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What to Know About the Constitution Party

2 min read
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Laurette LaLiberte · Apr 25, 2024

Every election cycle, voters are faced with an unhappy choice between two establishment candidates, the Democrats and the Republicans. The way the system is set up, Americans might be excused from knowing that there are actually several other choices for political leaders up and down most ballots. 

Among the dozen or so most prominent and active political parties in the United States, the Constitution Party emerges as a particularly notable entity. It offers an alternative for conservatives and independents who adhere to conservative, constitutional principles but feel that other conservative parties don’t fully reflect their values and views. 

History of the Constitution Party

The Constitution Party was originally formed in 1992 from a loose coalition of independents from various states. It was originally named the U.S. Taxpayers' Party (USTP). The inciting incident was anger from Republicans over George H.W. Bush’s apparent turnaround on his pledge of “no new taxes.” 

In 1999, the party was rebranded as the Constitution Party to better reflect its focus on upholding the ideals of our founding fathers. The party’s founder, Howard Phillips, is an originalist and former Republican who sought to create a political platform that strictly adhered to the Constitution. He was also the party’s first presidential candidate, and he managed to get the party on the ballot in 21 states.  

Prominent Constitution Party Candidates

Through the years, the Constitution Party has fielded candidates for various offices, though they have often struggled to gain the same visibility as their counterparts in larger parties. Some of the more prominent candidates include:

  1. Howard Phillips: The party's founder ran for president as the Constitution Party candidate in 1992, 1996, and 2000, advocating for a return to constitutional governance.

  2. Michael Peroutka: The 2004 presidential candidate, Michael Peroutka is a former city councilman from Maryland who emphasized the party's stance on the Constitution, states' rights, and social issues.

  3. Chuck Baldwin: The party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin is a pastor and radio host. His campaign focused on themes of sovereignty, constitutional fidelity, and Christian values.

  4. Darrell Castle: Their 2016 presidential candidate, Darrell Castle’s campaign centered around opposition to globalism, promotion of states' rights, and adherence to constitutional principles.

The party intends to name its 2024 presidential nominee at their national convention, which is being held on April 24 - 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah

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While the Constitution Party has yet to achieve major electoral success, it remains a steadfast presence in American politics, representing a constituency that yearns for a stricter adherence to the Constitution and a return to foundational American values. Its role, especially in shaping debates on constitutional interpretation and conservative policies, underscores the true diversity of the U.S. political system.

The Constitution Party’s Platform

The Constitution Party's platform is anchored in a conservative interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. It emphasizes limited government, states' rights, and a strict constructionist view of constitutional interpretation. 

Key elements of the party platform include:

  • Right to Life: The Constitution Party opposes abortion, advocating for the protection of life from conception.

  • Second Amendment Rights: It strongly supports the right to keep and bear arms.

  • Limited Government and Fiscal Responsibility: The party calls for a reduction in government size and spending, advocating for a balanced budget and the elimination of federal programs they see as unconstitutional.

  • States' Rights: Emphasizing the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution Party believes in a significant devolution of power to the states.

  • National Sovereignty: It opposes global governance structures and agreements that they argue undermine U.S. sovereignty, such as the United Nations or international trade agreements.

  • Family Values: The platform includes a focus on traditional family values, opposing same-sex marriage and other policies that they perceive as contrary to Judeo-Christian values.

Now that you have an idea what the Constitution Party stands for, let’s explore how it measures up against some other prominent American political parties:

Constitution Party vs. Other Political Parties

When comparing the Constitution Party to both major and other minor parties, several contrasts and similarities become apparent. For example, the Constitution Party often positions itself as more conservative than the Republican Party, particularly criticizing the latter for its perceived compromises on issues like spending, abortion, and gun rights. 

Compared to the Democratic Party, the differences are even starker, with diametrically opposed views on social issues, the government's role in the economy, and national sovereignty.

Both the Constitution and Libertarian parties advocate for limited government and individual liberties, but they diverge significantly on social issues. The Constitution Party's platform is rooted in conservative Christian values, contrasting with the Libertarian Party's more permissive stance on issues like drug legalization and same-sex marriage.

However, the Constitution Party and the Green Party are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, especially regarding environmental regulation, the government's role in the economy, and social policies. The Constitution Party's emphasis on limited government and states' rights starkly contrasts with the Green Party's call for expansive government intervention to address environmental and social issues.

While both the Constitution Party and the Reform Party seek to offer alternatives to the dominant Republican and Democratic parties, their core ideologies and priorities highlight the diversity of thought within the United States' political landscape. The Constitution Party's focus on constitutional fidelity and conservative values contrasts with the Reform Party's centrist, reform-oriented agenda, demonstrating the range of options available to voters who are dissatisfied with the status quo.

Now, let’s take a more granular look at their differences and similarities:

Constitution Party vs. Republican Party


  • Ideological Commitment: The Constitution Party advocates for adherence to constitutional principles and conservative values more than the Republican Party. It emphasizes limited government, states' rights, and a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, often criticizing Republicans for what it sees as occasional compromises on these issues.

