[Campaign Diaries is a 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 has published a “campaign diary” entry here at The American Commons magazine. This is the final diary entry, recapping his campaign during Gavin Newsome’s recall election.]


A short campaign has a short diary, and so we’ve come to its last page!

Thanks to our staff stalwarts Desmond Silveira, Ed Frankovic, Skylar Covich, and Shane Ian Hoffman, we did what we’d set out to do, and did it successfully. Our goal, from the start, has been to spread the word that the American Solidarity Party is real and growing. A gratifying number of Californians agree. We’ve garnered over 5,100 votes, and there are thousands more to count.

So what lessons are we taking to heart? Here are half a dozen.

  1. We need to run for office, whether high or low. Doing so is well worth the effort.
  2. Logistics matter, big time. Read what the Secretary of State has to say and then read it again.
  3. Start early. In our case, today is the best time to start our campaign for 2022.
  4. Do your homework on the issues, at whatever level you are running. In California, the key elements are earth, air, water, and fire. (A tip of the hat to the pre-Socratics!)
  5. Stay on message: We seek the common good, and do so by honoring the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, and economic democracy.
  6. Tell the truth. In doing so, to borrow from another context, be “pastoral.” Keep in mind, of course, that a politics of the common good demands truth telling. If not now, when?

Let me expand, just a bit, on truth telling. Politics as usual, especially in California, has devolved into “junk politics.” It’s as addictive as junk food. Most politicians are “pitch” people. Most pander to their constituents. And most of us know how the game is played.

It’s a dismal game that we need to stop playing. We need to speak up for the common good and its pivotal virtue of civic friendship. Friends, we know, tell each other the truth. The whole truth is often perplexing. Yes, our Party is gaining ground in California. But, blimey, what a distance we have to go. One candidate who out polled us was “Angelyne the Billboard Queen.” Another is a chief lobbyist for the cannabis industry.

Of course, Governor Newsom was easily the biggest vote getter. Why not? With a boost from the CEO of Netflix, he had secured $70M for his campaign. And, lo! Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, the Governor’s friends in the highest of secular places, came to voice their support. The top apologists for the war on preborn children had their own pitches to make.

Coinciding with Governor Newsom’s victory, the legislature passed a bill that removed what had hitherto been called the “safeguards” on physician assisted suicide. They were now dismissed as needless  “restrictions.” (During the height of the pandemic, some of us remember too well, there were disastrously few safeguards in place at the care facilities for the elderly and disabled.)

California celebrates an amusement park that calls itself “the happiest place on earth.” Maybe that illusion is a part of the California Dream. But the reality is that California finds itself in a valley of tears. The American Solidarity can help wipe some of them away. The rest of the job awaits an amazing grace.


Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly.