New Party


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

New Party

The New Party is a grassroots progressive political organization that focuses on local elections and uses the concept of multiple-party nomination or "fusion" to build coalitions with other like-minded organizations and political parties. Despite a major setback from a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision which held that states are not required to permit fusion, the New Party, which uses the slogan "Building a New Majority from the Ground Up," won 300 of the first 400 races it entered between 1992 and 2002.

Fed up with what they saw as only minor distinctions between the Democratic and Republican parties as well as a lack of commitment by the majority parties to the concepts of democracy and corporate accountability, a group of Trade Union members, low-income community activists, environmentalists, minority voters, and other supporters started the New Party in New York in 1992. Fueled by a vision based on recognition of the moral equality of each person, the New Party sought to build a multi-ethnic party of activists dedicated to taking back the reins of democracy from an increasingly powerful alliance of corporations and corporate media that has come to dominate the U.S. political system.The organization has established a series of "New Party Principles" that include full public financing of elections and universal voter registration; establishment of the right to democratic self-organization for workers, consumers and others; a children's Bill of Rights; community control and equitable funding for schools; a safe and secure community environment; a prohibition of discrimination based on race, gender, age, country of origin, and sexual orientation; and the safeguarding of civil liberties, reproductive rights, and the right to privacy.

Economic principles include a progressive tax system, creation of a sustainable economy that includes protection of the environment, full employment and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults, a reduction in defense spending, and progressive international trade practices.

The organization started in 1992 with a strategy of selecting local contests and building alliances with other small progressive parties. In the view of New Party organizers, the current winner-take-all system for political elections has stifled debate that would otherwise include minor party candidates. This system has also restrained the development of alternative political parties because many voters are afraid to "waste" their vote on a candidate who has little or no chance of winning.

The New Party espouses the concept of fusion in order to grow its political base. In politics fusion means the practice of permitting political parties to allow the name of another party's candidate to be placed on the ballot line. In fusion races the votes a candidate receives on all ballot lines are totaled and the candidate with the most votes would be declared the winner.

Fusion was popular in the 1800s, the best-known example being when presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan was nominated by both the Democrats and the Populist "Peopzle's Party" in 1896. The increasing popularity of fusion came to be viewed as a threat by the major parties, and many state legislatures began to pass statutes that prohibited it. Between 1896 and 1907 fusion was banned in 18 states. In 2001 fusion was legal in eight states: Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.

In 1994 the Twin Cities chapter of the New Party gave its nomination to Andy Dawkins, a Democratic incumbent legislator who was running for reelection. Dawkins agreed to the fusion nomination and there was no objection from the state Democratic Party. However, the state of Minnesota objected and the New Party sued. The district court dismissed the case, but it was reversed on appeal by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the state ban on fusion imposed a severe burden on the New Party's freedom of association by not allowing it to nominate the candidate it had selected. The Eighth Circuit's decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351, 117 S.Ct. 1364, 137 L.Ed.2d 589 (1997), which held, in a 6–3 vote, that the First Amendment does not require states to permit fusion voting.

This decision was disappointing to the New Party and other minor parties who had hoped to use fusion throughout the country to leverage the voting power of their supporters. Members of the New Party vowed to move forward with their agenda of running candidates for local level elections including school boards and city councils, mayoral races, and state assemblies. The organization is also pursuing a long-term strategy for changing state election laws to permit fusion voting.

Further readings

New Party Website. Available online at <www.newparty.org> (accessed July 30, 2003).

Cross-references

Third Party.

References in classic literature ?
And then there occurred the first skirmish between the new party and the old.
There came the wild shouts of a new party to the controversy, and the pounding of the feet of many horses from down the road to Bou Saada.
For an instant the nobles looked relieved, and then as their eyes fell upon the leader of the new party their faces fell, for he was Talu, rebel Prince of Marentina, and they knew that they could look for neither aid nor mercy at his hands.
The new party beginning to converse together, Sir Mulberry suddenly assumed the character of a most attentive listener, and implored his friends not to breathe--not to breathe.
Up to this time they had been very quiet, comparatively silent, save when the arrival of some new party at a window, hitherto unoccupied, gave them something new to look at or to talk of.
The difficulty would not have been so great except for another fact--there had been a curious development in stockyards politics in the last year or two, a new party having leaped into being.
Adili refused to say whether other MPs for BDI would join him in the light of the speculations that legislators Hazbi Lika and Rafiz Aliti, as well as former party vice president Gezim Ostreni, are among those behind the idea of a new party.
According to its mission statement, the new party will be completely distinct from the PRI, social democratic in tendency, and address areas where the PRI has failed--namely the country's growing rates of poverty.
Lebed's decision to establish a new party, dubbed the Russian Popular Republican Party, is the latest sign that he is doggedly pursuing his presidential ambitions and is beginning the long process of building a political organization.
Jackson or Powell would easily topple the 5% voter threshold required for a new party to be officially recognized as a "minor party" and receive millions in federal funds for the next election.
Tyagi said that the new party would be either called Samajwadi Janata Dal or Samajwadi Janata Party.
Indeed the declaration by the new party right after Barzani's visit to Diyarbakyr shows that this was not an amateurish attempt.

Full browser ?