People are looking for options this year. The major parties have both nominated candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings in history. We’ve given quite a bit of space to Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, and even Evan McMullen—the Republican without a party, who is, basically, the NeverTrump candidate. But there are other options. Let’s look at the fifth largest party.
Darrell Castle could be on 35 state ballots and may be the only social conservative running.
The fifth-largest national political party has received little press coverage this year, but its presidential candidate says he’s seen a gush of new Constitution Party support as social conservatives shudder at the thought of voting for GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Darrell Castle expects to compete against Trump on most state ballots and aims to take votes primarily from Republicans. He says it would not matter “one iota” if his candidacy has a spoiler effect, as the Bible prohibits picking the lesser of two evils.
“People say, ‘Well I have to vote for the lesser of two evils because if I don’t Mrs. Clinton may get elected,’” he says. “But I speak to a lot of Christians, and I tell them as a Christian you cannot do that if you have some regard for scripture because Romans 3:8 says you’re prohibited from trying to achieve a good result by doing evil.”
It’s ironic that a party called “The Constitution Party” focuses, instead, on the Bible. In the recent battle between Donald Trump and the Khan Family, Trump’s people charged that Khizr Khan put the Koran above the Constitution, yet, isn’t Castle doing the same thing—putting the Bible above the Constitution?
The Tennessee lawyer strongly opposes abortion and says he doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as a same-sex marriage. He freely makes head-turning statements questioning the sincerity of Trump’s religious beliefs.
Castle is making a direct pitch for former supporters of Ted Cruz.
He says he’s had a recent boost from conservatives inspired by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump last month at the Republican National Convention. . .
“I have gotten a great deal of support from Ted Cruz people. They agree with what he did at the convention and so they’re voting their conscience – for me,” he says. “Certainly not all Cruz supporters, but a lot of them. This is the seventh presidential election cycle this party has been through and I’ve been here for all of them, and we’re getting more response and more support than ever before. And the primary reason is people outside the party are supporting us. They know about us and are coming to us because of social media.”. . .
One of the largest potential pools of support for Castle is religious voters, who the candidate says are uneasy about Trump’s three marriages and varied political positions over the years.
“I’m a Christian and [Trump] sometimes says that he is. But he doesn’t seem to know what it means, and it disturbs me given his background and his views that Christian people would line up and support him. It’s hard for me to see that. I could point to many lines of scripture that are supported to guide the lives of Christians that say you shouldn’t do that,” he says. “People on my end of the political spectrum look at him see him as a man they don’t admire and cannot follow.”. . .
Still, Castle says he’s been picking up support not only from Cruz supporters but from anti-abortions backers of Austin Petersen, runner-up for the Libertarian nomination. Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian icon who twice sought the GOP nomination, backed the Constitution Party ticket in 2008, when Castle was the vice presidential candidate, and he hopes for another endorsement, though he says Cruz’s convention demeanor has been a particular boon. . .
Though he’s yet to get much attention, Castle’s confident of packing a punch in November.
“It’s an internet movement, frankly. We’re having tremendous activity,” he says. “And there are states out there where Ted Cruz got a lot of votes.”
Although his main pitch is religious, Castle is also for small government, praising the Confederacy for rejecting the federal government in the Civil War.
“Government’s been continually expanding for about 160 years now. The last time anyone tried to limit it was 1860 and it didn’t work out so well and nobody has tried it since,” he says.
Castle clarifies upon prompting that the reference to 1860 – the year South Carolina became the first slave state to secede from the United States – was indeed a reference to the Civil War.
“I’m being somewhat sarcastic, but in reality the Civil War and the things that led up to it was an attempt by the South to break away from, to limit federal power. And there hasn’t been much of that since then – there’s been a continual expansion,” he says.
To hear “on the ballot in 35 states” is not as impressive as looking at the map:
Open and equal access to the ballot is the political rights issue of 21st Century America. Without all political ideologies having a place in the free marketplace of ideas, on an equal footing with the top two in power, life is like an ice cream shop that only serves two flavors – customers grow weary and no longer buy. America flourishes when its citizens have real choices with which they identify philosophically. America’s representative system of constitutional governance is doomed to fail if voters continue to be offered only vanilla and chocolate when they what they really want is mint chocolate chip or a hot fudge sundae.