Election Day 2018

This blog has fallen dormant—has it often seems to do—during the height of election season.  A savvy, dedicated blogger would churn out the bulk of his content when the news comes fast and fresh, and folks are seeking out information about candidates—not during the middle of summer, the deadest time for political news, outside of some primary elections.

But, hey, that’s what makes The Portly Politico unique.

What won’t make it unique is this admonition:  VOTE.  Ideally—and if you’re a reader of this blog, this might go without saying—vote for Republicans.

I went out to vote this morning—the last time at my current precinct, as I’ve recently moved to the countryside (after two floods, it was time)—and it was hoppin’.  I arrived around 7:05 AM EST, and there was a line out the door.  I finished voting around 7:40 AM EST—that’s how many people were there to vote.

I’ve never experienced a midterm election this year.  Both sides are highly energized.  It feels like a presidential election.

I’ll refrain from offering detailed analysis at this point (I think Republicans will pick up some Senate seats, but the House is a complete toss-up), but this election—to recycle another cliché, but only because it’s true—is of the utmost importance.

If Republicans lose the House (which, I’ll confess, seems likely, albeit by a narrow margin), it will certainly stymie President Trump and the GOP’s conservative agenda.  The prospect of returning Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to the Speaker position is also terrifying.

If Republicans lose the Senate, it will be utterly catastrophic.  You can kiss conservative Supreme Court nominees goodbye.  If you’re the most anti-Trumpist #NeverTrumper neocon that ever lived, you’ve gotta hold your nose and vote Republican for that reason alone.

If we lose both… well, I shudder to contemplate the kangaroo court of baseless investigations and accusations that Democratic Congress will unleash.  Impeachment might not result in removal, but the fraying fabric of our political system would be rent asunder as Democratic knives stab any opposition.

This election is a referendum on Trump and Trumpism, yes, but it’s also a series of choices:  the Constitution, or lawlessnessCapitalism, or communism.  Rule by the people, or rule by an entrenched, technocratic elite.

Get out there and vote, folks—especially Republicans!

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Logic Breakdown and the Kavanaugh Hearings

The Internet has been all atwitter with talk of the Kavanaugh hearings, particularly Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s vocal-fry inflected testimony, as well as Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s, and Senator Lindsey Graham’s fiery, righteous outburst.

My general policy with such hot-button current events is to withhold comment until the facts are known.  That’s not a savvy move for a blogger, but it gives me time to make an informed judgment on what the Truth is likely to be.

Below are comments I posted on the Portly Politico Facebook page (which I encourage you to “like,” “follow,” and whatever else one has to do to get notifications these days) about the hearings.  What troubles me the most about the (it seems baseless) accusations against Judge Kavanaugh is the utter breakdown of logical thinking—and the utter willingness of his critics to throw due process and the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” under the bus.

But, we all know it’s political theatre.  The Democrats are attempting to delay or derail the confirmation process until after the 2018 midterm elections.  They could care less about Dr. Ford’s alleged sexual assault.  I also wrote that Judge Kavanaugh would be in for a thorough Borking, so we all knew this was coming; still, I naively did not fathom the depths to which the Left would descend.

As for Dr. Ford, she could very well have suffered some trauma—or some imagined, “recovered” memory.  The old “what-does-she-have-to-gain” defense is as baseless as her claims:  $100,000 (and counting) in GoFundMe money, the kudos of the “Resistance,” probably a book deal, a political career if she wants it—she will be richly rewarded for her role in the potential takedown of an eminently qualified, eminently respectable constitutional originalist.

Submitted for your edification—and the good of the Republic and logical thinking—my reflections:

Some logic re: the Kavanaugh hearings.

1.) Women (and men) are sometimes the victims of sexual assault, rape, etc. That’s bad–evil!

2.) Brett Kavanaugh can be innocent and #1 can still be true.

Just because evil things happen to some people doesn’t mean that Brett Kavanaugh did anything evil, or what he has been accused of doing.

Further:  I keep reading and hearing that Dr. Ford’s testimony is “credible.” Based on what evidence? As far as I can tell, there is NO evidence to support her claim, and a great deal to refute or challenge it. Being emotionally compelling is not the same thing as having substantial evidence.

Maybe something happened to her, maybe not. It’s hard to imagine someone subjecting themselves to this scrutiny for light and transient reasons. That said, the “Resistance” is real. So are recovered memories, or flawed ones.

