Not all conservatives are Republicans by definition, and even those who are may not want to be involved with an organization that has lost considerable credibility over the last eight years. 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.
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.
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, anti-racial integration and anti-communist platform. He carried Five southern states and nearly 10 million votes nationally, which equated to 14 percent of the popular vote.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Prohibition Party was founded in 1869 and bills itself as "America's Oldest Third Party." It's platform is based on an ultra-conservative Christian social agenda mixed with anti-drug, anti-alcohol and anti-communist positions.