WAYCROSS, GA – Take Back Our Republic circulated educational items on campaign finance reform to hundreds of conservative CPAC attendees, but also to people leaving Washington for the Democratic National Committee meeting in Atlanta where a robust conversion was taking place about the problems with corporate contributions.
However, the most important education also occurs in localities like this one, Waycross, Georgia, where people who can’t travel to Washington and are not invited to national partisan events.
Many Democratic campaign rallies have featured discussion of campaign finance reforms, and this weekend members of the Georgia Take Back Our Republic group were happy to hear the reform message of “Draining the Swamp” was still front and center among supporters of Donald Trump now with the election in the background.
We continue to encourage the discussion of how to best reform money in politics.
Certainly the rally we attended mainly included supporters of Donald Trump and was reminiscent of a campaign. There was a significant rehashing of the 2016 election and plenty of references to Hillary Clinton and to the media.
However, as Take Back Our Republic monitors how campaigns follow up on campaign themes, what stood out was not the relatively few references to “Making America Great Again.” Instead, each of the speakers- a lineup that included conservative legislators, heads of organizations, prominent Trump allies, and activists- littered their remarks with homage to “Draining the Swamp.”
The “swamp,” according to this crowd, referred to both Washington, DC and to Atlanta. References to both were made in this light, and what speakers view as a swamp-like culture in those cities was a theme that featured more prominently than any other.
What was clear throughout the nearly 3 hour event- attended by roughly 300 citizens and protested by roughly 15- was that while “Drain the Swamp” may have been a slogan introduced relatively late in the campaign, it is the one that has persevered.
Beyond the recurring rhetoric, the Trump campaign’s Georgia Grassroots Director- a speaker at the event, passed out literature appearing to be from the campaign (though it did not include a disclaimer). The literature featured many topics noting pledges from President Trump, but the very first section read:
“Six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC:
- First, propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress
- Second, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exemption military, public safety, and public health)
- Third, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated
- Fourth, a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service
- Fifth, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government
- Sixth, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American officials”
The flier was written in first-person, as though it were from Donald Trump, and it had the appearance of a Trump campaign document. Regardless, whether or not the flier or rhetoric were approved by the Trump campaign, one thing is clear: the grassroots is adamant about seeing the swamp drained.
Three of the six points follow up on a campaign release applauded by Take Back Our Republic: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trumps-five-point-plan-for-ethics-reform. While we agree with the sentiment, we will leave it to our supporters to determine whether this talk has been met with action.
What is clear, however, is that this is something voters- including those who supported President Trump but likely including most of the supporters meeting in the same state to pick a new DNC chair- continue to care about, and it is something we will continue to monitor.