The Democrats in the Senate don’t care (in general) about Dr. Ford’s allegations or about what’s allegedly happened to other women. They care about delaying the vote on confirmation until after the election so they can scuttle the deal. They’re using women to further their own political agenda, and as much as they’ll protest to the contrary, they know all-too-well the dangerous game they’re playing.

They’ve been running this playbook for decades. Senator Lindsey Graham’s righteous outburst demonstrates that the scales have fallen away from Establishment Republicans’ eyes–the old Marquis of Queensbury rules don’t work when the other side will destroy you when it’s politically expedient to do so.

Baseless, misdirected, and/or politically-motivated accusations don’t help anyone. They harm real victims of sexual assault and rape, as well as men who may be entirely innocent. Further, in the Kavanaugh case, they undermine the legitimacy of our already-ossified institutions.

Lincoln on Education

The following is adapted from remarks to the Florence County (SC) Republican Party on the evening of 10 September 2018.  The monthly program featured members of and candidates for the local school board, so I spoke briefly about President Abraham Lincoln’s education, and his views thereof.

We’re gathered here tonight to hear from members of and candidates for School Board; in that spirit, I’d like to speak briefly about education, particularly the education of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.

From what I’ve read, Lincoln’s entire formal education consisted of around a year of schooling.  He would have a week or two here and there throughout his childhood in Kentucky and Indiana, and then return to working on the family’s farm.

Despite little formal education, Lincoln taught himself throughout his life.  He loved to read, and would read deeply on a variety of subjects, obtaining books whenever and wherever he could.  One of his contemporaries commented that “I never saw Abe after he was twelve that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It didn’t seem natural to see a feller read like that.”  When he sat for the bar exam, he’d read law books on his own time to prepare.

Lincoln also believed in education as a source of patriotism, morality, and self-improvement—what we might call “upward mobility.”  He was not a man who wanted to stay on the farm, and his self-education was a means to escape poverty.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to quote Lincoln at length from his 1832 speech “To the People of Sangamo County”:

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves. For my part, I desire to see the time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present, and should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy period.”

Here we can see Lincoln’s belief that education lays the foundation for patriotism—we understand our freedoms better when we understood what they cost, and that others lack them.  We see, too, the power of education to teach us the virtuous and the good.  From that morality flows, as Lincoln said, “sobriety, enterprise, and industry,” the tripartite tools to improve our material conditions.

Patriotism, morality, and industry—these were the three benefits of education Lincoln espoused.  Coming from the man who wrote the Gettysburg Address, I think we should take Lincoln’s views on education seriously.

Global Poverty in Decline

Regular readers know that I frequently cite pollster Scott Rasmussen’s #Number of the Day series from Ballotpedia.  I do so because a.) his numbers often reveal some interesting truths about our world and b.) blogging is, at bottom, the art of making secondary or tertiary commentary on what other, smarter, harder-working people have thought, written, and done.

Yesterday’s #Number of the Day dealt with global poverty; specifically, Americans’ ignorance to the fact that global poverty has declined substantially over the last twenty years.  Indeed, global poverty has been reduced by half in that time.

I’ll confess I was ignorant of the extent of this decline, too, although it makes sense that poverty has decreased, especially when you consider the rise of post-Soviet market economies in Eastern Europe and China’s meteoric rise since the 1980s.

I suspect that the perennial culprit of the Mainstream Media is to blame, in part, for this ignorance, coupled as it is with progressive politicians.  The rise of “democratic socialist” candidates—as well as the lingering effects of the Great Recession—would have Americans believe that the global economy is in terrible shape, and that “underprivileged” parts of the world labor in ever-worsening poverty (so, let’s just move them all here—that’ll solve poverty!).

It’s refreshing to see that capitalism is working its economic magic, and people all over the globe are lifting themselves out of poverty.  If representative republicanism and strong civil societies can take root and flourish in more places, the ingredients will be in place for continued economic and cultural growth.

Democrats Favor Socialism

Republicans and conservatives have long understood that many Democrats [not-so?] secretly harbor a love for socialism, and that socialistic policies are their end-goal.  As I wrote in “Democrats Show Their True Colors,” “democratic” socialism has been growing in popularity in the Democratic Party, and the party has tapped into its progressive roots and lurched violently to the Left.

