Constitution Party (United States)

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The Constitution Party
ChairmanFrank Fluckiger
Senate LeaderNone
House LeaderNone
Founded1992 (1992) as U.S. Taxpayers' Party, 1999 (1999) as Constitution Party
Headquarters23 North Lime St., Lancaster, PA 17602
Student wingYoung Constitutionalists
Membership  (2013)77,918[1]
IdeologyConservatism
(American)
Paleoconservatism
National conservatism
Right-wing populism
Internal factions:
 • American nationalism
 • Christian nationalism
 • Economic nationalism
 • Social conservatism
 • Paleolibertarianism
 • Non-interventionism
 • Traditionalist conservatism
 • Protectionism
ColorsRed, white, and blue
Political positionRight-wing
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
Governorships
0 / 50
State Upper House Seats
0 / 1,921
State Lower House Seats
0 / 5,410
Other elected offices5 (2013)[citation needed]
Website
http://constitutionparty.org
Politics of United States
Political parties
Elections
 
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The Constitution Party
ChairmanFrank Fluckiger
Senate LeaderNone
House LeaderNone
Founded1992 (1992) as U.S. Taxpayers' Party, 1999 (1999) as Constitution Party
Headquarters23 North Lime St., Lancaster, PA 17602
Student wingYoung Constitutionalists
Membership  (2013)77,918[1]
IdeologyConservatism
(American)
Paleoconservatism
National conservatism
Right-wing populism
Internal factions:
 • American nationalism
 • Christian nationalism
 • Economic nationalism
 • Social conservatism
 • Paleolibertarianism
 • Non-interventionism
 • Traditionalist conservatism
 • Protectionism
ColorsRed, white, and blue
Political positionRight-wing
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
Governorships
0 / 50
State Upper House Seats
0 / 1,921
State Lower House Seats
0 / 5,410
Other elected offices5 (2013)[citation needed]
Website
http://constitutionparty.org
Politics of United States
Political parties
Elections

The Constitution Party is a right-wing political party in the United States.[2][3][4][5][6][7] It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers' Party by Howard Philips in 1991.[8] Phillips was the party's candidate in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. The party's official name was changed to The Constitution Party in 1999; however, some state affiliate parties are known under different names. The party's platform defines itself as predicated on the principles of the nation's founding documents.[9] The party currently puts a large focus on immigration, calling for stricter penalties towards illegal immigrants and a moratorium on legal immigration until all federal subsidies to immigrants are discontinued.[10] The party absorbed the American Independent Party, originally founded for George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign. The American Independent Party of California has been affiliated with the Constitution Party since its founding; however since 2008, current party leadership is disputed and the issue is in court to resolve this conflict.[citation needed] The Constitution Party receives substantial support from Christian Right organizations, and achieved major party status in Colorado after coming in second place in the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial election. The party has no current representation in the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate and controls no governorships or other state-wide elected positions. At the state legislature level, the party controls no seats in any upper or lower house.

Overview[edit]

The Constitution Party advocates a platform which it says aims to reflect the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bible, and the Bill of Rights. Its website states that "The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries."[11] This has led to its being described by critics as a theocratic party, as was its predecessor.[12][13][14][15]

In 2006, Rick Jore of Montana became the first Constitution Party candidate elected to a state-level office,[16][17] although the Constitution Party of Montana had disaffiliated from the national party a short time before the election.

On April 26, 2008, Chuck Baldwin was nominated as the Constitution Party candidate for President of the United States in the 2008 election.

In 2010 the Constitution Party received the third highest gubernatorial vote total, with 872,498 votes. They also finished in fifth place for both the U.S. House and Senate, with 251,741 and 338,593 votes, respectively.

As of October 2012, the Constitutional Party ranked fifth in voter registration nationally with 77,918.[1]

Affiliated organizations[edit]

A number of conservative parties (some formally affiliated with or descended from the American Independent Party, some not) calling themselves "Constitution Party" have existed in the United States. In 1952-1953, Upton Close, Robert R. McCormick and other supporters of Joseph McCarthy discussed the formation of a party sometimes called the "Constitution Party", sometimes the "American Party", apparently in support of McCarthy's ambitions to reach the White House. White supremacist, Christian Identity theorist and Posse Comitatus founder William Potter Gale was California "state chairman of the Constitution Party" in 1957.;[18] and their candidate for Governor of California in 1958.[19] The Constitution Party of Wisconsin, for example, was an affiliate of the American Independent Party which ran candidates in the 1980-1984 elections, and appointed James Wickstrom and others as representatives to the National Committee. The present-day Constitution Party of Wisconsin was begun in 1991 as a unit of the U.S. Taxpayers Party,[20] and does not discuss the connection (or lack thereof) between the two organizations, which share a number of ideological positions.

