The Republican Party is changing, and voters should be encouraged by some of the people throwing their hats in the ring for 2022. Thinking about the coming election cycle, I recalled comments made by Eric Weinstein in an interview with Glenn Beck. There are a fair number of leaders in Washington, D.C., who were born before 1950. The United States must get back about the business of innovation, according to Weinstein. Despite my baseline political differences with him, on this point I fundamentally agree.
To do this, we need people in government who understand technology and business in the 21st Century. Currently, the Biden administration is offering solutions that are relics of the early-to-mid-20th Century. It is a strange thing indeed that the policies presented, such as unconditioned welfare, government jobs programs, massive government spending, and compulsory unionization inside traditional employment arrangements, are the ideas of people who term themselves “progressives.”
There is nothing progressive about looking in the rearview mirror for solutions to many of the issues we face today. Likewise, the Republicans stuck in solutions that worked in the ’80s or “compassionate” conservatism need to update their programming, especially if they find the culture wars distasteful and long for CNN to say nice things about them. Politico has already lamented conservatives becoming the “Barstool Party.” We need to embrace that idea and relish being the new counter-culture.
The shifting landscape is part of why three current campaigns for 2022 are so exciting and encouraging. All three of the candidates below are running for the Senate, and two of them aim to flip a current Democrat seat. All three will need to win a primary race first, but they are the type of candidates we need in droves now and from now on. Young, accomplished, and successful outside of politics, they would bring a different and necessary perspective to Washington.
J.D. Vance – Ohio Senate Race
Our brilliant editor, Paula Bolyard, wrote a thoughtful piece about state-level politics in the primary and general for this race. Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance brings a unique mix of personal and professional experience to the political arena. When the establishment on the Left points out that he did not support President Trump in 2016, it should make you look twice. Vance scares them because he has moved in their circles and understands how they think.
From humble beginnings in Appalachia that included his own fair share of tragedy to graduating Yale Law School, Vance’s story is pure America. He worked in Peter Thiel’s venture capital business focused on biotech and other cutting-edge industries. He moved back to Ohio and started Narya Capital. Vance is an eloquent advocate for working-class Americans who grew up watching the industrial base in the Midwest get hollowed out, leaving many Americans behind.
Vance is intelligent and he remains plain-spoken. Undeterred, he knows the knives will be out for him during the campaign from both sides of the aisle. Taking on Big Tech and moving away from strict free-market orthodoxy are two things he believes the Republican Party needs to embrace. Vance supported President Trump in 2020 and appears to have absorbed many of the America First ideas from his administration.
Blake Masters – Arizona Senate Race
Blake Masters is another smart, articulate Thiel alum. He is COO of the Thiel Foundation and is behind the program that pays kids not to go to college. He believes some of the particular threats we face today are illegal immigration, rising crime, and anti-law enforcement rhetoric. Masters says these problems are not a mystery, and we need leaders with the courage to address them no matter what names the media and Democrats may call them.
He is frustrated with the continuation of a Republican Party that hasn’t updated from Reaganite philosophy and refuses to recognize the threat from China. Masters is also exceptionally articulate on the threats from Big Tech and has deep experience working in Silicon Valley. One of his ideas is banning the business model used by Google and others that leverages volumes of users’ personal data.
When asked by Tucker Carlson why he was running, Masters said he sees the current moment as an all-out war on the middle class. He talks about admiring Senators Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton and believing America is still a center-right nation that deserves to be leveled with about the issues we face. He feels compelled to run now because most politicians suffer from groupthink and suffer from being consultant-managed.
Kelvin King – Georgia Senate Race
Kelvin King has not worked for Peter Thiel, but he has a great personal story and the professional chops to have an impact. King was raised by a single mom. His mother and grandmother instilled a set of values that propelled King to getting appointed to the United States Air Force Academy, where he was an All-Conference football player. After five years of service, he left with the rank of captain and went to work in corporate America.
King returned to his native Georgia and began working for an international construction firm. He was named one of the top 20 under 40 by Engineering News-Record, the leading publication in the construction industry, and Manager of the Year by his firm. Eventually, he left and started his construction firm, Osprey Management.
According to King’s website, he is running because he is frustrated with the dismantling of the America First agenda, the crisis at our border, and the degradation of our military. King speaks openly about overcoming poverty:
Statistically speaking, I shouldn’t have made it. I truly am a product of the American dream, which makes me the fiercest defender of freedom, opportunity, and American exceptionalism.
You could also make a bet King has a record of bringing projects in ahead of time and under budget and he might know a thing or two about infrastructure. We need more level-headed business sense from people who understand making and delivering on commitments. At the recent Georgia GOP Convention, King came in second to Herschel Walker by one point in the straw poll. Trump has said Walker will run, but to date, there has not been an announcement. Maybe someone let him know we have a tremendous native Georgian ready to take on Senator Raphael Warnock.
2022 will be here faster than you think, and these are three interesting candidates on the ballot. All three indicate a shift to a working- and middle-class base whose needs have not been served by the Republican establishment in recent years. They also have the authenticity and sincerity we sorely need more of in Washington, D.C.