Third Parties to Consider

Here are the most active third parties that are running presidential candidates in 2012. Where possible, we'll provide links to both the party websites and those of their presidential candidates.

Parties are listed alphabetically to avoid any appearance of favoritism.


Constitution Party

The Constitution Party (formerly the Taxpayers Party) offers a home to voters to the right of the Republicans. They call for restoring our constitutional republic and acknowledging the Christian basis of American society and government. This includes allowing organized prayer in public schools and the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings. Like the Libertarian Party (below), they want to get government out of education and the charity business.

Green Party

The Green Party lies to the left of the Democrats. Originally formed to advance an environmental agenda, their political focus today is as much or more involved with opposition to the strong political and economic power of corporations. On economic and social issues, the Green Party platform is similar to that of the Socialist Party (see below). An ongoing major controversy is whether the Green Party is just playing the role of a Democrat spoiler, or whether it will avoid that role by soft-pedaling its campaign in battleground states.

Justice Party

The Justice Party vies for roughly the same political territory as the Green Party. Their platform stresses three areas: economic justice, social justice, and environmental justice. As with other parties on the left, "justice" isn't used in the legal sense pertaining to fair application of the law, pursuit of remedies for victims, or retribution for offenders. Instead, "justice" in this context means something like "minimum entitlement." It is typically used in contrast to lopsided privelege enjoyed by the rich and powerful.

Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party is of neither the left nor the right. Its platform is often characterized as "liberal on social issues and conservative on economic issues," meaning that government has no business restricting the peaceful and honest choices people make in either area. That platform is based on the idea of self-ownership: that individuals are responsible for their own lives, and government control should be limited to protecting individual rights. The LP is expected to be on the ballot in all (or nearly all) 50 states.

Reform Party

Originally founded to support the candidacy of Ross Perot for president in 1992, it had remarkable success that year. Its most recent (and even more remarkable) success was in electing Jesse Ventura as Governor of Minnesota. In its short existence, the Reform Party's platform has dealt more with how government should run internally -- with less corruption, more accountability, and more direct input from the people -- than with "desired outcome" issues. It has, however, made a name for itself advocating for the protection of American jobs.

Socialist Party

The Socialist Party lies to the left of the Democrats, and maybe even left of the Green Party. Like the Libertarian Party, they are based on principle (not the LP's principle of self-ownership, but the principle that the individual is subordinate to society). Though they have elected very few people to office, the Socialists may count as the most successful party in America. Virtually their entire platform of 1920 has been implemented by Democrats (and recently, Republicans) who gave in to their relentless pressure.

After reading these short descriptions of the parties, we recommend that you visit the following resources for voters:'s American Presidential Candidate Selector questionnaire. It's a pretty good way to see, based on your responses to questions on political issues, which party best matches up with your beliefs. NOTE to Mac Users: you should follow this link instead for a Mac-friendly version of the questionnaire.

Also, take the
world-famous World's Smallest Political Quiz
and find out!

For entertainment, here's a mock election -- really a poll of sorts -- that is catching on in the online community. You should be aware that results are probably considerably skewed from overall statistical voter norms by the fact that the online community has a strong Libertarian bias.


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