What, are the only parties you know about Democrat and Republican? Oh, so you're heard of the Libertarian and Green parties? No, think even more obscure. The United States has hundreds of political parties; quite a few of them have even put up a candidate. Even recently! But let's take a look at some of the more... ah, unusual parties out there.
The Prohibition Party -
Yes, you guessed it, this party is for banning alcohol. Not drugs or other substances - just alcohol. They were actually much bigger at the turn of the last century. The party was founded in 1869, and was instrumental in getting states and counties to outlaw alcohol. This party also gave us the United States' first female mayor - Susanna M. Salter, of Argonia, Kansas, in 1847.
The Unity08 Party -
Very new, it was founded in 2006. But hear them out: they are expressing the idea that we no longer need as much big bureaucracy in our voting process. Using the Internet, we could conduct a secure, online vote to directly engage in setting national policy, instead of having some faraway representative do it for us. This makes sense when you consider that our founding fathers were limited to the Pony Express to communicate cross-country - they had no choice but to elect representatives, because it would have been impossible to poll every citizen to approve every law. Today's electronic communications makes representative democracy a relic, and direct democracy a very possible scenario!
The America Party -
So, it's just them? What does that make the rest of us, the non-American Party? Actually, they're a hyper-conservative group, which has put up a candidate in every Presidential election since 1976. That candidate was Thomas J. Anderson, who pulled the most votes of the party's history, with 161,000 votes putting him in 6th place. Since then, they've kinda fizzled.
Christian Falangist Party of America -
Long story short, they're Christian Libertarian-Marxists - kinda. Founded in 1985. If you think the Freemasons are weird with their funny symbols and secret handshakes, you'll get a similar case of the willies from this party. The Falangist party itself originated in Spain in the 1930's, and their principles were to establish a corporate state controlled by unions, adherence to Roman Catholicism, and Marxist-type beliefs. Complete with funny symbols and a secret society. Now bring it to America, and you have to make it Christian. Aren't you glad they didn't win?
The Personal Choice Party -
Like nothing you expected. Their logo is a yellow smiley face. They were founded in 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and their candidate actually qualified for the ballot in that year. The creator of the party is a doctor with a Ph. D. in Zoology from Brigham Young University. If a Mormon zoo-keeper sounds like a scary person to allow to control the government, check out their principles: "Personal Choice demands that as long as I am not hurting anyone else, only I have the right to choose how I spend my time, my wealth, my life, my honor." See, you like them already!
Independence Party of Minnesota -
Of course, you know them. They're the party of Minnesota's former-Governor Jesse Ventura, who served 1999–2003. But they were founded in 1992, so they've actually put up several candidates, mostly mayors and representatives and such.
The Whig Party -
Don't flip your whig (sorry!), but they actually got four Presidents elected - William Henry Harrison in 1841, John Tyler from 1841 to 1845, Zachary Taylor from 1849 to 1850, and the ever-popular Millard Fillmore from 1850 to 1853. The Whig party's goal was protectionism and a government dominated by Congress, since they felt the other branches weren't being balanced well. A party that could only have formed in the country's infancy.
The American Vegetarian Party -
Oh, brother, they need their own special party just for them! Founded in 1947, they held conventions and nominated candidates for President and Vice-President in several elections, but never seemed too serious about it, and of course, never got anybody into office.