Third Party Showdown: The Constitution Party vs. The Solidarity Party

With the nomination of Donald Trump, I have officially given up on the Republican Party. As the only other major party is a socialist-Satanic death-cult, I’ve been in the market for a suitable third party to promote in the place of the dying GOP. Thus far, on the recommendations of friends and family, as well as my own investigation, I’ve identified two candidates: The Constitution Party and the American Solidarity Party. Let’s stack them up and see how they do going head-to-head.

Mission Statements

Constitution Party:

            The mission of the Constitution Party is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through the election, at all levels of government, of Constitution Party candidates who will uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions.

American Solidarity Party:

Common good. Common ground. Common Sense.

           These are the three principles that guide the American Solidarity Party, the only active Christian Democratic party in the United States. We seek to promote the common good and the material and spiritual welfare of all people, thereby raising consciousness of the Christian worldview. We don’t seek to be a proselytizing party but, in a broken and increasingly callous, secularized world, we offer a positive vision bringing communities together.

Guided by these three principles, The American Solidarity Party stands for the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, responsibility for the environment, and hopes for the possibility of a peaceful world

Thoughts:

I am deeply suspicious of a political party identifying itself with Christianity, not because I don’t think Christianity belongs in the public sphere or that I don’t want a genuinely Christian political party, but because it seems to me to open the door to way, way too many possible abuses, first and foremost being the implication that the party’s principles are Christian principles and anyone who questions them is not really Christian.

Also, I find the Solidarity Party’s statement to be vague, generic, and unhelpful: “we seek to promote the common good and the material and spiritual welfare of the all people.” What does this mean? How does this differentiate them from any other political party?

The Constitution Party’s statement is straightforward and direct: “We seek to…uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights.” I feel like I’ve gotten a better sense of the party’s philosophy in that one paragraph than in the Solidarity Party’s three.

Winner: Constitution Party

Party Platform/Key Issues:

Right to Life

Constitution Party:

We affirm the God-given legal personhood of all human beings from fertilization to natural death, without exception.

Solidarity Party:

We support constitutional and legal measures that establish the Right to Life from conception until natural death.

Thoughts:

Basically, both parties oppose abortion in all circumstances (the Constitution Party makes this clear, the Solidarity Party implies it).

Beyond that, however, I find the Constitution Party’s position, at least as outlined on its website, more satisfying because they keep the focus of the issue where it needs to be: abortion, embryonic stem-cells, and government funding of the same. The Solidarity Party lumps it in with items on capital punishment, war, violent crime, and “social services for…vulnerable persons.” I found all this distracting and disheartening. Abortion, euthanasia, and ESC research are straightforward issues: either you support them or you don’t. They are clearly morally repulsive and cannot be permitted. But the others are complex and difficult ones involving a wealth of other concerns and tangled up with innumerable contributing factors that don’t really allow for the same kind of absolute stance. Men of good will can disagree about the best way to deal with them.

This is a problem I have with the pro-life movement: that it often lumps completely different issues like capital punishment, war, violent crime, and so on together with abortion under the heading of ‘culture of death.’ I think this makes it look as if it takes an absurdly simplistic view of the world, undermining its arguments against the unambiguously evil practices like abortion (it may be reasonable to oppose capital punishment, but trying to link it with abortion is absurd).

But that’s another issue. The point is, both are on the side of life, but the Constitution Party comes across more intelligent about it.

Winner: Constitution Party

Religious Liberty

Constitution Party:

We call upon all branches of government to cease their attacks on the religious liberties of the people and the states, regardless of the forum in which these liberties are exercised.

Solidarity Party:

We acknowledge that the Judeo-Christian worldview has played a positive role in the history and culture of the United States of America. We advocate for laws that allow people of all faiths to practice their religion without intimidation and deplore aggressive secularism that seeks to remove religion from the public sphere.

