Happy voting season, dear citizens! In honor of yesterday's state and local primaries, we've rounded up the craziest political parties that are (sadly?) no longer with us. While we'd love to resurrect some (vegetarian party members sound nice) others belong in the history dust-bin (sorry, Know-Nothings!) In any case, we give thanks to our democratic system for truly being for the people, by the people . . . for better or worse.
This party, which surged in the late 1840s and early 1850s, was nothing if not honest. Membership was open only to Protestant males, and a key part of the platform was limiting or ending immigration in order to maintain purity—which indeed sums up a "know nothing" attitude. Scary fact: none other than ex-president Millard Fillmore was this party's presidential nominee in 1856. See kids? Politics could be worse than it is now.
Sure, this party sounds like a mega-hater, but its Nebraska vitriol was grounded in noble purpose. This was one of several parties founded to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1954—which repealed a ban on slavery—and is also considered a major catalyst of the Civil War. It was also, interestingly, an offshoot of the Know-Nothing Party; apparently, some members found the "white male Protestants only" message isolating (shocker!) and decided to adopt this kinder anti-slavery message instead. The Anti-Nebraska party lasted but one noble year, morphing into the Republican Party in 1855.
Yes, there was once a national vegetarian party, and yes, it actually did quite well for itself. Founded in 1947 during American Naturopathic sessions, it lasted nearly 20 no-meat-eating years, until 1964. Alas, modern efforts to resurrect the party during "Vegetarian Summerfests" haven't panned out.
The nondescript name of this party, organized in 1990, was designed to appear first on ballots alphabetically (sneaky!). Sadly, its was not formed to promote an epic statewide kegger, but merely sought to elect Lowell Weicker as governor of the state. Lame.
This is exactly what it sounds like: a party designed to promote the legalization of marijuana (insert joke about party members forgetting to show up to the ballot box here). In 1998, the party had a highly publicized beef with the Green Party, whose candidate it tried to knock off the ticket on a technicality because the two parties were competing for the same voters . . . a surprisingly un-chill move. While this party hasn't had a candidate in the running since 2002, its platform lives on in the United States Marijuana Party.