The Michigan affiliate has kept the U.S. Taxpayers Party name to retain ballot status. In Connecticut the affiliate is the Concerned Citizens Party; in Nebraska the affiliate has recently[when?] changed its name from "The Nebraska Party" to "The Nebraska Independent Party".[21]

Reports that the Constitution Party discussed a merger[22] between several third parties such as the Reform Party, Independent American Party, American Independent Party, and the America First Party have been refuted by other accounts of the events.[23] Nevertheless, all of the aforementioned parties except for the Reform Party endorsed the Constitution Party's Michael Peroutka as their presidential candidate in 2004.

Notable people[edit]

Pat Buchanan threatened in 1996 to run as the U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate if Bob Dole chose a pro-choice running mate. Dole later chose pro-life Jack Kemp and received Buchanan's endorsement. Buchanan's 2000 Reform Party running mate Ezola B. Foster switched her membership to the Constitution Party in 2002. Buchanan stated on the September 7, 2004 edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews, "There is a chance I would vote for [Michael] Peroutka."[24] However, he later penned an endorsement of President George W. Bush in the pages of The American Conservative.[25]

U.S. senator Bob Smith announced his switch from Republican to the U.S. Taxpayers Party in 1999 to seek its 2000 presidential nomination. Smith later charged that anti-New World Order ideologues within the party resisted his candidacy due to his Roman Catholicism. He left the party after one month and continued his campaign as a non-partisan independent but ceased the campaign soon thereafter and returned to the Republican party to assume a Senate committee chairmanship. In 2008, he began writing editorials on the Constitution Party's web page, fueling speculation that he would seek its presidential nomination again, although he had endorsed Rep. Duncan Hunter for the Republican nomination. He requested that his name be withheld from consideration in a March 2008 letter to CP supporters.

Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist ran for Congress with the American Independent Party in 2005, but has since rejoined the Republicans.[26]

Author and WorldNetDaily columnist Jerome Corsi launched a brief campaign for the 2008 nomination but in July 2007 decided to return to writing.[27] Former Reagan Administration official and devout Catholic activist Alan Keyes had actively sought the Constitution nod after ending a bid for the GOP nomination.[28]

The party has also attracted notables in the anti-abortion movement such as Dr. Gregory Thompson,[29] Lon Mabon,[30] Paul deParrie, and Missionaries to the Preborn leader Pastor Matthew Trewhella.[31] However, many such notables were involved in the below-mentioned disaffiliation efforts over abortion, and it remains unclear what effect the movement has upon the current reorganized rump affiliates.

A 2008 candidate for the Republican nomination, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), endorsed several third party candidates shortly after bowing out of the race. Ultimately, he would go on to endorse 2008 Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin.[32] The unaffiliated Constitution Party of Montana replaced Baldwin with Paul for president and Michael Peroutka for vice president. Paul requested that Montana remove his name from the ballot, but the Secretary of State of Montana denied his request, stating that the request was sent too late.[33]

In 2010, former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo ran for governor of Colorado as a Constitutionalist. He received 36.8% of the vote finishing in 2nd place. Despite losing the election, Tancredo managed to secure major party status for the Constitution Party in Colorado, as that state requires a party to surpass 10% in a gubernatorial election to qualify for such status.[34]

In 2010, former Republican Representative Virgil Goode (VA-5), later the 2012 nominee for president, accepted an appointment to the National Executive Committee of the Constitution Party.[citation needed]

2012 candidates[edit]

Former Republican Representative Virgil Goode (VA-5) was nominated at the convention in Nashville, Tennessee on April 22, 2012.[35] Goode received 203 votes; 202 were required for a majority. Darrell Castle of Tennessee, national vice chairman of the Constitution Party, came in second with 120 votes. Other candidates who received votes were Robby Wells from North Carolina, former football coach at Savannah State University; Dr. Laurie Roth of Washington state, who has a radio talk-show program; and registered nurse Susan Ducey of Kansas.[36]

Platform[edit]

The preamble of the Constitution Party platform "gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States,"[37] and supports the Constitutional provision in Article VI, Section 3 that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States" and calls on all those who love liberty and value their inherent rights to join with them in the pursuit of their goals.