Thoughts:

Considering it’s the explicitly religious party of the two, I was surprised to find the SP a lot less aggressive in its defense of Religious Liberty than the CP. I also note that the SP “calls for laws” to defend religious liberty, while the CP points out that the Constitution doesn’t allow for any other kind of law. The ASP specifically mentions the Judeo-Christian worldview, but states rather toothlessly that it “has played a positive role in the history and culture of the United States of America.” The CP doesn’t mention the Judeo-Christian worldview specifically, but it does specify both that it is against the taxation of churches and that private organizations can hire and fire whoever they want.

Winner: Constitution Party

Family

Constitution Party:

The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has instituted. We are opposed to any judicial ruling or amending the U.S. Constitution or any state constitution re-defining marriage with any definition other than the Biblical standard.

American Solidarity Party:

We support the legal recognition of marriage as a union of one man to one woman for life.

Thoughts:

Again, they say the same thing, but the CP says it better.

Winner: Constitution Party.

Gun Rights

Constitution Party:

The Constitution Party upholds the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms. We oppose attempts to prohibit ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens, and stand against all laws which would require the registration of guns or ammunition.

Solidarity Party:

Not mentioned.

Thoughts:

That’s suspicious; if they valued the right to bear arms, they would have mentioned it. Thus we have a victory by forfeit.

Winner: Constitution Party

Environment

Constitution Party:

We wholeheartedly support realistic efforts to preserve the environment and reduce pollution – air, water, and land. We reject, however, the argument of the perceived threat of man-made global warming which has been refuted by a large number of scientists. The globalists are using the global warming threat to gain more control via worldwide sustainable development.

Solidarity Party:

We advocate a cap-and-dividend approach to the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Producers will bid for permits to emit a fixed amount of greenhouse gasses; revenue from the permits will be applied to ecological research and the Citizens’ Dividend.

Thoughts:

I have some concerns with the Constitution Party’s platform, such as calling for the repeal of the Endangered Species Act. I think they go a little too far in the direction of rolling back environmental policy. However the Solidarity Party simply embraces the extreme in the other direction. They call for the end of fracking (AKA the source of about the only growth the American economy has experienced in the past decade), the subsidizing of worthless alternatives like solar and wind, and, of course, swallow the climate change hysteria wholesale.

No competition on this one: one side advocates possibly irresponsible policies, the other supports gutting the US economy for the sake of a scientific fad.

Winner: Constitution Party

Drugs

Constitution Party:

The Constitution Party will uphold the right of states and localities to restrict access to drugs and to enforce such restrictions. We support legislation to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States from foreign sources. As a matter of self-defense, retaliatory policies including embargoes, sanctions, and tariffs, should be considered.

At the same time, we will take care to prevent violations of the Constitutional and civil rights of American citizens. Searches without probable cause and seizures without due process must be prohibited, and the presumption of innocence must be preserved.

Solidarity Party:

            We support the decriminalization (not the legalization) of recreational drugs. Funds currently expended on the “war on drugs” should be directed toward prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Thoughts:

The drug issue is a complicated one that I haven’t made up my own mind on. Though I think my ideas, such as they are, are closer to the Constitution Party: it’s up to the states what drugs are illegal and what penalties are incurred by their possession, but individual rights must be protected at the same time.

On the whole, I’m calling this one for the CP: I’m deeply skeptical of the effectiveness of government-funded prevention programs, so I think the CP policy seems like it would be more effective.

Winner: Constitution Party

Crime and Punishment

Constitution Party:

Crime, in most cases, is to be dealt with by state and local governments. To the degree that the federal government, in its legislation, judicial actions, regulations, and executive branch activities, interferes with the ability of the people in their communities to apprehend, judge, and penalize accused lawbreakers, it bears responsibility for the climate of crime, which has grown more destructive with each passing year.

Solidarity Party:

The ASP believes that preventing and punishing crime is an essential public service. We oppose the privatization of law-enforcement and penal institutions.

