Peter Sonski: the Other Catholic Candidate

The presidential candidate of the American Solidarity Party was born into a blue-collar Catholic family and went on to work in agriculture, insurance, journalism, and public relations.

I suspect I am not the only one who is bewildered by the options available to voters in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.

It seems likely that next year’s election will see both Donald Trump and Joe Biden seeking a return to the White House. How is it possible that the richest, smartest, most powerful country in the world gives us two such lame candidates? 

Both men will limp through the race, clearly disabled by advanced age and burdened with family problems, rumors of corruption, and unenviable personal reputations. 

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Half the country seems to hate Donald Trump while the other half hates Joe Biden. Will anybody vote for a candidate, or will everybody be voting against a candidate?

While the candidates themselves are unattractive, the two parties in question are similarly divisive. Ostensibly, the Democrats stand for the marginalized, the workers, the environment, and the underclass. The Republicans seem to stand for conservative family values, patriotism, and traditional morality. But critics say Democrats stand for free handouts to degenerates, decaying moral standards, and social anarchy, while Republicans support big oil, climate chaos, fat-cat multinationals, and tax breaks for the über-wealthy.

Can’t we find a sensible alternative? Where is the candidate who is a younger, “normal guy” with a bright, attractive running mate? Where is a political party that blends common-sense traditional morality with family-centered economic policies that help the little guy? Where is the party that wants to help the marginalized and support family values? Is there a party and a candidate that upholds the two sterling principles of Catholic social teaching: solidarity and subsidiarity? Where is a political party that blends common-sense traditional morality with family-centered economic policies that help the little guy? Tweet This

Let me introduce Peter Sonski—presidential candidate for the American Solidarity Party. Sonski was born into a blue-collar Catholic family in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1962. His dad and six uncles were World War II vets who went into the construction industry after the war. With one sister (mom had six miscarriages) he was educated at Connecticut public schools and completed undergrad and graduate work at Catholic University of America. He went on to work in agriculture, insurance, journalism (National Catholic Register), public relations for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and Knights of Columbus, and also owned and managed a coffee/deli restaurant.

Married in 1984, Peter and his wife, Teresa, are parents to nine children and have six grandchildren so far.

I asked him about his politics and the American Solidarity Party (ASP).

Fr. Longenecker: What was your political persuasion growing up?

Sonski: From a working-class Catholic family from New England, our default setting was Democrat because the Democrats were branded “the party of the little guy,” but eventually they abandoned the “littlest guy”—the guy in the womb. I was a Republican for many years but felt the GOP paid little regard for workers and the marginalized. I disaffiliated and was politically homeless for 20 years before discovering the American Solidarity Party in 2018.

Fr. Longenecker: Why did you decide to enter politics?

Sonski: From my youth I have had a strong sense of civic responsibility instilled by my parents, combined with a desire to make things happen rather than to watch things happen. I was first elected to local office in the late 1980s. I’ve served more than a dozen years in three different elected offices, having just finished multiple terms on a regional school board. 

Fr. Longenecker: When and how did ASP get started?

Sonski: The genesis of the American Solidarity Party is [the] Christian Democratic Party and its foundation is Catholic social teaching. The ASP was a political movement among like-minded people across the country for several years before being formalized in 2016. It has endorsed presidential candidates in 2016 (Mike Maturen) and 2020 (Brian Carroll). 

Fr. Longenecker: How does ASP decide its policies?

Sonski: We have a convention. Regionally elected delegates vote on official party positions.

Fr. Longenecker: Is ASP a right- or left-wing party?

Sonski: We try to see what is best from both extremes. Some describe our positions as socially conservative and fiscally progressive. I call it centrist.

Fr. Longenecker: Is ASP a Catholic party?

Sonski: The ASP advocates for positions that are developed from Catholic social teaching, but it is not a Catholic party per se. It has many members who are Protestant, some from other faiths or no faith at all. The ASP has broad appeal because Catholic social teaching is grounded in natural law and is focused on the common good. 

Fr. Longenecker: Big question—Isn’t a third-party vote a wasted vote?

Sonski: A vote not cast is a wasted vote. A vote cast for a candidate who upholds the policy positions and principles of the voter is never wasted! Too often people commiserate that they voted for the lesser of two evils. Hopefully the ASP provides a desirable alternative.

Fr. Longenecker: Is ASP growing?

Sonski: Yes, but not as rapidly as members prefer. The mainstream media doesn’t give much attention to third parties or their candidates (except those with the last name of Kennedy). Brian Carroll received 42,000 votes in 2020. I hope, and expect, to top 100,000 and leave the party with greater respect and familiarity among voters. Hopefully, the campaign will attract members to run for office at the local level too.

Fr. Longenecker: Who is most supportive (demographically) of the ASP?

Sonski: There is interest across the board but, surprisingly for me, a baby boomer, the party has a lot of traction among millennials and Gen Z. Voters in those demographics are disaffected and searching for alternatives to their father’s outworn political perspective.

Our “Common Good, Common Ground, Common Sense” positions resonate with them. Moreover, the party also appeals to people who feel the Republican and/or Democratic parties do not give them space to affirm their faith convictions in public life.

Fr. Longenecker: What is the first thing you would do as POTUS?

Sonski: On Day 1, I will reinstate the Mexico City policy, roll back or eliminate all President Biden’s executive orders on abortion, and reverse the recent Pregnant Workers Fairness Act regulations.

Fr. Longenecker: What is the process to get you on the POTUS ballot?

Sonski: Obtaining presidential ballot access is different in all 50 states. Our campaign objective is to be a printed ballot option for voters in as many states as we can obtain, whether through volunteer or professional signature gathers. It’s a demanding process. If the two major parties agree on anything, it is minimizing or eliminating third party competition!

Fr. Longenecker: How can folks learn more and support ASP?

Sonski: There are several things I ask of prospective voters. First, put the ASP to the test. Examine its principles and platform at solidarity-party.org. Second, learn more about our presidential ticket. My running mate, Lauren Onak, is an Ivy League graduate, lay Dominican, mother of three who teaches natural family planning. Lastly, use the Matthew 10:27 formula—shout it from the rooftops! Tell everyone you know that there is a worthy 2024 alternative to the proverbial two evils!

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