Constitution Daily

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10 unconventional platforms that put the "party" in political party

July 22, 2011 by Holly Munson


Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High Party. Photo courtesy of dumbonyc on Flickr.

Some people really love country music. Some people really hate Times New Roman. Some people really think PowerPoint should be banned. And some people think their niche interest should become a political party platform.

The latter case was true for Matthias Poehm, who founded the Anti-PowerPoint Party in Switzerland--this month, the party launched a campaign to make the ubiquitous presentation software illegal. The initiative seems to be more a publicity stunt than a serious political move. But that's pretty typical of those on the fringes of political partydom--the lineup is replete with satirists, activists, and opportunists. Here's a look at ten of the most noteworthy political party crashers.

10. Pirate Party (USA): Unfortunately, not the shiver-me-timbers kind. They promote reforming intellectual property laws.

9. Rhinoceros Party (Canada): A party formed to protest the federal election. The party listed Cornelius the First, the rhinocerotic resident of a zoo near Montreal, citing the similarities between the thick-skinned animal and politicians.

8. Donald Duck Party (Sweden): Donald Duck is the Mickey Mouse of Sweden. And much like Mickey Mouse in the U.S., Donald Duck is often a joke write-in candidate. One intrepid Swede decided to make it official and register a party for the beloved animated fowl.

7. Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality (U.K.): Created as a publicity stunt for a zombie-themed video game, the party declares that its aim is equal rights for the undead.

6. Beer Lovers Party (Belarus): Like some of its post-Soviet counterparts (in Ukraine, for example), it not only sought for the improvement of beer and other products, but also for freedom of economic relations.

5. Best Party (Iceland): This party's platform seems admirable: stop corruption, promote gender equality, increase government transparency. But its party theme song reveals its satirical roots: "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner.

4. Church of the Militant Elvis Party (U.K.): The party founder writes that in addition to "being a keen fan of Elvis," he's also interested in climate change, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and political satire.

3. Union of Conscientiously Work-Shy Elements (Denmark): Founded by a comedian in 1979, its campaign promises included "better weather," "better Christmas presents," and "more pieces of Renaissance furniture in IKEA." The comedian, once elected, actually managed to keep some of his other campaign promises: Nutella in army field rations and more bread for ducks in parks.

2. Party! Party! Party! (Australia): A joke political party, formed before the country tightened its party registration laws. (Also created at the time: Surprise Party, Sun Ripened Warm Tomato Party.)

1. Rent is Too Damn High Party (U.S.): The fast-talking, distinctly-bearded Jimmy McMillan livened up the New York gubernatorial debates--and gained instant YouTube fame.

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Have a strong opinion about something? Sure, you could just create a Facebook page. Or you could start a fringe political party--and maybe even become the next Jimmy McMillan.

Holly Munson is a Public Programs Experience Guide at the National Constitution Center. Her attorney father advised against law school, so she studied journalism and now enjoys writing about law (and other things) instead.

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