[Campaign Diaries is a new series at The American Commons. James Hanink is a candidate running for Governor of California on the American Solidarity Party ticket. Every other week, James will publish a “campaign diary” entry here at The American Commons magazine.]
On to the next couple pages of my campaign diary! Here are some jottings about my last debate and one set for later in the month. Plus, there’s a bit about why I “shrank” an interview.
Yes California sponsored another debate, the second in which I’ve participated. We third party candidates rarely get to debate with “duopolists” like Governor Gavin Newsom or his strongest Republican challengers, John Cox and Kevin Faulconer. For the most part we debate each other, courtesy of definitely-not-mainstream hosts. Hint: Yes California is a secessionist outfit rather like Yes Scotland.
The format this week was ambitious. We had 15 topics to “prep.” A randomized program asked each of us to address, for a minute and half, five or six of them. Should any debater mention another participant, the person mentioned had a minute to reply. Listeners also provided other questions. So what to say?
Here’s a sampler. On homelessness, I said: “One approach that will surely fail is the ‘Not In My Backyard’ mindset.” In Los Angeles, the homeless are already down the street and around the corner. I suggested that “We should take time to talk with the homeless and educate ourselves about mental illness and drug addiction.” On whether to raise taxes or cut services, I proposed that we first take a hard look at programs that do us a disservice. “Prisons,” I contended, “should be recalibrated to focus on violent offenders.” I also noted that the “proliferating administrators in higher education could still do very well with less inflated salaries.” One more issue. On how to spend our (temporary) budget surplus, I put forward that we use it to help families to care for elderly and disabled family members at home as well as to support crisis pregnancy centers.
In debates, of course, the competition supplies memorable moments. A conciliatory libertarian told us that he wouldn’t object to federal taxes if taxpayers could earmark what their taxes would pay for. Another gentleman demanded that international observers monitor the California recall election. Oh, my. Well, whatever!
The next scheduled debate comes via a Trumpish group, Take California Back. Panelists hailing from different parts of the state will serve up the questions, with no previews allowed. Doubtless the queries will be fast, furious, and on occasion “off the wall.” That’s OK, and for two reasons. First, our ASP platform, based on solidarity and subsidiarity and distributism, gives me a terrific launch pad. And second, I’ll spend some quality time with Everything You Need to Know About the Golden State, or a related title.
This week’s interview offer came from a farmer-activist in San Diego with a following (supposedly) in the thousands. His main crop is cannabis, the merits of which he extols at length.
I said “no thanks” to the interview. But I emailed him that I’m for more, not less, sobriety. Then I recommended that he read Wendell Berry, a tobacco farmer who encouraged less and chiefly celebratory smoking. Though without cigars until Father’s Day, I’m celebrating my campaign treasurer, Ed Frankovic. Our CROWDPAC account is up, and Ed reports that donations are “pouring in.” Just sayin’.
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Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly.