The American Solidarity Party Comes to U-M

A recent political event on campus provided students with an authentically conservative alternative to the two-party duopoly. Peter Sonski, the presidential nominee for the little-known American Solidarity Party (ASP), spoke to a surprisingly large number of U-M students at a November 7 event hosted by the American Revival Front.

In a campus political environment in which the only two viable options often seem to be either garden-variety fanatical progressivism or a radically consumerist, individualistic, hedonistic brand of “Barstool conservatism,” Sonski’s remarks offered a breath of fresh air.

Modeled after European-style Christian democratic parties, the ASP exists to promote the “common good, common ground, and common sense.” On the traditional American political spectrum, the ASP is perhaps best described as being economically left and socially right. Sonski laid out his party’s platform in an appealing, coherent manner.

Sonski was fully aware that winning the presidential election is a long shot for any third party, particularly one founded only in 2011. He remarked that “there’s two dominant parties and then a series of wannabes on the periphery.” Be that as it may, Sonski argued, the American people deserve more than to vote for “a lesser-of-two-evils candidate.”

During his speech, Sonski provided a substantive political vision that Americans of virtually all political persuasions should be able to find some common cause with.

Conservatives in particular would do well to seriously consider some of the ASP’s proposals. Sonski’s guiding principles and policy proposals did not reflect the American “conservatism” of yesteryear that seeks only to conserve liberalism in its latest iteration. Instead, the ASP supports a more traditional communitarian, muscular political outlook that is arguably more conducive to a flourishing, virtuous society.

Sonski addressed culture, education, the environment, foreign policy, health care, and more. The ASP is unapologetically pro-life, as it opposes abortion or euthanasia, but Sonski answered the common critique that pro-life Republicans are merely “pro-life until birth.

Speaking on the issue with compassion and empathy, reflective of the ASP’s recognition of the inherent dignity within all human beings, Sonski pointed out that his party supports wielding political power to provide vulnerable Americans with the basics they need to not only live, but thrive.

The ASP, as Sonski alluded to, encourages all levels of government to “meet the needs of vulnerable women and children” and promote a culture of life by, for instance, “funding crisis pregnancy centers and other organizations that provide prenatal care and maternal support.” Sonski did not mention it in his speech, but the ASP even “maintain[s] that pregnancy, childbirth, and neonatal care must be free at the point of care so that no family need worry about the expenses of bringing a child into the world.”

On a variety of issues, Sonski spoke of a welcome return to traditional political principles that American “conservatives” would do well to remember. It was refreshing to hear a presidential candidate, no matter how obscure, offer a vision that avoids simply settling for the social revolutions of five minutes ago but with lower marginal tax rates — yet a vision that is certainly not progressive either.

From reminding us of the centrality of the community and the traditional family and our duty to be good stewards of the environment, and of our obligations to consider the interests of labor as well as capital and to pursue noninterventionism abroad wherever possible, Sonski and the ASP are a necessary force in American politics.

Underpinning Sonski’s speech was an awareness that private power can sometimes be every bit as tyrannical as public power and that the state can be used as a tool to promote the common good rather than simply as an unfortunate necessity to maintain procedural norms.

If the ASP can continue growing and gain enough political traction — especially in battleground states such as Michigan — for the two-party duopoly to take notice, the future of American conservatism will look brighter.

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About Chris Coffey

Chris Coffey is editor in chief emeritus of the Michigan Review.