Just the other day, The Epoch Times published a column of mine—“‘The Deplorables’ Must Cement Control of the Republican Party”—in which I wrote:
“New leadership must be found and, in the tradition of Trump, we should be free to look outside the political class, just as our founders hoped.
“In fact, that should be a hallmark of this renewed Republican Party, bringing forth candidates from all contributing walks of American life.
“New perspectives will work to the benefit of all. In actuality, conservatives are the more natural innovators—as Trump demonstrated in the Middle East, for example—liberals and progressives the conformists.”
Little did I know… well, to be honest, I kind of suspected it… that the very next day I would be sitting having lunch in the picture-perfect town of Franklin, Tennessee with just such a person.
Robby Starbuck is pretty close to a paradigm of what I think this new Republican candidate should be.
He’s young (31) and comes not from the conventional political world—yet another lawyer who did two years in the Beltway but now claims to abhor the Deep State, at least until the next job—but from the area that has been most shunned (stupidly) by Republicans… the culture.
Robby Starbuck has been a very successful director and producer of music videos, working with groups like Metric, Natalie Portman, and The Smashing Pumpkins, the latter on the sound track of a well-received short he wrote and directed, as well as some rappers.
More of that in a moment, but when I wrote “stupidly” above, of course I was echoing Andrew Breitbart’s famous remark that “Politics is downstream of culture.”
And obviously it is, although that concept seems lost on Republican fat cats who rarely, if ever, invest in it, unless it’s to get their names on a philharmonic plaque next to Beethoven, who, at this point, scarcely needs any help.
Contemporary culture, the kind young people actually watch, is abjured. And you wonder why it’s all “woke” drivel?
Republican financiers also donate scads of cash to think tanks that—apologies to my friends who work for them—produce little in the end that motivates real change, certainly not the way some movies or television shows might.
Starbuck and I spent time bemoaning all that, so it should be clear to you that he is not, like so many of his profession, some useful idiot drunk on critical race theory and waiting for his/her opportunity to appear on “The View,” but the reverse—an extremely knowledgeable conservative.
The video director knew his onions, as they say, on everything from possible congressional Nashville redistricting details—he’s planning to run for Congress hereabouts—to foreign policy.
He shared my fears about what an Iran-leaning Biden administration might do to undermine Trump’s extraordinary gains in the Middle East as well as the powerful threat to our nation and the world emanating from that putative new administration’s invidious connections to communist China.
That Starbuck would despise the CCP should be no surprise since he is a Cuban-American (sorry for the hyphenate, he probably wouldn’t like it either) and is from a family that fled Fidel Castro’s communist dictatorship.
Too bad he is not running for Senate from Georgia at this moment. He would have the right authenticity to tell Raphael Warnock—the ultra-left Democrat com-simp candidate who, ignorant or not, called Fidel Castro not evil but “complex”—to buzz off.
Castro, for the record, was a despot who murdered his former revolutionary buddies with firing squads, put homosexuals in prisons (there’s an excellent film starring Javier Bardem), impoverished, tortured, and spied on his people for decades and ended up himself a near-billionaire. (“Complex”? Well, maybe to Michael Moore.)
But back to what Starbuck is planning.
Though redistricting may change things, at the moment it looks as if he will be running against Jim Cooper, the long-serving Democrat congressman from the Tennessee 5th, nearly synonymous with Nashville, since 2003. As if that weren’t enough, this Cooper also represented Tennessee’s 4th from 1983 to 1995.
That’s a total of 29 years!
When I say this Cooper, Jim Cooper is the son of former Tennessee governor Prentice Cooper and the grandson of former Tennessee Speaker of the House William Prentice Cooper. (How do you spell dynasty?)
His brother is John Cooper, Nashville’s current mayor, termed by country star John Rich the “De Blasio of the South.”
This is in part because Mayor Cooper and Rich, also several other local music celebrities including Kid Rock, are at loggerheads over the COVID restrictions placed by John Cooper on the honky tonks that make Nashville, well, Nashville.
Incidentally, Cooper (Jim) ran unopposed in the last election, the Nashville Republican Party, in a red state, no less, having been basically sound asleep.
Robby Starbuck is taking on a lot.
Add to this a growing city and state still gaining tons of exiles from New York and California, including both of us. Starbuck also hails from the LA area.
His method of running, his strategy, will be different, he told me, from other Republicans or, for that matter, Democrat candidates.
Drawing on his music video street credit and contacts, he intends to go into the extensive minority communities in the area and deal with their problems specifically and directly.
Republicans, except Trump and a handful of others in the past, haven’t really done it, ceding the territory, and the Democrats, as we all know, treat minorities as devoted serfs who are supposed to give their votes as fealty to their overlords.
Starbuck wants to put an end to this. He has already spoken with some of his rapper friends about it and they have responded well.
He gets a good reaction too when he speaks to members of the minority communities about school choice (Starbuck and his wife have home-schooled their children) and is convinced that is the winning issue with blacks and Latinos. It should be.
His other natural constituency, he believes, is small business. The Republicans have become the party of the small businessman or woman and the working class, the Democrats the party of corporations and academic and cultural elites.
The word elite may make you cringe—it does me—but they still have a monopoly on the arts and our educational system and a near monopoly of the media.
Robby Starbuck is just the type of person we need to help break these monopolies while running for office.
I asked him as such an experienced director/producer if he was going to make his own television ads and he said he planned to make only one. The others, he said, would be made by some friends who are very good but will, alas, work anonymously. They still want to be hired elsewhere.
What a world we live in. Time to change it.
Here’s something that would shake up a lot of people who think too much of themselves and which Starbuck embodies: Make it hip to be a freedom-loving Republican and square to be a progressive Democrat. Basically… it already is.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). Find him on Parler @rogerlsimon.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.