Appalled by both Hillary and the Donald? Unimpressed by Gary and Jill? Lurking in the folds of the internet is an offbeat alternative: the American Solidarity Party.
Visiting the office of a colleague a few weeks ago, I noticed a new framed document on the wall. She explained that it was the platform of the American Solidarity Party, a new political formation “somewhere out there beyond the Alleghenies.”
For anyone who loves Catholic social doctrine, the platform is a political Rembrandt. For those of us orphaned by the major American parties, it offers a political home in the tradition of the old Christian Democratic parties. Like the venerable formations of Adenauer and de Gasperi, the Solidarist ideology leans leftward on economic issues, rightward on social issues and firmly internationalist on questions of war and peace.
The treatment of human life issues shows the breadth of the party’s moral vision, overcoming our standard right/left cleavages. Firmly opposing abortion and euthanasia, it affirms a comprehensive defense of the human right to life: “We support constitutional and legal measures that establish the Right to Life from conception until natural death.” It condemns capital punishment. Eschewing pacifism, it adheres to a strictly limited version of just war theory, allergic to the sirens of preventive warfare: “We oppose 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.” The censure of the political use of torture is categorical: “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.”
Its opposition to the culture of death is not confined to the censure of homicide; the platform endorses a broad welfare state. “To replace the culture of death with respect for life, we call for adequate social services and income support for women, the elderly, immigrants and other vulnerable persons.”
This welfarism includes a gradual transition to a single-payer health care system. Immigrants are to receive legal protection: “We favor a generous policy of asylum for refugees from religious, political, racial and other forms of persecution.” Calls for subsidiarity leaven the summons for social responsibility.
The traditionalism of the party appears in the treatment of family policy. Civil marriage is defined as the union between one man and one woman. Education is to be firmly controlled by the schooling choice of parents, financially enabled by the state to follow their pedagogical consciences.
Bathed in a religious sensibility, the platform unabashedly singles out the Judeo-Christian tradition as the moral matrix of the nation. Religious freedom emerges as the central right among the guarantees in the Bill of Rights. “We deplore the reduction of the ‘free exercise of religion’ guaranteed by the First Amendment to ‘freedom of worship’ that merely exists in private and within a house of worship. The right to follow what the Declaration of Independence called ‘the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God’ must be respected.”
As attractive as its platform is, there is a major problem with the American Solidarity Party. It scarcely exists outside of cyberspace. It will be present on few if any state ballots. It controls not a single seat in the national or state legislatures. Its current candidate for the U.S. presidency, Michigan’s Mike Maturen, has no political credentials. He is a professional magician, indeed a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
In November most of us will grimly choose between Clintonism and Trumpism—between corruption and xenophobia. The American Solidarity Party will remain a tiny club of eccentric Catholic intellectuals tending the embers of distributism, corporatism and solidarism.
But the embers are noble. Glossed by Leo XIII and G. K. Chesterton, the common good endures. And somehow our morally troubled trip to the polls has been ennobled by A.S.P.’s eccentric whisper.