Over at The Anxious Bench historian Chris Gehrz wonders why the United States has never had a strong Christian Democratic political party. As he notes, the closest thing to such a party is the newly formed American Solidarity Party (ASP). The ASP has a platform that is grounded in Catholic social teaching. It champions religious freedom, the right to life, civil rights, a local and sustainable economy, free and fair trade, amnesty and a path to citizenship for aliens living in the United States, a “single-payer” health care system, a social safety net (welfare, food stamps, unemployment insurance), election reform, funding for renewable sources of energy, stewardship of the environment, the dignity of work, the right of workers to organize, and a “vigorous and responsible” public sector as it relates to transportation, education, the arts, and entertainment.
While many Christians who are dissatisfied with Trump, Clinton, Stein, or Johnson might find the ASP platform appealing, at this point it looks as if the party is little more than a slick website. The ASP POTUS candidate is a Christian magician named Mike Maturen and the he is on the ballot in only one state.
Gerhz does a really nice job of situating the ASP in the larger history of Christian Democratic movements in Europe (including Angela Merkel’s Germany) and American third-parties.
Here is a taste:
But if we look for proto-Christian democrats in the history of American politics, we’re as likely to find them on the left (e.g., William Jennings Bryan, Jimmy Carter) as on the right. While most of the commentary so far on American Christian democracy has come from #NeverTrump conservatives, it’s not a stretch to envision religious progressives growing disgruntled with a Clinton administration that is slow to address racial and economic inequality and fast to project American military might around the world.
Finally, for all that I’ve already said about Catholicism, this new party could not be confined to that one Christian population. There are historical antecedents for this. In the Netherlands, for example, Christian democracy had both Catholic and Protestant roots, with the Reformed theologian-statesman Abraham Kuyper a key figure in the latter wing of the movement.
Read the rest here.