The ASP’s party platform is strongly anti-abortion and supports care for pregnant mothers, as well as a system of universal healthcare. It opposes capital punishment, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and embryonic stem cell research.
“We're pro-life, but pro-life, obviously, is more than just abortion. It's, ‘Are we taking care of our elderly who are threatened by a virus?’ That's a pro-life question,” he said.
Advocating for greater racial equality also is a pro-life issue for the party, Carroll said. Victims of COVID-19 have been overwhelmingly poor, and disproportionately of minority races, such as African Americans and Native Americans.
Many minorities in the United States live in close quarters, do not have the freedom to work from home, rely on public transportation, and are more likely to have preexisting conditions, he said.
“All of those things make them more vulnerable, and that's a life issue,” he said.
“The American Solidarity Party looks at so many different things as being intertwined, and they all feed back into the question of life and making our communities more friendly to quality of life, encouraging families. All of those kinds of things are where our party is.”
Carroll said he suspects that the pandemic will lead people to the understanding that tying healthcare to employment is a “basic flaw.”
“A lot of people had put faith in their healthcare through their employer, and suddenly realized that they had misplaced their faith, because it was very easy to lose their jobs,” he said.
“And so from that point of view, I think this is going to make the country much more open to the kind of healthcare that we're looking for, where everybody gets covered.”
In addition, the principle of subsidiarity also applies to policing, he said. Police ought to come from the communities they serve, and not be seen as outside threats.
“We need to demilitarize the police and do everything we can to lower the tensions between police and the communities that they serve in,” Carroll said.
‘A specifically pro-life vote’
Even before the pandemic, turnout at ASP meetings across the country was low, but growing.
Though Carroll and his running mate, Amar Patel, are not sanguine about their chances of actually winning the presidency, their goals remain the same as when they first set out: to build up their party, and raise awareness that there is an alternative for people of faith who do not want to vote Republican or Democrat.
Carroll said he hopes the party will be able to field candidates for local offices across the country, and possibly even congressional candidates, in 2022.
Even if they don't win offices, Carroll said, their party can affect policy by influencing the national conversation or drawing attention to specific issues.
Carroll pointed to Ross Perot, who ran for president as an independent in the 1990s, while pushing for a balanced federal budget. Though Perot did not come close to winning, the major parties discussed a balanced budget for years after that, Carroll contended.
In Carroll’s mind, if enough pro-life Democrats switch to the ASP, then the Democratic Party may consider softening its position on abortion.
Also, he said, if enough Republicans who “don't like to see kids in cages at the border,” or who support a more universalized healthcare system, switch to ASP, the Republican Party might also begin to rethink their positions.
“My personal goal is for everyone, whether they love us, they hate us, or are completely indifferent and think we're a joke, at least will have heard of us by November 3, and that the people who want to vote their conscience have at least that opportunity,” Patel, a Catholic who serves as ASP’s Chairman, told CNA in March.
He said he suspects that many Christians and Catholics end up voting for a candidate who they believe will defend one specific aspect of Christian morality, rather than looking for “ideal candidates who will actually defend the Christian message in total.”
“They can actually put in ‘Brian Carroll’ if they want a write-in vote that is significant, is meaningful, and counts specifically FOR something, as opposed to against something, which I think a lot of people are ending up doing.”
Patel said he hears a lot about “wasted votes” when it comes to third parties. But he has a different view.
In states where a Republican or Democratic victory is all but assured, such as California, even if millions of voters switched to a third party, it would be unlikely to change the outcome of the race, he said. However, the “entire face of American politics would have changed,” because people would be talking about the third-party candidate who garnered millions of votes.
“If you're strongly pro-life and you vote for Trump in a state he's going to lose, THAT'S a throwaway vote, because not everyone who votes for Trump is pro-life,” Patel argued.
“But if you change your pro-life vote to Brian Carroll, that will be a specifically pro-life vote that will be counted as such,” he added.