An early interview with then National Committee members David Frost and Kirk Morrison stated: “There is a growing movement of people who adhere to Catholic Social Teaching and, because of that, find that they cannot find a home with either of the two major political parties in the United States. Their answer has been to form a political party based on Christian democratic principles. The name they have chosen is American Solidarity Party. It is an idea in development for the present, but it has begun to have an online presence lately, attracting like-minded individuals from around the country.”
In the following four years, a few dedicated volunteers created a website, a rudimentary system to register members, a party platform, and an active Facebook discussion group to build a strategy on policy and investigate the possibility of starting electoral campaigns. With fewer than 200 members the group nonetheless attracted the attention of Father Dwight Longenecker. In his May 2016 blog article he pondered that “perhaps the decay of the two main parties is the best thing to happen to the political scene in the USA. Then something new and fresh could rise from the ashes.” Father Longenecker saw in the American Solidarity Party that new and refreshing approach that the country needed.
Dozens of new members signed up immediately and more followed in the coming weeks. The rising membership numbers, disquieting 2016 primary season, and several openings on the National Committee, led the longest term members to decide on holding an online convention. This first party convention allowed the membership to help shape the platform, and led to the nomination of Dr. Amir Azarvan as the presidential candidate for the American Solidarity Party in 2016. While the party was realistic about their actual chances, many believed that a Presidential bid would bring much needed attention and funds to the party, while simultaneously creating a base from which to grow state chapters. Leadership knew that these state chapters would be integral for the kinds of local and community level positions that would be necessary for growing the party in elections in 2018 and beyond.
When Dr. Azarvan had to step down, he was replaced by his running mate, Mike Maturen. Mike Maturen selected Juan Muñoz as his Vice-Presidential candidate and the two immediately began working with the Party to spread the word about the American Solidarity Party and its platform. The two still faced insurmountable obstacles: a late start, difficult ballot access laws, a nonexistent budget, and lack of name recognition. Still, it would begin the greatest period of growth in the party’s history.
During the 2016 election season the National Committee, a group of volunteers who worked primarily in their “free” time, worked diligently to advance the party in a variety of ways:
- State chapters were formed in the majority of states. Short-term, these state parties looked into ballot access laws, write-in guidelines, and helped to spread the word about the ASP. As the election season drew to a close these state chapters continued to work on local and state level organizational meetings, and began recruiting interested persons to run as American Solidarity Party candidates in local elections in 2018.
- The party legally incorporated in late 2016 and filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. This legal incorporation allowed larger state parties to become officially affiliated with the Party, opening the door for shared funding, and candidate support.
- The party also continued to grow at a phenomenal rate, gaining media attention in a variety of venues. David McPherson, in a First Things Magazine article, wrote “..voting for the ASP may be seen as a protest vote against a system that presents us with such poor choices. But it is not merely a protest vote, because if we are to work fully toward the kind of politics we need, we must first break from the political status quo.” This was followed by a profile by Catholic News Agency, an article in The American Conservative, and a humorous candidate profile on Cracked.com.
- Meanwhile, Mike Maturen continued to be interviewed on a wide variety of radio shows and podcasts, including the Mike Church Show, the Sunrise Morning Show, Breadbox Media, and The City of Man Podcast.
- The purpose behind the campaign was playing out. State chapters grew, new members volunteered time to become state leaders, to begin local branches, to found college campus groups, and policy discussion groups. Membership continued to rise, and people shared their growing interest in this new party, a center of the road answer to a increasingly acrimonious political environment.
The party joined the election season in the summer of 2016, staffed entirely by volunteers and without any kind of advertising or operational budget. Volunteers worked hard to comb through convoluted state regulations and laws regarding the write-in and ballot process. In many states, it was unfortunately too late to gain any ballot access, and some states don’t count any kind of write-ins. However, the Colorado state chapter was able to gain full ballot access, and Maturen-Muñoz were valid write-in candidates in twenty-five other states. Despite the fact that both Maturen and Muñoz retained their full time jobs throughout the campaign, the ticket made considerable strides in only a few short months.
