Constitution Party (United States)

Constitution Party (United States)
Constitution Party
Chairman Jim Clymer
Senate Leader None
House Leader None
Founded 1991 (1991) as U.S. Taxpayers' Party, 1999 (1999) as Constitution Party
Headquarters 23 North Lime St., Lancaster, PA 17602
Ideology American nationalism,
National conservatism,
Christian nationalism,
Social conservatism,
Conservative liberalism,
Economic nationalism,
Official colors Red, white, blue, and purple
Political position Fiscal: Right-wing[1]
Social: Right-wing[2]
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
0 / 50
State Upper Houses
0 / 1,921
State Lower Houses
0 / 5,410
"Taxpayers Party" redirects here. For the New York party, see Taxpayers Party of New York.

The Constitution Party is a paleoconservative political party in the United States. It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers' Party by Howard Philips in 1991.[3] 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 goal as stated in its own words is "to restore our government to its Constitutional limits and our law to its Biblical foundations." [4] The party 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.[5] The party absorbed the American Independent Party, originally founded for George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign. The American Independent Party of California has been an affiliate of the Constitution Party since its founding; however, current party leadership is disputed and the issue is in court to resolve this conflict. It has some substantial support from the Christian Right and in 2010 achieved major party status in Colorado.



According to the editor of Ballot Access News, which periodically compiles and analyzes voter registration statistics as reported by state voter agencies (only 29 states and DC tally voter registration by party), it ranks third nationally among all U.S. political parties in registered voters, with 438,222 registered voters as of October 2008.[6] 370,405 of these voters belong to the American Independent Party in California, with 67,817 voters in the remaining states.[6]

The Constitution Party advocates a platform which aims to reflect the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bible, and the Bill of Rights.

In 2006, Rick Jore of Montana became the first Constitution Party candidate elected to a state-level office,[7][8] 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.

According to Ballot Access News, 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.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the party as a "'Patriot' Group," described as a group or groups that "advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines."[9]

Affiliates and other similar parties

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 changed its name from "The Nebraska Party" to "The Nebraska Independent Party".[10]

Reports that the Constitution Party discussed a merger[11] 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.[12] Nevertheless, all of the aforementioned parties except for the Reform Party endorsed Constitution Party's Michael Peroutka as their presidential candidate in 2004. There is now a drive to get the Constitution Party ballot qualified in Alaska, but the current state affiliate for Alaska is the Alaska Independence Party.

Notable people

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."[13] However, he later penned an endorsement of President George W. Bush in the pages of The American Conservative.[14]

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 claimed that anti-New World Order ideologues within the party resisted his candidacy due to his Roman Catholicism. He 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.[15]

Author and WorldNetDaily columnist Jerome Corsi launched a brief campaign for the 2008 nomination but in July 2007 decided to return to writing.[16] Former Reagan Administration official and Christian activist Alan Keyes had actively sought the Constitution nod after ending a bid for the GOP nomination.[17]

The party has also attracted notables in the anti-abortion movement such as Dr. Gregory Thompson,[18] Lon Mabon,[19] Paul deParrie, and Missionaries to the Preborn leader Pastor Matthew Trewhella.[20] However, many such notables were involved in the below-mentioned disaffiliation efforts over abortion, and it remains unclear on 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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

In 2010, former Republican Representative Virgil Goode (VA-5) accepted an appointment to the National Executive Committee of the Constitution Party.[24]


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,"[25] 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

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."[26] 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,"[27] 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 it considers 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

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.[28] 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

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.[29]

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

The party opposes euthanasia and abortion including in cases of rape and incest.[30][31]

The party supports the ability of states to administer the death penalty to those convicted of "capital crimes":[32]

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".[33] 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.[34] The party opposes all government sponsorship, involvement in, or promotion of gambling,[35] 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.[36]

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.[37] The party opposes federal restrictions on, or subsidization of, medical treatments.[38]

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.[39] The party also opposes the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits literacy tests as a requirement for voting.


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.[40] The party holds that each state's membership in the Union is voluntary,[41] this stance is known as the Compact theory.

2006 state disaffiliations

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 excepting 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, and to this date remain independent of the national party. The Colorado and Idaho affiliates remain affiliated.

Ballot access

The Constitution Party is on the ballot in the following states, as of September 2009.[42] Some state parties are still disaffiliated following the 2006 Tampa decision.

  1. Alaska (as the Alaska Independence Party)
  2. Colorado (as the American Constitution Party)
  3. Delaware
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. Maryland
  7. Michigan (as the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan)
  8. Mississippi
  9. Missouri
  10. Montana (Constitution Party of Montana, disaffiliated in 2006)
  11. Nevada (as the Independent American Party of Nevada)
  12. New Mexico[43]
  13. Oregon (Constitution Party of Oregon, disaffiliated in 2006)
  14. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
  15. South Carolina
  16. South Dakota
  17. Utah (Constitution Party of Utah)
  18. Vermont
  19. Ohio
  20. Wyoming (accepted at the 2010 Constitution Party National Convention in Texas)

Presidential tickets

See also


  1. ^ "US Constitution Party". Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  2. ^ "Director of U.S. Political Parties". Politics1. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Sara Diamond, "The U.S. Taxpayers Party" The Guardian (UK), October 9, 1991. Reprinted in Facing the Wrath, Common Courage Press, 1996.
  4. ^ Constitution Party. "Constitution Party homepage". Constitution Party. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  5. ^ Constitution Party site
  6. ^ a b "Ballot Access News - December 1, 2008". 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  7. ^ "State Legislature results", Missoulian, November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2006.
  8. ^ Control of state Legislature unclear, Helena Independent Record
  9. ^ "'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 antigovernment doctrines. ... Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist." 
  10. ^ The Nebraska Independent Party. Retrieved September 14, 2006.
  11. ^ 3rd parties to merge into 1?. Retrieved September 14, 2006
  12. ^ National Chairman Sets Record Straight on Third-Party Discussions. Retrieved September 14, 2006.
  13. ^ "'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Sept. 7 2004". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  14. ^ "Coming Home". 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  15. ^ Jim Gilchrist's blog
  16. ^ "Corsi declines Constitution Party bid". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  17. ^ "Keyes to reveal plans in Hazleton" TOM RAGAN, Standard~Speaker, 10 April 2008
  18. ^ "News Story Video". 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  19. ^ "Overview of CP office candidates". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  20. ^ "Guns at School". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  21. ^ "Campaign For Liberty — A New Alliance - By Dr. Ron Paul". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  22. ^ "Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Montana Verifies That Ron Paul Will Remain on Ballot". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  23. ^ "RealClearPolitics - Election 2010 - Colorado Governor - Maes vs. Hickenlooper vs. Tancredo". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  24. ^ Exclusive: Former Congressman Goode Joins the Constitution Party, Independent Political Report (May 4, 2010)
  25. ^ Constitution Party platform
  26. ^ Party Platform (Taxes).
  27. ^ "The Constitution of the United States of America". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  28. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Tariffs and Trade)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  29. ^ Constitution Party platform
  30. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Preamble)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  31. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Sanctity of Life)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  32. ^ Larry. "Constitution Party Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  33. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Family)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  34. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Pornography)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  35. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Gambling)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  36. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Drug Abuse)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  37. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Welfare)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  38. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Health Care and Government)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  39. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Immigration)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  40. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Congressional Reform)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  41. ^ Larry. "Party Platform (Statehood)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  42. ^ Ballot Access News, "2010 PETITIONING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE," p. 5
  43. ^ "Two Petitions are Verified". 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 

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