Thoughts:

Yet again, the Constitution Party’s platform is a lot more coherent than the Solidarity Party’s, whose crime platform is a mishmash of different statements rather than a clear and consistent set of principles. And, on the whole, I don’t care for a lot of those statements. The Solidarity Party calls for criminalization of pornography, reform of the laws related to prostitution, and “vigorous enforcement of human trafficking laws,” which are all good ideas, but they also call for the “civilian review boards at all levels of law enforcement,” which I think is a terrible idea (some civilian oversight needs to be in place, but cops don’t need to constantly be trying to explain their actions to people who have no law enforcement experience). They also support “ban the box” initiatives, which are meant to forbid employers from asking whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime (not only is that something that very clearly has a bearing on whether a person should be hired, but it shows a disturbing willingness on the part of the SP to stick their fingers into private business).

Meanwhile, the Constitution Party mostly sticks to the principle that, except in some cases, crime and punishment are the duties of the states, not the federal government. Not sure I would go as far as they do, but I like the notion of letting local jurisdictions handling their own affairs. I also really like their calls to remove “hate crime” legislation, which I always thought was an incredibly stupid and blatantly illegal measure.

Another no contest.

Winner: Constitution Party

Education

Constitution Party:

            All teaching is related to basic assumptions about God and man. Education as a whole, therefore, cannot be separated from religious faith. The law of our Creator assigns the authority and responsibility of educating children to their parents. Education should be free from all federal government subsidies, including vouchers, tax incentives, and loans, except with respect to veterans.

Solidarity Party:

The ASP believes that the responsibility for the education of children resides primarily in the family. Families should be free to home-school their children or send them to public or private schools.

Thoughts:

On the whole, the two parties are pretty similar, but, as usual, the CP is more specific and consistent: calling for the end of all federal involvement in education and the dismantling of the Department of Education. I’m definitely with the CP on this one: there’s zero authority in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights for the federal government to be involved in education.

However, I will say that I appreciate the SP’s call for ‘initiatives to improve education for virtue and citizenship,’ which I think are probably the most pressing educational needs in this country.

This one’s close, but again I have to give it to the one that knows how to state its principles.

Winner: Constitution Party

Healthcare

Constitution Party:

The Constitution Party opposes the governmentalization and bureaucratization of American medicine. Government regulation and subsidy constitutes a threat to both the quality and availability of patient-oriented health care and treatment. Hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers should be accountable to patients – not to politicians, insurance bureaucrats, or HMO Administrators.

Solidarity Party:

The ASP advocates the replacement of privately-funded health insurance with a decentralized ‘single-payer’ system.

Thoughts:

Decentralized or no, I can’t support a ‘single payer’ healthcare system. Honestly, this isn’t my field, so I don’t know how practical the CP’s platform is, but I don’t trust any kind of unified single payer system and I think les government interference in healthcare is always to be preferred at this point.

Winner: Constitution Party

Immigration

Constitution Party:

We affirm the integrity of the international borders of the United States and the Constitutional authority and duty of the federal government to guard and to protect those borders, including the regulation of the numbers and of the qualifications of immigrants into the country.

Solidarity Party:

The ASP calls for reform of immigration laws, including amnesty and a path to citizenship for aliens currently residing within our borders.

Thoughts:

Yeah, I’m with the CP on this one. National borders are vital to the survival of a nation, and unrestricted immigration, while it sounds charitable, really only ends up destroying the very things that attract immigrants in the first place. A nation has a right to its own sovereignty and to maintain its own national identity, and unrestricted immigration renders that impossible. Not to mention that, in a welfare state, such as we have, unrestricted immigration is a short route to national destruction.

Basically, we can either have the welfare state or open borders, but not both and preferably neither.

I don’t know what to do with the illegal immigrants already here, but my instinct is to go with the rule of law, difficult and harsh as it seems to be, and then use that experience as a motivator to keep our borders secure in the future so we don’t have to go through this mess again.

