John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Let’s Talk American Privilege, Not White Privilege

Posted on March 30, 2021
If you can’t beat them, join them.

That’s my view of how to respond to what the Democrats did in the last election.

If the Democrats stole the election last November, they did it fair and square.

Republicans should learn how the Democrats did it and then do it themselves.

It’s hard for campaign strategists to think big thoughts. They focus on the nuts and bolts of electioneering. They look at voter rolls, past history of who and who didn’t vote, and they make certain assumptions about the future based on what happened in the last several elections.

But history is only useful when we live in conventional times.

We don’t live in conventional times. We live in transformational times. And the Republican Party needs to seek new opportunities and grow its base.

In the 2018 elections, Democrats came up with two campaign innovations that helped them to make the most of Donald Trump’s midterm blues. First, they came up with a donation platform called Act Blue that helped them to fully fund just about every challenger that ever thought about running against a Republican. Second, they came up with a ballot-harvesting scheme in California that helped them to win several very close elections. When a Republican used the same scheme in North Carolina in the same election, he went to jail for voter fraud. Because each state has its own election laws, what worked for the Democrats in California was illegal in North Carolina.

In 2020, Republicans learned their lesson in California, and instead of losing those close elections, they won them.

Georgia’s new election law smacks to me of shutting the barn door after the horses have all left the building. Republicans lost the two special elections this past January for a variety of reasons, none of which would be fixed by this new election law.

Instead of opening itself up to accusations of trying to limit the vote, Republicans should be looking to get more votes from working-class minority voters of all colors and creeds. Instead of being accused of making it more difficult for Black voters to vote, Republicans should be aggressively trying to get more Black voters to vote for them.

Putting Herschel Walker on the ticket to run against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) would be a good start.

The parties are changing. The Democrats are now the party of rich, white elites who play the race card to try to get as many minority voters as possible to vote with them. They like to talk about immigration and defunding the police, but the real agenda of these very progressive rich people is to reset the economy in the name of climate change. They will make bundles if they are successful.

The GOP is now a working-class party that believes in traditional values, stable families, fully funding the police and controlling our borders. These values resonate beyond the white working class, as evidenced by Donald Trump’s surprising success with Black and Hispanic voters.

The first step in getting any vote is asking for it. And Republicans have failed to ask enough working-class minorities to vote for them.

Now is the time to make that pivot.

The GOP agenda should be pretty clear. Protect the family. Stop crime. Give parents the power and the resources to find the best school for their children. Protect the border and stop illegal immigration. Stop with racial division. Grow the economy and create good paying jobs. Let churches worship the way they want to worship.

Straight talk, not liberal nonsense.

There is a lot of talk out about white privilege these days. It is mostly white, privileged people who talk about it, and they are mostly progressive liberals who have their own agenda that has nothing to do with fixing the problems that plague our toughest neighborhoods.

Republicans should be talking about American privilege. We are privileged to live in America and we need to live up to its most profound promise to all of its citizens that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).

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