Fox News.com is the first major news outlet to touch on the issue of Barack Obama's former membership in the socialist New Party back in the 1990's:
Documents have surfaced suggesting that Obama was a member of the socialist New Party during his 1996 run for the Illinois Senate. The New Party was an offshoot of the Democratic Socialists Party of America, or DSA. The Power Line blog links to several Internet pages supporting the claim.
A Progressive Populist article in November of 1996 said, "New Party member Barack Obama was uncontested for a State Senate seat from Chicago."
An archived page from the New Party's Web site in October 1996 says, "Three N.P. members won Democratic primaries last spring and face off against Republican opponents on election day [including] Barack Obama."
Obama's campaign responded, and basically lied to us. As the same Fox News article reports:
A spokesman for the Obama campaign insists his candidate ran as a Democrat in that race and said, "Don't believe the trash you read on the Internet."
This is deceptive because yes, Obama ran as a Democrat, but he also ran as a member of the New Party, as a "fusion candidate" .
What's a fusion candidate? Here's an explanation:
Fusion is a pretty simple concept. A candidate could run as both a Democrat and a New Party member to signal the candidate was, in fact, a left-leaning candidate, or at least not a center-left DLC type candidate. If the candidate -- let's call him Barack Obama -- received only 500 votes in the Democratic Party against another candidate who received 1000 votes, Obama would clearly not be the nominee. But, if Obama also received 600 votes from the New Party, Obama's New Party votes and Democratic votes would be fused. He would be the Democratic nominee with 1100 votes.The fusion idea set off a number of third parties, but the New Party was probably the most successful.