AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel
The obvious frontrunners (though one has not officially announced his candidacy) for the 2024 GOP presidential ticket made important statements this week worth understanding, for they both identified precisely what our country needs from politicians these days. Ronald Reagan’s famous line about the nine most frightening words in the English language—“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you”—is still valid. But it is always important to remember what the first duty of government is: the provision of order and protection from enemies.
Former President Donald Trump released a campaign video on Thursday decrying the fact that the U. S. has “never been closer to World War III than we are today under Joe Biden” and calling for immediate peace in Ukraine. Trump said that making Russia out to be our greatest opponent now is a distorted way of thinking—and explained what is:
“But the greatest threat to Western Civilization today is not Russia. It’s probably, more than anything else, ourselves and some of the horrible, U.S.A. hating people that represent us. It’s the abolition of our national borders. It’s the failure to police our own cities. It’s the destruction of the rule of law from within. It’s the collapse of the nuclear family and fertility rates, like nobody can believe is happening. It’s the Marxists who would have us become a Godless nation worshipping at the altar of race, and gender, and environment. And it’s the globalist class that has made us totally dependent on China and other foreign countries that basically hate us.”
He identified “the State department, the defense bureaucracy, and the intelligence services” as the place any future president will need to start to protect us.
Predictably, figures from the left-wing peanut gallery, such as the HuffPost’s Ron Dicker considered this list to mean “anyone real or imagined who doesn’t like Donald Trump.” But anyone with a fifth-grade reading ability can see that the problem with those named by the former president is not that they don’t like him, but that these figures are indeed using power to wreck our country at almost every level.
For this writer, President Trump’s words came toward the end of a week of thinking about this precise topic. Having moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2022, my family and I took a spring break road trip to see all our family and friends in the North Star state. Though the snow and ice were a shock to the system after leaving 80-degree days in southeast Texas, what was most shocking was seeing and hearing how the Minnesota DFL (Democrats), having control of both houses of the legislature and the governorship after the 2022 elections, have continued to turn Minnesota from the famed “state that works” to a kind of frozen California. Politically, it’s now the state where it’s always winter and never Christmas.
When we moved last year, I wrote about how DFL leadership had wrecked that “most livable city” of Saint Paul. Returning less than a year later to Minnesota’s capital, it only seemed to be getting worse. Not only did the city set another murder record in 2022, but friends were talking about a student stabbed to death in February at a Saint Paul high school. The war-torn nature of schools was matched by the massive potholes that make the roads and streets appear as if Saint Paul were actually the site of a war. DFL Mayor Melvin Carter’s proposal to fix them is to add one percent to the city’s sales tax, making it the highest rate in the state—this on top of a double-digit property tax this past year for Saint Paul’s Ramsey County.
Minnesotans hoping to avoid the destruction of Saint Paul and the even worse Minneapolis have little hope, however. DFL control of the state is now complete. Instead of focusing on getting control of crime, they are busy trying to eliminate no-knock warrants. One Minnesota school administrator told me that retention of teachers has been difficult of late due to state rules limiting the types of punishments students can receive—with the result that disorderly and even violent school behavior is increasing. Instead of fixing this, Minnesota legislators are pushing a bill through that would require that Critical Race Theory is being taught in a mandatory “ethnic studies” class for high school students and an ethnic studies curriculum (the details of which will be decided without any public input by activists and legislators) that will be integrated into all Minnesota education.
Instead of trying to make Minnesota again a state that works, they are busy trying to stop things from working in the name of climate change. In the last month, state leaders have proposed bills to ban gas-powered lawnmowers, allow state bureaucrats to ban natural gas hook-ups in new homes, and enact a California Fuel Standard that Center for the American Experiment analyst Isaac Orr calls “even crazier than California.”
Most disturbing of all, Minnesota governor Tim Walz issued a public order concerning “gender-affirming care” that will now make the state a center of mutilation of children with gender dysphoria. Walz’s order applies to adults and minors alike, puts pressure on insurers to cover such treatments, and declares that out-of-state parents whose children have come to Minnesota for such treatment against the parents’ wishes will not be helped in stopping their children. Parents’ rights stop at the Minnesota border. State House and Senate bills that will reaffirm this order are now in the works, too.
As a friend said to us on Thursday night, the same day President Trump released his video, “More people will be moving to Texas with you.”
Indeed they are. Minnesota’s migration to other states in 2021-2022 was 19,400 people—the tenth-largest in the U. S. and the largest number in over three decades for the state. Texas was the third most popular destination for Minnesotans. First was the free state of Florida.
Which brings us to the unannounced but almost certain candidacy of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In an appearance on Glenn Beck’s show, DeSantis pithily summed up exactly why people from blue states such as Minnesota and California are moving to places like the Sunshine State: “We’re creating a model for what a free society should be. Yes: freedom for you to not be constrained by government—all conservatives have always believed that—but also freedom for you to live your life without having the pathologies of the Left imposed upon you from all the other institutions in society.”
We miss our friends in Minnesota desperately, but we see how the pathologies of the left are being inflicted on them in ways much greater than in our new red state home. I’m glad that the two frontrunners for the highest office in the land recognize that the great task before our country is to protect us from the pathologically corrupt institutions that plague us.
What Trump and DeSantis know, every GOP politician in the country ought to take to heart. We sure don’t want you to show up to the door offering to help us. But we do want you to beat back the left-wing institutions and government agencies that are wreaking havoc on American lives.
David P. Deavel teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative.