Independent political parties in the United States come in a variety of ideological leanings and policy positions. There is no single color that represents all independent or third parties in America. However, there are some common colors used by major independent parties today.
History of Third Parties
Throughout American history, third parties have arisen to challenge the two-party system and advocate for issues and ideologies outside the mainstream Republican and Democratic agendas. Some of the most significant third parties include the Anti-Masonic Party, Liberty Party, Free Soil Party, Progressive Party, Reform Party, and Green Party among others. These parties have represented interests ranging from abolitionism to populism to environmentalism.
The use of party colors began in the late 18th century to symbolize factions in Congress. Federalists used black, and Jeffersonian Republicans used red, white and blue. In the election of 1800, blue was used to represent the Federalists and red for the Jefferson Republicans. After the Federalists collapsed, red became associated with the Democratic Party.
Early third parties did not have official color designations, but often adopted the unused blue from the Federalists to distinguish themselves from the two main parties. For example, the Anti-Masonic Party, the first significant third party, used blue on banners and campaign materials in the 1832 election.
Contemporary Third Party Colors
Here are some of the representative colors used by the most prominent independent political parties today:
|Constitution Party||Blue & White|
|Reform Party||Red, White & Blue|
The Green Party, as its name suggests, utilizes the color green to symbolize its core values of environmentalism, social justice, and nonviolence. Green is commonly used on campaign materials, candidate podiums, and the party’s official website.
The Libertarian Party employs the color yellow, or gold, to represent its principles of minimial government and maximizing individual freedom and choice. Their logo features the Statue of Liberty’s torch in yellow set against a blue background.
The Constitution Party uses a mix of patriotic red, white and blue, similar to the colors of the American flag. This represents their belief in strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution in governance and policy. Their materials also incorporate a blue background with white stars.
The Reform Party, which grew out of Ross Perot’s independent presidential campaigns in the 1990s, also utilizes the red, white and blue motif to signal a centrist, populist platform of political reform and fiscal responsibility.
State-Level Independent Parties
Several state-level independent parties also make use of their own representative colors on campaign materials and when fielding local candidates:
|Alaskan Independence Party||Alaska||Gold & Blue|
|Independent Party of Delaware||Delaware||Red & Blue|
|Moderate Party of Rhode Island||Rhode Island||Red & Blue|
|Independence Party of New York||New York||Orange & Blue|
The Alaskan Independence Party, which advocates secession, uses gold and blue to represent the state’s colors. The Independent Party of Delaware employs red and blue to symbolize their centrist positioning. Similarly, the Moderate Party of Rhode Island uses a mix of red and blue to indicate moderation between the two major parties.
The Independence Party of New York, founded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg during his mayoral runs, opts for orange and blue as a representation of synthesis between Republican red and Democratic blue. The orange color provides a visual distinction from other third parties.
Individual Independent Candidates
When individual independent candidates run outside of any party, they may also choose colors that represent their particular political leanings, philosophies and backgrounds:
|Michael Bloomberg||Blue & Orange|
|Evan McMullin||Blue & Green|
|Jesse Ventura||Blue & Green|
In his 2020 presidential run, Michael Bloomberg reused the orange and blue colors from the New York Independence Party he founded. The orange and blue symbolized his blend of Republican and Democratic policies.
Evan McMullin, a former Republican who ran as an independent anti-Trump candidate in 2016, used a mix of blue and green. The blue represented his conservative background, while the green signaled an environmentally-conscious agenda.
Similarly, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura used blue and green colors in his Reform Party presidential run in 2000. The blue aligned him with centrist independents, while green reflected his left-leaning stances on issues like healthcare and education.
Choosing a Color
When a new independent political party or candidate emerges, choosing an identifiable color is an important branding decision. The color selected should represent the party or candidate’s key principles, political ideology, regional affiliations, and stylistic branding preferences.
Against the backdrop of Republican red and Democratic blue, a distinct color helps independent parties and candidates stand out from the crowd during election season. Along with the party name and logo, the visual color identity can powerfully communicate values and build awareness of a political agenda outside the two-party framework.
There is no uniform color for independent political parties in America. However, many minor parties and independent candidates running outside the two-party system adopt their own representative colors to symbolize their values and visions for governance. While no color has a permanent lock on any ideology, there are common associations between certain hues and independent political philosophies that voters have come to recognize over time. The effective use of color helps third parties and independent candidates to craft a strong brand identity and promotional materials that allow them to be heard in a political and electoral landscape long dominated by two major parties.