Independent American Party
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|Founded||May 16, 1998(as Utah Independent American Party)|
Red, Blue, White
|Seats in the Senate|
0 / 100
|Seats in the House|
0 / 435
0 / 50
|State Upper House Seats|
0 / 1,972
|State Lower House Seats|
0 / 5,411
|Other elected offices||0|
The Independent American Party (IAP) is a conservative political party in the United States. It began as the Utah Independent American Party. The founders claim to have been inspired by a 1968 speech given by Ezra Taft Benson, former United States Secretary of Agriculture and later president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, entitled "The Proper Role of Government". The party's first platform was based on Benson's beliefs. These 15 principles for the proper role of government, taken from his speech, are held as the IAP's foundational principles. The IAP of Nevada has elected several candidates to local office, such as District Attorney, County Commissioner, County Clerk, and other local offices. (Officers elected in other States on the Independent American Party ticket or the U.S. Constitution Party need to be added here by party members in other states.)
The Independent American Party of Nevada was founded in 1968 was on the ballot for twenty years, and then regained ballot position in 1992. In 2002, the Nevada party fielded 54 candidates for office statewide, which sent some shock waves through the establishment parties in Nevada. After the Independent American Party of Nevada affiliated with the U.S. Constitution Party, many of the other Independent American Parties in other states attempted to form a national party, whose history is traced below.
The IAP began in order to support the States' Rights, anti-liberal, pro-American, Constitutional, and limited government campaign of Governor George Wallace in 1968. In 1998, three options were presented to party members:
- to remain affiliated with the national American Party (AP),
- to affiliate with the National U.S. Taxpayers Party (later named Constitution Party), or
- create a national Independent American Party (IAP).
On May 16, 1998, the Utah IAP held a straw vote favoring the formation of a national Independent American Party. A committee of six people was selected to initiate the organization, and by November 7, 1998, the national IAP was recognized by a binding vote of 79%.
In January 1999, the national IAP began holding semi-annual National Conferences. The national chairman attended a number of state and national conventions of other like-minded third parties across the nation to build ties. The IAP website (launched in September 1998) grew and attracted individual members in about forty states.
In 2001, the IAP grew from one state party to three organized state parties – Minnesota, Tennessee, and Utah – and twelve prospective state parties. Area coordinators were assigned to each of four regions of the country. The IAP adopted its first National Platform in August 2002 and ended the year with three organized and 18 prospective state parties. In 2003, the party changed the structure of its officer positions from the traditional chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer, and elected a chair and four vice-chairs. Each vice-chair was to be a leader over a geographical area (Western, Mid-Western, North-Eastern, and South), and were each to lead one of the five standing committees (Rules, Events, Membership, Issues, and Media).
By 2004, the party involvement dwindled, and it did not have ballot status in any state. However, in 2012, the party gained ballot access in New Mexico. It nominated Jon Barrie for the United States Senate. He received 28,199 votes, or 3.63%. However, Barrie left the party after the election and joined the Constitution Party.
During the early stages of the Bundy standoff in April 2014, the IAP supported the group's position as a rebellion against injustice. The IAP distanced itself from the group's "anti-government extremism" and invited Cliven Bundy to speak at the IAP summit in August 2014.
The IAP espouses The Proper Role of Government as expressed by Ezra Taft Benson. According to the IAP: "This talk is the heart, soul and spirit of our Party. If you read this (below) you will know who we are!"
The national chairman of the party Kelly Gneiting summarized the philosophy of the IAP in four points:
- Members are inspired by a "love for humanity."
- God will fight our battles "as we put our faith in him."
- "We must pray for inspiration in how to proceed" and follow God's ways.
- Although party politics generally do not have "the solution," the IAP commends citizens and groups for working within this system to bring about change.
The PEOPL process
In 2013, the Independent American Party adopted the acronym PEOPL in describing a grassroots voting process. The PEOPL process, which stands for "People Electing Only Principled Leaders", describes a way to elect representatives without involving "The Spirit of Party." Independent American Party officers cite George Washington's farewell speech, in which he warns "...in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party," and insist that the few selecting from the many, and then the many selecting from the few, is not correct principle.
IAP Radio contains a playlist of conservative speeches and books. Book titles include The 5000 Year Leap and The Creature from Jekyll Island.
- "The Principles of Liberty". Independent American Party. 1999-07-17. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- "Jon Barrie, Founder of the New Mexico Independent American Party, Joins Constitution Party | Ballot Access News". Ballot-access.org. 2012-12-22. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- Kessler, Mori (July 30, 2014). "Cliven Bundy speaks at Independent American Party summit". St George News. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- "The Proper Role of Government". Independentamericanparty.org. 1968-01-29. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- Gneiting, Kelly (January 2, 2013). "The Philosophy of the Independent American Party, by Kelly Gneiting". IAP. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- "The IAP's PEOPL Process « Independent American Party – Official". Independentamericanparty.org. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- "The Independence Pledge « Independent American Party – Official". Independentamericanparty.org. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- "News". News.msn.com. 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- "LISTEN to IAP RADIO « Independent American Party – Official". IAP. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- "All About the Independent American Party". About.com News & Issues. June 15, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- Davidson, Lee (February 14, 2014). "Independent American Party seeks access to Utah ballot". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 16, 2016.