Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by Walk Away Campaign (#WalkAway) founder Brandon Straka.
During the third hour, Straka described what motivated him to question the Democratic liberal media after the 2016 election and how through his own research realized that he and other liberals were being lied to. Straka admitted that he is now a Trump supporter and will continue to spread his message through his campaign informing minorities that they have a choice and don’t need to be a Democrat.
Leahy: We are joined now by Brando Straka, of the Walk Away Campaign. Welcome, Brandon. How do we properly pronounce your last name Brandon?
Straka: My last name is pronounced Stra-k.
Leahy: Straka! Brandon Straka! You’ve really had a lot of visibility with the Walk Away Campaign. Give our listeners an idea of what it’s all about.
Straka: Yes. The Walk Away Campaign began in 2018 as a social media movement of people walking away from the Democratic Party. The political left. Basically walking away from all these things that we see now. The division. The false narratives. The anger. The rage. The hatred. In many cases, we see violence, vandalism and vitriol.
All sorts of craziness on the left. I’m a former liberal and a former Democrat who walked away after Trump got elected. I voted for Hillary. And I started a movement encouraging other people to do the same. And it has very much caught fire in this county.
Leahy: Yes. Absolutely. You’ve had some videos that have really gone viral, haven’t they?
Straka: Oh yes. We start off encouraging people to create their own testimonials and tell their stories about why they are walking away from the Democrat Party. That’s how it started off on social media. The movement has really shaped and evolved since then.
And we’ve spent the majority of last year traveling around the country and getting into college campuses with a tour. Getting into minority communities and doing town halls for the black community, the Hispanic community, and the LGBT community. We hope to be doing an event for women coming up very soon.
Basically we are just trying to communicate with and connect with various groups across the country who we feel like have been marketed to and targeted by the Democrats and give them a new message essentially which is that you don’t have to be a Democrat based off of your identity, your skin color, your sexual orientation, and your gender, etc.
Leahy: Brandon, tell us a little bit about your background.
Straka: Well, I grew up in a tiny little town in Nebraska.
Leahy: Where in Nebraska?
Straka: Well, I grew up in a little tiny farm town called O’Neil.
Leahy: Wait just a minute! O’Neil, Nebraska founded by John O’Neil in the 1870s and the founder of the Fenian movement in the United States. I know it well and the history of it well.
Straka: How? How?
Leahy: I am a genealogist. And my family is Irish-Catholic and went through Canada. And my great-great grandfather told me a story that the Fenian army in 1871 camped on our farm in Hemmingford, Quebec. And John O’Neil was the leader of that. It was a disaster, and he moved to O’Neil, Nebraska to sell land and then died about 10 years later. That’s where you are from.
Straka: This is crazy. I feel like I’m talking to a computer. I feel like I’m talking to Wikipedia right now.
Leahy: Well, Frank Leahy, the football coach was born in O’Neil as you know. The Notre Dame football coach, very famous was born in O’Neil because actually his people, I don’t think he was part of the Feinian’s, but they were part of the Leahys that went to Ontario. He then went to Yankton. So I know of O’Neil, Nebraska. A small, small little town.
Straka: That’s absolutely crazy. Yes to everything your saying is true. My graduating class Michael was 18 people.
Leahy: This is why you are so independent. You’ve got that strong streak of independence for somebody who grew up in a small town in Nebraska.
Straka: I think so. I knew from a very early age that I was destined to get out of there and do something pretty unique. So I always wanted to move to New York City, and at the time I wanted to pursue a career in film and television and entertainment and things like that. So I came to New York.
And naturally, as you might guess I fell into a very liberal camp. I’m a gay man so that certainly put me in a very liberal camp as well. The majority of minority communities are quite liberal or voting Democrats. If you flash to 2016, there I am buying into the media narrative of everything about Trump and him being a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, and his followers were no better.
And Hillary Clinton, how they basically bent over backward to try to facilitate the easiest route to the White House for her. And when he got elected I desperately wanted to understand why and how it happened because I really trusted the media.
They kept telling me he had a three percent chance of winning and that this could never happen and that he was a horrible human being and so was his followers. I tried to understand how they got it so wrong and why anybody would vote for Donald Trump and it led me on this long journey of research which opened my eyes to the fact that the media was basically completely lying and concocting a false narrative surrounding Donald Trump, his followers, and his campaign.
And then that really opened my eyes to the manipulation of identity politics and political correctness and how it all ties together. I just started to see it was all a big big scam essentially. What the Democrats are selling and the liberal media is selling is one big gigantic concocted scam to try to control the way we feel, think, and ultimately the way that we vote.
Leahy: I think it’s quite brave for a former liberal from New York to come up with this Walk Away Campaign. What kind of push back have you gotten from your former liberal friends in New York?
Straka: It’s been pretty brutal, to be honest with you. It comes and goes in waves. I seem to be experiencing a wave right now probably connected to the coronavirus hysteria. But I’ve lost well over 90% of my friends at this point that I had before I started.
Leahy: But, but, but, you have new friends! All of our listeners here on The Tennessee Star Report. And of course, I’m your new friend.
Leahy: We are your new friends Brandon.
Straka: Thank you very much. You are absolutely right. I have found that as I’ve been traveling through the country. I now have friends and family from coast to coast. I’m not going to lie.
It’s still sad and it’s hurtful because these are people that are connected to my past. Some of these are people that I’ve been friends with since elementary school, and they want nothing to do with me anymore because I changed my mind about politics.
Leahy: You can’t change your mind Brandon. You can’t be brave and honest and change your mind. Tell me about the attacks that have increased on you since the coronavirus situation? Why have the attacks on you increased during the coronavirus pandemic?
Straka: Because I think people are panicking right now. Again, that same media propaganda machine is placing a lot of the blame for what’s happening right now on Trump. Everything has to point to or connected to Trump. And I now am a Trump supporter.
That didn’t happen overnight. But you know throughout most of 2017 as I went on this journey of research by the end I thought to myself well Donald Trump is actually an amazing man who is standing up and fighting against this machine.
Fighting for the good of the American people and that’s something I can get on board with. As I started supporting Donald Trump, that’s when the backlash against me intensified. So now we find ourselves in the beginnings of what could be a medical crisis in this country.
I don’t really think we are there yet. Just yesterday I had several people who’ve known me for 20 years reach out to me with some just scathing messages about how incredibly stupid and dangerous I am for continuing to support this president.
Leahy: For exercising free speech. (Laughs)
Straka: Right. I think what is so infuriating about it is that I used to think exactly like these people still think. And it was through doing my own homework and my own research that I changed my mind.
But they are coming to me and acting like they know so much better than I do. Like I’m so stupid and I’m so brainwashed. But I’m the one that changed my mind from thinking the way you still think. How on earth do you think you know better than I know?
Leahy: But up in Manhattan, I don’t know which part of the city you live in, but in Manhattan, in 2016 it was like 90% for Hillary and like eight percent for Donald Trump. That’s about nine to one against Donald Trump. We have a minute left here. What’s your final message? How can people help you at the Walk Away Campaign?
Straka: Well we like people to check out who we are by going to walkawaycampaign.com which will connect you do various arms of what we do. I encourage people to volunteer and donate because we do events around the country in colleges and minority communities. We get people to walk away and change their voter registration. So please support what we’re doing.
Listen to the full third hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Donald Trump Rally” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.