a rip-roaring debate on foreign aid, guaranteed foreign loans, orrnmilitary bases in Europe and Japan, to name just three examples?rnBoth parties are eommitted to these expensive rackets, yetrnsurely among the general population liberals and conservativesrncan at least agree that public money ought to stay withinrnUnited States borders.rnThe list of issues that—as they say—transcend party lines isrnlong indeed. Both parties favor maximizing government revenue,rnthrough increasing taxes, cutting selected marginal rates,rnor putting young mothers to work. Both favor American involvementrnin the World Bank, the International MonetaryrnFund, and the United Nations. Both favor centralized educationalrnauthority and continued federal funding for publicrnschools. Both are subservient to the interests of large corporations,rnand that usually means supporting various forms of fiscalrnand regulatory favors under ever-changing ideological banners.rnAnd both maintain wish-lists of countries against whichrnwe should wage war, and whether it is Haiti or North Korea, itrnis still American lives on the line.rnNeither party seriously considers cuts in the most grisly aspectsrnof the welfare state or limits on immigration, questionsrnmonopoly control of money and banking in the Federal Reserve,rnadvocates large cuts in the inheritance tax, wondersrnabout the $300 billion we spend on the military, rethinks thernspace program, or opposes the official discrimination of civilrnrights. I would like a political party that raises questions like:rnWhy do we need a Surgeon General? Why should a freerncountry have an armed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco andrnFirearms? Why is it illegal for banks to make privacy contractsrnwith their depositors? The list of inadmissible yet perfectly reasonablernquestions is endless.rnIf Republicans were in a real competition with Democrats,rnit would be in their interest to cause more trouble. A Time-rnCNN poll taken in August revealed that 91 percent of the publiernhas little or no confidence that Washington can solve socialrnproblems. How, then, can we explain why both parties pretendrnotherwise? What accounts for the bipartisan conspiracyrnagainst the wishes of the electorate? We could point to the explanationsrndrawn from public choice economics (log-rollingrnand minority-interest politicking), but there is also a broaderrnreason. The major parties represent the interest of the Establishment,rnand the Establishment stays established thanks to thernpower of the central state. Thus, both parties must maintainrnand enhance that power, regardless of public opinion.rnThere are enormous barriers to bringing about the dream ofrnauthentic electoral choice. People who try to start third partiesrnto field candidates at either the national or the state level sayrnthe system is rigged against them at every level. That is to bernexpected. The Soviet system was also rigged; that is whatrnhappens when an oligarchy controls a nation. But that systemrneventually broke up, and ours may, too.rnWhat follows is an account of some third parties organizedrnnationally as efforts to further the breakup of therntwo-party system. Hundreds exist on paper, but since one hasrnto draw the line somewhere, I have listed only those that havernrun at least one candidate for public office in 1992 or since.rnThere are no vote totals or “success” stories here; by that standardrnall these groups would seem to be failures. By any principledrnstandard, however, all are successes for even surviving.rnWe will go from right to left, accepting that these ideologicalrncategories get a bit messy in third-party politics.rnThe American Party was founded in 1969 as a hard-right,rnconstitutionalist group devoted to resisting the onslaught of everythingrnworth hating about American politics, including centralization,rnegalitarianism, and high taxes. It is isolationist onrnforeign policy and wants a cutoff of immigration. The party’srnWallaceite views still scare media types not in touch withrnthe private views of the masses. It has a publication (thernAmerican), which explains their opinions, but it is their presentrnslogan that is truly tantalizing: “The American Party is whatrnAmerica was!” It also opposes NAFTA and the WTO. (P.O.rnBox 25940, Richmond, Virgmia 23260)rnThe Populist Party is well named, given its textbook populistrnbent. The Populists despise big government and big businessrnand oppose foreign aid and foreign wars. Though they want taxrncuts, they are not laissez-faire on economic issues. As ideologicalrnheirs of the free silver movement, their monetary viewsrnare of the Lincoln-money variety: inflationist but opposed tornthe banker cartel. They are especially exercised about Washington’srnabuse of police power, as in the Waco massacre andrnthe Randy Weaver shoot-out in Idaho. On trade, they are oldfashionedrnprotectionists but were also passionately opposed tornNAFTA and the WTO. {Populist Observer, P.O. Box 15499,rnPittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15237)rnThink of the United States Taxpayers Party as the ’64 Goldwaterrncampaign without the Cold War rhetoric. Run by activistrnand former Nixon official Howard Phillips, it made a splashyrndebut in 1992 among Republicans tired of Reagan-Bush compromises.rnThe party emphasizes issues like repealing the incomerntax, ending foreign aid, respecting states’ rights, andrnclamping down on inflationary monetary policies. Oddly,rnhowever, it also worries about the Panama Canal and Jonas Savimbi.rnIn short, this is pretty much the old National Review.rnThat the party is considered extreme right is a measure of howrntimes, and the right, have devolved. In California, the TaxpayersrnParty merged with the American Independence Party forrnthe 1992 election. (450 Maple Ave. East, Vienna, Virginiarn22180)rnThe Patriot Party is the new kid on the block, made up ofrnformer Northeastern Perot activists with a flair for organizing,rnplus members and leaders of the New Alliance Party, Lenora B.rnFulani’s party, which always had the feel of black nationalismrnto me. But what the heck: if Gingrich and Clinton can teamrnup on NAFTA, then Perot and Fulani can team up to stop itrnand similar insider tricks. It wants no foreign aid, no foreignrnlobbyists, and no foreign wars. It has wasted no time in fieldingrncandidates for Senate races in Pennsylvania and plans a bigrnsplash in 1996. (16 South Broadway, Wind Gap, Pennsylvaniarn18091)rnThere should be a day of national mourning if the ProhibitionrnParty ever fades from the scene. Founded in 1872, thernparty today takes “credit” for achieving the direct election ofrnsenators, women’s suffrage, and, naturally. Prohibition. Inrnshort, its followers are the Protestant pietists you read about inrnhistories of the Progressive Era, which makes them seem somewhatrnreactionary today. They want to privatize Social Security,rninstitute a gold standard, end illegal immigration, respectrnstates’ rights, return education to the states, sell all governmentownedrnenterprises, abolish foreign aid, defend our shores, instituternfree trade, stop preferential trade treaties like NAFTArnand GATT, and pass the Human Life Amendment. Oh yes—rnand prohibit all liquor. “No other major party has addressedrnthe issue in their platform,” a spokesman explains. (Nationalrn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn