If government ever reached the degree where it was extremely evil, could we Catholics make a political party?
Catholics could make a political party in the US any time they wanted to. In the past, religiously affiliated parties have not be terribly successful in the US party system. And any new party faces a difficult time breaking into elections let alone winning them.
The US has a de facto two party system. Election laws surrounding plurality securing the win, the “winner take all” system including the Electoral College, and the state level election laws that make getting on the ballot outside of the two dominant parties very difficult all build upon each other to keep the two party system in place.
Nothing stopping anyone who wants to do this in the US or any other country. But bear in mind that in the US only 18% of people are Catholic, and only about a quarter of them go to Mass on any given Sunday. You can’t take it for granted that all of them agree with the church’s position on any given issue.
[Edit: reply assumes OP is in the U.S., since no location is listed]
The American Solidarity Party is making an attempt to be that party. It’s not exclusively Catholic, but I think the majority of the active people are and the party embodies Church teaching. They organized during this last election and made some headway. I’m following my local state party to see how they develop.
Bernie Sanders is the longest serving Independent Candidate at the national level - or one of them. First elected to congress in 1991 and in the senate since 2007 …
Think about that fact. He is an Independent. There is an Independent Party in every state I believe. There are Independents elected to City, County and State Offices as well as Federal Offices.
In spite of all that electoral success - where do these Independents align themselves in order to get legislation passed? … It is almost exclusively with the Democrats.
When Bernie Sanders wanted to run for President of the United States did he run as the candidate for the Independent Party? Independents have a ground base in every state. Bernie Sanders had name recognition, organization, contacts and a successful political career … in general and as an Independent in particular … since he has 100% caucused with the Democrats through the years - he also had much Democratic support he cound have drawn from …
So - why run as a Democrat?
Because Bernie Sanders knows that a third party candidate cannot win. He knows that Independents are really an arm of the Democratic Party - cover for those squeamish about aligning themselves overtly with the Democrat Party … but they really are for most of what the Democratic agenda offers … Big and Bigger government, more regulation in every aspect of our lives and commerce …
So - could Catholics form a Party? - Yes
Would it be successful? - Probably not … anti-Catholicism is real in America - it has been from the founding and that is just the beginning … but would underlay all of the attacks … if you think people do not want Sharia Law in America - wait until they think the Pope would be in charge :eek:
The best bet is to work on the policies that become the Party Platform … that is how the Republican Party Platform has stayed pro-Life and pro-Family … and the failure of the Democratic Party to be in any way pro-Life or pro-Family …any Democrat with National aspirations has to give up the pro-Life stance they may have for local office - ir their careers are over … Al Gore, Tim Kaine are just two examples - both began their careers pro-Life and both abandoned it … in the Democratic Party - pro-Life Catholics who morphed to pro-Abortion are legion … and why I stopped backing pro-Life Democrats in state a local elections a few years ago …
Like the pro-Life Democrats group - I used to support - they want to be pro-Life but the party gets their anti-life vote support eventually and their numbers decline - their influence is no where to be found on the party’s policies or platform … it truly is sad how Planned Parenthood and NARAL along with George Soros controls them …
The best bet for a new party is the splintering of the Dem or Rep party and the time and effort for that splinter to dominate … that is how it has happened in the past and will in the future - whether the party ‘name’ changes or not … in many ways that is what has been happening to the Republicans in the last few years … this year the republican establishment lost along with the Democrats and George Soros
COULD Catholics form a political party? Of course. Anyone can form a political party.
SHOULD Catholics form a political party? Short answer, IMO, is “No.” The long answer is “Noooooooo.” The Darth Vader answer is “NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”
The problem is that mixing politics and religion is not a good idea. Look at the Moral Majority movement, which has been margainalized as “single-issue” Evangelicals and not taken seriously. There are probably pockets of the Deep South who believe that if a Catholic Political party were to take power, we’d all impose the will of the Pope over the United States.
And, even as large as Catholicism is (69,470,686 self-identified or registered Catholics in the US as of 2015), that’s still a small fraction of the 300,000,000+ citizens of the United States. To explicitly limit ourselves to a fraction of the population like that is not a recipe for political success. Just going by the numbers: 126,000,000 voted for the top two candidates for President, with an near-statistically even split between Clinton and Trump, 64 million to 62 million. This was with a 58% turnout. For a Catholic party to have a chance of success with those kinds of numbers, you would have to ensure that:
a) you have as close as possible to 100% turnout for Catholic voters and;
b) that all Catholic voters would vote in sympathy with the platform of a Catholic party and;
c) that other parties, especially the Republican and Democratic parties, cannot muster more votes.
All three of these are such long shots as to be nearly impossible. No group has seen 100% turnout ever in US history that I can recall, and the Catholic electorate is notoriously fractured, with a not insignificant number of Catholics voting for pro-choice Democrats even over the warning of bishops. And let’s face it, the two elephants (OK, the elephant and the donkey) in the room are the Republican and Democratic Parties. There has been no serious contender against these two parties in roughly a century since Teddy Roosevelt ran as a candidate for the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, and no serious contender seems to be looming on the horizon, the sturm and drang given to the Libertarian and Green parties notwithstanding.
But this pales in comparison to the question: Would American Catholics in the 21st Century even be successful at forming a unified, coherent Catholic political party? It would be difficult, nigh-on impossible. The faith is fractured. We can’t even seemingly agree on church discipline or even dogma at this point in history, how would we craft a coherent policy for this country?
Yes, in the last election, I voted for the American Solidarity Party’s candidate for President because I couldn’t stand either Clinton or Trump. It didn’t make much difference to the country, but it felt pretty righteous.
At least you had that option. The only four options we had on the ballot here in the State of Disrepai–I mean State of California were:
Donald J. Trump
Hillary Rodham Clinton
I don’t think the American Solidarity Party was even a valid write-in option (of course, they weren’t exactly offering those lists out to people…)
Same four choices on the Massachusetts ballot. I wrote in my choice. Allowed but probably not counted. :shrug:
Here’s a spreadsheet that has all of the presidential results, with the American Solidarity Party’s results included and highlighted in yellow.
Colorado was the only state where they were listed on the ballot.
In 25 states (including California - 1,316 votes), they qualified to be an “official” write-in option, which means that the write-in votes get specifically tallied and reported.
In the remaining 24 states (including Massachusetts), any write-in votes for them just got tabulated under a generic write-in category (the same thing that happens if you write in Mickey Mouse or your own name).
Ultimately, their goal was not to win (obviously) but to raise awareness to allow them to get some momentum to make headway in 2018 with local/state candidates and whatnot. The focus this time around was really to get state parties up and running, and having a presidential candidate with its attendant media coverage helps do that.
Do you think that that hasn’t already happened?
Yep … and you are ready to wait more than a half a century to maybe get a Presidential contender … :rolleyes: we are talking almost 50 years for the Independent party …
The Independent Party was started in the late 1960’s … they have successfully had many candidates elected to office - at every level -City, County, State and Nationally … including the longest serving nationally elected Independent - Bernie Sanders …
I am assuming you did not read my post - but with over 25 years in the Congress and the Senate - as an Independent … with a ground game and party presence in all 50 states - party recognition, name recognition and legislative record … Bernie Sanders did not run for President as an Independent Candidate … there are many reasons he did not … and your American Solidarity Party does not have a chance of getting a real presidential contender any where close to the next few presidential elections … its a pipe dream :shrug:
YADA, my post wasn’t really aimed at you, it was aimed at the two people who expressed some interest in voting third party.
In 1998, I heard all the same arguments (a third party can never win; it’s a pipe dream; why are you wasting your vote on a non-Democrat/Republican?). And yet, Jesse Ventura became governor of my state. So I know that, when enough people see through the two-party curtain and vote for who they want, rather than against who they fear, it is possible. Unlikely, sure, but I’ve lived it.
BTW, can you please provide some links to this national Independent Party you speak of? I have always understood that Sanders is simply an unaffiliated independent (lower case) who caucuses with the Democrats. When I search for it, I am coming up with variations of “Independent Party” that seem quite right-wing and surely not Sanders-connected. Here in Minnesota, which is very fertile ground for third parties, we’ve never had an “Independent Party” that I am aware (our Independence Party is different and was Ventrua’s vehicle, as well as Perot’s under the Reform Party banner).
