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disaffiliate

Constitution Party (United States)

The Constitution Party is a conservative United States political party. It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers' Party in 1992. The party's official name was changed to the Constitution Party in 1999; however, some state affiliate parties are known under different names.

According to the editor of Ballot Access News, which periodically compiles and analyzes voter registration statistics as reported by state voter agencies, it ranks third nationally amongst all United States political parties in registered voters, with 366,937 registered members as of November 2006.

The Constitution Party advocates a platform which aims to reflect the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. Their policies are similar to that of the Libertarian Party in their strong belief in federalism, limited government, and non-intervention, but similar to the Republican Party in their stance against abortion, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and illegal immigration.

In 2006, Rick Jore of Montana became the first Constitution Party candidate elected to a state-level office, though the Constitution Party of Montana had disaffiliated itself 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 2008.

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". In Nevada it is the Independent American Party.

It has been rumored that the Constitution Party discussed a merger between several third parties such as the Reform Party, Independent American Party, American Independent Party, and the America First Party, but others have rebutted this as a misinterpretation of the events. All of the aforementioned parties except for the Reform Party endorsed Michael Peroutka as their presidential candidate in 2004.

Notable persons

Pat Buchanan threatened in 1996 to run as the U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate if Bob Dole chose a pro-choice running mate — Dole ultimately chose pro-life Jack Kemp and received Buchanan's endorsement. Buchanan's 2000 Reform Party running mate Ezola B. Foster switched 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|[Michael] Peroutka]]. However, he later penned an endorsement of incumbent President George W. Bush in the pages of The American Conservative.

Conservative 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 after 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.

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

The party has also attracted notables in the anti-abortion movement such as Dr Gregory Thompson, Patrick Johnston, Lon Mabon, Paul deParrie, and Missionaries to the Preborn leader Pastor Matthew Trewhella. 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 affiliates.

Platform

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. However, 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.

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

Additionally, the 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. 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. This system would presumably give U.S. companies a better chance at competing with countries, like Mexico and China, which have lower labor costs.

Immigration policy

The party opposes illegal immigration and also seeks a more restrictive policy on legal immigration. They demand that the federal government restore immigration policies based on the practice that potential immigrants will be disqualified from admission to the U.S. if, on the grounds of health, criminality, morals, or financial dependence, they would impose an improper burden on the United States, any state, or any citizen of the United States.

Additionally, they oppose the provision of welfare subsidies and other taxpayer-supported benefits to illegal immigrants, and reject the practice of bestowing U.S. citizenship on children born to illegal immigrant parents while in this country (jus soli). They also reject 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. The party supports a state's right to administer the death penalty to those convicted of "capital crimes" which, it should be noted, are not necessarily limited to murder but usually equate to such in modern American society.

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 also opposes government recognition of same-sex unions, and believes state and local governments have the right to criminalize "offensive sexual behavior". 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. Viewing gambling as destructive and contributing to crime, the party opposes all government sponsorship, involvement in, or promotion of gambling, and in keeping with the spirit of Article 1 Section 8 and Amendment 10, the party opposes federal anti-drug laws while maintaining that the federal government may have a role in limiting the import of drugs.

The party supports the right to bear arms in accordance with the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The party is opposed to 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. The party opposes federal restrictions on, or subsidization of, medical treatments.

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 US be required to read and comprehend basic English as a precondition of citizenship.

Abortion stance and post-Tampa state disaffiliations

The Constitution Party officially opposes both early and late-term abortions. Party members, however, have been divided on the subject of exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and abortions performed to save the life of the mother.

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 these exceptions, 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.

In response, nine state parties formally voted to disaffiliate from the national party, believing it to have unacceptably compromised on the issue of abortion. Several of these states have since reorganized and reaffiliated.

Federalism

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. The party asserts the rights of states to secede without interference from the Federal Government.

Ballot access

The Constitution Party is on the ballot in the following states, as of January 4, 2007. Several state parties are still disaffiliated following the 2006 Tampa decision.

Ballot access only for Presidential candidate

  1. Arkansas - The party collected 1,000 valid signatures (10,000 for party)

Presidential tickets

See also

References

External links

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