Republican Senate hopeful Ben Sasse speaks in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, May 13, 2014, after winning his party's primary election. A crowd of Republican candidates jockeyed to succeed Nebraska's outgoing governor and senior U.S. senator in a busy primary election where voters also were set to select nominees for three other vacant offices. (AP Photo)

Why I’m Still Hopeful about American Politics

With Senator Sasse and my good friend Joseph Williams at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's "Evangelical for Life" dinner taken in January 2016.
With Senator Sasse and my good friend Joseph Williams at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s “Evangelical for Life” dinner in January 2016.

The Republic we all love—the United States—is in a volatile state right now. On one side of the aisle, we’re flirting with a dynastic political network whose foibles and admitted corruptions are legendary. On the other side of the aisle (and let’s be honest—He Who Must Not Be Named wasn’t on “our side” of the aisle until it became convenient), we have an ill-tempered, unprincipled, and authoritarian demagogue engaging in the greatest political bait-and-switch America has ever seen.

While presidential elections often showcase why America is the most enviable nation of the world, the two likely nominees of America’s respective parties make us not the envy of the world this time around.

As an evangelical Christian and a committed political conservative, the moment looks very bleak. But, amidst the volatility, one man is speaking calm and reason. That man is Ben Sasse, the self-titled “gym rat” and junior senator from Nebraska. If I’m being totally candid, Sasse is one of the few remaining reasons why I’m not throwing in the towel on this political cycle in particular, and politics in general. When trouble looms, great men show up. Enter Sasse. That Americans are still electing men like Sasse, it means that we haven’t entirely caved to the excesses of celibritocracy and cronyism. In Sasse, we see a rational, calm, and hopeful articulator of American conservatism. Frankly, while much of what passes for conservatism embarrasses me and enrages me today, Sasse is the antidote to a clown conservatism that peddles embarrassment. Additionally, I think evangelical Christians should pay attention to Sasse. A conservative Lutheran, Sasse has spoken passionately about religious liberty and is unafraid to stand for socially conservative issues at a time when the GOP has an internecine civil war going on within its ranks on such matters. Sasse represents the anti-hucksterism that so many young evangelicals are clamoring for in seeking out a responsible politics. Elected officials aren’t saviors; but Sasse is carving out a hopeful politics that America needs desperately more of.

I don’t know the Senator personally, but I count several staffers around him as good friends, and the quality of the people around him testifies all the more to the good judgment that Sasse must possess.

Here are a few links I’ve collected from around the internet which may help serve as an introduction to this rising star that I think is really worth paying attention to.

First, a newly published Weekly Standard profile of Sasse written by my friend Mark Hemingway.

Secondly, an older National Review profile of Sasse from the January 27, 2014 issue written by John J. Miller when Sasse was running for Senate.

Third, a video of NBC’s Chuck Todd interviewing Sasse on the definition of conservatism.

Fourth, is Sasse’s CPAC 2016 speech, which I recommend as the best place to start in capturing his vision for constitutional conservatism.

Lastly, here’s a short clip of Senator Sasse appearing in San Bernardino after the awful terrorist attacks on December 2, 2015.

Start following Sasse’s career now. He’s the future of conservatism.

About the author

Andrew T. Walker

View all posts