by Gavin Wax
Former President Teddy Roosevelt felt “strong as a bull moose” after losing the Republican presidential nomination in 1912. Now, thanks to President Donald Trump’s legacy, that “bull moose” energy is on the winning side of the GOP’s 2022 primary season.
There are many labels for the movement I describe as “Bull Moose” populism. It’s mainly known as America First, National Conservatism, National Populism, the “New” Right, or Trumpism. Whatever its name, the candidates who can articulate the vision best will see the most passionate grassroots support in 2022 and beyond.
To that end, the “Bull Moose” moniker is useful, because it harkens back over a century to a time when, in certain ways, American politics was just objectively better. There was fortitude and will, even forcefulness, that commanded respect. President Trump embodied that approach not unlike our 26th president, the Rough Rider himself, and so it should come as no surprise that their visions are so alike.
Take in this passage from Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose” Progressive Party’s platform:
Behind the ostensible Government sits enthroned an invisible Government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.
The invisible government then is the deep state today. The unholy alliance between corrupt business and politics is as clear as ever in this era of woke capital, critical race theory, and the blacklisting and censorship that flows from social media titans and other powerful institutions whose power is rooted in this invisible government structure.
“The country belongs to the people,” the party platform continued.
This fundamental idea of self-determination is deemed controversial or hate speech by America’s ruling class today. This may still be a free country, at least in some places, but it’s never been more clear how dire the threats are, from mass immigration to “free” trade.
Before Trump, when was the last time Americans had a real choice in a president who would actually listen to their demands for a foreign policy, border policy, or trade policy that served the general interest?
Now that conservatives, libertarians, independents, and other patriots have had that taste of populist victory, they’re not going to go back to the establishment’s way of doing things.
In a recent poll, jobs were the top priority for Americans when it came to foreign policy. That’s right, foreign policy. Not just domestic. Nearly six in 10 Republicans said protecting American jobs was the most important foreign policy goal, finding agreement from about half of independents and even four in 10 Democrats.
Economic nationalism is mainstream, and that’s what will define not only the 2022 midterms, but perhaps most of all the Republican primaries. Now’s the time to be keeping an eye on the solidly economic nationalist candidates and support them on the campaign trail.
One great example of such a candidate is Joe Kent, running in Washington state’s third Congressional District against the incumbent Republican, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler. Kent is calling for an immigration moratorium and bringing “federally controlled lands back to the state and private industry so that we can create good, well-paying jobs for hard-working Americans,” as he recently told Steve Bannon on the “War Room.”
Kent’s foreign policy is in line with Trump’s realist approach, too. Kent is a combat veteran who lost his wife, Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, to an ISIS suicide bomber in Syria in 2019. He joined the military before 9/11, so he’s well aware of the immeasurable costs to our country, in dollars and lives.
Another similarly excellent candidate for Congress is Cory Mills, running in Florida’s 7th District against incumbent Democrat Stephanie Murphy. Mills is also a combat veteran. He served seven-and-a-half years in Iraq in addition to over two and a half years in Afghanistan.
“We need to look at how fighting endless wars in a conventional fashion with large-scale buildup is not about America First,” Mills said in a recent interview.
Mills, a businessman in the national security industry, gets the connection between foreign and domestic policy.
Long before he decided to run for Congress, Mills was raising the alarm on the mass influx of illegal immigrants swarming the border, especially in response to Joe Biden’s siren songs. The insanity that typifies so much of the Left today is leading to destructive consequences in the culture, political discourse, and even daily life in America.
“They want to erase the American DNA,” Mills said at a “Stop the Steal” rally, speaking of those in the media, academia, woke corporations, and the government who attempted to shame tens of millions of Americans into silence.
“Bull Moose” populism is America First, economic nationalism. It’s the energizing factor that’s rooted in a love for this country, its borders, and its heritage defined by the people who work to keep it as free as possible for the next generation. Kent and Mills are far from the only ones carrying this banner, so be on the lookout in your area. This energy will be unstoppable wherever there are Americans ready to take back their country.
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Gavin Wax is the 74th president of the New York Young Republican Club, chairman of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director of the Young Republican National Federation, an ambassador for Turning Point USA, and an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
Photo “Teddy Roosevelt speaking” by Wystan CC BY-SA 2.0.