Many political "third parties" in the U.S. buck establishment trends by supporting innovative or unique ideas. In many cases, their ideas end up being co-opted by the major parties. Thanks to the Socialist Party of the early 20th century, we now have Social Security and the eight hour workday, and The Libertarian Party has been very influential on the Republican Party of the last couple of decades. The Constitution Party has attracted some attention in conservative circles, while the Green Party played a visible role in the disputed 2000 Presidential election, when their candidate Ralph Nader received enough votes to allegedly hurt Democratic candidate Al Gore. But there are also many third parties that are not only inconsequential, but just, well...really weird. Below we take a glance at five of the most offbeat ones:
This anti-alcohol party is actually the oldest third party still (barely) active in the U.S., having been founded in 1869. In the 1910s, they actually managed to get some people elected to Congress and were able to capture the Governorship of Florida. It's all been downhill since the end of alcohol Prohibition in the 1930s, though, as its membership, support and vote totals have gradually shrunk to almost nothing. Their 2012 Presidential nationwide vote total was a pathetic 518 votes. Since 2003, two different factions have been fighting over an $8,000 payment that the estate of a deceased supporter makes to the party each year, which is reminiscent of two hobos fighting over a half-empty can of Dinty Moore stew. It is unknown if they will run a Presidential (or any other) candidate again in 2016. Other than booze prohibition, the party's platform is generally socially and fiscally conservative. Each faction has a website:www.prohibitionists.org and www.prohibitionparty.org.
Dedicated to bringing the teachings of noted anti-government philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand to...uhh, the government... this small party was founded in 2008 by lawyer Tom Stevens. Never mind that Rand herself was highly skeptical of electoral politics during most of her life (she wouldn't even support the Libertarian Party) and the party does not seem to receive any significant support from the official Objectivist movement. Stevens ran for President as the OP's nominee in 2008 and 2012, with Alden Link as his running mate. In the latter race, they finished with 4,091 votes, having appeared on the ballot in two whole states (Colorado and Florida). I can see this organization eventually folding back into the Libertarian Party, which is very likely where it sprung from in the first place. The pary's website is atwww.objectivistparty.us
Revolutionary Communist Party
One of the many tiny socialist/communist parties that litter the American underground political scene, this outfit has been around since 1975. The RCP was founded and is still led by egomaniac Bob Avakian, who "fled" the U.S. for France after supposedly jumping bail (he had assaulted a police officer at a demonstration). He remained in self-exile for years, despite the fact that the government didn't seem to give a rat's ass where he was or what he was doing. The RCP's platform basically calls for total revolution in order to overthrow capitalism, and has rarely participated in elections. In the past, they were controversial within left-wing circles for repudiating homosexuality, a position they have since revised. This personality-centered party continues to sell newspapers, run a website and...well, I guess that's it. Bob Avakian also likes to make lots of speeches.
The Light Party
This California-based new age oriented party, headed by leader "Da Vid", describes itself as "a holistic, proactive, educational new political paradigm party dedicated to "Health Peace and Freedom For All". The Light Party Platform is "a synthesis of the finest elements of the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Green Parties." Umm, okay. That all sounds alright on paper, I suppose. But the party's website also includes 9/11 "truther" material (never a good sign), as well as a good deal of new age pseudo-science and just plain crazy flakiness. Annual membership is a steal for $44.00 (can I pay in crystals?). No information seems to be available on who their candidates are or have been (if any), or if they have ballot access in any state. My guess is that the answer to that last one is 'no'. Website is atwww.lightparty.com.
National Socialist Movement
Strangely headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, this Nazi organization was founded in 1974 by Robert Brannen and Clifford Herrington, and is apparently still around and reportedly has chapters in 35 states. They infrequently run candidates for local and state offices (one of their California candidates was shot and killed by his ten-year-old son, who was tired of his father's abuse). The NSM occasionally holds rallies protesting immigration, black people, jews, gays and the like. Basically a gang of -- at the most -- a few hundred losers and retards, who are completely irrelevant and have zero hope of ever influencing the public discourse or getting anyone elected to anything. Numerous NSM members have been arrested over the years for various crimes, including vandalism, assault and manslaughter.