How to Create a Political Party | Catherine Mayer | RSA Replay

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How to Create a Political Party

Three Parts:

Starting a political party is a major undertaking, and you’ll need lots of support. Figure out your party’s platform at the early stages, then work to get that message out there through events, social media, and word of mouth. When you have enough members, you can set up the organizational structure of your party. If you meet eligibility requirements, like having enough signatures of support and showing proof that you are organized and active as a party, you can officially register with the electoral commission in your area. Then, your party can really get going by fully taking part in elections and political life.


Organizing Your Supporters

  1. Hold meetings to generate interest in forming a party.At every stage of creating and maintaining a political party, you’ll need lots of enthusiastic involvement. Let others know that you are interested in starting a new party, and ask them to get involved.
    • You could try starting out by holding a meeting with people you already know in a community center or even at your home. If there’s interest in creating a new party, tell them to spread the word to people they know. Hold a second, larger meeting inviting these people, too.
    • Ensure attendance at all meetings. When officially filing your party, you’ll typically need to prove that you’ve been holding meetings.
    • It’s never too early to start soliciting donations. At the early stages, you can start a crowdfunding campaign. Later, you can have your financial team set up a more formal donation process.
  2. Rally around potential candidates.You might want to start a political party to draw attention to a great candidate for office, and to help them get elected. If you have a charismatic candidate you would like to promote, ask them to attend your meetings. They can give speeches, take promotional photos, greet constituents, and generally increase the buzz about the formation of your new party.
  3. Work out the financial aspects.It takes money to organize a political party and promote candidates for elections. Your party will need rules for how money will come in, who will oversee it, and how it will be used. When officially filing your party, you will probably need to provide a statement of your financial scheme and an explanation of your accounting, so it’s a good idea to write these early. Consider:
    • How will donations be generated?
    • What account or accounts will money be held in?
    • Which committee will be in charge of finances?
    • Who will provide your accounting services?
    • What guidelines do you want to set for things like how money can be spent on election campaigns?
    • What procedures will you have for ensuring financial transparency?
    • How will you handle any financial disagreements or investigations?

Creating the Party's Brand

  1. Give your party a distinctive name.A political party will be known everywhere by its name, so give this some thought. You’ll need to select a name that isn’t already taken by another party, and isn’t so similar to another one that the public will get confused.
    • Check with your local electoral commission for a list of currently registered political parties.
    • Select a name that captures your party’s core values.
    • Try to keep the name short -- no more than a couple of words. That way, it will be memorable and easily identifiable.
  2. Create a logo identifying your party.Logos are used everywhere to advertise and identify political parties. They’re typically also required when officially registering a party. Choose one that’s not too complex, but is distinctive.
    • For example, if your party emphasizes conservative principles, you could select a logo that contains a traditional symbol of your area.
    • If you want to brand your party as an innovator, consider a logo that depicts a modern, contemporary symbol while using traditional colors.
  3. Establish a website with your own domain.It’s vital for a political party to have a website that the public can visit for more information. Purchase a domain name that is closely related to your party’s name. Put the website’s address on promotional materials, and distribute these at meetings. Your website’s content could include things like:
    • A copy of your party’s manifesto and core beliefs.
    • Biographies and statements from party leaders.
    • Information about upcoming events and elections.
    • Pages for any candidates that are running in elections.
    • A link for information on how to donate.

