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What is the American Independent Party?

The American Independent Party (AIP) is a politically conservative party in the United States, advocating for limited government and traditional values. Founded in 1967, it gained prominence with George Wallace's presidential campaign. While its influence has waned, the AIP remains committed to its core principles. Wondering how it shapes today's political landscape? Let's explore its current role and impact.
C. K. Lanz
C. K. Lanz

The American Independent Party is a paleoconservative U.S. political party that was founded in 1967 in California by Elieen and Bill Shearer, in part to support the presidential campaign of George C. Wallace. Paleoconservatism is typically characterized as a right-wing political philosophy with anti-imperialist and anti-communist tendencies and an emphasis on Christian and western European identity.

The Shearers believed that a new political party was needed because the leaders of the mainstream Democratic and Republican parties had disregarded the vision of the founding fathers' by contributing to a large and powerful federal government, levying excessive taxes, and engaging in diplomatic policy that did not protect the country's interests. The American Independent Party is represented by a blue eagle clutching a banner with the party name in its talons superimposed over a compass rose.

The American Independent Party was founded on the belief that the founding fathers' vision was being ignored.
The American Independent Party was founded on the belief that the founding fathers' vision was being ignored.

The political platform of the party emphasizes the importance of the Christian faith and the desire for a small and less powerful federal government. Party members believe God to be the ultimate authority, that He granted man the inalienable rights described in the Declaration of Independence, and also that He imposed a series of duties on mankind. Gay marriage, abortion rights, liberalism are rejected, while limited federal government and taxation, gun rights, and strict border control are promoted. The party asserts that all politicians and all governments should embrace the Christian faith because they are servants of God who work for the good of the citizenry.

The American Independent Party was able to secure a spot on the 1968 U.S. Presidential ballot in California and elsewhere, partly as a result of an intense voter registration drive.
The American Independent Party was able to secure a spot on the 1968 U.S. Presidential ballot in California and elsewhere, partly as a result of an intense voter registration drive.

George C. Wallace was nominated as the American Independent Party's presidential candidate with Curtis E LeMay for vice president in 1968. Wallace was the governor of Alabama known for his populist and pro-segregation political stance. The party was able to achieve ballot status in California after a lengthy and intense registration drive and a series of rallies held by Wallace throughout the state. The ticket won approximately 7% of the vote in California and around 13% nationwide in 1968. Wallace was the party's presidential nominee in 1972 as well, but an assassination attempt left him paralyzed, and he played no further role in the party.

The American Independent Party has fractured into different but related parties since its founding in the late 1960s. The initial split occurred in 1976, when the more moderate American Party broke off, and it has generally attracted the support of northern conservatives. Party founder Bill Shearer joined with the Populist Party in the early 1980s,and later the Constitution Party, which he chaired from 1996 to 1999.

The party suffered a major schism over U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the Constitution Party during the 2008 presidential campaign with one faction supporting chairman Jim King and the other chairman Ed Noonan. Noonan's supporters left to form America's Independent Party.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Independent Party?

The American Independent Party (AIP) is a far-right political party in the United States that was established in 1967. It gained significant attention when former Alabama Governor George Wallace ran as its presidential candidate in 1968. The AIP advocates for conservative policies, limited government, and strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution. It is not to be confused with independent or unaffiliated voters who do not belong to a political party.

What are the core beliefs of the American Independent Party?

The American Independent Party's core beliefs center around a conservative platform that includes a strong emphasis on national sovereignty, opposition to globalism, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. They support limited government intervention in the economy, a strong national defense, and traditional family values. The AIP is also known for its stance against illegal immigration and for the protection of American jobs.

How does the American Independent Party differ from the Republican and Democratic parties?

The American Independent Party differs from the Republican and Democratic parties primarily in its more extreme conservative stance. While Republicans may share some of the AIP's views on limited government and national defense, the AIP takes a harder line on issues like immigration and American sovereignty. Democrats, on the other hand, generally support more progressive policies on social issues, healthcare, and the environment, which are in stark contrast to the AIP's platform.

Has the American Independent Party ever won a presidential election?

No, the American Independent Party has never won a presidential election. Its most notable achievement was in the 1968 presidential election when its candidate, George Wallace, won five states and received 46 electoral votes, a significant accomplishment for a third-party candidate. However, since then, the party has not had a major impact on presidential elections.

How can someone join the American Independent Party?

To join the American Independent Party, an individual must typically register with the party through their state's voter registration process. This often involves selecting the American Independent Party as your party affiliation on a voter registration form. It's important to note that registration processes can vary by state, so interested individuals should check with their local election office for specific instructions.

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Discussion Comments

OceanSwimmer

@WaterHopper: Wallace had declared himself as a candidate for the Democratic presidential primaries. Wallace’s campaign had been going very well and he was receiving high ratings in the opinion poll. When campaigning in Laurel, MD., on May 15, 1973, a man named Arthur Bremer shot Wallace four times.

Bremer had been following Wallace to different campaign stops. The bullet had entered Wallace’s spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Bremer’s motive for the shooting was a desire for fame. President Nixon had also been a possible target.

After the shooting Wallace was confined to a wheelchair. He still remained governor of Alabama and tried to run again in the 1976 presidential election.

WaterHopper

Why was there an attempt to assassinate George C. Wallace?

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    • The American Independent Party was founded on the belief that the founding fathers' vision was being ignored.
      By: trekandshoot
      The American Independent Party was founded on the belief that the founding fathers' vision was being ignored.
    • The American Independent Party was able to secure a spot on the 1968 U.S. Presidential ballot in California and elsewhere, partly as a result of an intense voter registration drive.
      By: Robert Hoetink
      The American Independent Party was able to secure a spot on the 1968 U.S. Presidential ballot in California and elsewhere, partly as a result of an intense voter registration drive.