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The Federalist Party decoded: An interview with activist JD Rucker

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JD Rucker Federalist Party

“I decided that somebody’s got to do it, if nobody else will, then I must.”

I had the pleasure of speaking at length with head of the Federalist Party, political activist JD Rucker. I became intrigued by Rucker after I learned of the Federalist Party’s existence and their fundamentally different approach to challenging the two-party system. In our current climate of political mayhem, could a third-party be a feasible alternative for the somewhat ideologically homeless conservative? I thought speaking with Rucker would be a good place to begin.

From start to finish, the conversation with Rucker was both enlightening and heartening. Rucker’s understanding of what fundamentally plagues our political system is in congruence with many disillusioned conservatives—the Right’s disappointing failure to fight “big government” has morphed into a growing fondness for bloated bureaucracy. And therein, Rucker defines what he believes to be the purpose of the Federalist Party: “Our third party is designed in particular to essentially pull them [GOP] back to the Right, if that’s even possible. And if not, then we are prepared to take over.”

He sees the Federalist Party as a “reminder” that the GOP can no longer take the conservative vote for granted.  But Rucker isn’t obtuse on how we got here—he’s direct and forthright when he flatly states, “We have allowed the government to do this to us.”

He’s also not naïve about the abysmal success rate to which third parties typically fall privy. However, he does identify the Federalist Party strategy as decidedly different, proclaiming “the primary difference for us is that we are going to build this from the local level, up.”  He coins the Federalist Party’s approach as “bottom-up” in nature, focused on creating an initial footprint in everything from sheriff elections to city council elections to state legislative elections. And indeed, for a party focused on returning power to communities, this approach is refreshingly organic.

Rucker wrote a piece several weeks ago discussing how federalism isn’t about protecting states but rather about protecting the individual. When I asked him about this particular message, he expounded in detail on the government’s general failure to serve the “primacy” of the individual, who has now been belittled by the ever-expanding state.  Rucker then admits that Americans now are looking for “leaders to save them,” and this desire is fundamentally flawed: “Government should enable the people to find a solution—government was never designed to be the solution.”

In Rucker’s eyes, “the individual can solve problems for him or herself better than any government action.” And Rucker believes the Federalist Party is geared towards reintroducing the long-lost individual back into the political sphere, specifically by enabling and encouraging people to take more active roles in their communities.

The Federalist Party’s main goal is to demonstrate how genuinely small government—manifested as the “localization of efforts”—can benefit people’s causes more than a larger federal apparatus can. From Rucker’s point of view, federalism or “taking care of your own local area” is much more impactful than tackling a wide range of issues on a global scale. Given this metric holds true for both the conservative and the liberal, he envisions the Federalist Party as appealing to a variety of figures from across the political spectrum.

And baked into this understanding of federalism’s appeal is Rucker’s conception of what the party’s approach should be. Indeed, his vision for the Federalist Party is one prudently defined by longevity, rather than by capturing a few seats in 2018.  In fact, he could not have emphasized to me more strongly the importance of 2032 over the impending midterm elections.

But perhaps the most interesting part of my interview with JD revolved around his entrance into politics. It wasn’t a foray marked by a prestigious law degree or longish stint at a private equity firm.  Rucker described himself as simply a politically engaged person who realized about fifteen years ago that the Republican Party had approached a stage beyond saving and that it would be far better to structure a new party around a truly conservative perspective. Rucker succinctly explained his own involvement by stating, “Nobody else was doing it and I felt somebody needed to.”

What struck me as most impressive about Rucker, beyond his assessment of the current political climate and his prescription for reform, was his depthless humility. I am ending with his own words because I don’t believe I could do them quite justice. Needless to say, my interview with JD Rucker gives me hope that the citizenry is still capable of producing selfless and thoughtful leaders. In a time of an ever-expanding federal apparatus, made fat by unabated spending, I am encouraged by thinkers like JD who not only diagnose problems with poise but also have the drive to tackle them.  In the words of JD Rucker:

“I want to be clear. People like to put me down as ‘cofounder’ of the Federalist Party. I look at myself as specifically just a caretaker. Just to get this up and running until more people—better people, smarter people—can get involved. That is all.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Federalist Party and what Rucker and others are doing on behalf of conservatism, feel free to visit thefederalistparty.org.  You can follow JD Rucker on Twitter at @JDRucker.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. David Oslin (@hyperion5182)

    July 17, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Well said and written. An excellent read.

  2. JC

    July 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Great article! Hope to see more from you!

  3. Judith Irlacher

    July 18, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Knowing nothing of the Federalist Party, I am impressed with the opinions of J D Rucker, thank you for sharing his ideas!

  4. Susan Sylvia

    July 28, 2017 at 4:22 am

    I have been with JD (by email!) since Day One when he asked on his website The New Americana, ‘Should we do this?’ and I can say that everything the author says about him is true. He takes a Democratic approach to decision making and is an excellent team leader, while still very humble. He also has a very smart plan, using the latest technology and social media, to make this go, and he is savvy enough to observe what other parties have done wrong and to sidestep those pitfalls. I think that this third party, vs. others that have come and gone or simply languished, has a real chance to take off. And what better name for a party? I’m a member, and I hope others will join!

  5. Kim Gallagher

    July 28, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Ditto Susan.

