- Democratic Party
- Republican Party
- Libertarian Party
- Constitution Party
- Socialist Party
The answer, of course, is "NONE OF THE ABOVE"
The founders really weren't thinking of a party system when they established the Constitution. If they were you would see sections of the Constitution and Federalist Papers on parties.
The founders' failure to think through a mechanism for nominating candidates is probably the weakest part of the Constitution.
Their vision had the Senators being elected by the state governments (as were the members of the Constitutional Convention) and the original Congressional districts were small enough that personal knowledge of candidates might suffice.
The party system wasn't fully entrenched until Andrew Jackson (D). The emergence of a strong reactionary party under Lincoln (R) led to a Civil War.
Every party in our current system have one fatal flaw: That flaw is that they must spend the majority of their effort reacting and countering moves of the other parties.
The primary reason that government keeps expanding out of control is that the parties keep pulling in resources and issues outside the existing constraints of government to gain and advantage over their hated partisan foe.
The Tea Party Movement seems to be composed primarily of people who reject this unfettered expansion of government. Unfortunately, the establishment seems set on taking the Tea Party under its wing. According to The Tea Party is About to be Hijacked, the National Tea Party Convention (set to take place in Nashville in late February). The convention appears to be an effort to organize the tea party as a wing of the Republican Party. The $550 entry fee puts the convention beyond the means of many of the original tea party organizers.
The great challenge the defenders of freedom face is that their efforts to organize as a reactionary force to defend freedom against big government populism ends up being co-opted by the big government populists.
If the Tea Party Patriots become a branch of the Republican Party, we are likely to fall back into the dynamics where the Libertarian side of the party writes the power winning rhetoric, with neocons stepping in to grab any power that the tea party patriots muster.
A bad scenario could unfold if the Democratic Party jumped even further to the left in reaction to freedom loving tea partiers moving under the wing of the opposition.
As the founders of this nation were not keen on partisanship, I feel that it is best for the tea party movement to maintain its independence of parties.
I am thrilled that the Republican Party is starting to remember the principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism; However, it would be far better for the nation if the tea party movement affected both parties in a positive manner.
Last year, I addressed the metaphor of the Pendulum Swing. In the article, I indicated that we do not have a simple system swinging between a big government statist Democratic Party and a liberty loving Republican Party. We have a complex system in which there is an internal pendulum in both parties swinging between the party's internal liberal and progressive elements.
In the Clinton years, the internal pendulum in both parties was swinging in favor of liberty. In the Bush years, the internal pendulum of both parties swung dramatically toward each party's progressive (big government) side.
With this pendulum model in mind, I think it wise for the tea party movement to strive to maintain a fickle independence as a large number of people shouting for a limited government has a good chance of forcing both parties to swing away from the big government insanity of the Bush/Obama age and back to something resembling the successful America created by our forefathers.