The press release arrived on April Fool’s Day, and it turns out it was legit, but as we say in this business, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” It was from AIPrl_Fooled, a self-identified “grass-roots campaign to bring awareness to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Californians are accidentally registered as members of the American Independent Party.” Maybe even you. While this is not breaking news, it’s worth repeating, especially with the May 19 deadline to register to vote in the June primary: The American Independent Party, or AIP, is California’s fastest-growing political party, with about 2.6% of all registered voters — a lot of them, in all likelihood, because of a mistake: the word “independent.” There’s no other logical explanation for why the third-largest party in one of the nation’s most liberal states is the party whose presidential nominees have included segregationists George Wallace and Lester Maddox. According to its platform, the AIP is God-inspired, anti-gay marriage, antiabortion and dedicated to “freedom from liberalism.”
California voters are sick to the teeth of partisan wrangling between Democrats and Republicans. They want to vote, but not to reward the major parties’ bad behavior by belonging to either one.
So they see American Independent Party on the voter registration form. Alphabetically, it’s the first choice listed, and, as California Voter Foundation President Kim Alexander told me, it’s the only place the word “independent” appears on the form.
So voters may think, “Yeah, independent, that’s me,” and check the AIP box.