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The Libertarian Party has always been present in one form or another in the United States, but it did not become a serious political force until after the Republican Party collapsed after NeoConGate. The Libertarians are extreme fiscal conservatives, and have never voted yes on a single spending bill, excluding relief efforts during times of crisis. The Party is also much more protective of individual liberty than its Republican cousins, and were staunchly behind the destruction of the DHS. Currently the leader of the party is former Treasury Secretary Ron Paul, who dissented from the Edwards choice of Senator Obama for fear of creating a socialist state. Ron Paul is currently the Minority Leader of the House, and has stated that he will not run again in 2012.
While not actually a political party, the Independents have become the dominating force in American politics. Well over 75% of the country professes to be Independent voters, and both houses of Congress are controlled by Independents. While they have no official collective stance on any issues, most Independents are strong constitutionalists with socially liberal views who are considerably more fiscally liberal than the Libertarians. With no National Convention, the Independent candidate, who is chosen by a year long online voting process, where anyone eligible to run for president can do so, give speeches and are voted on routinely. The bottom half of the candidates who received the least votes are disqualified and the process continues dividing the candidates until there is but one left. The only independent not to be nominated this way was the system's inventor, President Edwards. Independents are also unique in that it is much easier for one independent to challenge the sitting president for office. They are elected in primaries by popular vote, and there are no super delegates. Currently there are thirty members of the House and Senate who were elected as Independents who were chosen by the online primaries, and were below the upper class level, and had never been politicians beforehand.
The Populist Party is made up of moderate Republicans, and Blue Dog Democrats under the leadership of Senator Evan Bayh. The Party was formed in March of 2009 when it became clear that the Democrat and Republican parties were not going to survive the 2010 midterms. Most of the more liberal members of both parties had left for either the Libertarian or Independent camps, and the conservatives of both of the old parties were left with almost no political power. Senator Bayh, leader of the Blue Dog Democrats, met in 2008 with conservative leaders to build a new center-right party. The party has come under fire by many for its almost rampant corruption from lobbyists, and its opposition to almost all of President Edwards programs when they were two parties, and their opposition to popular President Obama's policies.
The Democratic Party is one of four major political parties in the United States, and is the oldest political party in the United States and among the oldest in the world, though it has lost much of its influence in recent years. The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential Anti-Federalists in 1792. Since the division of the Republican Party in the election of 1912, it has consistently leaned to the left on economic and social issues. Since 1932 the Roosevelt New Deal coalition usually controlled the national government until the 1970s, and the civil rights movement has continued to inspire the party's principles, despite having lost the more conservative Bible Belt in the process. In 2004 the Democrats have been reduced to Minority status in both houses of Congress, only twenty seats higher than the Republicans as of 2008, and it is expected that they will likely disband, or reform before they lose all of their support to the Independents and Libertarians. Recent talks with the Republicans have moved towards the creation of a single Populist Party. This new political entity would be for a strong central government that acts specifically with public opinion and approval. The 2012 Populist ticket would include John Edwards for President and Alaskan governor, and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin for VP.
Once one of the two dominant parties in American politics, the Republican Party's base of support has dwindled to only the most right wing Christian Conservatives, having lost their fiscal conservatives to the Libertarian Party. Currently there are only twenty Republicans left in the House of Representatives, and only 6 in the Senate. There are no Republican Governors in the US, excluding the Governor of Alaska. As far as reforms are concerned some in the party are beginning to propose a rebirth of the Democrat-Republicans. This reasoning comes primarily as a desire to maintain some form of power, but also at the obvious fact that the Democrats have now been whittled down to a party dominated by advocates for larger government control. Finally accepting that as their actual stance, the RNC leaders are now in talks with the DNC on forming a unity ticket in 2012. Most likely with Howard Dean for president and Sarah Palin for VP. The hope is to appear centrist and capture the votes that the Independents and Libertarians have split.