In 2016, I abandoned the label, “conservative.” I didn’t like how it was being represented by those who were claiming its mantle. Ideas that were the exact opposite of what most true conservatives would consider to be conservative were being thrown around by so-called conservatives as being tenets of conservatism. If that last sentence didn’t make much sense, you now know how I felt in 2016.
My mindset changed after the 2016 Republican National Convention. I wanted to do something to redefine conservatism the way I knew it to truly be. I called for the formation of a new conservative party and the response was overwhelming. Over the course of the following several months, things changed. The people I worked with and a majority of those who had responded with interest in a new party chose “Federalist” as the proper moniker. It made sense to me, as proper limited-government federalism that kept powers split properly between the individual, states, and national government was one of the most important components of conservatism. In fact, it’s essentially the foundation of what was once called conservatism.
I made lots of mistakes along the way as we built the “Federalist Party.” Perhaps the biggest mistake was building a party in the first place. Attempting to do in years what others have failed to do with significance over decades was ambitious and possibly a bit foolhardy. But what I didn’t want to happen was to build another faux-party like the Tea Party which empowered a few people to make a lot of money off the angst conservatives were feeling towards a president they hated and representatives who weren’t doing enough to stop him.
This shouldn’t be viewed as a condemnation of the Federalist Party or the Tea Party. Both were built with good intentions and the passion to make things happen, but both were also flawed in their base premise. Building an actual political party takes too long, and in a society that has grown accustomed to having everything on-demand, it’s hard to set goals like running a valid Presidential candidate by 2040. As for the Tea Party, there was no real mission. It was a movement with a direction but no actual destination. Technically, it wasn’t even an “it” – the various iterations and variations were diverse and often competed with each other for attention.
After going from the Republican Party to the Tea Party to the Federalist Party to no party, I now have a much clearer understanding of what the people and the nation really need. We need a revival, one not unlike the church revivals many of us went to in the past. A revival of the American conservative movement may be the only way to pull Republicans back from their happy place in the mushy middle and to guide Libertarians in the direction of consistency within their own ideology. It may be the way for Independents who are sick of the two-party duopoly to have their voices heard instead of being preached at with a sales pitch from both sides. Most importantly, it may be the only path through which the people can establish a playbook that empowers the individual ahead of the city, the city ahead of the state, and the state ahead of the nation in regards to political power.
The people are the power of American government in a Constitutional republic. The representatives who work for us are there to make sure the Constitution is upheld and the people they represent have their interests driving the policies enacted by government bodies.
I am still a Federalist at heart. I am a Tea Party supporter. I even like a few Republicans. None of those things have changed. But now is the time to bring focus to the equation before the 2020 election, and more importantly AFTER the 2020 election. To do this, it’s imperative that we come up with a plan to revive a coordinated, consistent, and Constitution-driven conservative movement that represents what Americans and America needs.
I’ve been talking to several people over the last couple of weeks, hammering out ideas and working towards building a conservative movement that learns from the mistakes of our past and establishes a path forward. If you’re interested in learning more as it comes out, please let me know.
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JD Rucker – EIC