American Independent Party

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American Independent Party
Chairmanunder dispute: Jim King or Markham Robinson
FoundedJuly 8, 1967; 46 years ago (1967-07-08)
Headquarters1561 N. Beale Road
Marysville, California, U.S. 95901
IdeologyNationalism
Paleoconservatism
Right-wing populism
Anti-communism
Political positionFar-Right
National affiliationunder dispute: Constitution Party or America's Party
ColorsPurple, blue, white
Website
http://aipca.org
Politics of the United States
Political parties
Elections
 
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American Independent Party
Chairmanunder dispute: Jim King or Markham Robinson
FoundedJuly 8, 1967; 46 years ago (1967-07-08)
Headquarters1561 N. Beale Road
Marysville, California, U.S. 95901
IdeologyNationalism
Paleoconservatism
Right-wing populism
Anti-communism
Political positionFar-Right
National affiliationunder dispute: Constitution Party or America's Party
ColorsPurple, blue, white
Website
http://aipca.org
Politics of the United States
Political parties
Elections

The American Independent Party is a far right political party of the United States that was established in 1967 by Bill and Eileen Shearer. It is most notable for its nomination of former Alabama Governor George Wallace, who carried five states in the 1968 presidential election running on a segregationist platform. 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, with its exit from the Constitution Party leading to a leadership dispute during the 2008 election.

Early history[edit]

In 1968, the American Independent Party nominated Alabama Governor George C. Wallace as its presidential candidate and retired U.S. Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay as the vice-presidential candidate. Wallace ran on every state ballot in the 1968 presidential election, though he did not represent the American Independent Party in all fifty states: in Connecticut, for instance, he was listed on the ballot as representing the "George Wallace Party." The Wallace/LeMay ticket received 13.5 percent of the popular vote and 46 electoral votes.

In 1969, representatives from 40 states established the American Party as the successor to the American Independent Party. In some places, such as Connecticut, the American Party was constituted as the American Conservative Party. (The modern American Conservative Party, founded in 2008, is unrelated to the Wallace-era party.) The party flag, adopted on August 30, 1970, depicts an eagle holding a group of arrows in its left talons, over a compass rose, with a banner which reads "The American Independent Party" at the eagle's base. In 1972, the party nominated former Republican Congressman John G. Schmitz of California for president and Tennessee author Thomas Jefferson Anderson for vice president.

After the 1976 split[edit]

In 1976, the American Party split into the more moderate American Party, which included more northern conservatives and Schmitz supporters, and the American Independent Party, which focused on the Deep South. Both parties have nominated candidates for the presidency and other offices. Neither the American Party nor the American Independent Party has had national success, and the American Party has not achieved ballot status in any state since 1996.

In the early 1980s, Bill Shearer led the American Independent Party into the Populist Party. Since 1992, the American Independent Party has been the California affiliate of the national Constitution Party, formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party. However, in 2008 one faction of the AIP broke with the Constitution Party and gave the ballot line (which it controlled) to Alan Keyes, candidate of the similarly named America's Party.

The American Independent Party has had ballot status in the state of California since 1968 and is still active there. As of early 2008, AIP's registration total was 328,261.[1] Many political analysts have theorized that the party, which has received very few votes in recent California elections, maintains its state ballot status because people join the Party mistakenly believing that they are registering as an "independent," also known as a "non-partisan" or "decline-to-state" voter.[2] One such voter was Jennifer Siebel, fiancée of San Francisco's liberal Democratic mayor Gavin Newsom; in 2008, Siebel attempted to change her party affiliation from Republican to Non-Partisan, but "checked the American Independent box thinking that was what independent voters were supposed to do," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.[3]

2008 leadership dispute[edit]

A split in the American Independent Party occurred during the 2008 presidential campaign, one faction recognizing Jim King as chairman of the AIP with the other recognizing Ed Noonan as chairman. Noonan's faction claims the old AIP main website while the King organization claims the AIP's blog. King's group met in Los Angeles on June 28–29, elected King to state chair.[4] Ed Noonan's faction, which included 8 of the 17 AIP officers, held a convention in Sacramento on July 5, 2008. Issues in the split were US foreign policy and the influence of Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips on the state party.[5]

The King group elected to stay in the Constitution Party and supported its presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin. It was not listed as the "Qualified Political Party" by the California Secretary of State and Baldwin's name was not printed in the state's ballots.[6] King's group sued for ballot access [7] and their case was dismissed without prejudice.[8]

The Noonan group voted to pull out of the Constitution Party and join a new party called America's Party, put together by perennial candidate Alan Keyes as a vehicle for his own presidential campaign.[5] Since Noonan was on record with the California Secretary of State as (outgoing) party chairman, Keyes was added to the state ballots as the AIP candidate.[9] This group elected Markham Robinson as its new chair at the convention.