Scott Rasmussen’s #Number of the Day today backs this trend up with hard numbers.  He writes that 57% of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, while only 47% have a positive view of capitalism.  That 47% figure is down from 56% just two years ago.

71% of Republicans, on the other hand, view capitalism positively, while 16% of RINOs view socialism favorably.  I don’t understand how any Republican can view socialism favorably; I suspect they view “socialism” as “limited government-run enterprises,” like the Tennessee Valley Authority or the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I can’t imagine many of them support true, complete government ownership of property and the means of production.

These trends toward socialism on the Left make Republican victory—as unlikely as it might be—in the 2018 midterm elections all-the-more crucial.

TBT: The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016

Two years ago, during the Second Era of Portliness, I wrote one of my most popular posts ever:  my recommended must-reads for conservatives (and everyone, for that matter).  With school starting back—yesterday!—I decided it was a good time to look back to this classic—nay, timeless—list.  Pick these up as soon as possible, and enjoy some end-of-summer reading.  –TPP

I’m at the beach–at the very desk at which I re-launched this blog after a six-year hiatus–and I figure it’s the perfect occasion to unveil the “Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016.”

The books listed here are among some of my favorites.  I’m not necessarily reading them at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!  These books have shaped my thinking about the many issues I’ve covered over the past two months.  I highly encourage you to check them out.

This picture accurately depicts high school students the night before classes start.
(Image Source:  Original doodle, 23 September 2012)

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some of my all-time favorites:

1.) Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (1948) – I just wrote about this book in my last post (which I encourage you to read), and I’m including it on this list because it’s pretty much required reading, especially if you’re putting yourself through Conservatism 101.  The edition linked here is right around 100 pages, and while it’s a dense read, it’s not so overwhelming that you can’t finish it, making it perfect for long days at the beach.

Weaver’s writing is prophetic, especially if you’ve studied conservative thought, or even if you’ve just experienced a vague, gnawing sense of dislocation in the modern world.  It’s packed–nearly on every page–with brilliant, quotable gems.  I re-read the introduction to the book every August right before school starts back, because it reminds me why I teach, and helps to align my thinking morally and spiritually.

If you read just one book this summer—or even this year—make it Ideas Have Consequences.

2.) Dennis Prager, Still the Best Hope:  Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph (2012) – Few books have shaped my thinking about American values—what they are, why they matter, and why they’re worth defending—more thoroughly than this effort from conservative talk-radio host Dennis Prager.  Prager, a devout Jew with an Ivy League education and rich love of learning, outlines the so-called “American Trinity”—easily found on any coin—and argues that Americans are losing a three-sided battle against the Left and Islamism due to an inability to articulate why American values matter.

The “American Trinity”—liberty, trust in God, and e pluribus unum—is a brilliant and easy-to-digest device for understanding core American values.  In fact, I owe a huge debt to Prager; Still the Best Hope almost directly inspired two of my earliest come-back posts:  the much-read “American Values, American Nationalism,” and the follow-up “Created by Philosophy.”

Prager splits the book into three major sections:  outlines of the threats of radical Islamism and modern progressive Leftism, then an unpacking of the “American Trinity.”  By far, the largest chunk of the book is the second section, which is one of the most effective eviscerations of Leftist assumptions ever written.  It’s so long because it’s extremely thorough and well-documented.

At around 450 pages, it can be a longer read, but it’s written in a pleasing, engaging style.  Prager isn’t a blow-hard like so many talk-radio show hosts, and his inquisitive, inviting voice comes through on the page.  I also love Prager’s mind and the way he approaches topics; check out his other works here.

3.) Roger Kimball, The Long March:  How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America (2001) – If you’ve got some time—and are prepared to be terrified by the excesses of 1960s radicalism and its heroes—you must read this excellent, damning collection of essays.  In fact, everything Kimball writes is required reading (I also recommend The Fortunes of Permanence:  Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia and The Survival of Culture:  Permanent Values in a Virtual Age, both from 2012; the latter is edited by Kimball and includes the works of other writers).

“[E]verything Kimball writes is required reading.”

Long March strips away the romantic facade of 1960s folk heroes and “radical chic” academics, exposing their fraudulent, dangerous theories and their continued influence on American society and institutions.  Kimball isn’t aiming for the easy targets or to satisfy the Sean Hannity crowd; he brings thorough research and intellectual heft to the proceedings.  As an art historian and critic, he offers a perspective that’s often lacking from conservative scholarship, serious or otherwise.

