elections vote limit or use petitions to gain access in other states to contest future elections. The party contested its first election in the New York Gubernatorial election of 2018 with candidate Stephanie Miner. The party has no registered members in New York as of early 2019.Third-party and independent candidates for the 2008 United States presidential election
This article contains lists of official third party or independent candidates associated with the 2008 United States presidential election.
Third party is a term commonly used in the United States to refer to political parties other than the two major parties, the Democratic Party and Republican Party. The term is used as innumerate shorthand for all such parties, or sometimes only the largest of them.
An independent candidate is one who runs for office with no formal party affiliation.
Candidates who received, or ran for, the presidential nomination of a political party other than that of the two major parties in the 2008 presidential election, as well those who ran as independents, are listed below.Third-party and independent candidates for the 2012 United States presidential election
This article contains lists of official third party and independent candidates associated with the 2012 United States presidential election.
"Third party" is a term commonly used in the United States to refer to political parties other than the two major parties, the Democratic Party and Republican Party. An independent candidate is one who runs for office with no formal party affiliation.
Those listed as candidates have done one or more of the following: formally announced they are candidates in the 2012 presidential election, filed as candidates with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and/or received the presidential nomination of their respective party. They are listed alphabetically by surname within each section.Third-party members of the United States House of Representatives
Third-party members of the United States House of Representatives are generally rare. Although the Republican party and Democratic party have dominated
American politics in a two-party system since 1856, other political parties and independents have run, been elected and exerted influence.
This article lists all representatives since the end of Reconstruction or after the 45th United States Congress (1879) who were third-party affiliated or independent while they were in office, although dating them from the first year they were in the House in any affiliation.
Since 1877, there have been 112 third party U.S. Congress Representatives: 7 from the Modern era, 36 from the Progressive era, 44 from the Populist era, and 25 from the Greenback era.Third party (politics)
In electoral politics, a third party is any party contending for votes that failed to outpoll either of its two strongest rivals (or, in the context of an impending election, is considered highly unlikely to do so). The distinction is particularly significant in two-party systems. In any case "third" is often used figuratively, as in "the third parties", where the intent, literally stated, is "the third and succeeding parties".
For instance, in the United Kingdom a third party is a national political party, other than the Conservatives and Labour, which has at least one member in the House of Commons. From 1922 to 2015, Liberal Democrats and its predecessor Liberals was the third party. Since 2015, it is used for the Scottish National Party (SNP). In Scotland, SNP is the dominant parliamentary party started from 2011 Scottish parliament election, with the Conservative the next largest party and Labour become Scotland's third party ever since.
In the United States of America, there have been numerous "third parties". The largest since the mid-20th century are the Libertarian and Green Parties.
In the Canada as well most provinces like Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec have nearly 50+ active political parties throughout the nation with several them both provincial and federal levels either did elected, formed or joined during cross-flooring.
The term "third parties" is used mostly in countries with first past the post electoral systems, as those systems tend to create a two-party system, so that successful smaller parties are rare to stronger two-party systems like the United States.
Countries using proportional representation give little advantage to the largest two parties, so they tend to elect many parties. Therefore, in those countries, three, four, or more political parties are usually elected to legislatures. In such parliamentary systems, coalitions often include smaller parties; since they may participate in a coalition government, there is not a sharp distinction with a 'major' party. In two-party systems, on the other hand, only the major parties have a serious chance of forming a government. Similarly, in presidential systems, third-party candidates are rarely elected president.
In some categorizations, a party needs to have a certain level of success to be considered a third party. Smaller parties that win only a very small share of the vote and no seats in the legislature often are termed minor or fringe parties.
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