The King faction website is now billed as the Constitution Party of California, stating "Vote Constitution Party--the only party fighting for a return to Constitutional government!"; but continuing with a list of "2010 California Candidates: We endorse the following candidates who are running under the "American Independent" banner in California for 2010!"[10]

Presidential tickets[edit]

1969 AIP party card, showing annual dues of $3.00 for the organization.
YearNomineeNominee's PartyRunning Mate# Votes % Votes % Votes
Where Balloted
1968George WallaceAmerican IndependentCurtis LeMay9,906,47313.5313.56
1972John G. SchmitzAmerican IndependentThomas J. Anderson1,099,4821.422.25
1976Lester MaddoxAmerican IndependentWilliam Dyke170,5310.210.57
1980John RarickAmerican IndependentEileen Shearer41,2680.050.26
1984Bob RichardsPopulistMaureen Salaman66,3360.070.25
1988James C. GriffinAmerican IndependentCharles Morsa27,8180.030.28
1992Howard PhillipsU.S. Taxpayers'Albion Knight, Jr.42,9600.040.10
1996Howard PhillipsU.S. Taxpayers'Herb Titus182,8200.190.23
2000Howard PhillipsConstitutionCurtis Frazier98,0200.090.12
2004Michael PeroutkaConstitutionChuck Baldwin143,6300.120.17
2008Alan KeyesConstitution PartyWiley Drake47,6940.040.19
2012Tom HoeflingAmerica's PartyRobert Ornelas40,6410.030.17

Since the fracture of the American Independent Party between the King and Noonan factions, control of the State Party, and thus the ballot line, has been in the hands of the Noonan faction. Attempts to nominate Chuck Baldwin (the 2008 Constitution nominee) or Virgil Goode (the 2012 Constitution nominee) were unsuccessful, as were their independent efforts to make it onto the California presidential ballot.

California gubernatorial candidates[edit]

YearCandidate# Votes % Votes
1970Bill Shearer65,8471.01
1974Edmon V. Kaiser83,8691.34
1978Theresa F. Dietrich67,1030.97
1982James C. Griffin56,2490.71
1986Gary V. Miller50,5470.68
1990Jerome McCready139,6611.81
1994Jerome McCready133,8881.55
1998Nathan Johnson37,9640.45
2002Reinhold Gulke128,0351.71
2003Charles Pineda, Jr.1,1040.01
Diane Beall Templin1,0670.01
2006Edward C. Noonan61,9010.71
2010Chelene Nightingale166,3121.65

Chairmen/Vice-Chairmen[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Winger, Richard. "EARLY 2008 REGISTRATION TOTALS", Ballot Access News, March 2008.
  2. ^ Voting at the Political Fault Line: California's Experiment With the Blanket Primary (2002), page 219. ISBN 0-520-22834-0.
  3. ^ Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross (2008-04-23). "Newsom's girlfriend stumbles into wrong party". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  4. ^ Quirk, Cody. "AIP holds its State Convention, endorses Chuck Baldwin and reaffirms CP affiliation", Third Party Watch, June 30, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Bock, Alan. "American-Independent split". Orange County Register Horserace '08. Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008.
  6. ^ California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information - Quaified Political Parties[dead link]
  7. ^ Quirk, Cody. "Statement from Jim King, AIP Chairman", Third Party Watch, July 22, 2008.
  8. ^ Winger, Richard. "Keyes Wins California Lawsuit on Procedural Issue", Ballot Access News, August 26, 2008.
  9. ^ Garris, Eric. "California Ballot: Alan Keyes Replaces Chuck Baldwin on American Independent Party Ticket", Third Party Watch, July 22, 2008.
  10. ^ Blog of "King faction" now billed as the Constitution Party of California accessed August 11, 2010

External links[edit]