Winner: Constitution Party

Trade

Constitution Party:

We support a tariff based revenue system, as did the Founding Fathers, which was the policy of the United States during most of the nation’s history. In no event will the U.S. tariff on any foreign import be less than the difference between the foreign item’s cost of production and the cost of production of a similar item produced in the United States. The cost of production of a U.S. product shall include, but not be limited to, all compensation, including fringe benefits, paid to American workers, and environmental costs of doing business imposed on business by federal, state, and local governments.

Solidarity Party:

We maintain that international trade agreements should guarantee the freedom of all participants. We are opposed to regulations and loopholes that protect special interests at the expense of consumers. We are opposed to favorable trade status for countries in which workers are exploited, and to agreements that favor international corporations over local producers.

Thoughts:

Neither of the parties seems to me quite satisfactory on trade: the Solidarity Party again seems to think of trade as an opportunity to meddle with private enterprise and promote it’s uneven moral and environmental agenda. The Constitution Party, meanwhile, calls for a return to the tariff based system that was barely functional by the end of the 19th century and which, as I understand it, would be an absolute nightmare in the global economy of the 21st.

On the whole, I’m in favor of free trade and open competition. It forces the parties involved to grow and evolve with a changing world. England tried to maintain a economy directed solely to the maintenance of her own manufacturers, and she fell behind. America can’t do the same.

Winner: Solidarity Party

Welfare

Constitution Party:

Charity, and provision of welfare to those in need, is not a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government. Under no circumstances should the taxpayers of the United States be obligated, under penalty of law through forced taxation, to assume the cost of providing welfare for other citizens. Neither should taxpayers be indentured to subsidize welfare for persons who enter the United States illegally.

Solidarity Party:

            We oppose the sudden elimination or reduction of income supports such as welfare, food stamps, and unemployment insurance, when no other safety net is in place.

We call for the gradual replacement of needs-based welfare and assistance payments with a Citizens’ Dividend, funded by the collection of unearned income.

Thoughts:

I agree with the CP that welfare is not a constitutional responsibility of the government and that it is a disastrous, morally degrading system that needs to be replaced.

However, I’m concerned about how they plan to do that, as a sudden elimination of the system would be unthinkable, as the SP points out.

But I don’t know about the ‘Citizen’s Dividend’ of the Solidarity Party either; it seems to me that they’re admitting the principle of forced government ‘charity,’ which I don’t like.

This one’s close, but I trust the CP’s principles more, even if I’m a little concerned with how they intend to carry them out.

Winner: Constitution Party

Economy/Taxes

Constitution Party:

We propose legislation to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, and will veto any authorization, appropriation, or continuing resolution which contains any funding whatsoever for that illicit and unconstitutional agency. We are opposed to the flat-rate tax, national sales tax, and value added tax proposals that are being promoted as an improvement to the current tax system. The Sixteenth Amendment does not provide authority for an un-apportioned direct tax.

            It is our intention to replace, with a tariff based revenue system supplemented by excise taxes, the current tax system of the U.S. government (including income taxes, payroll taxes, and estate taxes.)

Solidarity Party:

            The ASP believes that political economy (economics) is a branch of political ethics. We reject models of economic behavior based on greed and naked self-interest.

-To build an economy that is fair, transparent, and democratic, we support models of production and distribution that are local, responsible, and sustainable.

-We support the creation of family-owned businesses and worker cooperatives. We oppose regulations designed to inhibit competition from smaller firms.

-We advocate a tax shift from earned income (wages and interest) to unearned income (economic rent). We propose to shift the burden of property taxes from buildings and improvements to ground rents.

Thoughts:

Again, I don’t particularly care for either of these. The CP returns to its ridiculous tariff policy because, hey, that worked in the eighteenth century; no reason it can’t work now! Meanwhile, the SP rejects “models of economic behavior based on greed and naked self-interest,” which sounds to me like wild work. Has there ever been a functional economic system that wasn’t based on self-interest? And what kind of system do they have in mind? Distributism, with all respect to Mr. Chesterton, isn’t a real economic system: it’s vague smoke blown by someone who didn’t like the current system, but didn’t have the slightest idea how or why it worked the way it did.