It speaks to the efforts of our members, and the power of our principles that the US Election Atlas recognizes the Maturen-Muñoz campaign received 6,776 votes, placing 14th out of thirty-one total Presidential candidates who appeared on the ballot in at least one state. We out-performed all of the other candidates who were on the ballot in only one state, as we proved our ability to run a write-in campaign across the country. In states where the American Solidarity Party registered as a write-in candidate, and where these write-in votes were actually tallied, we always outperformed all other write-ins except Sanders, McMullin, Castle, and Stein. We even outperformed Castle in Rhode Island, despite having no organization there. The report below represents the total sum of tallied votes. Many states reported only the total number of write-ins, without tallying the results of individual candidates. This makes it difficult to get a true picture of the final count for the Maturen-Muñoz ticket.
The following are the statewide vote totals we have available:
- Texas: 1401
- California: 1316
- Colorado: 862
- Michigan: 517
- Maryland: 504
- New York: 458
- Ohio: 552
- Wisconsin: 284
- Minnesota: 244 (first place among registered write-in candidates)
- Kansas: 214
- Kentucky: 155
- Georgia: 151
- Rhode Island: 46
The experience gained from running a Presidential ticket has been invaluable. The knowledge gained about ballot access, and state electoral laws is already being applied towards the 2018 election season, as we look to run candidates for state and local elections.
State Chapters such as California are registering officially with their states, allowing American Solidarity Party members to register as official members on the voter rolls. Members participated in March for Life events across the country, proudly carrying ASP banners, and hanging out paperwork and information on our whole-life approach to politics.The 2017 Party Convention was a success, with members participating in policy discussions on our forum, voting by email, and then getting to know the newly-elected National Committee members better. Nearly every plank proposed by the Platform Committee received 80% approval or higher, displaying the broad unity among party members. With this new platform in hand, members began representing the party at several national events, including the Consistent Life Network’s 30th anniversary conference and Rehumanize International’s Life/Peace/Justice conference. It also began co-sponsoring Rehumanize International’s “Nukes Are Not Pro-Life” rallies in Washington DC.
On the electoral front, the ASP ran its first non-presidential campaign in the fall 2017 elections; Monica Sohler received 821 votes for New Jersey assembly in the 6th district. Early in 2018, ASP members once again participated in the March for Life in Washington DC. Mariane Bovee ran for Thiensville, Wisconsin village board, receiving 155 votes. In California, several ASP members ran for office in the June 2018 Top Two primary elections, including Brian Carroll for Congress in the 22nd district who received 1175 votes, and Desmond Silveira for governor, who enabled an advertisement for ASP to be placed in the California statewide voters’ guide as his candidate statement; Silveira received 4633 votes.
In the months following the 2018 elections, the American Solidarity party attracted media coverage from Crux, where Charles Camosy interviewed chair Skylar Covich
and The Week, where Matthew Walther profiled the party.
In 2019, the American Solidarity Party held a presidential nomination contest in which members selected a candidate online using Ranked Choice Voting; the candidates had engaged in a series of debates, podcast interviews and written interviews since early in the year. On September 9, it was announced that Brian Carroll had defeated Joe Schriner and Joshua Perkins. Carroll then selected Amar Patel as his running mate.
The 2019 convention was also the first where decisions were made by delegates, who were elected by party members in each of four regions. The September 2019 convention delegates adopted a completely rewritten platform. Starting in 2020, delegates also began electing the National Committee.
The June 2020 convention adopted a brief Statement of Principles for the party.
Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, Brian Carroll and Amar Patel achieved ballot access in 8 states, and registered write-in status in over 25 others. The campaign received more media attention than in 2016, of which much can be seen on our Media Room page.
As of January 20, 2021, the ticket reported over 40,000 votes. A full report is to follow soon.
In 2020, the party achieved significant media exposure, as well as recruiting several local elected officials and a Board of Advisors consisting of notable public intellectuals. You can read about all this on other pages of the web site which will be constantly updated.
In January 2021, the party recruited two candidates for state legislative special elections in April; Ben Schmitz in Wisconsin and Stephen Hollenberg in April.