Live from Music Row Thursday 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. – host Leahy welcomed retired attorney and blog creator of Misrule of Law Mark Pulliam to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Pulliam discussed the popularity of his recent article at The Federalist calling attention to red towns across America that they should not be taking it for granted. He warned that people must get involved at the local level by engaging with their Republican party or run the very real risk that it will be taken over by progressives.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by Mark Pulliam who has a fantastic piece at The Federalist from a couple of weeks ago. Headline. Leftists Are Colonizing Red Towns Like Mine and Local Republicans Are Clueless. Subtitle: Complacency is a problem for each Tennesseans. They are so used to Republicans winning elections that they falsely assume victory is automatic. It is not. Mark, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.
Pulliam: Well good morning. I’m happy to be here.
Leahy: Mark you and I have something in common. You are a refugee from California who has come to Tennessee. I actually left California lived in San Mateo and Palo Alto, and the last place that we lived was Sonoma. We left in 1991 and have lived in the Nashville, Tennessee area of Middle Tennessee ever since. When did you come to Tennessee?
Pulliam: My wife and I moved to Tennessee late in 2019. We had lived in Texas for a number of years after I left California. So I’ve seen states that were conservative that had trended liberal. And then I’ve lived in states that are currently conservative but are facing the same pressures that California faced. And frankly, we moved here because we wanted to be in an enclave that was as conservative as we could find anywhere in the country and it was likely to stay that way. And the reason I wrote this article is because I became concerned that people were not aware of the situation they faced and weren’t responding to it appropriately.
Leahy: So you live in I think in the Maryville in the Knoxville area. I’ve been to Maryville. I’ve been to the library that you mentioned there. We actually held a Tea Party meeting their back in 2013. It was the first time I actually met your State Representative Jason Zachary. But tell us what you’ve discovered in Maryville after you moved there in 2019.
Pulliam: Well, as I said we chose this area because it was so conservative and it is conservative. In the last election, President Trump carried that Blount County by 71 percent to 27 percent. But what you have to keep in mind is that means that there’s still a 30 percent hardcore progressive element even in places like Blount County in East Tennessee. And that 30 percent is very busy organizing and advancing their agenda.
And the 70 percent is basically oblivious to this because it’s been conservative for so long. We’ve had a Republican representative in Congress since the Civil War that for decades Democrats didn’t even try to run for local offices because they thought that they would lose. Well, they’ve given that up. And so they’ve come after both partisan and importantly nonpartisan offices.
So the big wake-up call for us was when last year a school board election here in Blount County a progressive activist won. Not because she waged a tough campaign, but because she didn’t have any opposition. The conservatives or the Republicans literally lost the election by default. They forfeited the race by not fielding a candidate.
And then in November the chair of the local Democratic Party who was the founder of a radical organization called Indivisible East Tennessee, announced that she was going to run for the Maryville City Council and she won by a few hundred votes. But largely because the local Republican party ran an ineffective and almost non-existent campaign against her. And so complacency is the issue. People do not realize that you have to pay attention and you have to be organized and you have to push back. Otherwise, the progressives are going to out organize you and ultimately prevail.
Leahy: It used to be the case that Nashville, which Tennessee has 99 counties and you said, well there are 97 red counties with two little islands of blue. Shelby County, Memphis, and Davidson County, Nashville. Not so much anymore. It spread to Knoxville and Chattanooga. All of these areas now have a very active far-left Progressive wing and now as you tell us in Blount County as well.
Pulliam: Well, the problem is that most of the local papers in Tennessee and all around the country are liberal. So people don’t read. At least conservative people don’t read the local paper. And if you’re not paying attention to what’s going on around you kind of assume only well-intentioned people would run for the school board.
Well, that’s not right. People representing teachers associations and pushing the liberal agenda. Those are the people running for the school board. So you need to go find people or volunteer. You can’t expect that everybody’s going to do it for you. Self representative and self-government is a participation sport. You have to get involved.
And the local Republican parties not just in Blount County, but all over the state need to be revitalized and we need to be recruiting candidates between election cycles. We need to support those candidates. We can win because we have the numbers on our side. It’s just that we have to get organized. Tom Brady didn’t win the Super Bowl by just showing up. He had a team. They’ve been executing plays all season. They were well-trained. And it’s the same thing in politics. If we want to win we need to do the preparation.
Leahy: It’s interesting you point about pulling out the leftist winning a seat on the Blount County School Board. We’ve had the same thing happen here in Williamson County which is the affluent county just south of Nashville that the school board there now has been taken over by leftists. And it’s been a concerted effort of probably five or six years of activity by the leftist to take it over. But you see all of this critical race theory stuff. We reported it on it at The Tennessee Star. they kind of hid it for a couple years, but now it’s out there and in the open. It won’t be very long before you see it in Blount County schools, right?
Pulliam: Yes, and it’s not just the school boards, it’s appointed positions. It’s one of the reasons why our library is being taken over by the progressives and being used as a platform to help the homeless and feed the homeless and shelter the homeless and promoting critical race theory through recommended reading lists and the so forth.
Even though this library gets two and a half million dollars a year in taxpayer support it’s run by a Board of Trustees that is not directly elected by the voters. It’s a Board of Trustees appointed by our county mayor and some of the cities that support the library. And these appointments are not going to people that are likely to actually provide oversight. They are political favors. They toss a bone to somebody that wants to have something on their resume.
And so the reality is in the 21st century that unless you’re pushing back against the progressive agenda it is going to rise like a tide and will eventually engulf you. This is not complicated. I think if you explained it to the average voter what they are indoctrinating your children with. What they’re promoting in the library. People would say I don’t agree with that. Well, if you don’t agree with that do something about it.
Leahy: Mark when you were in California, you made your living I guess as an attorney. You lived in Texas for a while and moved to East Tennessee. What do you do now for a living?
Pulliam: I’m retired. I retired from practicing law and blog. I have a blog called Misrule of Law. I’m trying to do what I can to organize a conservative army here in Blount County. I have a Facebook page called Blount County Conservatives Sentinel that has over 500 followers. And then I write for a variety of publications. I’m a contributing editor to Law and Liberty and then I write for other publications including as you mentioned the article in The Federalist.
The article in The Federalist has gotten a bigger response to that than anything I’ve ever written and I’ve been writing for 40 years. It was shared over 1,400 times at The Federalist. It was picked up by Real Clear Politics. I’ve gotten radio interviews from major markets. It’s touched a nerve. And I think because people maybe have been thinking the same things but they hadn’t quite articulated what is going on and what can we do about it. So I hope by bringing attention to this it will actually motivate people to get involved in their local Republican party and start pushing back against the progressive agenda.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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