The New Alliance Party was the nation’s most successful “left” party during the period 1986-1993. It placed its presidential nominee on the ballot in all 50 states in 1988, and in 40 states in 1992. It qualified for over $900,000 in primary season matching funds in 1988, and $2,100,000 in 1992. It had offices, or candidates for local office, or both, in 36 states during those years. It elected a state legislator in Nebraska in 1988.
In U.S. history, no other “left” party had such success with ballot access as the New Alliance Party did in 1988. Even the Socialist Party never qualified for the government-printed ballot in all states, even in the party’s strongest decades, the 1900’s and 1910’s.
The New Alliance Party held itself out to the public as a party led by African-Americans, and this was certainly true, at least partially. Some criticis pooh-poohed that claim because the party’s leader was Fred Newman, who was white. Nevertheless, all of the party’s presidential candidates were African-Americans, as were many of its gubernatorial candidates. As a black-led party, the New Alliance Party worked especially hard to establish strength in southern states. It had many candidates for public office in the south. But there are three southern states in which the party never opened a campaign office or headquarters, and never had any candidates for public office (other than presidential elector). They were Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana.
Louisiana had the top-two open primary for all offices, 1978 through 2006. Also, Louisiana had very discriminatory laws relating to party labels on the ballot during the years 1978 through 2004, the years the New Alliance Party was active. It appears that the Louisiana top-two system so discouraged the New Alliance Party from participating in Louisiana elections that the party simply did no organizing in that state. By contrast, the New Alliance Party had many strong campaigns in Texas and Mississippi, two states that border Louisiana.