So Jesse was not an Independent as in Independent Party either or are you saying he was? I thought he was a member of the State Independent Party … but I am not from your state … I admit they can have success at local and state levels - but the ground game has to be laid in all fifty states with successes before being able to launch a national Presidential Candidate with any real chance of Electoral College success …
I guess I have kind of known there are Independents and Independent Parties - how they all are interconnected – or not - seems complicated. Thus since the news reports always claim Sanders is the longest serving Independent - I assumed it meant affiliated with the Independent Party … but I am not from Vermont either …
So you may be correct that as an Independent - Sanders is unaffiliated with any party… Which just says he likes to say he is independent except he votes for all things Democratic … and does not have to explain any declared party platform policy before election nor claim responsibility for the Democratic Platform either - since he isn’t one … not particularly honest IMHO -
I don’t follow third parties - my state has a plethora of them …so I don’t have any information in any detail on any of them.
I have watched many presidential elections in my life … but after being young and naive - My observation and experience is that 3rd parties are not how to make policy changes IMHO - Which just proves my case - if Sanders isn’t from the Independent Party - the Independent Party is just like the other 3rd parties - they have even less success in their 50 years of experience then I credited them with.
The plethora of “other” parties [its always seemed to me like the Protestant Reformation - they break away from the the two major parties and the fracturing never ends … Communist, Greens, Independent Party, American Independent Party, Libertarian, Constitution, etc] seems pointless, Creating a new one just dilutes the process even more …
I still believe that the best way to make change is to get involved - early and consistently - to set the party direction … not that your method wont work … but unless you have a real movement, a deep pocket to finance the endeavor and 50 years … your 3rd party candidate will not ever reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
I’m thinking it would be pretty difficult, maybe impossible to do, regardless of the motivation.
Here is a link to an analysis of the voting by “religious affiliation” in the last five aUS presidential elections that I found quite interesting.
It’s confusing. The party in MN was called the Independence Party when Jesse joined the party (before he ran for governor). It was a state-only party - not affiliated with any other parties in other states. When Perot was ramping up his Reform Party nationally, we joined that, so Perot didn’t need to start one grass roots-style in MN. So from 1998-2002, Ventura was the Reform Party governor of Minnesota. Later, when Perot’s movement faded away, we left the Reform Party and returned to being a state-only Independence Party - not affiliated with any larger nationwide party. In MN, the Independence Party has no relation to being ‘independent’, just like being a Democrat doesn’t mean you’re democratic It’s just the name of the third party, like the Constitution Party, Green Party, or Libertarian Party.
Yes, that was the irony of your position to me. You were arguing against the effectiveness of third parties while giving them far too much credit for success
IMO the main reason third parties can’t get traction and be effective is because Democrats and Republicans collude to keep them out. The two major parties fight like cats and dogs when it’s only them, but as soon as any third party shows a whiff of competitiveness, they will band together like blood brothers to do anything to keep someone from taking them out of power. In the existing two-party paradigm, they at least know that have about a 50% chance of gaining power and will be in power about 50% of the time.
As someone who was active in a third party (the Reform/Independence Party) for 10+ years, it drives me nuts to see how the two major parties game the system. But, the dirty reasons for it don’t change the reality that you’re right - it’s very difficult for them to achieve success on a great enough level to make a difference. Which is honestly why I don’t waste time being politically active anymore (aside from voting). My youthful idealism has been beaten out of me
Those who believe that voting third-party is a futile gesture should read this contrary opinion, a rather long essay but well worth reading:
The Lesser of Two Evils, by Leonard E. Read (1963)
The author does not see a “third party” as a panacea. Rather he proposes simply that we should not vote for “any candidate [or party?] whose position on issues depends solely on what he thinks will have most voter appeal, [who] ignores the dictates of his higher conscience, trims his personal idea of what is morally right, tailors his stand to the popular fancy. Integrity, the accurate reflection in word and deed of that which is thought to be morally right, is sacrificed to expediency.”
There would not be such parties and candidates, were it not for voters who settle for the lesser of two evils.
The Solidarity Party seems to me to closely follow Catholic teaching.