On the other hand, the CP also calls for a return to the gold standard, which I like. I don’t trust a system built entirely on air. They also call for an end of wage and price controls (no more of the hated minimum wage), which is good.

Here we have the problem of the SP being too vague to be taken seriously and the CP being precise, but wrong. Though I don’t especially like it, I’m going to have to go with the Solidarity Party here. There’s a possibility they might do something right, while the CP, though parts of its policy are appealing, is just plain wrong in its main strategy.

Winner: Solidarity Party

National Defense

Constitution Party:

It is a primary obligation of the federal government to provide for the common defense, and to be vigilant regarding potential threats, prospective capabilities, and perceived intentions of potential enemies.

Solidarity Party:

Doesn’t specify.

Thoughts:

This isn’t encouraging. The SP talks about its foreign policy, but not about its policy regarding the military itself. The CP specifically rejects the idea of disarmament or the dismantling of the US defense structure, calls for fiscal responsibility and mission focus in funding the military, and condemns the ‘feminization’ of the military. The best we can say for the SP is that is opposes female conscription and the use of torture. So, we have another forfeit.

Winner: Constitution Party

Terrorism

Constitution Party:

America is engaged in an undeclared war with an ill-defined enemy (terrorism), a war which threatens to be never ending, and which is being used to vastly expand government power, particularly that of the executive branch, at the expense of the individual liberties of the American people.

Solidarity Party:

The ASP believes that a less aggressive foreign policy will reduce the threat of terrorism within our borders. In the short term, we call for a review of the effectiveness of centralized and specialized anti-terrorist agencies, such as the TSA.

Thoughts:

Groan

I agree with the CP that the War on Terror is being mishandled and used to expand the power of the federal government unforgivably. However, the fact that this apparently their primary take on the subject is ridiculous. Elsewhere they announce their opposition to America’s involvement in the Middle East, making me wonder just what they intend to do about the threat of terrorism, especially now that we have an actual organized national power on our hand in the form of ISIS.

The SP isn’t any better. They believe that “a less aggressive foreign policy will reduce the threat of terrorism within our borders.” So, if we back down, the bullies won’t hurt us. Has that ever been effective? People like this are predators: they see a lack of aggression as weakness and weakness as an invitation to attack.

So, on one side we have “The rest of the world can go to Hell: it doesn’t affect us” and on the other we have “If we’re just nice to them they’ll leave us alone.”

Winner: None. You are both equally worthless.

Foreign Policy

Constitution Party:

Since World War II, the United States has increasingly played the undesirable role of an international policeman. Through our involvements abroad our country is being changed from a republic to a world empire in which our freedoms are being sacrificed on an altar of international involvement. The United States is now committed by treaty to defend foreign nations in all parts of the world, and by agreements other than treaties to defend more. Therefore, we call upon the President, and Congress, to immediately commence a systematic withdrawal from these treaties and agreements, each of which holds the potential to plunge America into war in some far-flung corner of the earth.  NATO, for instance, serves no defensive purpose for the United States, and this country should withdraw from it.

Solidarity Party:

We call for an end to unilateral military intervention in foreign countries and the closing of US military bases abroad, where these are not required to protect diplomatic missions or to meet explicit treaty obligations.

Thoughts:

Again, groan.

Now me, I’m something of an imperialist. I believe that the world is at it’s most secure and reaches its closest approximation of world peace only when there is a dominant world power enforcing order across a wide area and which has a powerful influence over other nations (see Rome, Britain). I also believe that the world is such today that there will be such a power, and the only question is who it will be. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the filling of power vacuums tends to be very destructive.

