Is it time for a new political party?
The owl is a symbol of The Modern Whig Party
March 22nd, 2012
11:51 AM ET

Is it time for a new political party?

By Christopher Moloney

The Whigs were a major political party of the United States from the 1830s to the 1850s.

Two of the party's candidates – William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor – were elected president, though both died during their terms.

The party eventually splintered over the issue of slavery in 1852 and, four years later, the Whig Party disappeared for good.

Or did it?

In 2008, a group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans began meeting to discuss what they saw as the "bickering and divisive nature of the American political system" and the need for a group that was focused on "public service before self."

A year later, that veteran's advocacy group became the Modern Whig Party.

"We are committed to the American Whig Party of the 19th century in that we realize that we need to reinvigorate the American citizenry and reinvigorate the American economy," Andrew Evans, the chairman of the Modern Whig Party, told OutFront. "The American Whig Party developed the “American System” to promote the growth of American infrastructure and economic development. The Modern Whigs are working on a “renewed American system” which will work to do the same thing only with approaches that work for Americans in the 21st century and beyond."

Evans says the new/old party is committed to the idea that "debate and collaboration" are essential when it comes to government, but admits it is sometimes difficult to find consensus, particularly when faced with issues "such as homosexual rights and reproductive rights" that are "divisive issues today like slavery was in the 1800s."

This desire for debate led the Modern Whigs to launch the Whig Roundtables, an online discussion where "members, citizens, independent experts, candidates and elected officials can come together and debate, research, collaborate and innovate on issues that affect all Americans."

"The Whig Roundtables will focus on issues from a federal government perspective," Evans says. "Our state chapters have a lot of autonomy, and they may address state issues differently from other states or a federal way. This works because each state has its own issues. It is a message that is not designed by party insiders but designed by party members and even citizens who are not members."

The Modern Whig Party has more than 30,000 registered members in all 50 states. Evans says the bulk of its new members are voters who are looking for an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.

"The biggest problems with the Democrats and Republicans are not the Democrats and Republicans themselves, Evans notes."They are our friends, family members and neighbors, and we must always respect and remember this. There is nothing wrong with good honest debate, but the current battles of ideology between the Democrats and Republicans has consumed those two parties. The key to our continued growth is reaching out to Americans who are fed up with ideological-focused parties but have not yet looked for an alternative."

The party has had some success. In 2010, Time named the Modern Whig Party one of the "Top Ten Alternative Political Movements," and members have been elected to city councils and town advisory commissions.

So far, success on the state and federal levels has been harder to come by.

The biggest hurdle, Evans says, has been ballot access.

"The ballot system is designed by the Republicans and Democratic representatives. They hold the keys, and they essentially make the system extremely difficult to impossible for alternative parties. Is it a fair system where an independent candidate has to gather tens of thousands of signatures when the Republican and Democratic candidate only have to gather a few hundred?"

That hasn't stopped the Whigs from running candidates again this year.

"We have one member running for city council and two members running for U.S. Congress, and they are Pat Martin running to serve Oklahoma’s 5th district and Joe Brown who is running to serve Missouri’s 7th district."

The Whigs have yet to announce which candidate they will support for president, though they have been officially contacted by the Buddy Roemer and Andre Barnett campaigns.

"So far these are the two candidates that we are officially looking at supporting. We are aiming to work with whatever presidential candidate our members choose to support to help build a coalition of support from various groups and parties in order to have the candidate elected president."

What do you think of the Modern Whig Party? Would you consider voting for a third party? Would you be more or less inclined to vote for a candidate like Buddy Roemer if he had the backing of a political party?

Filed under: Politics
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Lloyd

    The GOP is a joke thats for sure! Though I dont know this new whig party (I couldnt support anyone that i dont know rather or not they share my values) The GOP are too busy trying to elect Mitt Romney that is as bad as Obama is! IT is not even for debate (Look at Mitt's record) When conservatives turn their back on what they believe in just because they feel that Mitt can beat Obama, and they they turn a deaf ear to those of us that are trying to be heard. True conservatives will probbery end up staying home in the general election and not vote at all! Unless a third party was available (I just know that I will not vote for GOP this time around)

    March 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  2. Emily Himes

    I don't understand why the health care issue is bothering some people so bad. As far as it being a Mandate what is our car insurance then. I have lived in three states and the state government requires insurance on every car in the state. Everyone who drives must carry it or they are fined. I really don't remember anyone taking it to court. Each State has their own amount they charge. I live in NV. so our rates are very high. If I don't like that I can move. Just think how many drivers would not be insured if it wasn't a law.

    March 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  3. Bruce R. Gilson

    I like a lot of the things the MWP stands for; and I've said nice things about them in my blog. But with our current election laws (I don't just mean ballot access I mean especially plurality voting) no third party has much of a chance. I have to stay a Republican because, of the two major parties, I agree with the GOP on more important issues than the Dems. And if Buddy Roemer took votes away from Mitt Romney in November, the only person it would help would be Barack Obama.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  4. Joe Brown

    So I found The Modern Whig Party when researching alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats. I took inventory of what was important to me and where I would like to see the U.S. move in the future. I found several third parties that had portions of my beliefs, but there were usually at least one deal-killer. Then I found The Modern Whig Party.

    From energy independence and the importance of education and science, to the promotion of fiscal responsibility, the importance of veterans' affairs, and societal equality, the Modern Whig Party aligned perfectly with my goals.

    Finally, I certainly like the concepts of meritocracy and methodology over ideology. It was these principles that led me to seek an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats, and to join the Modern Whig Party.

    I urge you to do your own research. Discover the alternatives. While you are at it, click the link above and consider the Modern Whig Party.

    Joe Brown

    March 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  5. Zenek Wisniewski

    There is no better time for another party which actually gives a crap about the country and their election or re-election. There will be a an indepdent run against both the republicans and democrats. I'm a member of Americans Elect and we're putting forward a ticket and are currently on the ballot of more than half of the states. He just got on the ballot in Oklohoma and Montana. Our candidate won't win, but we will move the convesation forward and barring a miracle that This segment of Washington actually starts working for Americans, we will be even a bigger force in 2016.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
  6. Eli

    This is a third party? No, it's just a bunch of "Radical Center" nonsense. Give me some honest-to-God socialists, please.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:29 am | Reply
  7. Polecatmtn

    I am proud to say I am one of the 30,000 who is a member of the MWP. Yep, the MDW is the political party of America's future.

    March 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  8. Andrew Evans

    If anyone has any questions or ideas regarding the Modern Whig Party please feel free to contact andrewevans@modernwhig.org . For any information on the Buddy Roemer campaign please visit http://www.buddyroemer.com/ and for information on the Andre Barnett campaign please visit http://www.andrebarnett2012.com/ .

    All the best,
    Andrew Evans
    National Chairman
    Modern Whig Party

    March 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  9. Jim

    If it is allowed post a link, you can find more information at the official party website: http://www.modernwhig.org

    March 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  10. Jim

    Of course it's time for a new party and this is the one. But I'm biased, I'm already a member. 🙂

    March 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.