Grassroots Conservatives Urge GOP Establishment to Broach Social Issues

Grassroots Conservatives Urge GOP Establishment to Broach Social Issues

Carl Brickey, president of the California Republican Assembly, at the group's booth at the 2023 California GOP convention in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 30, 2023. (Brad Jones/The Epoch Times)

Brad Jones
Brad Jones


Updated: 11/18/2023


COSTA MESA, Calif.—Prominent conservative thought leaders, including Sebastian Gorka and Trevor Loudon, recently told about 250 conservatives gathered at a California Republican Assembly (CRA) convention in Orange County that the GOP must become better at connecting with voters on an emotional level if it expects to win their hearts.
A national security adviser to former President Donald Trump who served as a former British intelligence officer before immigrating to America, Mr. Gorka said facts without feelings aren’t enough.
“Numbers don’t touch your heart. Emotions, feelings touch your heart,” he said on Nov. 3.
Mr. Gorka criticized politicians and partisans who lie about fundamental truths, for example “men can become women, and if you cut the breasts off a 14-year-old girl, she’s a boy.”
“Our challenge is to represent the truth, which we all believe in, but to communicate it on an emotional frequency, what does that mean?” he asked.
Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio Network speaks at an event at the National Press Club in Washington Dec. 10, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio Network speaks at an event at the National Press Club in Washington Dec. 10, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The rape of Israeli and illegal migrant women and children at the hands of Hamas terrorists in Gaza and Mexican cartels south of the border is an emotional issue that everyone understands and is a good reason to finish building the border wall, he said.
“You see what I mean? You’ve got to walk them to the truth place but do it in a way that touches their soul. So, use your mind to talk on a frequency of emotion.”
Aside from gender ideology, Mr. Gorka also criticized the tenets of critical race theory (CRT) in subjects like equitable math, along with open-border policies, sending billions of dollars to Iran, stopping fracking, and suppressing domestic oil production.
To proponents of CRT and woke culture, the truth is “oppressive” and “colonial,” he said.
The U.S. and other Western nations “are under the control of people who hate our countries,” he said.
He called out unscrupulous profiteers who call themselves Republicans but are willing to exploit the border crisis by hiring cheap illegal labor.
Mr. Gorka also encouraged more parents to run for school boards and condemned pornographic books in schools.
“We have to take back America one school board at a time,” he said.
After fielding a couple of questions about QAnon after his speech, Mr. Gorka dismissed QAnon as likely a psychological operation, or pysop.
“Q is probably a left-wing disinformation campaign designed to make conservatives look dumb,” he said. “Q and QAnon is a load of [nonsense].”
Author and filmmaker Trevor Loudon speaks with The Epoch Times in Washington on May 10, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Author and filmmaker Trevor Loudon speaks with The Epoch Times in Washington on May 10, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Social Issues

Author and filmmaker Trevor Loudon from New Zealand, urged the California Republican Party establishment (CAGOP) to take a bolder stance on social issues if they expect to appeal to voters and win elections.
“I’m with the CRA, so I might say a few things about the Republican Party that they might not like. I love grassroots Republicans. I’m Republican,” he said on Nov. 4.
Referring to the CRA as “the Republican wing of the Republican Party,” Mr. Loudon said the state party leadership “will always tell you don’t talk about social issues” and advises candidates to talk more about the economy, regulations, and taxes.
And while those issues are important, Mr. Loudon said, so are social issues.
“If you’re a young black woman in South Central L.A., are you more worried about the budget deficit or are you more worried about the cops in your area keeping the gangs away from your kids? Or, if you’re a veteran, out in Inland Empire, a hardcore conservative, are you more worried about the sales tax or that your grandson might turn up at Thanksgiving wearing a dress?” he asked. “It’s the social issues that stir people’s hearts folks. It’s God, it’s country, it’s kids that make people march.”
The GOP has turned from a socially conservative party representing 60 to 70 percent of Americans, to a party that only wants to talk about business, taxes, and fiscal restraint, Mr. Loudon said.
“Are most of you here because of education, or the border, or gun rights ... or because you want to cut the sales tax?” he asked. “That’s why people loved Reagan,” he said. “That’s why people love Trump—because he didn’t just talk about the money. It’s all about making America great, and everybody wants Americans to be proud.”
Mr. Loudon, who has written extensively about the influence of Marxist and terrorist movements in American politics and is best known for his book “Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress,” urged Republicans to vet candidates more vigorously.
“We know that in California a lot of Democrats run as Republicans. They do that all the time, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Republican Party doesn’t bother to vet them,” he said.
Candidates should be asked not only about whether they support the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment, for example, but more specifically questions about what they will do to protect these rights, he said.
“When you know you’re supposed to be standing for America, when you know you’re supposed to be standing against evil, when you know that wrong is going on all around you and you do nothing, you are sinning,” he said. “Cowardice is a sin.”
CRA President Carl Brickey told The Epoch Times the main objective of the convention on Nov. 3 and 4 was to endorse a candidate for president and a candidate for U.S. Senate, but said Mr. Gorka and Mr. Loudon were invited to the convention “to address critical issues facing our nation and state that the party and its leaders have largely avoided such as the growing influence of Marxist ideas in our public institutions and society.”
About 200 CRA delegates voted to endorse former President Donald Trump, the clear national frontrunner in the Republican primaries, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his closest rival, received only a handful of votes.
Attorney Eric Early was endorsed for U.S. Senate with more than a two-thirds majority vote.
“The California Republican Assembly is the most important gathering of true Republicans in our state. There are no ‘Republican’ Democrat wannabes here,” Mr. Early said Nov. 4. “As Ronald Reagan said so long ago, the CRA is ‘the conscience of the Republican Party.’ It still is. The CRA’s members get it, know exactly what is going wrong in California and the nation, and will not back down in their efforts to help right the ship of state.”
Jennye Bigelow, a CRA vice president and an organizer of the event, said the majority of grassroots Republicans fully back Mr. Trump for President and that “endorsements clearly show CRA is America First.”

Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.

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