Fiscal policy[edit]

The Constitution Party supports reducing the role of the United States federal government through cutting bureaucratic regulation, reducing spending, and replacing the income tax with a tariff-based revenue system supplemented by excise taxes. Its leaders are among the strongest advocates of abolishing most forms of federal taxation, especially the income tax; they view most current regular federal expenditures, such as those for health care, education, and welfare, as unconstitutional under Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment. The party also takes the position that the "imposition […] of Federal income, payroll, and estate taxes […] is an unconstitutional Federal assumption of direct taxing authority." [38] The 16th Amendment to the US Constitution does grant Congress the power to "lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration,"[39] however, the party disputes the validity of the Amendment's ratification.

The party supports paying off the federal debt through a systematic elimination of further borrowing, programs, and agencies which are unconstitutional such as the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The party opposes foreign aid, asking that no further funds be appropriated for any kind of foreign aid program, and encourage the idea that the United States terminate its participation in international lending institutions, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the Export-Import Bank. It also urges the government to immediately terminate all subsidies, tax preferences, and investment guarantees that encourage U.S. businesses to invest in foreign property; and to seek to collect all foreign debts owed to it.

Foreign policy[edit]

The Constitution Party favors a noninterventionist foreign policy. It advocates reduction and eventual elimination of the role the United States plays in multinational and international organizations such as the United Nations, and favors withdrawal of the United States from most current treaties, such as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the World Trade Organization. The party takes mercantilist positions in supporting protectionist policies on international trade.

The party also believes in exercising a tariff system to counteract the U.S.' increasingly negative balance of trade.[40] The tariff system would levy additional import costs, the amount of which would vary proportionally with how much less the exporting country's production costs are compared to that of U.S. companies. The Constitution Party has stated that this system would give U.S. companies a better chance at competing with countries, like Mexico and China, which have lower labor costs. In 2007 the US took in only about $25 billion in import tariffs, while at the same time running a $70 billion per month import deficit[citation needed].

Immigration policy[edit]

The party opposes illegal immigration and also seeks stricter controls on legal immigration. It demands that the federal government restore immigration policies based on the policy that potential immigrants will be disqualified from admission to the United States on the grounds of ill health, criminality, low morals, or financial dependence, believing that they would impose an improper burden on the United States, any state, and citizens of the United States. The party has stated a long term goal of a moratorium on future immigration, exempting extreme cases where it would be necessary.[41]

Additionally, it opposes welfare subsidies and other taxpayer-supported benefits to illegal immigrants, rejecting also the practice of bestowing U.S. citizenship on children born to illegal immigrant parents while in this country (jus soli). It also rejects any extension of amnesty to illegal immigrants. The Constitution Party calls for the use of U.S. troops to protect the states against an influx of illegal immigrants.

Social policy[edit]

The party opposes euthanasia and abortion, the latter including in cases of rape and incest. [42]

The party supports the ability of states to administer a death penalty: [43]

Our support of a State's option to impose the death penalty is limited to those who have been convicted of capital crimes. This is consistent with protecting innocent life because the death penalty would only be applied to those who have proven to be a threat to innocent life.

The party opposes same-sex marriage, and believes state and local governments have the right to criminalize "offensive sexual behavior".[44] The party further opposes pornography, believing it to be, at worst, "a destructive element of society resulting in significant and real emotional, physical, spiritual and financial costs to individuals, families and communities," distinguishable from the American citizen's "cherished First Amendment right to free speech." While expressing its belief in the individual responsibility of citizens and corporations, the party maintains that government plays a "vital role" in establishing and maintaining the highest level of decency in America's community standards.[45] The party opposes all government sponsorship, involvement in, or promotion of gambling,[46] and in keeping with the spirit of Article 1 Section 8 and Amendment 10, opposes federal anti-drug laws while maintaining that the federal government may have a role in limiting the import of drugs.[47]

The party supports the right to bear arms in accordance with the Second Amendment. The party believes that any attempt to make laws barring the second amendment are unconstitutional. It has taken a stand against the USA PATRIOT Act.