Basically, I don’t agree with either of them particularly. I think that if we abdicate our position of world power, we’ll see either Russia or China step in to take it, and no one’s going to like that. I also think that ISIS is the natural result of the retreat of the West from world affairs: the barbaric cultures that were suppressed or quieted by European dominance claw their way out again, only this time with the ability to strike all over the globe.

Like it or not, either someone will play world cop, or someone else will play world robber.

To make matters worse, the Constitution Party doesn’t seem to realize that Europe isn’t the center of the world anymore, or that isolationism isn’t an option and hasn’t been since the dawn of the twentieth century. At the same time I don’t trust the Solidarity Party at all to actually stand up and fight if it comes to it (see the terrorism section above).

In short, I don’t like either foreign policy, but I’d trust the CP in a crisis more than I trust the SP.

Winner: None.

Least Bad Option: Constitution Party

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Both parties advocate personal morality and call for legal restrictions on pornography and sex-related businesses. Both claim to call for a reduction of federal power, though the SP seems kind of inconsistent on that and more concerned with pushing its moral agenda without concern for whether it clashes with the principle of limited government, while the CP takes care to justify its moral agenda with its limited government principles. Point to the Constitution Party.

Both call for election reform. The CP quixotically calls for the end of the ‘party system,’ as if anything the government could do could stop the organization of parties. The SP claims it “opposes unduly restrictive voter registration laws.” I’m not sure what they mean by that, it smells suspicious to me. Not sure which I prefer here.

The SP “Opposes union-busting laws” without any distinction between private and public sector unions, while the CP, as far as I could find, didn’t mention labor at all: presumably, they consider that a matter for the states. Since the SP supports ‘unions’ as such without qualification, I’m assuming they favor public sector unions as well. Point to the Constitution Party.

The Constitution Party declares its support for free enterprise. The Solidarity Party favors free trade, but from its support for free enterprise seems inconsistent (again): they support the creation of small businesses and oppose restrictive regulations, but support other regulations to make a more fair and equal field. Point to the Constitution Party.

The SP opposes the privation of Social Security; the CP calls for the gradual phasing out of the system and replacing it with an opportunity to choose between a private retirement fund or a pension program. I’m with the CP here: point to the Constitution Party.

Summary

Neither party is exactly what I’d want to vote for. On the major issues of foreign policy and the economy, I find them both very weak. Whichever one I voted for, I would be counting on the opposition to rein them in on those issues.

Both claim to be in favor of reducing the federal government in favor of local authority. That’s good. Both are on the right side of the major moral issues of abortion, same-sex ‘marriage,’ religious freedom, and personal virtue. Both call for electoral reform. So far, they are both good parties.

However, I find the Constitution Party has a much more coherent, consistent, and clear platform. It couches each of its positions in its basic principles and lays them out in a concise, specific, and easy-to-understand manner. It bases itself in religious and traditional principles and applies them to individual issues in a consistent fashion. The Solidarity Party, on the other hand, has a vague, inconsistent platform that claims to value freedom, local authority, and tradition, but which includes many authoritarian, intrusive, and untested policies, including the embrace of the global warming myth, single-payer healthcare, and policies meant to create ‘economic fairness.’

I feel reasonably confident that, if the Constitution Party came to power, I could trust it to pretty much do what it said it would. I wouldn’t trust the Solidarity Party on anything but strictly moral policies, and not always even then. Moreover, in terms of debate, the CP is solid: it argues succinctly from real principles. I think the Constitution Party could actually convince people to support it. I don’t think the Solidarity Party could: it’s too inconsistent and too much what I would call a point-by-point party. That is, it feels like the party leaders decided their position on each issue individually rather than drawing their conclusions from a unified set of principles to make a coherent whole.

In short, the Constitution Party, even when it’s wrong, stands by its principles, and they are, for the most part, good, or at least consistent principles. The Solidarity Party seems to apply its principles only in certain cases and certain times. On moral issues it is sound. On everything else, it’s a mess.

And the Vote Goes To: The Constitution Party.

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