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Guns and Crime

Border Patrol arrests 32 at San Diego demonstration

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Border Patrol arrests 32 at San Diego demonstration

SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 32 people at a demonstration Monday that was organized by a Quaker group on the border with Mexico, authorities said. Demonstrators were calling for an end to detaining and deporting immigrants and showing support for migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum seekers.

A photographer for The Associated Press saw about a dozen people being handcuffed after they were told by agents to back away from a wall that the Border Patrol calls “an enforcement zone.” The American Friends Service Committee, which organized the demonstration, said 30 people were stopped by agents in riot gear and taken into custody while they tried to move forward to offer a ceremonial blessing near the wall.

Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said 31 people were arrested for trespassing and one was arrested for assaulting an officer.

More than 300 people, many the leaders of churches, mosques, synagogues and indigenous communities, participated in the demonstration at San Diego’s Border Field State Park, which borders Tijuana, Mexico.

The rally held on a beach divided by the border wall was the second confrontation for Border Patrol agents since a caravan of more than 6,000 migrants, predominantly Hondurans, reached Tijuana last month. A confrontation with rock-throwers from Mexico led to U.S. agents firing tear gas into Mexico on Nov. 25 and a five-hour closure of the nation’s busiest border crossing.

Thousands of migrants are living in crowded tent cities in Tijuana after undertaking a grueling journey from Central America to the U.S. border. Many face waiting weeks or months in Mexico while they apply for asylum. The U.S. is processing up to about 100 claims a day at the San Diego crossing, which is creating a backlog.

The demonstration Monday was meant to launch a national week of action called “Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice,” which falls between Human Rights Day on Monday, and International Migrants’ Day on Dec. 18, the group said.

“Showing up to welcome and bless children, mothers and fathers seeking asylum from very difficult and dehumanizing circumstances is the right and humane thing to do,” said Bishop Minerva G. Carcano, from the San Francisco Area United Methodist Church. “How we act in these moments determines who we will become as a nation.”

The group also is calling on Congress to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

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Entertainment and Sports

Latest Godzilla: King of Monsters trailer may mean it’s actually getting released next year

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Latest Godzilla King of Monsters trailer may mean its actually getting released next year

One of next year’s early blockbusters will be Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It is scheduled for May 31 after being pushed repeatedly to position it against the competition. This newest release date will give Marvel’s Avengers: End Game plenty of time to eat up audience dollars before passing the baton.

Originally slated for this year, executives kept looking for the best window for their second installment of what they hope to be a franchise similar to the successful Planet of the Apes reboot. The first installment of Godzilla in 2014 was widely seen as the first legitimate blockbuster featuring the Japanese monster after a handful of clunky attempts. It did well with a strong cast (including Bryan Cranston) and chalked up over $500 million at the worldwide box office against 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This installment features Millie Bobby Brown who has experience fighting demonic beasts in Netflix Stranger Things.

My only concern is that they seem to be putting out all the major bad monsters in this one – Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. It lends to the notion that this will be limited to a trilogy with the climax being Godzilla vs. Kong, crossing over the giant ape’s own franchise.

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Healthcare

Brett Kavanaugh punts on Planned Parenthood cases, leaving conservatives baffled

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Brett Kavanaugh punts on Planned Parenthood cases leaving conservatives baffled

Conservatives were cheering when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was finally confirmed after a tumultuous process that polarized the nation. Leftists argued that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would be the end for women’s rights to make choices about abortions, among other things, even before the confirmation turned into a high school sexual assault circus.

Instead of hearing arguments in his first major abortion-related case since taking the bench, Kavanaugh sided with Chief Justice John Roberts and the four left-leaning Supreme Court Justices to decline to review it. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch all wanted to hear the case, but it takes four.

According to Thomas, the move was political.

Kavanaugh, Roberts, side with liberal judges on Planned Parenthood case

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/10/supreme-court-planned-parenthood-defunding-case-845056?lIn February, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Kansas was wrong to to end Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, writing that states can’t cut off funding for reasons “unrelated to the provider’s competence and the quality of the healthcare it provides.” Four other appeals courts have ruled that Medicaid patients have the right to access the provider of their choice.

But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that states do have the right to terminate a provider’s Medicaid contract and that residents cannot challenge that decision.

The Supreme Court’s action Monday allows the split decisions to stand in different federal circuits. Thomas, in his dissent, wrote that the Supreme Court should have taken the cases to resolve conflicting findings from lower courts.

“Because of this Court’s inaction, patients in different States — even patients with the same providers — have different rights to challenge their State’s provider decisions,” Thomas wrote.

My Take

Thomas is right. This is the type of case that is ideal for the Supreme Court to resolve the rights of individuals, who are currently bound by different laws in different states. The majority of the time, this isn’t a bad thing. States can and should act differently from one another. However, when it comes to a person’s right to challenge a federal funding, which Medicaid is in part, there needs to be clear direction from the Supreme Court.

As Thomas noted, the reasons for punting on this issue were clear.

“So what explains the court’s refusal to do its job here? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood.’ That makes the Court’s decision particularly troubling, as the question presented has nothing to do with abortion,” Thomas wrote.

This case had nothing to do with abortion, at least not directly. It was about the rights of the people to challenge how their tax dollars were spent, a fundamental right that drills down to the core of our republic. The mere mention of Planned Parenthood, even outside of the abortion issue, was enough to spook Justice Kavanaugh. He joins Chief Justice Roberts and Republicans on Capitol Hill who are so terrified of Planned Parenthood, they refuse to address the issue even at its most basic level.

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