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, 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 Green Party as outlined in their 2016 Platform:
• The Green Platform presents “an eco-social analysis and vision for our country.”
• All Green candidates pledge not to accept corporate money for their campaigns.
• The Green Party seeks to “build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making.”
• “Instead we will build an economy based on large-scale green public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy. Some call this decentralized system “ecological socialism,” “communalism,” or the “cooperative commonwealth,” but whatever the terminology, we believe it will help end labor exploitation, environmental exploitation, and racial, gender, and wealth inequality and bring about economic and social justice due to the positive effects of democratic decision making.”
• The “Ten Key Values” of the Green party are: Grassroots democracy; Social justice and equal opportunity; Ecological wisdom; Non-violence; Decentralization; Community based economics; Feminism and gender equity; Respect for diversity; Personal and global responsibility; and Future focus and sustainability.
• Supports making the “morning-after” pill “affordable and easily accessible without a prescription.”
• Supports a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about the “morning-after” pill.
• Supports requiring health clinics to provide both “consultation about abortion” and to perform abortions regardless of age or marital status.
• Opposes all age restrictions on abortion.
• Supports requiring abortion to be included in all health insurance policies in the United States.
• Supports requiring state governments to “legally offer [abortion and contraceptive] services free of charge to women at the poverty level.”
• Supports requiring public health agencies operating abroad to be allowed to offer abortion in all countries that asks for that “service.”
• Opposes “our government's habit of cutting family planning funds when those funds go to agencies in foreign countries that give out contraceptive devices, offer advice on abortion, and perform abortions.”
• Supports the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act.
• Supports strict enforcement of First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association, and petition.
• Support students’ constitutional rights to free speech.
• Supports strict Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.
• Opposes bulk internet data collection by our government.
• Supports passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
• Supports free college tuition to all qualified students at public universities and vocational schools.
• Opposes the administration of public schools by private, for-profit entities.
• Supports “non-violent conflict resolution and humane education” at all levels of education.
• Supports providing “healthy school meals that are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and offer plant-based vegetarian options.”
• Supports Farm-to-School programs that provide food from local family farms and educational opportunities.
• Supports a ban on the sale of “soda pop and junk food” in schools.
• Opposes military and corporate control over the “priorities and topics of university academic research.”
• Supports making student loans available to all college students, with forgiveness for graduates who choose public service occupations.
• Supports repealing the No Child Left Behind Act.
• Supports expanding arts education and physical education opportunities at school.
• Opposes efforts to “restrict the teaching of scientific information and the portrayal of religious belief as fact.”
• Supports providing adequate academic and vocational education and training to prisoners.
• Supports an end to the “militarization of our schools,” specifically by banning JROTC programs, ASVAB testing, and forbidding military access to student records.
• Supports making “pollution prevention” the preferred strategy for dealing with environmental justice issues.
• Supports requirements that make polluters bear the burden of proof in demonstrating the safety of their practices.
• Supports expansion of the public trust doctrine, which holds that government’s role is to protect the commons, to include the domains of public health and protection of the natural environment.
• Supports programs, policies, and legislation that “build the capacity to identify disproportionate or discriminatory siting of polluting or toxic facilities.”
• Supports procedural justice, ensuring the public’s right to know, and corrective justice, ensuring the rights of communities and local agencies to seek judicial redress.
• Supports strengthening the National Environmental Policy Act.
• Supports equal representation of women in Congress “instead of the current 17 percent in 2012.”
• Supports U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
• Supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and similar legislation to close the male-female “pay gap.”
Families and Children
• Supports and seeks to expand Head Start and pre- and neo-natal programs.
• Supports universal, federally funded childcare program for pre-school and young schoolchildren.
• Supports a prohibition on commercial advertising targeted to children younger than 12 years old, as well as advertising in public places such as schools, parks, and government buildings.
• Supports an increase in funding for after-school and daycare programs.
• Supports increases in family assistance such as the earned income tax credit and increased to offset payroll taxes.
• Supports a “living family wage.”
• Opposes privatization of social security.
• Support the formation of a Civilian Conservation Corps to “spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmental education, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaning up polluted waterways.”
• Supports returning ownership and control of the electromagnetic spectrum to the public.
• Supports ending the privatization of broadcast frequencies and reserving them for the creation of new not-for-profit community broadcasters
• Supports “tough new” anti-trust laws for the media.
• Supports ending commercial broadcasters’ free licensed use of the public airwaves and requiring market-priced leasing of any commercial use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
• Supports taxing electronic advertising to fund “democratic media outlets.”
• Supports reinstating and strengthening the Fairness Doctrine.
• Supports Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) access television.
• Supports expanding the licensing of new non-commercial, low-power FM radio stations.
• Supports providing broadband internet access for all residents of this country.
• Supports net neutrality.