My only real beef with the book is that he takes a very dim view of rock ‘n’ roll.  That being said, his argument against it makes sense, and I can’t help but experience a twinge of introspection now whenever I listen to my beloved classic rock.

Regardless, Kimball is a strong, eloquent writer, and I can almost feel myself getting smarter when I read his works.  I’m currently reading The Rape of the Masters:  How Political Correctness Sabotages Art from 2005, and it’s a linguistic delight.

“If you read just one book this summer–or even this year–make it Ideas Have Consequences.”

Honorable Mention:  Greg Gutfeld, Not Cool:  The Hipster Elite and Their War on You (2015) – if you want a summer read that’s quick, digestible, and absolutely hilarious, pick up Not Cool.  Greg Gutfeld, co-host of Fox News’s The Five and former host of the excellent late-late-late-night round-table discussion show Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, offers an unusual thesis:  everything awful that’s ever been done—such as adopting wasteful, inefficient, and redistributive government programs—for the past fifty years or so has been because people are afraid to look uncool.

It’s oddly compelling.  When you think about it, no one wants to be left out, and the Left constantly bludgeons society with the idea that if you don’t uncritically accept that the government should solve all of our problems through coercion (“compassion”), then you’re a mean, stingy racist.  If the parade of A-list celebrities at the Democratic National Convention last week (and the smaller cavalcade of B-list celebrities at the Republican National Convention the week before) is any indication, then it’s clear that it’s “cool” to be a progressive, but lethally uncool to be a conservative.  After all, what’s “cool” about saying no to “free” stuff?

Not Cool is a quick read, and Gutfeld’s humor and insight crackle on every page.  Sometimes you won’t know whether you should laugh or cry.

***

So, there’s your summer reading for 2016.  We’ve still got about a month of summertime fun left (although I’ll be heading back to the classroom in just a couple of weeks), so grab some of these books before you head out of town.  You’ll be glad you did.

Back to School with Richard Weaver

Every year, I try to sit down and re-read at least the introduction to Richard Weaver’s seminal Ideas Have Consequences, probably the most powerful book I’ve ever read.  I tend to undertake this re-reading around the time school resumes, as it helps remind me why I teach.

In addition to Ideas Have Consequences, Weaver wrote some of the most eloquent essays on the South—and what it means to be Southern—in the twentieth century.  In 2014, I posted the following quotation on Facebook; I will allow it to speak for itself.

I’m undertaking my annual baptism in the works of Richard Weaver to focus my philosophical thinking for a rapidly approaching school year, and, as always, I’m presented with an embarrassment of riches. Few thinkers cram so many nuggets of truth into so little space. Every paragraph of Weaver’s writings yields insights that speak to the very heart of humanity.

Here’s an excerpt from “The South and the American Union,” an essay from _The Southern Essays of Richard Weaver_, published posthumously in 1987. It might clarify a few things for some of my Yankee friends who have expressed a certain bafflement with Southern mores and attitudes…:

“The Southern world-outlook was much like that which [Oswald] Spengler describes as the Apollonian. It knew nothing of infinite progressions but rather loved fixed limits in all things; it rejected the idea of ceaseless becoming in favor of ‘simple accepted statuesque becomeness.’ It saw little point in restless striving, but desired a permanent settlement, a coming to terms with nature, a recognition of what is in its self-sustaining form. The Apollonian feeling, as Spengler remarks, is of a world of ‘coexistent individual things,’ and it is tolerant as a matter of course. Other things are because they have to be; one marks their nature and their limits and learns to get along with them. The desire to dominate and proselytize is foreign to it. As Spengler further adds, ‘there are no Classical world-improvers.’ From this comes the Southern kind of tolerance, which has always impressed me as fundamentally different from the Northern kind. It is expressed in the Southerner’s easy-going ways and his willingness to things grow where they sprout. He accepts the irremediability of a certain amount of evil and tries to fence it around instead of trying to stamp it out and thereby spreading it. His is a classical acknowledgment of tragedy and of the limits of power.