The Constitution Party believes that charitable giving is most effective when conducted by private parties. Because the authority to administer charity has not been granted to the government in the Constitution, the party maintains that the government has no business being involved in such endeavors.[48] The party opposes federal restrictions on, or subsidization of, medical treatments.[49]

The party supports English as the official language for all governmental business, opposes bilingual ballots, and insists that those who wish to take part in the electoral process and governance of the U.S. be required to read and comprehend basic English as a precondition of citizenship.[50] The party also opposes the federal Voting Rights Act.

In 2009, the Southern Poverty Law Center described the party as a "'Patriot' Group," described as a group or groups that "advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines."[51]

Federalism[edit]

The party supports the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which allows Congress to tax income, and the Seventeenth Amendment, which requires the direct (popular) election of Senators.[52] The party holds that each state's membership in the Union is voluntary.[53] This stance is known as the Compact theory.

State disaffiliations[edit]

In early 2006, Christopher H. Hansen, the gubernatorial candidate of Independent American Party of Nevada (the Constitution Party state affiliate in Nevada), and candidates in Colorado and Idaho, publicly expressed support for accepting abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and for abortions performed to save the life of the mother, which were contrary to the official Nevada platform.

At the party's April national convention in Tampa, Florida, the assembly voted not to disaffiliate Nevada, citing that affiliate's official position on the issue and national party policy against dictating the internal affairs (such as electing leaders) of any affiliate. They also made it more difficult to introduce a disaffiliation resolution.

However, the Oregon and Montana affiliates voluntarily disaffiliated from the party later that year.

Subsequent changes in affiliation[edit]

As of January 2013, Oregon reaffiliated the national party, but the Constitution Party of Montana re-affiliated to the national party in 2011.[citation needed] The Colorado and Idaho affiliates remain affiliated.[citation needed]

According to the party website, as of November 2012 the Alaskan Independence Party is also no longer an affiliate.

Electoral results[edit]

President[edit]

Election yearCandidate# of overall votes % of overall vote# of electoral votes+/-
1992Howard Phillips43,3690.04
0 / 538
1996Howard Phillips184,6560.19
0 / 538
Steady 0
2000Howard Phillips98,0200.09
0 / 538
Steady 0
2004Michael Peroutka144,4990.12
0 / 538
Steady 0
2008Chuck Baldwin199,8800.15
0 / 538
Steady 0
2012Virgil Goode122,3340.09
0 / 538
Steady 0

House of Representatives[edit]

Election year# of overall votes % of overall vote# of electoral votes+/-
2000122,9360.1
0 / 435
200299,3060.1
0 / 435
Steady 0
2004132,6130.10
0 / 435
Steady 0
200668,0310.10
0 / 435
Steady 0
2008136,0210.10
0 / 435
Steady 0
2010123,8410.14
0 / 435
Steady 0
2012118,102TBD
0 / 435
Steady 0

Senate[edit]

United States Senate
Election year# of total votes % of vote# of seats wonNotes
1998183,5880.34%0
2000286,8160.36%0
200260,4560.14%0
2004404,8530.47%0
2006133,0370.21%0
2008240,7290.36%0
2010338,5930.51%0
2012140,6050.15%0

Presidential tickets[edit]

State parties[edit]

