By Peter James
As Trump and Biden dominate their respective primaries, many feel dissatisfied with the results, but this dissatisfaction is not limited to the 2024 presidential election.
A few months ago, Pew Research reported that only 4% of U.S. adults say our political system is working “extremely well” or “very well.” This is no surprise, and one can look no further than the approval ratings for Congress (13%) and the Supreme Court (25%).
Why is this the case? The reason is because so many people are lost; lost politically, socially, economically, and spiritually. The loss that plagues our country is a multifaceted problem, but a big cause of that problem is the fact that both parties are susceptible to political manichaeism; the type of thinking in a zero-sum game, “we win and they lose.” For some, political parties become identities, and the motivating force of life is then reduced to Nietzsche’s will to power.
For the rest of us, politics leaves us exhausted. For instance, 2016 saw over 100 million eligible voters not voting in the general election. In 2020, 80 million eligible voters did not vote, or 33.4% of those eligible to vote, did not vote. These are huge swaths of the American electorate that honestly do not see the point in voting. But there is a point in voting. There is a point to having your voice heard. There is a step forward.
I believe that this step forward is another political party, one that presents compassionate unity amidst division, reasonable compromise over irrational chauvinism, and bold aims to cure the ills of our common home. This communitarian alternative is the American Solidarity Party (ASP). Many may not know the ASP, but its policies and methodology have been longed for by many. Their website details their proposals, which can be summarized in their motto: “Common Good, Common Ground, and Common Sense.”
The party does not necessarily fit into the typical left and right dichotomy that we are used to with the Republicans and Democrats as it takes the best from both parties. For example, the ASP affirms the sanctity of life; opposing both abortion and the death penalty.
The ASP affirms that family is the foundational unit of society, while also being committed to strengthening the social safety net and workers’ rights. The party promotes the principle of subsidiarity, while also advocating social justice and environmental protection.
As this principled and optimistic party sounds too good to be true, one might dismiss it as another third party that won’t win. While that may be true on the surface, I would not call it a failure. A system where a third of the electorate does not participate is a failure. A system where people cannot faithfully vote their conscience is a failure.
The ASP is a palatable meal for those who feel disenfranchised and presents itself as an option to vote your conscience truly. If everyone truly voted their conscience, then we would not have the dissatisfaction and low approvals that reign supreme in our current system. The sad fact is that we don’t live in that utopia; many people do not vote, and those that do vote, they hesitatingly vote for a sly sophist who they insist is the lesser of two evils, but that problem can be remedied.
Besides voting your conscience, the ASP can affect how other parties operate both in policy and rhetoric; this is because those other parties would have to adapt to win ASP voters over. If one doubles down on the sophistry and accepts the technocratic view of third parties — the view that they do more harm by taking away votes from the would-be winner — then one should not be surprised by the results.
You reap what you sow. The mustard seed that is the ASP has yet to grow, but it first needs the conditions to do so. The choice is yours: a recurrence of the brokenness or a vote for the future.