Opinion

EXCLUSIVE: Senator Blackburn Says the GOP Must Become the 'Great Opportunity Party'

|
Posted: Feb 26, 2021 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
EXCLUSIVE: Senator Blackburn Says the GOP Must Become the 'Great Opportunity Party'

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) isn’t afraid to make her voice heard. 

Prior to entering the U.S. Senate, the firebrand lawmaker represented Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District from 2003 to 2019. As a state senator, she bucked the status quo and led the charge against a proposed state income tax. 

Her latest book, The Mind of a Conservative Woman: Seeking the Best for Family and Country, does an excellent job cataloging her political journey and offers smart tips for advancing conservatism in the public square. 

I recently spoke to Blackburn—the first woman elected U.S. Senator from the Volunteer State—about the historic number of Republican women serving in Congress, the future of the party, how to protect freelancers against reclassification laws, and her foray into podcasting.

Why Republican Women Aren’t Going Anywhere

In her book, Senator Blackburn highlighted some early Republican trailblazers and their accomplishments. She listed Representatives Jeannette Pickering Rankin (R-MT), Florence Kahn (R-CA), and Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) as inspiring figures.

Blackburn hopes more center-right women get involved to fight onerous COVID regulations and the Biden administration’s extreme policies.

“I think it is going to be conservative women that will lead the way back to a normal life for so many communities. And I am thrilled with that,” Blackburn explained. 

Senator Blackburn is equally thrilled with the new crop of Republican women serving alongside her on Capitol Hill.

“One of the interesting things from this past election cycle is that there are more conservative women serving in public office than ever before,” Blackburn added. “You saw some tremendous gains in 2020 at the local and state level, and those are not talked about often enough.” 

GOP Should Strive to Be ‘Great Opportunity Party’

I asked Senator Blackburn, once a sole proprietor herself, about her thoughts on Big Labor’s PRO Act push to reclassify America’s 59 million freelancers as employees.

She supports their way of life and discussed working with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to include freelancers as small businesses in the CARES Act.

“You've got a lot of people, especially women, who prefer to be a consultant or an independent contractor,” she said, citing how the bill will disproportionately affect women. “They don't want to be someone's employee. They want to be able to utilize their skills and to run their own shop, their own business. I think that's a really wonderful thing. And it's something we should celebrate.”

“There are those that are pushing against what is called the gig economy. And they are pushing forward with legislation [the PRO Act] that would give the ability to unionize gig economy workers.” 

What the Future of the GOP Looks Like

Despite some in GOP leadership arguing against former President Trump’s involvement in the party, the senator believes he will play an important role in shaping its future.

“I think President Trump is going to continue to be a very important voice in the Republican Party. And I am grateful that he brought so many Americans that felt disenfranchised to the political conversation,” she stated.

Blackburn believes voters “gravitated to him [Trump] because they saw him as giving voice to their concerns, their fears, their hopes, and their belief in themselves.”

With respect to the party’s brand, the Marketing Strategies founder recommended changing the GOP’s current moniker to ‘Great Opportunity Party.’ 

“As we talk about the future of the Republican Party, I really do think changing that moniker so that it is not Grand Old Party—but it is Great Opportunity Party,” she suggested. “Putting the emphasis on the individual and giving them the tools that are necessary for them to achieve their dreams, their hopes...That is paramount.” 

Senator Blackburn cited several core values the party must unite behind —strong defense, individual liberty, freedom of speech, values, and free enterprise—and cautioned against changing core principles.

“I think Republicans would be well served to realize when we focus on those fundamental truths...when we focus on good policies that come from those constitutional rule of law, freedom-based underpinnings, we are going to win,” she added.

Conclusion

Senator Blackburn isn’t just a force to be reckoned with in the U.S. Senate. She’s successfully wading into podcasting with her own show “Freedom Rings.” 

“One of the things we know is that individuals are building out their own network of how they receive information,” Blackburn said of podcasting.

“And it is really a wonderful opportunity to put conservatives out there so that conservatives have someone that they want to listen to. So, I think that is going to serve us well. I am really pleased with how it's going. And I really look forward to being able to continue “Freedom Rings.””

Town Hall readers can check out The Mind of a Conservative Woman here. Follow Senator Blackburn on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Listen to our full conversation on YouTube