Registering the Party

  1. Collect signatures from supporters.To qualify as a political party, you’ll typically need a certain number of signatures. This may simply be a hard number, like 1000, or it may be a certain percentage of voters registered in your area, like 5 percent.
    • Pass around a paper or online form that announces it as a petition to create a political party. Have supporters sign.
    • If you already have enough members in your party, just collect their signatures. Otherwise, get out there on the street, describe your party to passersby, and ask them to sign in support.
  2. Meet any specific eligibility requirements.These can vary widely depending on the area you live in. In some cases, for instance, you might need to do things like:
    • Prove that you have spent more than ,000 on election campaigns in a year,.
    • Show that you have received contributions.
    • Have a current politician declare membership.
    • Reach a threshold number of official members.
  3. File at the right time.In some cases, you can only register a political party at certain times of the year. For instance, you may not be able to register a new political party shortly before an election. If you aren’t sure of the rules in your area, check with your local electoral commission.
  4. Submit official filing paperwork.You’ll need to contact the electoral commission in your area to determine what paperwork you need to file. Typically, it will involve an official form, and copies of supporting documents like a statement of organization, contact information for officers, necessary signatures, and a financial statement.
    • There may also be a filing fee.
    • Once you’re officially registered, you should be able to officially have candidates placed on ballots for elections.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I start a party in one state of the USA instead of starting one nationally?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can. The requirements for state and national are very similar, although you should still look up the state requirements, to be sure of what is required.
  • Question
    How many people are needed to start a political party?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The rules vary from country to country, but in theory you can have as many physical party members as you want. In most countries, in order to register as a political party, you need at least one person to be registered as having certain roles within your party. For example, you'll need a financial manager.
  • Question
    After creating a political party (and perhaps registering it), are you then eligible to run for Government positions, such as Mayor, Governor, Senator, and President?
    Prince Righty I
    Community Answer
    Yes. However support is hard to acquire. If you are really committed, start small with a seat in an assembly. After a few terms and some millions of dollars and tireless service (instead of only talking nonsense), if the majority of people are convinced that your party can be trusted AND vote for them, the government will be yours. Keep in mind, it is not necessary to create a political party in order to run for office.
  • Question
    What does it mean to have a party affiliation?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It means that you identify with a political party. For example, if you are democratically affiliated, it means you are part of, or support, the democratic party.
  • Question
    Can a foreigner create a political party in the United States and eventually run for president when they become a citizen of the country?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Only natural-born citizens of the United States are eligible for the presidency. However, there are no restrictions on creating a political party.
  • Question
    What can I do if I believe that both major parties have forgotten the founding principles of the American political system?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Consider the creation of the Hamiltonian Party of the United States, based around John Jay and Alexander Hamilton's Federalist ideas as a source of inspiration. If you are conservative or right-leaning, create a party like the Jeffersonian or Jacksonian party. If you lean left, then you could create something like the Adamsian or Madisonian party. A name that will remind people of the founders of the original political philosophies will help to give your party credibility, such as the liberal Hamiltonian federalists and conservative Jeffersonian or Jacksonian Democratic-Republicans.
  • Question
    If I form a political party in the United States, can it be moved to another country?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you've already got your party register in the US, then no you can't move it. If you haven't, then yes, but your going to have to find new political supporters within your new country and get it registered there.
  • Question
    What will other parties will do to resist the new one?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The existing parties may try to change laws or procedures to limit the power of the new party. They may also refuse to work or compromise with the new party.
  • Question
    How do I express political party names?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Think of the ideology you advocated. For example: The Fascist Party, The Conservative Party, The Communist Party. Make sure to add the country demonym (British, French, etc.) in the party name to represent what country your party represents.
  • Question
    How can I prevent the new party from being infiltrated by people who wish to change and destroy our party's initial belief system?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Keep your party's inner circle as small as possible, and tell those who have viewpoints you don't approve of that they're not welcome in the party.
Unanswered Questions
  • What is the average funding need for a new political party to thrive?
  • How do we properly replace a name on a ballot while forming a new political party for an April election?
  • Is there an existing table of contents for a thorough manifesto?
  • How do you protect the name of a political party? Does it have to be trademarked?
  • How much Money did we need to make a party
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  • Electoral commissions often have rules regarding the maintenance of political parties. To retain your official status, you may need to periodically file a report proving that you are staying active as a party (having regular conventions, participating in elections, etc.). You may also be required to submit financial statements.
  • Some politicians start their own political parties because they've been expelled from one for some reason. For example, in the UK in October 2003, George Galloway MP for Glasgow Kelvin was expelled from the Labour Party- then in government, for "bringing the party into disrepute". At the time, the Labour Government led by Prime Minister Tony Blair controversially supported U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq, to disarm Saddam Hussein from what was initially believed to be possession of nuclear weapons. Galloway had been a member of the Labour Party for 36 years, and at the time, Tony Blair's leadership had shifted the party founded on left-wing democratic socialist values; to the centre-right of the political spectrum. Galloway was and still is critical of Blair's leadership, and was strongly opposed to the Iraq War; even breaking party rules by endorsing an anti-war candidate at a by-election and reportedly called for British troops to defy orders. At the 2005 UK general election, he joined the Respect-Unity coalition (later renamed the Respect Party) which stood for left-wing, anti-War, Euroskeptic values and was elected as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow; unseating Oona King of the Labour Party, who supported the war in Iraq.
  • The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) was founded in 1991 in England by Alan Sked in opposition to the Conservative Government signing the Maastricht Treaty; which significantly expanded the powers of the European Commission. All three major parties (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat) agreed to the signing of the treaty, so Sked launched a campaign to oppose it. The treaty was signed in 1993 by Prime Minister John Major, and the group became an official political party renamed "The United Kingdom Independence Party" (UKIP) in 1993. The party's most famous leader was Nigel Farage, who led the party from (2006-09, 2010-16) and succeeded in helping to convince the British electorate to vote "Leave" in the 2019 referendum on continuing UK membership of the European Union. So in just 23 years, the party went from the unknown to the centre of international attention.

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