Today, we had our third interview with John Kenyon at the Institute for Global Church Studies.
IGCS: Glad to have you with the IGCS again, Brian Carroll.
BC: Thank you.
IGCS: My sides are splitting with laughter over how the religious left and right in the United States are positioning Trump as the watershed issue for the eternal salvation of souls and the world. How is your campaign for US President going?
BC: Well, we’re not being fodder yet for Babylon Bee satires.
BC: I’m surprised by how many people are already engaged. One would tend to think voters would only look at 3rd party candidates after they have reached the decision that candidates from the major parties are unacceptable. But a fair percentage of the people I talk to are ready to give up on the major parties before we even have the first primary. I expect the real flood will start during the summer, but our task now is to be ready for it. We’re trying to get set up. The main thing we are looking for now are voters who want to serve on our state committees. We even have positions for voters who would like to be registered to cast our Electoral Votes if we should manage to carry whole states.
IGCS: What is your campaign theme? MAGA’s been taken. So has “No Malarky”.
BC: We hope to be on the ballot in a dozen or so states, and write-in candidates in twenty-five or thirty more. My VP candidate is Amar Patel, which is pretty easy to spell, but we’re worried about my name. Our motto may need to be “Carroll, two R’s and two L’s.” Our party motto is ‘Common Good. Common Ground. Common Sense.’
IGCS: Describe for us the best Presidential tone. The tone of a candidate campaigning for President that will carry over into office.
BC: A candidate wants to say things that get headlines, but those statements may come back to haunt a president. Bush One said, “Read my lips: No new Taxes.” It may have helped him get elected, but it limited his options once he was sworn in. Both Woodrow Wilson and LBJ campaigned for their second terms on keeping us out of war, and yet both were planning for war at the very time they were saying it. I want to set a tone of honesty. My one advantage is that any time I might be tempted to say something that is bluster for short-term gains, I remind myself that this campaign is not about short-term gains. We’re looking for a long-term realignment of the parties.
IGCS: Which major cable news outlet would be friendlier to you? MSNBC? CNN? Or FoxNews?
BC: Not a one of them. They will studiously avoid mentioning us, as long as they can. But the feeling is mutual. I stopped watching TV when I left for UCLA, in 1970, and found I didn’t miss it. I prefer to read my news. I was in junior high when JFK was assassinated. We watched TV the whole weekend, and then I would learn more from 45 minutes in the L.A. Times than in 24 hours on TV. I never forgot that lesson.
IGCS: Similar question. If not the LA Times then by The Wall Street Journal or The Washington Post?
BC: Third party candidates can’t be picky. I’ve learned important information from each of those newspapers.
IGCS: Every candidate running for President in recent years claims to be a uniter, not a divider…until getting to Washington DC. Once in office, how would President Carroll address the mean-spirited partisanship?
BC: Our party is not big enough to furnish a full Cabinet. That means I will need to assemble a bipartisan team. Jimmy Carter was the last outsider to be elected President, and the Washington establishment never really warmed to him, not even his own party. That is something I will need to address head-on. Our party has overlapping issues with each of the other parties. I hope to pick an issue and see which party agrees with me, then work with them, and share the credit with them when we are successful. At the same time, I might be working with the other party on a different issue. I would hope to build relationships while working on the early issues. Hopefully, that would allow me to draw upon those relationships for the more difficult issues later. Many groups are working in the same direction. The Citizens Climate Lobby has carefully built a bipartisan ‘Climate Solutions Caucus.’ They call it a Noah’s Ark committee, because members have to join two-by-two, one Democrat and One Republican, together. An organization called No Labels is intentionally bringing together elected officials from both parties, to draw out those issues where the two sides actually agree. The And Campaign has positions very similar to the American Solidarity Party. They are working to animate the American church—especially the Black Church—to confront issues of Life, Justice, Environment, and Peace (the four main issues of our campaign), from a traditional, Bible-believing point of view.
IGCS: On foreign affairs: Let’s face it. The Middle East is a caldron of religious conflicts. Should a U.S. President directly seek to cultivate better relations with the clerics in Islam and Christianity?
BC: Directly, or indirectly. Some things can be public. Other things are better done through intermediaries. This is an example of a situation where a candidate making too specific a promise during the campaign may find it limits his options once elected. I don’t think it is proper to use a political campaign for conducting negotiations with a foreign power. We do need to communicate with even our enemies. What if some kind of direct communication could have prevented the recent airliner tragedy in Tehran? At minimum, we need some path of communication to quietly send the Iranians condolences, over what must be a very painful situation for them. That’s an opportunity to show basic human sympathy, which might, in turn, open some other doors.
IGCS: On health care: Most Americans, I believe, want affordable and comprehensive health care for all. What is the proper role of the federal government in getting this done?
BC: We want affordable health care for everyone, but we don’t want to collapse the economy in the process of transition, which could be a very real possibility. Pro-Life voters are also opposed to healthcare programs covering abortion or assisted suicide. As a nation, we have people who are very attached to their existing programs. But we have the most expensive and inefficient payment system in the industrialized world, for inferior health results. We have both employers and employees choosing make-do employment decisions that they would not choose if healthcare was a government program. We are competing against countries that spend much less on their medical care. That makes our products less competitive on the world market. We must ease for-profit insurance companies out of the general market. I’m on Medicare ‘A’ because I paid into it throughout my career. I buy ‘B’ as a government requirement, and I make the decision to buy ‘D’ & ‘F’ as an add-on, from a private company. We need to see that everyone is eligible for government ‘A’ & ‘B’, at a rate that private companies cannot compete with. For-profit companies can continue to offer ‘D’ & ‘F,’ and let market forces do their job.
IGCS: You like California’s way of congressional redistricting, of redrawing electoral lines, and think it should be a model for all the states. Can you explain the California plan?
BC: Yes, a non-partisan commission draws the boundaries. When I look at the map, I have a small question about the lines between 21 and 23, and 16 and 22, but most of the rest of the lines make sense geographically. We don’t see the kinds of lines we see in gerrymandered states.
IGCS: I’ll have to study this. In the mean time, do you shop at Walmart?
BC: When I’m with my wife, we buy most of our groceries at Save-Mart, and when I’m by myself I frequent a discount store called ‘Grocery Outlet.’ I shop at Costco, Lowe’s, and CVS. I buy clothes at JC Penney and Kohl’s. If I need something when I’m traveling, I tend to go into a Target. I don’t often go into Walmart. I wish I could find a way to use Amazon less.
IGCS: I shall follow up. 🙂 It has been a pleasure having you with us. Hope to to chat with your Vice-Presidential candidate, Amal Amar Patel soon, too. God bless you, Brian Carroll
BC: Yes, I’m also looking forward to your interview with Amar Patel. And anytime you have another batch for me, I’m eager to answer them. Enjoy the rest of your day.