A HOME FOR THE POLITICALLY HOMELESS? THE AMERICAN SOLIDARITY PARTY, CATHOLICS, AND THIRD PARTIES IN U.S. POLITICS
Keywords:American Solidarity Party, Christian democratic parties, U.S. politics, Catholics, third party politics, consistent life ethic
U.S. Catholics in recent decades have been given the choice between Republicans and Democrats, representing two parties whose platforms diverge significantly from Catholic social teaching (CST). The American Solidarity Party (ASP) was founded on the same principles as CST, particularly consistent respect for the dignity of human life, including safeguards and support for the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed. Thus, it offers U.S. Catholic voters, as well as many other constituencies, an alternative that can greatly reduce their cognitive dissonance regarding CST in the voting process. However, this reduction in cognitive dissonance is balanced by the low probability of immediate electoral success. 71 ASP supporters were interviewed at length to ascertain why they support the party, how they view the party’s internal dynamics, and what they hope to see the party achieve. The ASP attracts supporters committed to upholding human dignity. While members appreciate having finally a found a political home that respects their commitment, their characteristically principled stances often discord with other supporters’ stances. They have developed novel strategies, perhaps shaped by their Christian Democratic ideologies, to navigate their differences to form a united front as they strive to promote, in conventional and unconventional ways, greater protection for human dignity.
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