Imagine two campaigns focused on discussions of policy differences. Would the media bother to even show up?
There have been several news articles reporting of Senator Chris McDaniel’s appearance in a much anticipated Facebook Live video feed Monday night. In his brief message to followers and supporters he extended an invitation to attend a rally in Ellisville on Wednesday where most speculate he will announce his candidacy for US Senate.
There was the usual uniformed negative responses from a few of the usual suspects, of course.
Of the many other numerous reports I’ve read so far, only a ‘Q & A’ with ‘Mississippi Today’ reporter Adam Ganucheau revealed an inkling of the pressure Chris has put on himself in arriving at a decision. The newswriters of most of the other write-ups unfortunately did very little digging for a fresh angle, apparently satisfied with rewriting the same story that’s been written dozens of times, and going through the same paces in recalling aspects of McDaniel’s prior race for US Senate in 2014.
Unless Mr. Ganucheau has filed another report I’ve not yet read, this particular article doesn’t delve any deeper into what motivates Chris’s policy positions nor in what motivated his final decision. It’s unfortunate for ‘Mississippi Today’s’ readers, because it is a missed opportunity to see an example of what drives the man. And certainly many readers would be interested in the insight into why a successful attorney, a husband and the father of two young boys would again go through, potentially, what he has been through over the past few years. The petty personal attacks, the whisper campaigns, the complete fabrications and misrepresentations of what he has said and what he publishes on his social media pages — these are just a few of the ways so many infantilized adults, many receiving their paycheck from taxpayers, budget their time.
Then there’s the way media ignores how Chris’s principled stances influences policy. Policy can be a difficult thing to communicate because it can get off in the weeds really quickly, especially with the overwhelming number of regulations that have been placed into US Code in the past twenty-years.
There is little doubt the actions Chris has taken as a state senator have impacted other Mississippi politicians hoping to run for higher office. It’s becoming necessary for public officials to more carefully assess their approach to what they support and why they say they support it to engaged citizens online.
Chris’s influence is now felt in numerous other ways. To begin with, many of the bills signed into law in the past three legislative sessions were first introduced by Chris five or more years ago. He still gets invitations to speak to groups of conservatives, libertarians and Republicans across the country, and he travels to locations across the state to speak almost weekly.
His social media profiles are followed by huge numbers of people, on par or in many cases surpassing other statewide-elected officials in Mississippi. And his social media accounts are heavily monitored by the press. One tweet or Facebook post from Chris can make national news in under an hour and then set off a chain reaction that shapes a news cycle for days. All this sway has become stronger during a multi-year stretch when much of the leadership in the legislature and in state government have tried to keep Senator McDaniel from being heard at all. They’ve at times shut down his legislation without a hearing, and at other times acted as if he doesn’t exist.
You might have been previously unaware of the many ways the influence of the conservative movement is felt and how Chris McDaniel has refocused how he impacts many decision in state government by shaping ongoing conversations with the public. But, the examples mentioned above are perfect to illustrate my point, which is this:
Author Galen Watson believes he was born to write historical fiction. He describes it this way:
“Passion Makes Us Stronger Than We Are. Love Makes Us Better Than We Are. Be Passionate About The Things You Love.”
We are doing important work when we can find a purpose in life that makes us a stronger more gracious individual through our dedication to that cause. For Chris that rewarding work is in growing the conservative movement by growing individual conservatives understanding of the proper role of government, understanding why a predictable policy framework should work to reduce or remove regulations and taxes, adopt a hands-off, free-market approach to economic development over the long-term, and maintain a public stance toward able-bodied individuals that they should be working and producing value for others in their communities to realize their greatest potential and be a provider for their families. However, maybe most importantly, as conservative concepts are internalized and discussed often and honestly in public then activists at the local level should aim to instill them as best practices of local, county and municipal governments, as well.
The negative effects of individuals dependency on government is well-documented. So too, are the negative effects of our state governments dependency on the federal government. Without emotionally balanced, intelligent people engaging local government officials with well – thought out arguments of the wisdom in reducing this dependence — to begin showing individual citizens how self-ownership of their future and their future labor is a marketable utility they can build through investment in themselves — without a level of pressure at the proper level of government the message is quickly lost in the broader themes of political name-calling that ensue.
Here’s what Senator McDaniel had to say when asked if he considered if people would feel let-down should he decide not to run:
“It can’t be just about me. It has to be about something bigger because I’m just a man. If they (voters) believe strongly in that (constitutional conservative) message and that they believe that message can grow into a movement even larger than what we’ve created, they should trust me to make this decision realizing that’s my goal and that’s my objective.
“I’m not doing this selfishly; I’m trying to make sure we get the biggest bang for the buck, and that whatever we run for, all of us together, that we change the country. And that might be running for lieutenant governor. Discussion is important. Part of my core philosophy is that if I can’t stand in front of people and debate these matters and defend these positions, then I shouldn’t be in office. And so I think in this polarized age, we’ve gotten so accustomed to pointing fingers and calling names. I want to move past that.
“If I run against Sen. Wicker, I want to debate Sen. Wicker. I want to have a discussion about the issues, about the economics, about the model of government that he believes in and what I believe in. I don’t want to call him names and have insults tossed around. And it’s the same with a Democrat if he runs. This country needs a good debate on the philosophical issues that divide us. Some will agree, some will disagree, but at least they’ll hear something, for a change, besides insults and name calling. As long as we’re giving that to the people, then my kids have a better shot. Your kids, one day, will have a better shot. Not only understanding civics and government, but they’ll form their positions and opinions on more than just social media and on more than just memes. There will be substance to it. I want to have the conversation, I want to advance conservatism, and do it in a kind, articulate way that our kids can be proud of.”
Well said. Imagine a campaign focused on discussions of policy differences. I’m guessing many younger voters weren’t aware that such a thing was possible.
I wonder, would the media bother to even show up?