by Daniel Carter
America’s political sphere is becoming a place where outcomes considered unthinkable in the past are becoming reality. This can almost entirely be attributed to the rise of populism. In recent decades, the ruling-class has presided over a disastrous foreign policy, deep economic recessions and the diminishment of human rights. Now, it appears the people have had enough.
Whether you love them or loath them, Trump, Bernie, Ocasio-Cortez, Patriot Prayer and Antifa are all the expression of the citizens’ demand for change. But these populist uprisings are not confined to the federal level.
A man by the name of Ryan Bundy has recently announced his campaign for Governor of Nevada. You may remember his family’s story. His dad, brother, friends and fellow cattle ranchers were involved in an event dubbed the Bundy Standoff in 2014.
The standoff with federal authorities started after the Bureau of Land Management stopped allowing Bundy’s cattle to graze on a 500,000-acre Bunkerville allotment. Once the restrictions were put in place, the Bundys refused to pay BLM grazing fees altogether. They attempted to pay their fees to Clark County but were told to pay the federal government instead.
As a penalty for the unpaid fees, the federal authorities attempted to seize the Bundys’ cattle. This is when hundreds of armed supporters sprang to the defense of the Bundys. The feds were forced to back down in the face of local resistance.
But that wasn’t their only victory. The Bundy family stunned the establishment with an upset win in court. After being charged for the standoff, the judge declared a mistrial and ruled that the US attorney’s office willfully withheld evidence and engaged in misconduct.
The Bundy story has emboldened states’ rights advocates and constitutionalists across the country. These advocates believe that the US Constitution does not permit federal authorities to apply restrictions to land in the way they did to the Bundys. They ultimately believe in the decentralization of government power (more local power, less federal power).
Ryan and Ammon Bundy also helped lead a takeover of public land in Oregon, where one of the ranchers was shot and killed by police. The Bundys were arrested again but, again, pulled off a surprise victory.
Now Ryan Bundy has set his sights on public office. His platform is clearly shaped by his experiences. He believes in empowering the state of Nevada and upholding the individual rights enumerated in the US Constitution. He knows the dangers facing the US dollar and is an advocate of alternative currencies, including cryptocurreny. He sees the damage that public education has done and wants people to be free to choose alternatives. He wants to bring an inefficient government into the technological age.
Ryan Bundy is going up against the corrupt establishment, which means he is a long shot to win. But as we have seen in recent months and years, anything is possible. The people are energized, and the ruling-class is losing its grip on power. Will the populist wave lift Ryan Bundy to victory? We shall find out on the 6th of November.