Robby Starbuck and the 2022 'MAGA wave'

The Post Millennial caught up with Robby Starbuck to talk about his ideas for this new movement within conservatism.
Libby Emmons
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has promised that the GOP will take the House in 2022. The party of Lincoln made a strong showing in the 2020 elections, picking up six House seats overall for a total of 202 seats to Dems 2019.

If they're going to have any luck fulfilling McCarthy's pledge for the 2022 midterms and gain those 17 seats, the party is going to have to reconcile and embrace the Trump supporters who made their voices known over the last four years, and aren't willing to slide back into the wood grain.

Robby Starbuck, filmmaker and political commentator, is one of those who intends to take the House with a 2022 "MAGA wave." He plans to run for a seat in Nashville, Tenn., currently occupied by Jim Cooper. Cooper has been in Congress for 16 terms, and according to Stabuck, he completely ignores the black and Hispanic population within his district, simply counting on their traditionally Democrat vote.

The Post Millennial caught up with Starbuck to talk about his ideas for this new movement within conservatism.

TPM: How much of this movement is about Trump and what is considered to be his cult of personality?

Starbuck: This new conservative movement isn't about Trump—it never was. The left believes in Trump's cult of personality more than anyone I know on the Republican side does. He saw what was happening in America and that there was this large group of people who felt like their rights were constantly being overlooked.

We've spent four years hearing about how people who voted for Trump are extremists, but the reality is they are pragmatic people who are conservative in many ways, but who are also liberal in many areas, like with free speech.

They want to be able to say what they want and have robust debate without being shut down. We don't want to burn books, we want people to have information. We value people's individual liberties to the degree that it doesn't matter if they oppose us or not, we want them to be free.

TPM: That used to be such a leftist position, and now it's not a leftist position at all. What do you think happened there?

Starbuck: I think they got in bed with corporations and Big Tech to a degree that became about money and outcomes and power instead of about people. On the right, we started, really the victims of alot of globalism and corporatism, people who traditionally voted Republican.

TPM: Who are these people?

Starbuck: Interestingly there are alot of minorities in Southern states who voted more Republican this time than they have in modern history.

And also the groups that were hurt most by globalism and corporatism started to bleed off into the Republican party, people who hadn't before. Like union members.

One thing that was unattractive about Republicans before was their closeness with big business, but Republicans have started to become more and more the small business, and the party of individual rights. Republicans became more accepting around issues that maybe in the past had pushed people away, like gay marriage.

I believe in individual rights, so I don't care if you're gay or not, you have the right as a consenting adult to be recognized in a union by the state no matter what.

You don't need to have a moral conversation about people getting married when you're the government. Churches can do what they want. And that's why on one side, I'm totally gay marriage on the government side and with churches I'm also pro freedom of religion.

Supporting individual rights is not hard. If you're consistent, it's actually pretty easy. You just have to fairly call balls and strikes.

TPM: Fairly calling balls and strikes is really not something we've seen much of in a fairly long time. You'd mentioned you thought we'd see a "MAGA wave" in 2022.

Starbuck: I think we're going to see a huge group of candidates who more accurately represent the platform Trump ran on in 2020. There's some in this cycle already, like Lauren Boebert in Colorado, Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina. Even people who lost, like Kim Klacik in Maryland. She's very pragmatic, and has different policy ideas that are not traditionally GOP establishment policies, and that's a good thing.

You need to be able to have the sense to be a realist with our economy while at the same time being unable to try new things that could fix things that are broken. Klacik wasn't traditional in alot of her approaches, but she was trying new things, and I think that's something we have to celebrate, and bring in the people who feel left out.

TPM: We hear so much from the left about the people who are disenfranchised primarily on account of discrimination against their identity. On what basis do the new conservatives who were ushered into public view under Trump feel left out?

Starbuck: What's interesting is that I don't think we've ever seen more racial unity on the right than you have right now. What we've seen and what we've focused in on is that a large number of these people feel left out and left behind by all of the pillars that leftists and Democrats control, like media, Big Tech, Hollywood, academia, they've all reflected back to them values that we are unfamiliar with and that we don't agree with.

I think that's something that has led those pillars to discriminate wholesale against us, and against the normal way of life that most Americans were accustomed to.

