Building America First in the States
Alliance for Free Citizens is a new states-based conservative grassroots organization.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, conservatives, nationalists, and populists have found themselves in the political wilderness. With Democrats holding slim majorities in both chambers of Congress and an aging Joe Biden relegating his priorities to his progressive staff, supporters of President Trump don’t have a seat at the decision desk to accomplish their agenda in Washington. At their best, they can only hope to stop the far-left agenda of Democrats in the House and Senate.
Conservatives have found themselves in this place before. Even when there was a divided government and Republicans only controlled one branch of the government, conservatives still lacked meaningful influence on the national policy agenda. The most recent example was in the aftermath of the 2010 Republican landslide that gave the party a large majority in the House.
In those cases, conservatives successfully turned their attention to the state legislatures to deliver them victories on abortion, gun rights, and immigration. Supporters of President Trump’s America First agenda have begun doing the same thing.
A new organization, Alliance for Free Citizens, has put together America First policy proposals on immigration, COVID restrictions, election integrity, critical race theory, and encouraging marriage and traditional families.
The goal of groups like this is to use political power in a positive way to benefit voters. Unlike old conservative organizations that simply focus on tax cuts or reducing business regulations, Alliance for Free Citizens looks to use the government to promote social, fiscal, and cultural politics that appeal to conservative voters and enact their worldview.
On the issue of election integrity, a critical issue for Republicans after the 2020 election, the Alliance for Free Citizens has proposed bills that require proof of American citizenship to register to vote. They also refine and secure the process of absentee voting, including prohibiting the acceptance of ballots after election day, imposing rigorous signature and witness requirements, and ending no-excuse absentee voting.
Other critical issues to the organization include the COVID Freedom Act, which would prevent mandatory vaccinations, keep houses of worship open, and prevent overly broad shutdowns of business. It has also drafted bills on immigration enforcement like the SITE Act, which would tax remittances by illegal aliens, deny bail to criminal aliens, and prohibit businesses from deducting illegal aliens’ wages as a business expense.
While those policy ideas may seem traditionally conservative, the Alliance for Free Citizens is also focused on the ideas of race and the family in a way that ventures away from standard Republican talking points.
Alliance for Free Citizens has drafted the TRUE Act, which would ban state funds from going to educational institutions teaching critical race theory. Weaponizing economics against progressives in schools, who use these institutions to teach white Americans that they should feel ashamed for their skin color, is not a concept thought of by Republicans preoccupied with the Reagan era.
Another policy proposal that drifts from the laissez-faire wing of the GOP is an incentive program to encourage marriage and children. Couples who have been married for at least one year would be eligible for a tax credit of $500 if they have one child, $1,000 if they have two, and $1,300 if they have three children they’ve had either biologically or through adoption. By offering a tax credit, it would give direct payments to working-class families.
State legislators in Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania have already signed on to all or parts of the policy proposals with many more willing to follow.
By focusing on these policies at the state level, Alliance for Free Citizens hopes to continue the work started by President Trump and populists within his administration to make the government more responsive to the working-class and people who vote for Republican politicians. For too long the GOP has focused on the ideological battles of bygone days, and lost in that minutiae is the role of the state to better the lives of their citizens, especially the ones that vote for them. The policies and proposals championed by Alliance for Free Citizens will lead the way to a more America First GOP, at least at the state level.
Ryan Girdusky is a host of TAC Right Now.