I’ve been a fan of Tomi Lahren and her Final Thoughts over the course of this past year, despite the blowback and hesitations I have consistently heard about her from both my liberty-minded and “establishment” leaning friends and her imperfect messaging at times.
Tomi’s recent pro-choice comments have unleashed a torrent of righteous anger from conservatives across the board. While conservatism champions critical thinking and the free exchange of ideas, which inevitably leads to deviations from orthodoxy at times, Tomi’s comments aren’t just mere differing views.
She has undoubtedly damaged herself severely with her self-contradictory and unexplained statements that demonstrate either extremely rapidly evolving views in the span of just a few months, opportunism, or belief in a philosophy that isn’t true conservatism.
Conservatism will always have countless passionate zealots and standard bearers, no matter how Tomi’s own career moves forward. However, Tomi’s recent saga is tragic because her fresh and innovative style, despite being a bit much at times, of reaching out to new generations and previously untapped communities are precisely the kind of efforts the conservative movement needs to pursue in order to adapt and grow.
Tomi definitely is not your typical conservative. She mixes deeply populist views in with traditional conservative talking points and policy positions. This mix of beliefs, from my experience, reflects the actual belief mix of a very large bloc of the Republican Party voter base. The evidence of that is now-President Trump’s performance during the primaries.
Her arguments are boiled down to be quick and easily digestible in contrast to the long logical proofs, that are correct but require a certain intellectual devotion, that conservative institutions such as the National Review and Heritage Foundation are known for.
Tomi’s critics have described her as just “being angry all the time,” and it is true that conservatism is far more than that. Despite her representing a conservative populism that differs significantly from constitutional conservatism, all conservatives should seek to learn from her saga rather than just dismiss all of it.
This is because conservatism has for a long time been said to be dying and unable to reach new, tech-savvy, independent generations such as millennials as well as communities that have grown more disconnected and distrustful of the mainstream media. The fact that the average age of Fox viewers has consistently remained in the 60s for the past few years means that excellent commentators such as Bill O’Reilly are simply not able to reach out to young Americans who aren’t only the future movers and shakers of our country but already currently making a major impact at the ballot box.
Tomi broke down those barriers reached out to young people and ordinary Americans in a way I’ve not seen any of the entrenched institutions be able to do. She’s energetic, passionate, and unafraid. I have heard personal stories of how she has given young conservatives motivation and courage, even if they didn’t agree fully with her style or views, to go out and explore freedom, federalism, and constitutionalism.
Intellectual conservatism as represented by DC-based think tanks and publications are vital in ensuring the conservative movement’s fundamental philosophy remains solid and on point. However, most Americans simply have little interest in the deep intellectualism of policy wonks and political activists when they are raising their families, paying the bills, going to work, and enjoying life.
The conservative movement has had mediums such as Fox News to reach out beyond the intellectual circles of DC, but it’s people like Tomi who are making a big jump in figuring out how to adapt to our new internet and technology-based world and the new generations that are growing up in it.
No matter how Tomi’s career progresses from here on out, conservatives must figure out how to reach out to millennials and a growing bloc of Americans that don’t trust the mainstream media. Conservatives of all stripes ought to not simply dismiss Tomi but learn from her saga and support a fresh and innovative conservative message while becoming more adept at avoiding shoddy articulation. The future of liberty and our republic depends on it.