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Vital Things to Be Considered Before Starting a Political Party

Establishing a new political party can be termed as a herculean task, irrespective of the country it is being formed in. There are many factors to be considered before starting a political party.
Rujuta Patil
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2019
Did you know?
The Green Party, Libertarian Party, and Constitution Party are considered the major 'third parties' in the United States
Political power is the aim of political parties. How this power is utilized determines the success of the entire effort of 'achieving common goals'. Ideology forms the foundation of many parties, especially of those formed during the times of establishment of nations. Difference of opinions, emerging gradually, lead to formation of new political entities.
Number of parties existing depends on many factors - political history, social environment, populace, etc. American founding fathers never wanted the country to support partisanship. US has evolved as a multiparty democracy, with Democrats and Republicans being the most dominant ones. It is taken to be a cumbersome process to establish a new party in the US.
How to Start a Political Party in the US
In goes a lot of homework before one can think of establishing a political party in any country, and the same goes for the United States. The most prominent task being of knowing and being convinced of the 'why' to form a party. We know it is much harder than a simple debate. Here are a few aspects that may help you streamline your thoughts a little.
There needs to be a given group of beliefs, ideals, thoughts, or policies that you would like to promote and advocate as a political party. For example, the Green Party in the US had developed the 'Green Ten Key Values', which include values of grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom, nonviolence, decentralization, community based economics, feminism, etc.
A manifesto, which is seen ahead of the elections, is a crucial way of informing the citizens about the party's political ideals and lines of thought. It is a document that establishes the party's policies and aims amongst the commons.
Support Base
Group of young people at work
While preparing to form a political party, a formal support base is must. Your ideas should be backed by a core team you can always depend upon. A group of like-minded friends, where everyone has expertise in a particular field, can make an ideal support base.
You need such expertise to give you a real insight or advise on important matters relating to economy, defense, industry, or even to build your opinion on any domestic issue.
Research Team
Close up of hands with pen and paper at desk
A strong team of researchers is also a must. A party would require to respond to numerous issues; and the responses need to be well-thought of, aligned with the party's larger goals, but also according to the merit of the issue being considered.
Also, to act as an effective opposition, the core team of members has to remain very well-aware of their surroundings.
A very important aspect relates to the internal organization of the party. You should discuss and finalize the roles and responsibilities of various office holders in the party. Issues like membership, subscription, rules regarding decisions related to the internal workings of a party, financial organization, etc., have to be predefined.
Savings and Donation labeled Glass jars
Funds are the mainstay for sustaining a party; also because the registration may take longer, demanding huge expenses. Beyond personal visits and contacts made through petitioning, campaigning, an appeal to audience can be made by social media.
You can ask for donations, and make your donors feel secure by ensuring transparency in the way you accept funds, and send acknowledgments, or better still, updates of the recent work done.
Representation and Publicity
Election office volunteers on phone
There must be a proper name of the party. Like any political party, your party would be identified with a logo. This will be the party icon representing the idea behind your philosophy.
The logo should be something not too simple, nor too complicated, but easy to understand.
You can have a neatly designed website of your party. It will inform the citizens about the party's founding members, the list of the key persons responsible for various tasks, important contact details for people to approach you, probably also a way to let them sign up for membership with a contribution, the rules regarding membership, etc.
It varies state-wise. Petitioning and gathering enough signatures is sufficient to begin a new political party initially. For example, in the state of Connecticut, one has to get a petition signed with 15,000 signatures from across the state to be added to the ballot as a candidate.
A witness has to sign at the bottom of every page of this compilation of signatures. This petition is then to be sent to the State Board of Elections. Petitioning can also be used by someone to be a part of the ballot, as an independent petitioning candidate, without starting a political party.
Forming a new political party is believed to be difficult in the states of New York and Connecticut. The latter needs a minimum number of votes in a major election to give an official status to a party. However, in most states, the formation of a party has nothing to do with elections. Fielding of candidates on the ballot is not required, to start with.
One can simply begin circulating a petition and establish one's credit first. Later though, a minimum of 1% of votes is needed to stand a chance of winning as a Senator in Connecticut, for instance. The party has to be registered with the Electoral Commission at least 154 days prior to the primary elections (held before the general elections).