One would think that politicians in a state that cast 1.4 million votes for President Donald Trump would begin to govern in like fashion rather than merely paying lip service to him in political ads to win points.
As a businessman, Trump tapped into the most underserved group of people in the United States, garnering 74 million votes across the country, more than any other candidate in history – other than Joe Biden, assuming you believe that a man who can’t string together a coherent sentence and didn’t campaign won 81 million votes from his basement, but that is a conversation for another day.
Trump served the working class and that cuts across partisan lines. He verbalized what most Americans thought, showing genuine concern for the problems ailing the group that makes this nation hum, from business owners to the working class. Until 2016, the Americans who work and pay into the tax base did not have a voice.
In doing so, Trump drew the ire of the mainstream media and global elites. They went to war with him, running negative coverage in the media 24/7, accusing him of Russian collusion (which was eventually disproved), attempting impeachment and more.
Yet Trump remained steadfast, and that is why he is the frontrunner for the most powerful office in the world.
It wasn’t easy, though, and this is why state-level politicians, with a few exceptions, don’t follow in his footsteps: they are scared.
But the system is also broken. The way it works now is that some big corporation or special interest in our state – if not all of them – gives to the campaigns of candidates who will do their bidding. Those candidates use that money to create commercials and marketing giving them a conservative image so they resonate with those they intend to stab in the back the following legislative session after the candidate is safely in office. I believe they do so because they think it’s the only strategy to stay in power.
But I would like to posit a different strategy, a strategy I believe is far superior: Be conservative … even when there is tremendous pressure not to be.
Admittedly, this takes courage. But as William Wallace says, in what I believe to be the greatest movie of all time, “Men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.”
We are seeing that genuineness, authenticity and courage are rewarded by the people in a way I don’t think we have ever seen before. Look at who is leading the presidential polls: Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, two men who governed with courage and stood against all manner of attacks and criticism. Meanwhile, the standard neocons are having trouble even reaching 2-3%.
There has been a massive shift that cuts across traditional party lines and standard ideologies.
One state-level politician exemplifying this trend is Andrew Sorrell, and his courage was recently rewarded with the state auditor’s office. Sorrell wasn’t leaning into a trend, he just stayed true to himself and his constituents.
At the beginning of the 2023 legislative session, Sorrell gave a speech that really got me thinking about this topic. Here is what he said:
“Conservatism works every time it’s tried. The problem is, we usually don’t try it. We buy into the lie that moderating our positions attracts moderates and independents to vote for us. In reality, it’s the exact opposite.
First, when we moderate our positions, we de-energize our conservative base. Secondly, moderates and independents are attracted to strong leadership, not wishy-washy, mealy-mouth politicians who sit back and see which way the wind is blowing before taking a position on an issue. Take Ron Desantis, for example. He was elected by about 0.3% in 2018 and all the political pundits pontificated about how much he would need to reach across the aisle in order to win re-election. Instead, he became America’s most conservative governor by fighting against woke corporations, the sexualization of our children, the Chinese CCP, and COVID lockdowns. He was rewarded with a 19-point margin in his re-election campaign, winning Miami-Dade County and doing better with Hispanics than any other Republican I can think of. He set a fundraising record for gubernatorial races in America by raising $230 million! Florida was the only state to have a real Red Wave in 2022 because he wasn’t afraid to be conservative.
When I was elected to the State House in 2018, I flipped a seat that had been Democrat since reconstruction. It was held previously by a 28-year incumbent Democrat. I was the narrowest win in the State House in 2018, getting just 52.5% of the vote. Immediately I was told that in order to represent a swing district I would need to vote as a moderate.
I ignored that advice and was Alabama’s most conservative legislator three years in a row, earning perfect 100s on scorecards and winning the Alabama Policy Institute’s Conservative Policy Warrior award for 2020. Other legislators said my political career was over after how outspoken I was for Constitutional Carry, medical freedom, and school choice. Not only did I go on to win State Auditor, but I got the highest percentage vote of any statewide candidate with opposition in the general election. I also got about 80% of the vote in my home county, proving they appreciated the way I represented them in Montgomery.”
Sorrell proved that it pays to be courageous and conservative. I would argue it was his courage that drew his support more than the policy stances that were basic positions in his party platform. He held to these positions when there was tremendous pressure not to, and all the other so-called conservatives were abandoning them. He even stood against the egregious record budgets and surplus budgets by himself three years in a row when he was a state representative.
It’s not just a shift in who is leading in the polls; it is also where people go for their news and information. Tucker Carlson is unquestionably the most trusted name in journalism and the biggest superstar in media right now. He also happened to get fired from Fox News recently, likely because he refused to compromise his message.
I had the privilege of seeing Tucker speak at his first public appearance after being fired, and the standing ovation he received felt like it lasted an hour. It gave me goosebumps. His monologues and interviews on Twitter are reaching far more people than he did on Fox.
Courage and truth are not partisan issues. This is exemplified by the success of Joe Rogan and Elon Musk, two traditionally left-of-center individuals who reach millions of conservatives and are lauded as heroes by conservatives. RFK Jr. is another example.
Look also at what is happening with country music singer Jason Aldean. He refused to be canceled and stood courageously against the mob with “Try That in a Small Town,” a song that is now number one in the country.
Courage and truth are the currency of the emerging movement. It would be wise for elected leaders to realize this and adjust accordingly.
Bryan Dawson is CEO of 1819 News. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.
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