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United States Union Party

The Union Party was a short-lived political party in the United States, formed in 1936 by a coalition of radio priest Father Charles Coughlin, old-age pension advocate Francis Townsend, and Gerald L.K. Smith, who had taken control of Huey Long's Share Our Wealth movement after Long's death in 1935. Each of those people hoped to channel their wide followings into support for the Union Party, which proposed a radical populist alternative to the New Deal reforms of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression, but critics charged that the Union Party was in fact controlled by Father Coughlin, a former Roosevelt supporter who had broken with Roosevelt and had begun an ugly slide into anti-Semitism and demagoguery by 1936.

The Union Party nominated William Lemke, a U.S. Congressman from North Dakota, for the U.S. presidential election, 1936. Lemke received 892,267 votes nationwide, or less than 2% of the total popular vote. The Union Party was disbanded shortly thereafter.