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The American Independent Party (AIP) was founded in 1967 by Bill Shearer and his wife, Eileen Knowland Shearer, a cousin of California Senator William F. Knowland. The AIP is considered a far-right party and is best known for its nomination of former Alabama Governor George Wallace as a candidate for United States President in 1968. Wallace carried the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama on a segregationist platform against Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey and Republican nominee Richard Nixon, winning 46 electoral votes, more than any other third-party candidate.
In 1976, the AIP split into the more moderate American Party, which included more northern conservatives, and the American Independent Party, which focused on the Deep South. Bill Shearer later led the AIP into the Populist Party in the early 1980s. Since 1992, the AIP has been the California affiliate of the national Constitution party. Another split occurred during the 2008 presidential election, resulting in the newly-formed America's Party. As of 2016, approximately 3% of Californians are registered members of the AIP, but political analysts believe that some members mistakenly join the AIP, falsely believing that they are registering as independent voters.