Opinion

Scott Presler Doesn’t Want to Be Another T-Shirt Merchant

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Posted: Aug 28, 2020 12:00 PM
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If you’re active on social media, chances are you’ve stumbled upon Scott Presler’s accounts. 

Presler is a conservative activist who travels across the country to “America’s most dangerous and dirtiest cities picking up trash in an act of love” and to register first-time voters for Republican candidates. 

He shot to wider prominence last year after organizing a clean-up event in Baltimore largely inspired by President Trump’s remarks about Charm City—a city he dubbed a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

As of this writing, his Twitter account boasts an impressive 738,000 follower count. And there’s a reason people, Democrats and Republicans alike, are following him. 

I recently sat down with Scott in Fairfax, Virginia, to talk about his get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts. 

Obama’s Re-Election Inspired the Former Dog Walker to Get Involved

Presler’s activism began right after college graduation.  

After completing his studies at George Mason University, he— like many others out there—struggled to secure stable employment. It was a dog walking job that served as a turning point for him.

To my surprise, Presler admitted his foray into conservative activism was inspired by former President Barack Obama. 

“It was President Obama who inspired me but to become a community organizer on the right side,” Presler emphasized. “I think I’m most known for my Twitter account, and I created my Twitter account the day that President Obama was re-elected in 2012. Not because I was really angry at the president, but I was angry at myself.” 

“Where was I registering voters? Where was I knocking on doors and soliciting donations and getting out the vote? And the answer is I was only a voter. I wasn’t an active participant in our democratic republic.”

The solution? Presler got involved in the Republican Party of Virginia in 2013 during statewide elections—the last year Republicans controlled the Governor’s Mansion here in the Commonwealth. 

In 2014, he temporarily relocated to Texas to help elect now-Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX). Afterwards, he spent two years working to defeat Hillary Clinton. 

Building a New and Welcoming GOP

Presler is an openly gay conservative whose dedication to the Republican Party is palpable and genuine. His goal is to bring in new people under a banner of positivity and love. 

“I think what makes me different—and what I want to bring to the Republican Party—is simply I will go anywhere and I will talk to anyone because I believe in our values and principles,” Presler said. “And I believe in Donald Trump and most importantly, I believe in America’s future.” 

There’s a caveat to Presler’s work: He isn’t employed by the Republican National Committee nor Trump’s presidential campaign. He organizes clean-ups and voter registration training events as a private citizen and on his own dime. More importantly, he isn’t interested in becoming another grifter. 

“I’m doing this because I love my country,” he noted. “I didn’t just want to be another t-shirt merchant.” 

He issued this call-to-action to Republicans: “Stop talking, start doing.” 

“If I have this big following, what do all the likes, what do all the retweets, what do the followers actually mean if Donald Trump loses? It means nothing.”

He stressed, “This new Republican Party that I’m helping to represent is a movement based on love, and the best way that you show love is through action, not words.” 

“This new Republican Party is a no-judgment movement. Who am I to judge the actions of your past if you’re living a new life today?”

Inspired by President Trump signing the First Step Act into law, Presler told me he researches ways to contact former felons and get them registered to vote. 

And former felon or not, the Northern Virginia resident will eagerly help people register to vote online or in-person. By all legal means, of course.

What the Media Got Wrong About the Baltimore Clean-Up

As our conversation progressed, I asked Scott to revisit last summer’s West Baltimore clean-up and why it was dismissed by much of the legacy media. 

“I’m trying to make America clean and green again,” he told me.

While much of the coverage was negative and conveyed through a partisan lens, his desire to help that community was purely devoid of politics. 

“I didn’t go in with politics,” Presler said. “You will never see me at a clean-up where I’m wearing political gear because my goal is—look, who am I to come in and pretend that I know everything? I’m just coming in. I want to offer a hand and I want to offer love and I want to earn people’s trust and respect. And you don’t do that by going in and pandering. And you don’t do that by going in and immediately offering a political candidate.” 

“My goal is to earn their trust and respect, and we did that in Baltimore.”

As for Republicans successfully conducting outreach to non-traditional GOP voting blocs? Presler exclaimed, “Show up!” 

He’s not wrong. 

Conclusion

Scott Presler is happy to lead the charge on clean-ups and GOTV efforts but can’t do it alone. Thankfully, others across the country are helping to carry the mantle in their respective cities. 

This won’t be the last time we hear about Scott and his advocacy. And the Republican Party would be wise to tap him for voter outreach in the future. 

Townhall readers can watch my extended interview with Scott Presler. Learn how to support his efforts here and follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter