Marxist political coalition
Was active from 1992-1998
Endorsed Barack Obama for Illinois state senate seat in 1996
Co-founded in 1992 by Daniel Cantor (a former staffer for Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign) and Joel Rogers (a sociology and law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), the New Party was a Marxist political coalition whose objective was to endorse and elect leftist public officials -- most often Democrats. The New Party's short-term objective was to move the Democratic Party leftward, thereby setting the stage for the eventual rise of new Marxist third party.
Most New Party members hailed from the Democratic Socialists of America and the militant organization ACORN. The party's Chicago chapter also included a large contingent from the Committees of Correspondence, a Marxist coalition of former Maoists, Trotskyists, and Communist Party USA members.
The New Party's modus operandi included the political strategy of "electoral fusion," where it would nominate, for various political offices, candidates from other parties (usually Democrats), thereby enabling each of those candidates to occupy more than one ballot line in the voting booth. By so doing, the New Party often was able to influence candidates' platforms. (Fusion of this type is permitted in seven states -- Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont -- but is common only in New York.)
Though Illinois was not one of the states that permitted electoral fusion, in 1995 Barack Obama nonetheless sought the New Party's endorsement for his 1996 state senate run. He was successful in obtaining that endorsement, and he used a number of New Party volunteers as campaign workers.
In 1996, three of the four candidates endorsed by the New Party won their electoral primaries. The three victors included Barack Obama (in the 13th State Senate District), Danny Davis (in the 7th Congressional District), and Patricia Martin, who won the race for Judge in the 7th Subcircuit Court. All four candidates attended an April 11, 1996 New Party membership meeting to express their gratitude for the party's support.
The New Party's various chapters similarly helped to elect dozens of other political candidates in a host of American cities.
One of the more notable New Party members was Carl Davidson, a Chicago-based Marxist who became a political supporter of Barack Obama in the mid-1990s.
In 1997 the New Party's influence declined precipitously after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that electoral fusion was not protected by the First Amendment's freedom of association clause. By 1998 the party was essentially defunct. Daniel Canto and other key party members went on to establish a new organization with similar ideals, the Working Families Party of New York.