• Supports repealing the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
• Opposes all censorship in the arts, media, press, and on the internet.
• Supports reducing mailing costs for non-profit and independent magazines and journals, and eliminating them for those that receive less than 20 percent of their revenues from advertising.
• Supports promoting policies that encourage the people of the United States to watch less television.
• Supports the creation of a publicly controlled “Audience Network” empowered to take airtime from commercial television and radio stations, to “broadcast a variety of non-commercial cultural, political, entertainment, scientific, or other high-quality programs.”
• Supports the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children.
• Supports federal legislation to make prostitution modeled on the Swedish law passed in 1999. (That law criminalizes the purchase of services from prostitutes, pimps and brothel keepers instead of criminalizing the prostitutes.)
Race and Ethnic Issues
• Supports “full and complete reparations to the African-American community.”
• Supports an “end to official support for any remaining symbols of slavery” and specifically call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from all government buildings.
• Opposes the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.
• Supports “strong measures to combat official racism in the forms of police brutality directed against people of color.”
• Supports “hate crimes” legislation.
• Supports “effective enforcement” of the Voting Rights Act, including language access to voting.
• Supports a national language policy that would encourage all citizens to be fluent in at least two languages.
• Supports efforts to broadly reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs to “make this vast agency more responsible and more responsive to tribal governments.”
• Supports the rights of indigenous peoples “to their lands, their ways of life, and all other rights supports the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, their ways of life, and all other rights of free peoples.”
• Supports the U.S. constitutional guarantees for freedom of religion, separation of church and state.
• Opposes any religious test for public office.
• Supports ending discriminatory federal, state, and local laws against particular religious beliefs, and non-belief.
• Supports prosecution of hate crimes based on religious affiliation or practice.
• Supports the elimination of displays of religious symbols, monuments, or statements on government buildings, property, websites, money, or documents.
• Supports removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
• Supports ending faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby “public funds are used to support religious organizations that do not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.”
• Supports ending governmental use of the “doctrines of specific religions to define the nature of family, marriage, and the type and character of personal relationships between consenting adults.”
• Supports ending the use of religion as “a justification to deny children necessary medical care or subject them to physical and emotional abuse.”
• Supports ending the “use of religion by government to define the role and rights of women in our society.”
• Supports revocation of the congressional charter of the Boy Scouts of America because of the organization’s beliefs.
• Supports ending school vouchers “whereby public money pays for students in religious schools.”
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
• Supports the “rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
• Supports the “the equal rights of persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, trans-sexual, queer, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life including equal tax treatment.”
• Supports the “right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex.”
• Supports “the right of intersex and trans-gender individuals to be free from coercion and involuntary assignment of gender or sex.”
• Supports the “right of access” to medical and surgical treatment for assignment or reassignment of gender or sex, based on informed consent.
• Supports “hate crime” legislation that includes “people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and inter-sex.”
• Supports ending all Federal military and civilian aid to national governments whose laws result in the imprisonment or otherwise bring harm to citizens and residents based on sexual orientation, or gender identity, characteristics, and expression.
• Supports a policy that the U.S. Government recognize all international marriages and legal equivalents, such as civil unions, in processing visitor and immigration visas.
• Supports restoration of a federally funded entitlement program to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled, with no time limit on benefits. “This program should be funded through the existing welfare budget, reductions in military spending and corporate subsidies, and a fair, progressive income tax.”
• Supports a graduated supplemental income, or negative income tax.
• Supports public funding for the development of living-wage jobs in community and environmental service.
• Opposes workfare.
• Opposes “this system of male domination, known as patriarchy, in all its forms, both subtle and overt—from oppression, inequality, and discrimination to all forms of violence against women and girls including rape, trafficking, forced sex which is also rape, slavery, prostitution and violence against women within marriage and relationships and in all institutions.”
• The Green Party states that young people should have the following rights:
- Youth are not the property of their parents or guardians, but are under their care and guidance.
- Youth have the right to survive by being provided adequate food, shelter and comprehensive health care, including prenatal care for mothers.
- Youth have the right to be protected from abuse, harmful drugs, violence, environmental hazards, neglect, and exploitation.
- Youth have the right to develop in a safe and nurturing early environment provided by affordable childcare and pre-school preparation.
- Youth have the right to an education that is stimulating, relevant, engaging, and that fosters their natural desire to learn.
- Young people’s creative potential should be encouraged to the greatest extent possible.
- Young people should have input into the direction and pace of their own education, including input into the operation of their educational institutions.
- Young people should be provided with education regarding their own and others’ sexuality at the earliest appropriate time.
- Young people should be provided the opportunity to express themselves in their own media, including television, radio, films, and the internet. Young people should also be given skills in analyzing commercial media.
- Young people should be kept free from coercive advertising at their educational institutions.