“This mentality is by nature incompatible with its great rival, the Faustian. Faustian man is essentially a restless striver, a yearner after the infinite, a hater of stasis, a man who is unhappy unless he feels that he is making the world over. He may talk much of tolerance, but for him tolerance is an exponent of power. His tolerance tolerates only the dogmatic idea of tolerance, as anyone can discover for himself by getting to know the modern humanitarian liberal. For different opinions and ways of life he has no respect, but hostility or contemptuous indifference, until the day when they can be brought around to conform to his own. Spengler describes such men as torn with the pain of ‘seeing men be other than they would have them be and the utterly un-Classical desire to devote their life to their reformation.’ It happened that Southern tolerance, standing up for the right to coexistence of its way of life, collided at many points with the Faustian desire to remove all impediments to its activity and make over things in its own image. Under the banner first of reform and then of progress, the North challenged the right to continue of a civilization based on the Classical ideal of fixity and stability….”

There are so many great passages I could cite (“Man [to the Southerner] is a mixture of good and evil, and he can never be perfected in this life. The notion of his natural goodness is a delusive theory which will blow up any social order that is predicated upon it. Far from being a vessel of divinity, as the New England Transcendentalists taught, he is a container of cussedness.”), for almost all of Weaver is quotable.

Historical Moment – The Formation of the Republican Party

I’ve missed two days—this past Friday and yesterday—due to back-to-school insanity, coupled with returning to my flood-prone abode (and celebrating my niece’s third birthday).  School starts back Wednesday, and some online courses I teach at a local technical college launched yesterday, so I may be adopting a new posting schedule soon—probably one or two pieces a week, or some shorter posts.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a transcript of remarks I gave to the Florence County Republican Party last night.  Our guest speaker for our monthly program was South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick, a man with a genius for grassroots organizing.  As such, I decided to talk about the formation of the Republican Party back in 1854.  Enjoy!  –TPP

There is some disagreement about exactly when and where the Republican Party first originated.  The national GOP website says the Party came into being in Jackson, Michigan, on 6 July 1854.  The anti-slavery convention, also called the “Under the Oaks” convention because the conventioneers met in an oak grove, nominated statewide candidates, and their Convention Platform read, “we will cooperate and be known as REPUBLICANS.”

The South Carolina GOP website, on the other hand, points to a meeting in Ripon, Wisconsin, earlier in 1854, where a group of abolitionists met to fight the expansion of slavery, although it also mentions the Jackson, Michigan convention was when the Party was “formally organized.”  Two years later, Philadelphia hosted the first Republican National Convention, which nominated John C. Fremont as the first Republican candidate for President.

Regardless of where the GOP formally began, the climate for its formation was eerily similar to our own political situation.  The “peculiar institution” of slavery bitterly divided the country.  The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the brainchild of Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, proposed applying “popular sovereignty” to western territories; essentially, territories would decide whether to allow slavery, or remain “free soil.”

That Act embroiled Kansas in a bloody guerrilla war between pro-slavery “Fire-Eaters” and radical abolitionists, the latter of whom sent “Beecher’s Bibles”—rifles—to free soilers attempting to keep the territory free.  In 1856, John Brown, the deranged abolitionist, and his sons massacred pro-slavery advocates with swords in the Pottawatomie Massacre, a retaliation for an earlier attack on the abolitionists.

The old Whig Party, originally organized in protest over the policies Democratic President Andrew Jackson, collapsed over the issue of slavery and “popular sovereignty.”  The conditions were ripe for a new party to emerge, one dedicated to “Free Soil, Free Labor, and Free Men” (not quite as catchy as “Make America Great Again,” but it explained the Republican Party’s platform succinctly).

Over the course of the 1850s, the young Republican Party spread rapidly throughout Northern States, bringing together abolitionists, anti-slavery Democrats, and other constituencies disillusioned with the Democratic Party’s policies on slavery and the economy.  The Republican Party from its inception opposed the expansion, if not always the outright abolition, of slavery, and hoped to keep it out of any new territories.  Southern Democrats so feared a Republican victory, they threatened to secede from the Union should a Republican President be elected.

Of course, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican elected in a four-way race in 1860—the Democratic Party split into Northern and Southern wings, while the Constitutional Union Party gained votes in the Upper South and Appalachia—and South Carolina seceded in December 1860.

Our first President was a good one, though, and the Republican Party has endured ever since, continuing to fight for the unborn, the working man and woman, and the values that make our country great.