List of state Constitution Parties

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "October 2012 Registration Totals". Ballot Access News. December 1, 2012. p. 3. 
  2. ^ "Southern Poverty Law Center." Constitution Party Hopes to Take Politics to the Extreme in 2004. Spl Center, Feb.-Mar. 2003. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2003/fall/our-terrible-swift-sword>.
  3. ^ Rudin, Ken. "Election 2010 Scorecard". National Public Radio. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Clarkson, Fred (May 5, 2004). "Will Roy Moore crack the Bush base?". Salon Magazine. 
  5. ^ Cohen, Nancy L. (2012). Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America. Counterpoint. p. 321. ISBN 1582438013. 
  6. ^ Joyce, Kathryn (2010). Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. Beacon Press. p. 7, 28. ISBN 978-0807010730. 
  7. ^ Lovell, Jarret S. (2009). Crimes of Dissent: Civil Disobedience, Criminal Justice, and the Politics of Conscience. New York University Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0814752272. 
  8. ^ Sara Diamond, "The U.S. Taxpayers Party" The Guardian (UK), October 9, 1991. Reprinted in Facing the Wrath, Common Courage Press, 1996.
  9. ^ "Constitution Party National Platform". Constitution Party. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ Constitution Party site http://www.constitutionparty.org
  11. ^ "Constitution Party National Platform". Constitution Party. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Blumenthal, Max (2010). Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party. Nation Books. p. 86. ISBN 978-1568584171. 
  13. ^ Max Blumenthal and David Neiwert (Oct 10 2008). "Meet Sarah Palin’s radical right-wing pals". Salon Magazine. 
  14. ^ Berlet, Chip (September 2, 2008). "Sarah Palin and Christian Dominionist Theocracy". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Carrie Budoff; Thomas Fitzgerald (August 08, 2004). "Candidate counts on anger at Specter Democrats are hoping that James Clymer, of the Constitution Party, will draw off enough conservative support to boost Hoeffel's chances". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "State Legislature results", Missoulian, November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2006.
  17. ^ Control of state Legislature unclear, Helena Independent Record
  18. ^ "Constitution Party Ends Meeting Optimistically" Los Angeles Times December 9, 1957
  19. ^ "Gale, William Potter" in Hamilton, Neil A. American Social Leaders and Activists New York: Infobase Publishing; p. 152-153
  20. ^ Wisconsin Constitution Party: Our History
  21. ^ The Nebraska Independent Party. Retrieved September 14, 2006.
  22. ^ 3rd parties to merge into 1?. Retrieved September 14, 2006
  23. ^ National Chairman Sets Record Straight on Third-Party Discussions. Retrieved September 14, 2006.
  24. ^ "'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Sept. 7 2004". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  25. ^ "Coming Home". Amconmag.com. 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  26. ^ Jim Gilchrist's blog
  27. ^ "Corsi declines Constitution Party bid". Wnd.com. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  28. ^ "Keyes to reveal plans in Hazleton" TOM RAGAN, Standard~Speaker, 10 April 2008
  29. ^ "News Story Video". Vids.myspace.com. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  30. ^ "Overview of CP office candidates". Politics1.com. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  31. ^ "Guns at School". My.execpc.com. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  32. ^ "Campaign For Liberty — A New Alliance - By Dr. Ron Paul". Campaignforliberty.com. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  33. ^ "Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Montana Verifies That Ron Paul Will Remain on Ballot". Ballot-access.org. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  34. ^ "RealClearPolitics - Election 2010 - Colorado Governor - Maes vs. Hickenlooper vs. Tancredo". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  35. ^ Collins, Paul (April 23, 2012). "Constitution Party nominates Goode". www.martinsvillebulletin.com. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  36. ^ Winger, Richard. "Constitution Party Presidential Debate" 'Ballot Access News March 26, 2012
  37. ^ Constitution Party platform http://www.constitutionparty.org/OurPrinciples/2012Platform/tabid/127/Default.aspx
  38. ^ "Party Platform (Taxes)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  39. ^ "The Constitution of the United States of America". Gpoaccess.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  40. ^ "Party Platform (Tariffs and Trade)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  41. ^ "Party Platform (Immigration)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  42. ^ "Party Platform (Preamble) and (Sanctity of Life)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  43. ^ "Party Platform (Crime)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  44. ^ "Party Platform (Family)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  45. ^ "Party Platform (Pornography, Obscenity, and Sexually Oriented Businesses)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  46. ^ "Party Platform (Gambling)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  47. ^ "Party Platform (Drug Abuse)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  48. ^ "Party Platform (Welfare)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  49. ^ "Party Platform (Health Care and Government)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  50. ^ "Party Platform (Immigration)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  51. ^ "'Patriot' Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center. Spring 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-31. "Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the 'New World Order' or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines. ... Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist." 
  52. ^ "Party Platform (Congressional Reform)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  53. ^ "Party Platform (Statehood)". Constitutionparty.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 

External links[edit]