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Thousands Leave Right-Wing American Independent Party, Presumably to Become Real Independents

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom with wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who does NOT support building a wall around the U.S. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Nearly 32,000 people have just ditched the American Independent Party, reports the L.A Times. This comes two weeks after a Times poll revealed that two-thirds of the party's members had (probably) meant to register as politically independent, or having "no party preference."Political data scientist Paul Mitchell reports that 31,772 AIP voters have left the party since May 1. The original Times story, which polled AIP members and discovered that 73% are probably registered by mistake, ran in April 17. It's not all doom and gloom for the AIP, however, as it actually gained 10,744 members in that same two week period. Still, this equates to a net loss of 21,028 members, or 6.7% of the party's total registration. As of April 17 the AIP had more registered members than all minor parties combined.

AIP reps told the Times that they believe members are simply "re-registering 'temporarily' so they can cast votes in the Democratic or Republican presidential primary on June 7." Sounds like a bit of wishful thinking there.

The AIP is vocally far-right and, unsurprisingly, anti-gay. The party opposes same-sex marriages, advocates building a wall along the perimeter of the U.S., and supports the elimination of the IRS and paper currencies.

The report comes as a big hit to the AIP for more reasons than one. The party is (or was) second only to the Democratic Party in terms of Hollywood backing, even if that backing was likely accidental. The Times reported that left-leaning celebs such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Emma Stone, Kaley Cuoco, and Demi Moore (who practices kabbalah and supported Obama during both his campaigns) were all registered with the AIP. Other notables include Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who switched her registration nine years ago when she learned that she was a member of the AIP. Even if the AIP faces a mass Hollywood exodus, it should still be able to compete with the GOP, which has been leaning on Ron Silver and Gary Sinise (a.k.a. Lieutenant Dan) for upwards of two decades.

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To see if you are registered with the AIP, The Times has a tool to let you refer with a database.

Not registered to vote in the June election? California voters can register here.