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.