“…new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. … Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?—Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.”  

Abraham Lincoln, 1838 

If there is anything I believe in politically, it is liberty, especially the liberty to engage in rough and tumble competition. Liberty blossoms when power is set against power, ambition seeks to check ambition, and ideas are measured and weighed in the tumult and hullabaloo of our public political dramas.  

And what a political drama the 2024 presidential election cycle is shaping up to be. 

In particular, the GOP primary – despite Donald Trump’s commanding lead in the polls – is already showing encouraging signs of a healthy and dramatic division not only within the Republican Party, but more importantly, the much larger media and political culture on the right. The populist revolt is in full bloom on the right with many ambitious and talented men and women springing up from the soil. 

No longer do Fox News, “National Review,” "The New York Post,” and “The Wall Street Journal” serve as effective gatekeepers to “respectable” opinion on the right. No longer does corporate America hold a monopoly on microphone or camera. No longer can presidential candidates skate by with prepackaged sound bites, slick ad buys, and phony photo-ops alone; they must now hash out their views in long-form conversations, not merely contrived TV debates. Cable news companies can’t even effectively silence the commentators they fired anymore (see Tucker Carlson). Liberty is indeed flourishing on the right as new media and independent voices productively check the old prestige-and-pull networks. 

Accordingly, liberty is also flourishing in novel candidates full of bold ideas ready to challenge the “eternal verities” of the establishment GOP. No longer does the GOP donor class have a stranglehold on which candidates will rise or fall in the polls, especially on weighty questions such as war and corporate welfare. A permanent war-footing has long been a mainstay of GOP politics, and it is nothing short of awe-inspiring to see conservative populists rise up against this sclerotic military bureaucracy infected by group think, money-grubbing, lack of mission, and all the other pathologies that seem to be ailing the professional managerial class across America. It is just as heartening to see populist GOP presidential candidates rail against the corruption of the managerial elite in the boardrooms, C-suites, schools, and universities across the nation. 

Liberty is flourishing so much in the divided GOP that not even Donald Trump has an exclusive claim on the populist outsider brand. With insurgent campaigns such as that of Vivek Ramaswamy showing promise, the future of the populist wing of the GOP looks bright. At 37 years old, Ramaswamy is the first millennial to run as a GOP candidate for president, and his message – focused on overhauling the managerial class in government and beyond with fresh solutions, as well as a restoration of basic faith, family, and freedom values – is resonating.  

The good news is that Ramaswamy isn’t a one-off. He is but one bold example of the younger generation rising to meet their responsibility to lead and proverbially rescue their fathers from the belly of the whale. 

We truly face a revolutionary moment in our nation’s history – a convergence of technological, scientific, political, cultural, generational, and spiritual upheaval – which means new reapers are ripe to rise and rebuild, restore, or redefine the nation, for better or worse.  

My guess is that the political party which embraces this inflection point first, welcoming the attendant chaos and division of the moment in a search for unexplored territory, will be handsomely rewarded in the long run. Wouldn’t you like to be the party of the next Abraham Lincoln? 

Thanks to Trump’s unlikely ascent to power, the GOP has a head start on the Democrats. The old GOP has been completely wrecked. It’s beautiful.  

That said, best of luck to the populists causing division and wreckage within the Democrat party. I mean that sincerely.  

The managerial class in both major U.S. political parties deserves, at least, the same betrayal they have forced on their voting bases for too long. If more Americans across the political spectrum simply dropped their party loyalty and welcomed division and competition, America would be a much freer place where the fruits of liberty may be harvested again.

Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email newsandviews931@gmail.com.

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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