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Is Ammon Bundy the Trump of Idaho?
How desperate are the times?
In September of 2016, the Republican Party was grappling with the fact that a crass New York billionaire and tabloid staple was their nominee for President of the United States. Few believed he could win, and many longtime Republicans were embarrassed. Why did the party of Reagan, Bush, and Romney nominate Donald Trump rather than a good young statesman like Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, or Marco Rubio, especially when this was the most important election in our lifetimes?
Pundits like Jonah Goldberg, who once wrote a book saying that Hillary Clinton was a liberal fascist, were telling us that Trump would be so bad that it would be preferable for Hillary Clinton to win!
It was in this context that Michael Anton wrote a then-anonymous piece called The Flight 93 Election. Anton’s thesis was that, despite warning for years that our republic was at stake, Republicans kept nominating candidates who would do little to save it. Anton said that here was a chance to take drastic action to preserve our country, and voters responded. Like the passengers of United Flight 93 in 2001, who realized that Al Qaeda hijackers had turned their aircraft into a missile destined for the Capitol or the White House, voters in 2016 charged the metaphorical cockpit and sent Donald Trump to the White House.
Here in Idaho, conservative voters face a similar choice. Voters must decide if the stakes are high enough to roll the dice on another inexperienced and outspoken candidate who promises to take drastic action to save our society. Ammon Bundy has positioned himself as the conservative alternative to Governor Brad Little, but does his past turn off too many potential voters?
Brad Little is a standard 20th century Republican who supports low taxes, cutting red tape, and subsidizing private enterprise. He has spoken out against the tyranny of the Biden regime as well as the porous southern border. He generally stays out of culture war issues, though he did sign several laws restricting abortion as well as a law protecting girls’ sports. If it had not been for the Covid lockdowns, Governor Little would probably get high marks from most conservative pundits and voters.
It was his decisions regarding the lockdown that frustrated conservatives in Idaho. He issued a stay at home order on March 25, 2020, which was carried out by various public health districts and municipalities throughout the state. The order declared non-essential businesses closed, and said that “people must limit” discretionary travel and non-essential gatherings. He even ordered churches to shut their doors.
Several churchgoers in Moscow were arrested when they decided to hold an outdoor service. Little declined to intervene, refusing even to take a stand with the bully pulpit. He issued one mealy-mouthed statement several days later in which he defended the police and city officials who ordered the arrests.
When Sara Brady was arrested for taking her children to a public park in Meridian, Little again refused to intervene. She continues to be persecuted to this day as the justice department continually reschedules hearings, forcing her to pay tens of thousands in legal fees. Just like in Biden’s America, the process is the punishment.
Governor Little also seems unaware or unconcerned about the spread of radical woke ideologies within our state bureaucracy. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is acting as Pfizer’s marketing arm on one hand while supplying public schools with porn literacy and queer theory curricula from Planned Parenthood on the other. The buck stops with the governor, but he seems that he (and many other state leaders) would prefer ignore this growing problem and pretend it does not exist.
Little put out a statement Friday in which he took a stand against the CDC’s order that Covid vaccines be added to the routine childhood schedule. While commendable, he has still done nothing to protect Idaho citizens from employer mandates. He vetoed a bill that would have done just that, presumably at the behest of the big business lobbyists that have his ear.
During the lockdown, Governor Little declared a state of emergency so as to receive and allocate federal funds to mitigate the pandemic. Rather than calling the legislature back into session to get input from the peoples’ representatives, Little decided to simply manage the crisis himself. Perhaps a single leader is more efficient at managing an emergency than having to build a consensus with 105 separate people, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right. The State Constitution seems to clearly say that a state of emergency can only be extended past sixty days with a vote of the legislature, but the AG Lawrence Wasden advised Little that it doesn’t really say that, and he could keep the emergency enacted indefinitely.
As he has campaigned for reelection, Little claims he never shut down the state, twisting the definition of words in a way that would make Bill Clinton blush. He refused to debate either of his primary opponents nor his opponents in the general election. Instead, he is counting on incumbency bias, millions of dollars from IACI and other big business lobbies, and a compliant press that paints his most outspoken opponent as too extreme for Idaho.
Which brings us to the question at hand for conservative voters: Are we in such dire straits that we should turn to Ammon Bundy? Are we, like the passengers on Michael Anton’s metaphorical Flight 93, in such desperate times that we must take desperate action to save our state?
I know many very intelligent and wise conservative patriots who come down on both sides of this issue. For some, Bundy’s history of confronting law enforcement and getting himself arrested is an absolute deal-breaker, and I understand that. For others, his willingness to challenge the system is precisely why they support him. I get that too.
Sara Brady, in her third year of prosecution by the state for taking her children to a park, understandably supports him:
Doug Traubel, former sheriff candidate and an extremely intelligent student of history, expressed his support this week:
On the other side, former Idaho GOP Chairman Trent Clark posted an essay accusing Bundy of being a fraud:
One Twitter commenter even suggested that Bundy is a fed:
Bundy himself responded to my formulation of the choice voters face:
One thing I can say about Ammon Bundy is that he is not afraid to defend his positions. This week he went on TimcastIRL for a two hour open-ended conversation in which he did an admirable job of defending his pro-life philosophy as well as his experience with federal law enforcement. I enjoy Tim Pool’s show because it’s an opportunity to see national figures such as Kari Lake, Charlie Kirk, or even country star John Rich really dig deep into the issues rather than just appear for a five minute clip on Tucker. It is hard to imagine Governor Little putting himself in such a position; most politicians do not like the idea of participating in a discussion format like this that lacks the usual controls and boundaries that they usually enjoy.
Another factor to consider is the relationship of the legislature with the gentleman on the second floor. The incoming Senate is expected to be much more conservative than in recent years, and they will likely send some great legislation to the governor’s desk. Will Little sign it, or will he refuse to budge? What would the relationship be between the legislature and Governor Ammon Bundy? Will they work with him at all? Or will they do their best to stymie him, as the US Congress led by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell did in Trump’s first two years?
Ammon Bundy is one of the few high-profile candidates to call attention to the problems within our own state, such as the way our public education system has partnered with IDHW and Planned Parenthood to indoctrinate our children with deviant ideas. I sorely wish more Republicans would speak this boldly about this:
As I said above, your decision this election comes down to your evaluation of the state of our state. Are we in such dire straits that we must turn to a man such as Ammon Bundy? Or are we mostly okay under a standard Republican politician like Brad Little? Can we wait another four years for Raúl Labrador, Russ Fulcher, or another conservative rock star to run for governor?
I have personally attended several Bundy events. His volunteers, his supporters, and the man himself all come across as good, salt-of-the-earth patriotic Americans. I like a lot of what Bundy says - about banning abortion, about reclaiming state lands, about cleaning out the state bureaucracy - but I understand that voting for him personally is a bridge too far for many conservatives. Will another candidate pick up what he’s laying down, or is this our best shot?
I cannot answer that question for you, but I hope this formulation helps you with your own decision. Our nation is at a turning point, and we need to make our red states into impenetrable bastions of liberty. Will that aim be better served with Brad Little or Ammon Bundy? It is up to you to decide on November 8th.
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