Editors’ note: This is the second in a series examining the social positions of several minor political parties. A previous series covered the Democratic Party platform and the Republican Party Platform.
Although minor parties—often called “third parties” to distinguish them from the dominant two—have always been a part of American politics, the dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties in the current election season has led some Christians to give them more consideration than usual. To help Christians think about voting in a way that will most benefit the welfare of our nation (Jer. 29:7), this series will provide, without commentary, an outline of various minor party platforms as they relate to several social issues.
Unfortunately, because there are roughly 50 minor political parties in America this series will not be able to cover them all, so we’ll focus only on the Libertarian Party, the American Solidarity Party, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party. (The choice is obviously arbitrary and selective, but other parties will be added if there is sufficient interest/demand.)
In covering these platforms there are two issues to note.
First, unlike with the two major parties, the nominees of the minor parties often have no direct control over their party’s platform. For this reason, the positions held by the particular presidential candidates may differ radically from the positions held by the party. Second, minor parties tend to focus more on broad principles than specific policy prescriptions. This is especially true when it comes to social issues. Wherever possible, I’ll try to highlight the direct policy positions. Otherwise I’ll attempt to summarize their underlying philosophy on a public policy area.
Here are the positions of the American Solidarity Party as outlined in their 2016 Platform:
• The American Solidarity Party self-identifies as the “only active Christian Democratic party in the United States.” (See here for more on Christian Democratic parties.)
• Seeks to promote the common good and the material and spiritual welfare of all people.
• Seeks to raise consciousness of the Christian worldview.
• Seeks to offer a positive vision that can bring communities together.
• Stands for the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, responsibility for the environment, and hopes for the possibility of a peaceful world.
• Believes that political economy (economics) is a branch of political ethics. “We reject models of economic behavior based on greed and naked self-interest.”
• Supports defending the rights of public assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
• Opposes the expansion of censorship and secrecy in the interests of “national security.”
• Supports “ban the box” initiatives [persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record].
• Supports laws favoring equal access to the polls, the courts, housing, education, and credit.
• Opposes conscription into the armed services and other forms of compulsory government service, except in cases of clear and present necessity during declared war.
• Opposes the mandatory registration of women in the Selective Service system.
• Supports reforms in the process of jury-selection, in order to prevent jurypacking and the narrowing of jury pools.
• Supports restricting the legal construct of “personhood” for organizations and corporations.
• Opposes government censorship of the media and the internet.
• Supports the repeal of the Patriot Act
• Opposes the “indiscriminate and unauthorized” collection of data from the phones and computers of American citizens and foreign nationals.
• Opposes laws and trade agreements that allow the monitoring of personal internet usage for non-criminal offenses, such as copyright infringement.
• Supports the “decriminalization (not the legalization)” of recreational drugs.
• Supports parental right to homeschool.
• Supports public funding of both public and private schools, with a “preferential option for economically disadvantaged students.”
• Supports the “freedom of teachers” to design their own curricula within general parameters set by local authorities.
• Supports initiatives to improve education for virtue and citizenship, as well as core subjects such as reading and writing, mathematics, science, and the arts.
• Supports increased public investment in higher education and a reduction of tuition at public institutions.
• Supports stricter regulation of for-profit educational enterprises.
• Supports generous funding for research in safe and renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind-power.
• Opposes government subsidies for “reckless oil- and mineral extraction (such as ‘fracking’).”
• Supports a strong regime of environmental protection by independent public agencies.
• Supports direct accountability of illegal polluters to their victims in the courts.
• Supports the institution of pollution taxes to “fund research in cleaner methods of production and to compensate all citizens for abuse of the natural commons.”
• Supports a cap-and-dividend approach to the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. “Producers will bid for permits to emit a fixed amount of greenhouse gasses; revenue from the permits will be applied to ecological research and the Citizens’ Dividend.”
• Support programs to reduce the damage done to communities and residents affected by the transition from fossil fuels and mineral extraction to renewable energy sources, including economic redevelopment aid, job retraining, and/or direct aid to those laid off and their families.
• Supports vigorous enforcement of laws against human trafficking.
• Supports constitutional and legal measures that establish the right to life from conception until natural death.
• Supports an end to capital punishment.
• Opposes the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
• Supports adequate social services and income support for women, the elderly, immigrants, and other vulnerable persons.
• Supports a ban on gestational surrogacy contracts.
• Opposes the use of military force in violation of Just War principles. “Among other things, this precludes the use of pre-emptive strikes and disproportionate retaliation.”
• Supports strict accountability in the use of lethal force by officers of the peace.
• Supports the legal recognition of marriage as a union of one man to one woman for life.
• Opposes the “exploitation of human persons that pornography entails.”
• Supports the implementation of the “so-called ‘Nordic model’ for dealing with prostitution” by imposing stricter and more uniform penalties for the purchase of sex, decriminalizing the selling of sex, and providing viable employment alternatives to those who are exploited as prostitutes.
• Supports laws that allow people of all faiths to practice their religion “without intimidation” and opposes “aggressive secularism that seeks to remove religion from the public sphere.”
• “We condemn the use of torture—by whatever method, for whatever purpose, and by whatever euphemism it may be called – by any representative of the United States or in its interests. Those who participate in or authorize torture should be stripped of position, prosecuted, and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
• Opposes “sudden elimination or reduction” of income supports such as welfare, food stamps, and unemployment insurance, when “no other safety net is in place.”
• Supports a gradual replacement of needs-based welfare and assistance payments with a Citizens’ Dividend, funded by the collection of unearned income.
For a summary of the positions of the ASP on economic and public service issues, see this post.