For Third-Party Christians, Some Things Are More Important Than Winning


Meet the presidential candidates who say they are called to the bottom of the ballot.

Brian Carroll doesn’t seem like someone who’s running for president. He has no staff, hasn’t raised any money, and doesn’t expect to make it to the White House. He doesn’t even believe he’s his party’s best shot.

But that’s all part of the plan. As the American Solidarity candidate for president, Carroll wants to grow the party, which was founded in 2011 on Catholic social teaching and neo-Calvinist political theology. Eventually, he hopes, the party can attract candidates who are better than him. Then those candidates can attract more votes, and then Democratic and Republican candidates might try to steal those votes by speaking to the issues that evangelicals like Carroll care about.

“We want somebody addressing our issues,” said Carroll, whose pro-life convictions lead him to support universal health care and an immigration policy that wouldn’t separate children from their parents. “At some point, someone in the two major parties is going to say, ‘These are issues taking votes away from us. Why don’t we try to appeal to these people?’ ”

Short of that, Carroll, a retired teacher and an elder in an Evangelical Covenant Church, hopes to give Christians another choice on the ballot and “a chance to vote without feeling polluted.”

He is one of a handful of third-party and independent candidates appealing to evangelicals in 2020. These candidates reject Democrats and Republicans both and, more importantly, reject the idea of voting for the “lesser of two evils.” With low budget, no budget, and ad hoc campaigns, they say they are challenging evangelicals to rethink their votes, recalculate the costs of compromise, …

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