Just a few months ago, I wrote about “coming out” as a conservative/constitutionalist Republican after years of writing in anonymity. As I’m also a musician, I’d had professional reasons for keeping quiet about my politics; namely, not wanting to alienate those who were left of center, especially fans (and potential fans), other musicians, record buyers (an endangered species as it is) and others who might unfriend/blacklist me. Believe me, I see enough rabidly anti-Trump posts on Facebook and elsewhere to know that this could very well happen. But during the Kavanaugh hearings, something snapped, and I realized the future of the Republic was too important for me to keep my views “in the closet.”
So I wrote about politics under my own name for the first time, here on the Mike Huckabee website. And in the hope of inspiring some of my left-of-center friends to think for themselves, I bought a #WalkAway t-shirt, which I’ve worn a few times but plan to wear a lot more now that warm weather is on its way. Brandon Straka (rhymes with “walk,” as the last “a” isn’t pronounced), founder of the #WalkAway Campaign, is my hero.
That’s especially true now that I’ve seen his interview with Mark Levin, which aired on FOX News Sunday evening. It was everything you’d love to hear from one of your liberal friends who got hit on the head with a lead pipe and finally started talking sense! Straka describes having just that kind of epiphany.
He’s gay and is an actor, so you already know the circles he traveled in: exclusively far-left Democrats. He refers to this as being “a Democrat by default.” “The Democratic Party does an incredible job of marketing itself to minority groups,” he says, by scaring them, telling them that Republicans hate them and actually want to harm them. They absolutely believe this --- it’s “autopilot thinking.”
Straka was still thinking like this when Hillary ran for President in 2016, and he voted for her. That summer, as we all recall, the media were working overtime frightening minority groups such as gays, telling them, for example, that Mike Pence was a raging homophobe who advocates conversion therapy. Straka believed it all. When they distorted Trump’s words (“all Mexicans are rapists”) to make him seem bigoted, he believed Trump actually had meant it that way. This was shocking, too, after hearing for eight years that Obama was their “savior” who could do no wrong and whose presidency had been “scandal-free.” He and his friends were indoctrinated to think conservatives were all covert bigots.
On election night, he was “shattered” to think Trump had won. Of course, all the reporting the next day amplified that feeling --- it was presented as a national nightmare, complete with fake headlines and fake predictions. He even made a video that day of himself crying and asking “why, why did you elect this man??”
A couple of months later, he posted something about seeing the CNN story about Trump mocking a disabled reporter. A Christian conservative who had been his babysitter years before wrote him back privately, sending him a video that debunked the story by showing how Trump made those exact movements when mocking other people who were NOT disabled but had been caught lying or doing something underhanded.
He was stunned. He watched it a few more times, and again the next morning. And that was when the lead pipe came down on his head. You might say he got “woke” –- awakened to reality. He knew that CNN was lying to him.
When he brought this up to his friends, they put up a wall (no pun intended), even accusing him of “loving Trump.” They were angry at him just for asking a question. At that point, he had what I consider to be a great insight (because I had had it, too): that his leftist friends actually WANTED to be angry. They didn’t want to know that Trump might not be as bad as he seemed. And since they didn’t want to talk to him about this, he started researching on his own.
He learned how “fake news” operates. How they would cut black people out of TV coverage of Trump rallies. How they twisted what Trump was really saying about Mexicans who are rapists. How they distorted Trump’s “good people on both sides” comment after Charlottesville. Straka allowed himself to see that Trump wasn’t talking about white supremacists at all, but about historic preservationists (like me) who don’t want to erase history by ripping down all the monuments.
Once he understood what the media had done in examples such as these, it became clear in everything he saw. “Once you see it, you can’t un-see it,” he says.
One thing led to another in his online research, and in coming across such commentators as Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson, he realized that they made so much more sense than the steady diet of identity politics, political correctness and divisiveness he got from the left.
“Oh, my God,” he thought, “I think I’m becoming a conservative! Or maybe I always was; I don’t know.”
He says that as a gay man, he’d already spent time in the closet and he wasn’t getting back in for “round two.” (As someone who spent years as a closeted conservative, I get that completely.) He is proud to be a conservative, while also seeing how unfairly conservatives are treated in the media. He realized there must be millions of Democrats who were feeling as he did, that the party had left them --- “that it had become a party of rage and hate and lies and the liberal media machine that backs them up.”
That’s how #WalkAway got started. He created a six-minute video explaining why he was walking away from the Democratic Party. The #WalkAway Campaign became a way for others to create their own testimonial videos, and he has received tens of thousands. Straka has created a kind of support group for ex-Democrats. He wants to “reclaim the narrative of what it means to be a conservative.”
He explains that there are the “walk-aways,” but also the “walk-withs.” That would make me a “walk-with,” as I never was a member of the Democratic Party. I was a closet Republican; my family and conservative friends knew, but when pressed by liberal friends I’d just say I was an independent voter and change the subject. So I’m not LEAVING the Democratic Party –- just becoming loud and proud about NOT BEING IN IT, and quite vocally rejecting identity politics as the garbage it is.
One of Straka’s goals is to create an educational video series “debunking media lies and myths” and teaching people how to analyze and pick up on the tactics used to further a narrative. For example, he can explain that creating the leftist narrative starts with a desired conclusion, such as “Trump is a bigot,” and works backwards from there I would add that climate change is a perfect example of this --- come to the “scientific” conclusion first and fit the “evidence” to support that conclusion. Russia "collusion" is another one.
Today, Straka feels the same way about Donald Trump as I do --- we love him as “a rebel and a revolutionary” and appreciate the things he’s actually done in office, and we admire him for standing up to the relentless opposition and hate. He’s enduring it because he cares about this country when he could be blissfully retired, enjoying his money and playing with his grandkids. Straka says, “If liberals and Democrats could just let go of the hatred...this could be the most fun, enjoyable time, one of the most in our nation’s history. I mean, DONALD TRUMP is the President; when are we ever gonna get this time back, you know? But they can’t enjoy it; they’re making themselves miserable; they’re making us miserable.”
I hadn’t ever considered it that way. Having someone like Donald Trump as President could be pretty cool, when you think about it. People on the left have TURNED it into a national nightmare with all their misrepresentations, outright fake stories and baseless investigations.
Be sure and watch the whole Brandon Straka interview on LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN (March 4 episode), and send the link to all the Democrats you know. Maybe they’ll get hit with the lead pipe, too, and have some sense knocked into them at last.