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American Third Parties

Americas Third Parties which one is biggest? America currently has five nationally organized third parties: Reform, Libertarian, Green, Constitution (U.S. Taxpayers), and Natural Law. Each of these five parties has received 100,000 votes for at least one of its candidates in the past 20 years. No other currently existing third party in America has done so. Which of the five is the biggest and strongest is difficult to say. The Reform Party can claim dominance in a few recent elections. In the 1996 Presidential campaign, Ross Perot spent more money and received more votes (8.39%) than all other third party candidates combined. The vote totals were: Reform (Ross Perot) 8,085,403, Green (Ralph Nader) 685,128, Libertarian (Harry Browne) 485,798, U.S. Taxpayers (Howard Phillips) 182,820, and Natural Law (John Hagelin) 113,671. The Reform Party is the only third party to currently have an elected governor (Jesse Ventura in Minnesota). In 1998 it became the first third party since 1914 to receive more than one million votes for all of its gubernatorial candidates combined. (Over half of those votes were for Jesse Ventura.) The Libertarian Party, founded in 1971, is the oldest of the five nationally organized third parties. The US Taxpayers Party was formed in 1990, Natural Law in 1992, and Reform in 1995. The Greens began organizing nationally in 1984 with the formation of the Green Committees of Correspondence. This organization was replaced by the Green Party USA in 1991, but it never had the support of many state Green Parties. A new organization, the Association of State Green Parties, formed in 1996, has the support of 23 state parties, and is currently in the process of trying to form a national party. There have been many different third parties in American history, but most disappeared relatively quickly. The Libertarian Party is one of only six third parties in U.S. history to have lasted 25 years. If history is any i...

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