nonpartisan

Nonpartisan League

Alliance of U.S. farmers to gain protection from wheat monopolies. Founded in North Dakota in 1915 by Arthur Townley, it demanded that mills, grain elevators, banks, and hail-insurance companies be state owned. In 1916 its candidate, Lynn Frazier, was elected governor of North Dakota, and the state legislature enacted its program in 1919. The league declined after the 1920s and affiliated with the Democrats in 1956.

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In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event or organization in which the participants declare or do not formally have a political party affiliation.

Some nonpartisan organizations are truly such; others are nominally nonpartisan but in fact are generally identifiable with a political party. For example, the National Rifle Association is technically a nonpartisan organization, but at the national level at least functions almost as an adjunct of the United States Republican Party. Conversely, although technically a nonpartisan organization, at the national level the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has for many years functioned as almost a subsidiary organization to the United States Democratic Party. The same can be said of most American right-to-life organizations with regard to the Republicans and of most U.S. labor unions with regard to the Democrats.

In the United States

In U.S. history, the Nonpartisan League was an influential socialist political movement, especially in the Upper Midwest, particularly during the 1910s and 1920s. It also contributed much to the ideology of the former Progressive Party of Canada. It went into decline and merged with the Democratic Party of North Dakota to form the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party in 1956.

Today, nonpartisan elections are generally held for municipal and county offices, especially school board, and are also common in the election of judges. In some nonpartisan elections, it is common knowledge which candidates are members of and backed by which parties; in others, parties are almost wholly uninvolved and voters make choices with little or no regard to partisan considerations.

Churches are by law supposed to remain nonpartisan in order to retain the status of contributions to them being tax-deductible (contributions to overtly partisan groups, even tax-exempt ones, are not); this has recently been called into question with regard to both many predominantly African-American churches being involved in Democratic activism and with many predominantly white evangelical churches being openly aligned with activist groups largely associated with Republicans such as the Christian Coalition. On the other hand, the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank, has at various times in its history been headed by both identifiable Republicans as well as identifiable Democrats and hence would be judged by many to be nonpartisan in practice as well as in theory.

The unicameral Nebraska State Legislature is the only state legislature that is entirely nonpartisan.

See also

References

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