Take for instance the word Latinx. PEW Research did a poll of Latinos, and then Think Progress did a poll, and something like 98 percent in one poll and 97 percent in the other of Latinos did not want to be called Latinx. But if you go to any mainstream news site, or you watch tv, or go to any university, the term you will hear is Latinx.

TPM: It's like somebody just decided.

Starbuck: Exactly. And they just decide these things for you, as though "we're your betters, we're going to decide these things for you." And I think that's what people were really sick of, other people deciding what's best for us.

Being Latino, I know that every Latino person I know, and the people in my family, it's like a joke. Nobody wants to be called that, it's ridiculous. The only people that I know of who want to be called this are people that go to UCLA, that are 18, that have lived a very privileged life. And the only people that I hear use the term are usually white Democrats.

The left has just decided that they know what's best for a whole group of people who already, by the way, have gender neutral terms, like Latin, or Hispanic.

Yet they just make this stuff up and it's part of their cultural revolution. That's what people really push back against, that cultural revolution on the left that thinks that it can just make up the rules for everybody.

TPM: What are some of the rights, coming into this, that people on the right are worried they could lose under Joe Biden?

Starbuck: Things like contact tracing, or mask mandates, I firmly believe the government doesn't have the wholesale right to say "y'know what? I can force you to put this on your face," whether they work or not. You have to let adults make adult choices.

And we all should be able to speak freely without having our lives torn apart by it. People see how the power structure on the left caters to Big Tech, and I think they fear the loss of their republic to a group of people that hate them.

The power of Big Tech is only growing, and there's a reason they supported Biden, because they feel their power will only grow and thrive.

TPM: Trump coalesced alot of ideas that are now part of this movement, and his supporters had four years during which their concerns were reflected at the highest levels of government. How are they going to react without that reflection, and with the dearth of media that offers them a hearing as well?

Starbuck: People have recognized their power to control what happens in the Republican party. They haven't fully understood yet how we can leverage it, but I do think that in 2022 you'll see a rejection of candidates that don't reflect their values.

And I think in 2024, no matter who is running on the Republican side, a rejection of— I've heard some rumours of people like Romney or people like that thinking they can make a run, and I think it's just laughable to me. There's literally no support for these people.

The people who show up and volunteer and are out there to change hearts, change minds, change votes, I don't know of one that supports Mitt Romney or any of these old school GOP establishment guys, none.

They all know what their values are and they know what they want and I think that's really important because if you don't know what you want because you haven't seen it before, it's kind of harder to request it. But having seen what they wanted, not only can they request it, but they can expand on it.

One thing some might say they want is someone who is a different kind of communicator, because some might be turned off by Trump's communication style but to be perfectly honest I love how blunt he is because you always know where he stands. We need more of that maybe with the addition of more eloquently explaining policy positions.

In terms of all of the threats and all of the crazy stuff that they're doing, the list making of AOC and threats against future employment from Jake Tapper, this is the stuff of communists and fascists, not Americans.

The most laughable part is, what else are they going to do? They've spent four years doing this to us already, they've threatened our families, they've threatened us, they're threatened our jobs, they've gotten people fired, they've gone on social media crusades against every single one of us, what else can they do to us, short of rounding us up and throwing us in camps? I don't say that seriously as if they're going to do it, because they're not that stupid, but I'm saying what else can they do?

These are empty threats, but it does do one very important thing, it makes it crystal clear what their impulses are, and their impulses are the same type of impulses that we've seen from fascists and communists in the past who destroy their people.

TPM: Do you think that's what they want to do?

Starbuck: I don't even think they recognize that's what they want to do. But that's what, in effect, their policies and what they talk about. They talk about things being for the greater good. Alot of times good intentions lead to very bad things.

My family came from Cuba, where alot of people had really good intentions about the revolution, and their intentions were pure and it was that they wanted fairness, and they wanted everybody to have food and a home and healthcare, and you can have great intentions but they end in really destructive ways, and that's what happened in Cuba, they gave power to a group of people who were fundamentally violent, hateful people.

They murdered innocent women, children, and men who opposed them. The thing people miss sometimes when they think that it couldn't happen in America or it couldn't happen that quickly is that no one thought it could happen in Cuba, no one thought it could happen that quickly.

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