Why I’m Running – Raynard Phillips

For decades, there has been a cry for the creation of a third party that will represent the hopes and dreams of the average American. In the 1990s, there was a brief respite from the two-party duopoly when Ross Perot founded the Reform Party, which was able to both receive federal funding and win a significant race (the governorship of Minnesota), but like the fears of the Y2K bug, that effort eventually fizzled by the end of the century. While many parties which predate the founding of the Reform Party have tried to fill that void, none has been able to achieve the type of success that would truly make them viable contenders for the presidency or Congressional seats.

Personally, I believe the ASP can succeed; not just because I believe in the principles and platform, but because I believe that the ASP is a true-to-life grassroots movement that has support from the common man. To succeed, the ASP must learn from the mistakes of both our predecessors and our contemporaries in order to refine our strategy.

The ASP must strive to become a national community of local movements rather than a national organization that tries to win over locals like many parties are today. To this end, with the support of the ASP and my local team, I have decided to run for city council in my city of Inkster, Michigan. I originally planned to run for mayor, but due to my lack of experience I decided to make the change. This city of Inkster is a city that has been failed by both parties over the decades, and if action is not taken, it may be taken over with its local representatives stripped. Our platform, I believe, empowers people by building their character from within by our Christian principles and by acting together so that we can be sure that our God-given rights are secure. Using the ASP platform, Inkster can be the shining example of the ability of the people to reform and transform their communities, and, by extension, our nation.

The ASP is an answer to the prayer of many who cannot identify with either of the mainstream parties. I know, because I was one of those who saw through the flaws of the mainstream parties. In the year 2012, I was someone looking for a party that could express my Christian worldview for caring about the lives of both the unborn and post-born. Unfortunately, it seemed as though this was an impossible task, as the Democrats were committed to abortion and the malignant secularization of our great country; the Republicans, it seemed, cared little for the poor and marginalized, and only seemed interested in advancing the profits of the rich. While I searched agonizingly online for something different, scouring through the independent parties, my search came to a halt when I saw what at the time was called the Christian Democratic Party – USA; now called the American Solidarity Party. To say this was a relief would be an understatement.

With the discovery of the ASP, I could finally represent the values of my community—and, more importantly, my faith, which I have held dear to my heart since the age of 15. The ASP has empowered me to not compromise on what I believe, but rather to focus what I believe toward real achievable goals. I believe that this is the power of this movement: that it takes the power of faith and ideology, and puts it into real concrete action if one is willing to put in the work.

I grew up a young man in a poor neighborhood knowing how hard it is for many to escape the cycle of poverty. Today I am an IT Tech at a small but growing logistics firm, but I haven’t forgotten the struggle of many Americans to find a way to provide for their families. Therefore, I am running for city council in Inkster under the ASP banner: an uncommon political party dedicated to the common good of the people.

We Can All Run

Me? Run for office? This was my stunned reaction when asked to run for my local town council. In the mid 2000s, I had been attending some local council meetings where a redevelopment project that concerned me was being discussed.

I had a number of reasons NOT to run. I was not a politician. Certainly, the elected officials knew more than I did—didn’t you need to understand law to be in office? But I’d been good at getting the word out about the redevelopment. I had a team of volunteers who put flyers out on doorsteps informing residents of upcoming meetings. I spoke to people in town about the project, and asked what they thought about it, but I had no idea how politics worked.

However, I had a strong position on the issue, one I came to after thought and research, and I had been hoping “someone” would be a voice for those of us opposed to the project—that someone would run as an opposition candidate. When I was asked, I realized I could either be that someone, or do what many others did—just be another person waiting for someone.

So I ran. I ran as someone who knew little about HOW to run. What I knew was how to listen to people, how to speak to people, how to be a voice for their concerns. And isn’t that a major part of what politics should be? I found, in that run, that I knew far more than I had realized. I didn’t win that election, but I lost by a very small number of votes. And even in that loss, I brought attention to the redevelopment plan, which resulted in a lot more involvement by residents in the process. The redevelopment did not go through. So I lost—but we won. And the following election, our little “opposition” team ran another candidate, another person who was not a pro. We’d learned from my run. And this time, by just a few votes—we won.

I learned something—you don’t have to be a “pro” to run. You don’t have to be a pro to win. Fast forward 10 years. Disillusioned by the major parties, unable to compromise my views on pro-life issues (especially, though not limited to, abortion and euthanasia), I discovered the American Solidarity Party. I was looking for someone other than the two major-party candidates to vote for. I knew the Solidarity Party did not have a chance of winning the presidency. But I wanted, for once, the opportunity to vote for other than the lesser of two evils. I wanted to vote my conscience, and because Mike Maturen and Juan Muñoz were willing to put themselves out there to run in a “hopeless” race, I could do that. I read the party platform—I loved the party platform—and I voted.

Did Mike and Juan expect to win? No, but by running, they gave ME a voice, and I am very grateful for that. They also did another vitally important thing. They let many people know that there WAS a choice. They could vote for a party that was pro-life for the whole life– a party that valued the dignity of every human being. And this value led to pro-life positions on abortion, euthanasia, the environment, workers’ rights, etc. Did Mike and Juan know how to run for president? Did they understand all the filing requirements, the work involved for ballot access, and the ins and outs of national politics? Some, they did. Some, they and their team learned. But they also knew that even without the knowledge of professional politicians, they had to step forward.

Our party has grown in leaps and bounds since that “impossible” run. Did we win in 2016? I’d say we did. We are showing disillusioned members of both major parties that there is another way. Those who had given up on their party truly standing for the dignity of every human person, at every stage of development, in every condition, had a home, a choice, a voice. Since then we’ve run a number of candidates for office (in NJ and California), learning more along the way and getting the word out about our party. We have one party member who holds public office. And we have the ability now to run candidates who will not only put word out about the party, but who can win—and bring the life-affirming views of the party into the political sphere.

Do you believe in our platform? Do you really wish there were “someone” who would step up and run for office in your area, who was pro-life for the whole life? Maybe the someone is you. Maybe you don’t know enough about politics. Maybe you don’t stand a chance of winning the election—maybe your chances are as slim as a reality star becoming president. (I mean, that could never happen.) But put that foot forward, be a voice for the voiceless, offer a hand to the powerless, and you never know where it will lead. If you provide the option that Mike and Juan provided for many of us in 2016, no matter the vote count, we win.

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