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Alternative Candidates Have Conservative Appeal

1996This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Conservative voters turned off by Republicans and Democrats have several other presidential choices this November, including Ross Perot's Reform Party and the little-known U.S. Taxpayers Party.

"The GOP offers us the chance to go over the cliff at 70 miles per hour instead of 100 miles per hour," Howard Phillips, the U.S. Taxpayers Party nominee and president of the Conservative Caucus, told CT. The Taxpayers Party goal is "to restore American jurisprudence to its biblical premises, to limit the federal government to its constitutional boundaries." The party would eliminate the national debt and federal income tax, prohibit abortion, end aids-research funding, and dissolve the Department of Education.

But scholar William C. Martin says the party's Christian Reconstructionist bent (convention speakers included theologian R. J. Rushdoony and Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry) make it an easy target to demonize. Conservative Patrick Buchanan declined an invitation to be the party's presidential candidate, in part because the party is not on the ballot in all 50 states. Herb Titus, the former law school dean at Pat Roberston's Regent University, will be Phillips's running mate. Reconstructionism aims to have the United States follow what it claims are biblical directives in governing society.

ROSS REDUX: In looking at the Reform Party, political pollsters do not forecast that billionaire businessman Ross Perot will gain anywhere near the 19 percent of the vote he received in 1992. "Perot has a strong appeal as a smart, successful businessman who says he can solve problems effectively," Martin says. "But there are enough doubts about his leadership qualities that a lot of people who voted for him in 1992 no longer have the ...

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