TBT: Kid Rock – The People’s Senator

Michigan held its primaries Tuesday, and Trump-backed candidate John James won the Republican Party’s nomination for US Senate.  In that spirit—and in the spirit of how often pundits like myself—and especially myself—get it wrong, today’s TBT TPP looks back to my piece from July 2017 about rap-rocker Kid Rock‘s short-lived—and insincere—candidacy for Senate.

When Rock announced, I believed he was completely serious—and the prospect excited me.  Like a number of other conservative commentators, I got caught up in the hype, not to mention the sheer spectacle, of a potential Kid Rock Senate run.  I went so far to order a “Kid Rock for US Senate” bumper sticker that still graces my van’s liftgate (that set me back about $12 after the outrageous shipping costs).

There’s a cautionary tale here, and it’s an important counterpoint to yesterday’s post’s plea for conservatives to support some of our less orthodox warriors, like Milo Yiannopoulos.  There is a tendency on the more populist-leaning Right to fall for the charms of the “conservative celebrity” du jour—Ben Carson back in 2014-15, Sarah Palin in 2008, Chris Christie during his first gubernatorial run, Milo, etc.  Indeed, we elected Donald Trump—more of an anti-Leftist than a Buckleyite conservative—President of the United States (woo-hoo!).

The point is, we shouldn’t always begin thrusting political ambitions upon everyone roughly to the right of the Clintons who enjoy pop culture success and some name recognition.  We are, understandably, starved for celebrities on the Right—that’s why Kanye West’s endorsement of Trump and their shared “dragon energy” excited so many of us—but for most local, State, and even federal elections, voters tend to want someone who will actually represent their interests, not just a cool, hilarious figure.

Of course, I still think Kid Rock should have run, and I feel a bit betrayed (and more than a little foolish) that he was having a laugh at us the whole time.  He certainly made his potential candidacy sound quite serious, and I still believe that, had he run, he would have had an excellent chance of unseating the Democratic incumbent, Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Political wags and armchair pundits–like yours truly–have been abuzz about the possibility of a Kid Rock Senate run in 2018.  He’d be running against Democratic incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow–if he can win the Republican primaries–in a Trump-style insurgency campaign.

Immediate speculation focused on Kid Rock’s website, www.kidrockforsenate.com, and whether or not the Detroit rocker was serious, or just boosting publicity for his music.  Kid Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) is offering campaign apparel on the website, including bumper stickers.

I purchased a bumper sticker ($5… plus $6.99 shipping) and it billed to Warner Brothers, not a “Kid Rock for Senate” campaign committee.  Nevertheless, Kid Rock appears to be serious:  he’s made an announcement at www.kidrock.com (link).

The announcement is straight out of Trump’s playbook:  he goes after “fake news,” promises to be “a voice for tax paying, hardworking AMERICANS,” and invokes “We the People.”

Kid Rock is a populist at heart, and we’re living in a populist moment.

There’s not much to add to what’s already been said, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Kid Rock should definitely run–and I think he can win.  As Michigan native Jordan Gehrke writes at The Federalist:

“The Michigan Senate race will be the most-watched campaign in America in 2018 if he runs. It’s got everything: celebrity, a battleground Trump won in 2016 and must win again to get re-elected, a conventional, disciplined, well-funded Democrat, a re-run of 2016, and a trailer for 2020, all rolled into one.”  (Link)

Naturally, the Establishment is poo-pooing Kid Rock’s potential run as the “dumbing down” of America.  Sure, he’s crude, he’s crass, he’s kind of trashy–but he really seems to care about the people of Michigan.  And they love him.  While it’s unlikely that any Republican will ever win Detroit in its current state, none has the opportunity to suck up votes in the city better than hometown hero Kid Rock.  With the support from rural Michigan–bona fide Trump Country–Kid Rock could best a powerful, well-funded Democratic incumbent.  A new poll from the Trafalgar Group has Kid Rock winning the Republican primary against potential opponents handily, and within the margin of error against Stabenow

Kid Rock is a populist at heart, and we’re living in a populist moment.  His care for the common man shows in his music career; for years, he’s been giving big concerts (with some big-name opening acts, like Foreigner) for just $20 a ticket.  In the face of ever-rising concert ticket prices, that concern for his fans’ wallets spoke volumes.  That’s the same kind of connection with the “little guy” that could propel him into office on a platform of government transparency and reform.

Regardless, one thing is for sure–if Kid Rock runs, 2018 will be the most exciting midterm election season in years.