The 2016 election has left many people with a serious dilemma. Voting is our civic duty and ought to be done, but both major party candidates leave something to be desired particularly from a Christian worldview. Responses to this dilemma have generally fallen into one of two categories.
Some people are deciding to vote for the lesser of two evils. At least one candidate is not as bad as the other candidate, so even if the situation not ideal, at least they have not voted for the worse candidate.
Other people hold that they do not want to vote for the lesser of two evils, so they are now looking for a candidate that they are able to back with a clean conscience.
The American Solidarity Party and presidential nominee Mike Maturen are gaining support from the latter. Their platform is based on three simple concepts: common good, common ground and common sense. Maturen holds a Masters of Divinity from the Minnesota Graduate School of Theology, and he is representing a movement that seeks to challenge the two-party system and provide a voice for a different perspective in the marketplace of ideas.
Thank you Mike Maturen for joining me on Entering the Public Square!
ZS: What initially brought you to the American Solidarity Party, and when did that conversion if you will take place?
MM: I have been questioning some of my political positions for some time now, especially after re-examining Catholic Social Teaching and the principle of being WHOLE life...not just anti-abortion. But, it was the general nastiness of the current Presidential election cycle that really was the catalyst for me to make the jump. The American Solidarity Party beautifully embodies the concepts of Catholic Social Teaching...which really aren't just Catholic...they are human.
ZS: Your party has a very diverse platform. I don't know any other party that advocates for the conservative pro-life position while embracing liberal single-payer healthcare. In our era of polarization, do you find people resistant to a platform that doesn't fit neatly into either of the stereotypical parties?
MM: There will always be resistance, partially just from having been conditioned to think compartmentally. If you really talk to folks, though, rarely are they strictly left or strictly right. Most of America is either Center-Right or Center-Left, and both of those sides can work side by side. I view American politics as a bowling alley. The two major parties have moved so far to the extremes that they are in the gutters. The ASP remains on the alley.
ZS: I understand this is a Christian Democratic Party. Some people might cry foul and say that this violates separation of church and state. Tell me why that is wrong.
MM: The Party is not a religious institution. To be sure, the concepts and ideas represent Christian thought, but anyone is welcome. Our membership is diverse, made up of Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox, non-Christian and non-believers. Folks of all stripes can generally agree that the ideas and platform of the American Solidarity Party is for the common good...of all people. Our concepts of solidarity, subsidiarity and distributism provide for the good of all, not just those who have a certain creed, or none at all.
ZS: This is clearly a party that tries to apply Christian values in all areas of life to create something that is better for everyone, not just Christians. Why do you think that this type of worldview creates better results than for example an aggressively secular worldview?
MM: I believe the Christian worldview takes into account the good of all people. Secularism tends to lean toward individualism, which can lead to selfish self-interest, rather than the common good.
ZS: Tell me a little bit more about a ballot access in the upcoming election. Have you been able to get your name on any ballots, or will this be a purely write in effort?
MM: Our state chapter leaders are currently working very hard to get us on the ballot in as many states as possible. Unfortunately, the two-party system makes it very difficult for third parties, especially smaller ones, to get their candidates printed on the ballot. We hope to be on the ballot in a handful of states [ZS: Since this interview, the ASP made it on the ballot in Colorado]. We will also work to be a registered write-in on as many of the other states as possible. There are a few states that do not allow write-in votes at all.
ZS: What do you think is the future of the American Solidarity Party? Where do you go after this election?
MM: I believe the American Solidarity Party has a bright future. Our rapid growth indicates to me that Americans are searching for an alternative to the two major parties. Politics has become an ugly business. I hope to help change that. We intend to engage in civil political discourse, rather than name-calling or the politics of personal destruction. This Presidential election has gotten us noticed. Now, our job is to grow our party at the state and local levels and to find candidates to run for office at all levels of government. I personally have pledged to try to work with elected officials of all parties who may be sympathetic to some of our positions to introduce legislation that will move this country closer to the ideals of our party.