Conservative activist Scott Presler is the hardest working man in right-wing activism, bar none. Over the past few years, he has organized events and registered voters all across the nation. He has trained volunteers and spearheaded grassroots efforts to spread conservatism. The activist extraordinaire has even ventured into territory the GOP typically avoids when he led cleanup efforts in cities like Baltimore, Maryland.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Presler at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and speak with him about his efforts to unseat Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) in the 2022 primary season. We also discussed how conservative politics needs to change and how he is working to push the Republican Party towards more of an “America First” direction.
After former President Donald Trump’s appearance at CPAC, it was clear the civil war on the right was in full swing as he vowed to take on establishment GOP lawmakers, especially those who voted to impeach him after he was out of office. Presler indicated the support for impeachment was the impetus behind his campaign against Cheney and Kinzinger. “Well, first, I want to make this clear. You know, this isn’t about the president. This is about being a constitutional conservative,” he explained.
The activist continued, arguing that their “votes for a phony impeachment scam was an unconstitutional act and, therefore, a betrayal of their oath of office. You cannot impeach a private citizen who is no longer a sitting officer.”
Presler added: “Impeachment is a tool. To remove somebody who is in office and so ultimately it comes down to that they betrayed their oath, they betrayed the Constitution and they betrayed we the people. And so therefore they deserve to be repealed and replaced.”
So far, over 600 volunteers have joined his endeavor to unseat Cheney and Kinzinger. What is remarkable about Presler’s initiative is that all he had to do was to announce his intentions for 2022 and people flocked to the cause.
We don’t have super donors, I’ve actually never asked for a dime…I don’t have any of these big funders. The coolest part about the work we’re doing is it’s 100 percent grassroots,” the activist explained.
Presler explained how these volunteers are already laying the groundwork in the effort to unseat Rep. Kinziger. “And so immediately, I’ve already sent them voter registration instructions, petition guides. We turned out a hundred and fifty people on a Saturday in Shorewood, Illinois, in frigid single digit degree temperature.”
The activist noted that the turnout in Chicago “speaks to the resentment, to that anger, but also to the passion of the party to write our future.”
When asked if he planned to target other establishment figures in Congress, Presler indicated that he is already spread thin. Indeed, hearing him talk about his schedule made it clear that he has a lot on his plate.
“I’m exhausted, I have to tell you, but I’m not stopping. I mean, literally, my Saturdays right now are booked until May. I’m traveling immediately after CPAC to Texas to do voter recruitment classes,” he said. “I’m going to California to get petition signatures against Governor Newsom. And I’m traveling all over the country.”
His ultimate objective with this campaign is to send a message to the GOP, that “this is our party, this is not theirs, that these elected officials work for us, not the other way around.”
He predicted: “If we the people are able to peacefully and democratically take down to the top, most funded, nationally exposed Republicans that are establishment, that’s going to make all of the other ones either toe the line or understand that they themselves are going to get repealed and replaced.”
The conversation then turned to state level politics and its importance when it comes to issues like election integrity. Presler pointed out that while federal elections are important, the focus should be more on the state and local level if conservatives wish to ensure fair and free elections. He said:
And the reason why I make that distinction is because ultimately I’m here for election integrity. I’m here to make sure that we are passing legislation at the state level to gain the trust of the voters again in the system, because ultimately, how are we going to win if I can’t convince all of these people that agree with me to come out to the polls because they feel like their vote doesn’t count. And so therefore, in my opinion, more important than Congress is the state legislatures.
The activist continued, using mask mandates as an example supporting his argument regarding local and state politics. He referred to the fact that even though the state of Florida has not issued aggressive mask mandates, we were still required to wear them in Orlando during the conference.
“Everybody thinks Congress. Everybody thinks president,” Presler said, noting that “we’re wearing masks and they’re being very draconian, even in this hotel in a state that has remained open.”
He continued, stated that “because the city council and the mayor of Orange County are Democratic,” they can still impose their own mask mandates despite the lack of state-level rules. “And so, therefore, I’m arguing that the power is really the state and local level, and if you want to make a difference, that’s where your efforts need to be focused on.”
In response, I brought up the fact that primary elections, along with state and local level races, don’t inspire the type of turnout we see in presidential elections. Presler said he believed much of the reason why people largely do not show up at the polls for non-presidential races is that they are not aware of how much local and state governance impact their lives.
“People don’t know what they don’t know. Right?” he said. “The fact of the matter is, I believe the elites, the establishment, the major parties, I don’t think, quite frankly, they want us to know everything, because the more that we know, the more empowered we are, the more of an opportunity that we have to affect change.”
Fortunately, people like Presler are leading the effort to get Americans to see how critical non-federal elections can be, and it appears they are making progress. “Every single day I get a new person that writes me, ‘Scott. I’m running for school board, Scott. I’m running for city council,” he said.
The activist suggested that leaders in the movement should play a part in encouraging everyday conservatives to become more informed on what their local governments are doing. He said: “So that’s where leaders have to come in that have these bigger platforms and voices to help disseminate that information…look, two very valuable resources that have been influential in helping to educate people on legislative reform and running for office: legiscan.com.”
Presler also recommended Ballotpedia.org for those who wish to run for office or look into other types of information regarding districts, funding, and demographics.
While Scott Presler has already done much for the conservative movement, he isn’t done quite yet. He will be working around the clock between now and 2022, and even beyond. He stated that over the past few years, he has trained about 10,000 people nationwide and registered thousands of voters. He said:
And the coolest thing for me, this woman, I came to State College, Pennsylvania, which is a blue area, and I taught a voter registration training. I visited that area months later and a woman named Ede came up to me and she goes, Scott, I want you to know you changed my life because of you. My girlfriend and I think her name is Missy, registered six hundred voters and just a few months two women, registered 600 voters in the important Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“I want to disseminate information so that people will use it,” Presler said. “That’s how we grow the Republican Party.
Presler’s efforts are more than admirable given the current state of the Republican Party. But, as he indicated, he is only one person and he can only do so much alone. It will take many more Scott Preslers if the movement is going to flourish and grow. Just as left-leaning activists like Stacey Abrams mobilized Georgia voters and caused the state to go blue during the past election season, we need people who can do the same for Republicans, especially in blue states.
The next few years will be critical for the GOP and American conservatives. We need all hands on deck, as the saying goes. Not only must we work to get authentic conservatives into office at the federal level, we have to get involved at the local and state levels as well. The left is already doing this, as evidenced by the recent socialist takeover of the Nevada Democratic Party. If we don’t have an answer to these efforts, the conservative movement will continue losing ground. It will take an army of Preslers to prevent this from happening.