  • Social Issues: While both parties share conservative views on many social issues, the Constitution Party often takes a more solidly conservative stance, particularly on abortion and same-sex marriage, advocating for policies that strictly align with traditional Christian values.


  • Economic Policies: Both parties advocate for lower taxes and reduced government spending, although the Constitution Party pushes for even more significant reductions in federal involvement in the economy.

  • Second Amendment: Both parties strongly support the right to bear arms, opposing significant gun control measures.

Constitution Party vs. Democratic Party


  • Government's Role: The Constitution Party believes in a much smaller role for the federal government, particularly in health care, education, and welfare. This contrasts sharply with the Democratic Party's advocacy for a more active government in these areas.

  • Social Policies: There is a stark contrast in social policies, with the Constitution Party opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, reflecting conservative Christian values that differ significantly from the more progressive stances of the Democratic Party.


  • Populist Elements: Both parties occasionally exhibit populist tendencies, criticizing large corporations and elites for policies that are perceived to harm the average citizen, albeit from very different ideological perspectives.

Constitution Party vs. Libertarian Party


  • Social Issues: The major difference between the Constitution and Libertarian parties lies in their approach to social issues. The Constitution Party's platform is heavily influenced by conservative Christian values, leading to strict positions on issues like abortion and marriage. In contrast, the Libertarian Party promotes individual freedom and responsibility, supporting the legalization of drugs and a more casual approach to social policies.

  • Government's Role: While both parties advocate for limited government, Libertarians generally support a more radical reduction in government size and scope than the Constitution Party, which focuses more on adherence to the Constitution's original intent.


  • Economic Policies: Both parties favor free-market policies, low taxes, and minimal government interference in the economy.

  • Civil Liberties: Each party places a high value on protecting civil liberties, though their motivations and interpretations of these liberties can differ.

Constitution Party vs. Green Party


  • Environmental Policy: The Green Party places a high priority on environmental issues, advocating for aggressive government intervention to combat climate change and preserve natural resources. The Constitution Party, however, prioritizes states' rights and limited government, generally opposing federal environmental regulations that it views as overreach.

  • Economic and Social Policies: The Green Party supports a progressive agenda, including universal healthcare, a living wage, and LGBTQ+ rights, positions that are in direct opposition to the conservative, limited-government approach of the Constitution Party.


  • Criticism of Major Parties: Both parties are critical of the two major parties' ability to address the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans, though they propose vastly different solutions.

Constitution Party vs. Reform Party


  • Ideological Focus: Although both parties originally chose leaders from among disaffected Republicans, the Constitution Party leans more strongly towards strict constitutionalist principles. In contrast, the Reform Party positions itself as centrist, focusing on fiscal responsibility, government efficiency, and political reform.

  • Social Issues: The Constitution Party has a strong focus on social conservatism, opposing abortion, and promoting traditional family values. The Reform Party, however, has historically placed less emphasis on social issues, focusing more on economic and political reforms.


  • Critique of Major Parties: Both parties share a critical view of the two major political parties in the United States, arguing that they have failed to adequately represent the interests of the American people.

  • Grassroots Origins: Each party was founded in response to perceived inadequacies in the existing political system, with a strong emphasis on grassroots support and the desire to bring about significant political change.

These comparisons illustrate the unique position of the Constitution Party within the American political spectrum, emphasizing its commitment to constitutional principles, limited government, and conservative social values.

Understanding Political Parties and their Formation

A political party is an organized group of people who share similar political ideologies or aims, working together to acquire and exercise political power. Political parties play a crucial role in democratic systems, providing a structure for political action and public debate. They help to formulate and promote specific policy agendas, nominate candidates for public office, and mobilize voters to support these candidates and policies during elections. 

Political parties can form for various reasons, but it’s often in response to a collective desire to see change in the political, social, or economic landscape of a country. They may emerge from grassroots movements, splits within existing parties, or through the efforts of politically like-minded individuals seeking to address specific issues or broader ideological goals.

The process of forming a political party varies, but it typically involves demonstrating sufficient support, such as gathering a required amount of signatures to qualify for ballot access. Political parties must also meet legal registration requirements and develop a clear platform or set of policies. This platform articulates the party's stance on various issues, with the aim of resonating with potential supporters while differentiating the party from its political opponents

Beyond the Two-Party System

Although the Constitution Party is one of many political parties that are active in the United States, we remain a country that’s ruled by a duopoly of two major parties that are well-established and well-funded. The more voters are educated about their options and the barriers put into place by the establishment, the more likely they are to demand the changes we need to create a more equitable system that works for all Americans.

You can do your part by joining’s movement to break the two-party system and support independent and third-party candidates who are more representative of your views.

Photo by Ingo Doerrie on Unsplash

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By Laurette LaLiberte
Laurette LaLiberte is an activist and freelance writer located in Michigan.