Conservative Alternatives to the Republican Party

Top Conservative Third-Parties

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Not all conservatives are Republicans, just as not all Republicans are conservative. While third parties have often been thought of as protest organizations, rather than practical solutions to undermining the contemporary two-party system, they continue to grow in membership. By no means comprehensive, this list represents a cross-section of the conservative beliefs espoused by America's top conservative third-parties and provides a starting point for those looking for alternatives to the GOP.

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America First Party

Veteran's Day 2007. Justin Quinn

The original America First Party was founded in 1944​ but changed its name to the Christian Nationalist Crusade in 1947. In 2002, a new America First Party was formed by Pat Buchanan’s supporters, who expressed disgust over the way he was treated by the leadership of the declining Reform Party. While not overt, there are several references to faith and religion in the ideology of the America First Party.

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America's Independent Party

George Wallace

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Founded by former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace when he ran for president in 1968, the influence of the AIP has waned in recent years, but party affiliates still maintain a presence in many states. Wallace ran on a right-wing, anti-establishment, white supremacist and anti-communist platform. He carried Five southern states and nearly 10 million votes nationally, which equated to 14 percent of the popular vote.

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American Party

Formed after a break with the American Independent Party in 1972, the party’s best showing was a sixth-place finish in the 1976 presidential election with 161,000 votes. The party has been virtually inconsequential since then.

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American Reform Party

The ARP split from the Reform Party in 1997, after some of the new party’s founders walked out of the Reform Party’s nomination convention, suspecting that Ross Perot had rigged the process. Although the ARP has a national platform, it does not have ballot access in any state and has failed to organize beyond the state level.

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Constitution Party

At its nominating convention n 1999, the US Taxpayers Party chose to change its name to the “Constitution Party.” Convention delegates believed the new name more closely reflected the party’s approach to enforcing the US Constitution’s provisions and limitations.

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Independent American Party

Founded in 1998, the IAP is a Protestant Christian theocratic political party. It initially existed in several Western states and is a remnant of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace's once-powerful American Independent Party.

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Jefferson Republican Party

Although the JRP doesn’t have an official platform, it is descended from the original Democratic-Republican party founded by James Madison in 1792 and later joined by Thomas Jefferson. The party eventually was disbanded into two factions in 1824. In 2006, the JRP was founded (party members would say “revived”), and it uses statements made by Jefferson in 1799 as the foundation of its principles.

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Libertarian Party

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The Libertarian Party is by far the largest conservative Third Party in America and has been except for momentary periods in the 1990s when Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanan ran as independents. Libertarians believe in the American heritage of liberty, enterprise, and personal responsibility. Ron Paul was the LP nominee for president in 1988.

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Reform Party

Jesse Ventura Signs Copies Of 'American Conspiracies' - March 11, 2010
Jesse Ventura.

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The Reform Party was founded by Ross Perot during his run for President in 1992. Despite Perot’s excellent showing in the 1992 election, the Reform Party waned until 1998, when Jesse Ventura secured the nomination for Governor of Minnesota and won. It was the highest office ever attained by a third party in the since the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Prohibition Party

The Prohibition Party was founded in 1869 and bills itself as "America's Oldest Third Party." Its platform is based on an ultra-conservative Christian social agenda mixed with anti-drug, anti-alcohol and anti-communist positions.

Electoral Success

For the most part, the Republican Party remains the dominant electoral force, almost by necessity. A strong conservative third party would spell electoral disaster for the right as split-votes would hand elections to Democrats. The most famous recent example is Ross Perot's two runs for President in 1992 and 1996 on the Reform Party ticket that twice helped Bill Clinton win his races. In 2012, the Libertarian candidate pulled in 1% of the vote, which could have been costly if the race had been closer.

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Hawkins, Marcus. "Conservative Alternatives to the Republican Party." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Hawkins, Marcus. (2021, February 16). Conservative Alternatives to the Republican Party. Retrieved from Hawkins, Marcus. "Conservative Alternatives to the Republican Party." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).