Voting Our Conscience in 2020: How Do the Candidates Align With CST?

Desmond Silveira
4 min readMay 16, 2019


Recently, Peter Wolfgang published his rundown of 2020 candidates on Wolfgang states that there are now 24 candidates in the race, offers a short critique nine candidates, and throws his full support towards Donald Trump, arguing that Trump is the most sensible candidate for the Catholic voter. Though I agree with most of the facts that he presents I must largely disagree with his strategy and conclusion.

What most voters often forget is that our U.S. president isn’t determined by a single, nationwide election but by 51 separate elections at the state level and in D.C. In most of these elections, the political leaning is so one-sided, that a voter could vote for any candidate they choose and have no chance at having any impact in determining the winner of the election. In fact, in 2016, only eleven states were considered swing states and that is using a very generous definition of swing state; even among most of those states, one of the major parties had a much higher likelihood of winning than the other.

For most states, an individual’s vote will have no chance to impact the result of the election. Because of this, the voter has the freedom to vote for whichever candidate best represents the voter’s values, regardless of the candidate’s chance of winning. I argue that not voting for this candidate is a waste of the voter’s vote. When a vote has no chance at determining the winner, it still has substantial value; it signals to the society what the voter’s values are and forces the society to acknowledge those values. Contrarily, settling for the lesser of two evils disguises one’s values and conveys far less.

Wolfgang argues that the Democratic candidates are unworthy of a Catholic’s vote, because of their stances on social issues. I don’t disagree with him at all here. However, what Wolfgang fails to recognize is that there are substantially more candidates than the 24 he cites in his article. At the time of this writing, there are 723 candidates that have filed to run. No reasonable person will evaluate all 723 candidates in order to decide who to vote for. Many people will use political party as a proxy for their values to avoid this. I contend that a better alternative is to look at the candidates, from all parties, listed on Wikipedia. Wikipedia adheres to a standard of notability that is inclusive of more than the two major parties, but includes candidates still notable enough that they will likely show up on your ballot.

Wolfgang, after comparing Trump to the Democrats and Bill Weld, concludes that Trump is the best choice, but let’s look at candidates outside of the two major parties.

The Libertarian Party currently has anti-war activist Adam Kokesh, John McAfee, founder of McAfee, Inc., performance artist Vermin Supreme, and former Libertarian Party officer Arvin Vohra. Supreme is a joke candidate and makes a good protest vote but nothing more. Kokesh served in Iraq, and after the war ended became active in the anti-war movement. He is personally against abortion but doesn’t favor making it illegal. McAfee and Vohra are more typical libertarians being against regulation including on social issues that should be important to the Catholic voter, such as abortion.

The Green Party only has one declared candidate that meets the Wikipedia notability standard. That candidate, board of education member Dario Hunter, is an openly gay, Muslim-born lawyer who converted to Judaism and has been ordained a rabbi. He wants to ensure that the “voices of the marginalized and disenfranchised” are heard, create a single-payer “Medicare for all” health-care system, shut down most overseas military bases, and increase spending on education. The economic policies correlate well with the values of Catholic Social Teaching; however, the Green Party has always been unsupportive of the social values of CST. Like the Democratic Party, the Green Party seems to have only gotten more extreme in their support for abortion and the liberal social agenda. I have no indication that Hunter is any different in this regard.

Independent Ronnie Kroell who is a gay fashion model and actor has declared his candidacy for president. Kroell offers no political positions on his website, which to me would indicate that he’s in it for publicity more than advocacy. I see no reason that a Catholic would support him.

Lastly, but certainly not least are teacher Brian T. Carroll, political activist Joe Schriner, and Jeopardy! College Championship finalist Joshua Perkins of the American Solidarity Party. All three call for a respect for human life from conception to natural death, a need for us all to take care of each other, a need to take care of our environment, and promotion of a more peaceful world. This advocacy aligns perfectly with Catholic Social Teaching, making them a much more conscientious vote than one for Donald Trump. Carroll is an evangelical Christian that has done a lot of missionary work and travel abroad, including South America, China, and Europe. He spent many decades teaching middle school in a low-income area of California’s Central Valley. Schriner, a devout Catholic, spent much of his time as a journalist traveling 250,000 miles over the past 24 years doing research across the United States and advocating for policies aligned with CST. Perkins brings his data and statistical skills that he has developed as a professional actuary and applies those skills toward public policy.

All three American Solidarity Party candidates are more than worthy of the Catholic vote, and if you don’t live in a swing state, you have nothing to lose by voting for any one of them.



Desmond Silveira

Software engineer. Husband. Father. Devotee of solidarity.