by Brian Talbot, Jr.
In my time as a local ASP leader, I have found that some of the most productive work for advancing the causes of our Travis County chapter of the American Solidarity Party has been in the context of partnering in solidarity with other groups. This first began when I reached out to the county chair of the local Libertarian Party affiliate in my area. We met and talked about issues facing our area and the growth of third parties in our state. While nothing concrete came from that meeting, I established a good relationship and spread awareness of the ASP.
My more recent efforts at coalition building have been effective in showing that we can take concrete action on the local level. In December, the Travis County ASP partnered with the Texans for Voter Choice coalition (TVC). TVC advocates for fair ballot access for third-party and independent candidates by changing the outdated ballot-access and petitioning laws that have remained unchanged since their adoption in 1903. During my first TVC meeting, I volunteered to work with a representative from the League of Independent Voters (LIV) to help establish a lobby day at the state capitol in Austin. Despite the fact that I had no lobbying experience, I was willing to learn and contribute what I could. As a result, TVC—in conjunction with the LIV—held a lobby day on March 5th. Through this experience, I gained new working relationships, as well as a new set of skills to use in my work with the ASP.
It has been important for me and our local ASP chapter to learn how to work with other groups toward a common goal, despite our differences on issues, just as our government should. With the Travis County ASP as a member of the TVC, I’ve continued to build our relationship with the Libertarian Party and started building relationships with the Green Party, Constitution Party, and America’s Party in Texas, as well as with other groups.
Being in a third party isn’t easy. Being a leader in a third party isn’t easy. But when we all work together, committed to a common cause, there’s nothing we can’t do. That’s solidarity right there. It’s going to both help the ASP be successful and help change American government for the better, all the way from city council to Capitol Hill.
Brian Talbot Jr. is the County Chair of the American Solidarity Party of Travis County, Texas. More information about the Travis County ASP can be found at asptc.wordpress.com.
3/10/2019: Since the writing of this article, the Texas Voter Choice Act entered the Texas House of Representatives as HB 4439.