Have you heard of Katrina Pierson? Probably not.
We hear a lot about the problems the Republican Party has attracting voters outside its traditional base, perceived as overwhelmingly male, older, married and white.
GOP-affiliated talking heads lament the fact that women, young people, singles and minorities won’t give the Republican Party a second look. Party operatives spend millions on post-mortems and autopsies analyzing the intractable puzzle of the GOP’s lack of acceptance within these circles.
We are told that Republicans might never win national elections again because they alienate minorities and don’t know how to reach or effectively communicate their message to a diverse set of voters.
The establishment thinks watering down conservatives’ message and becoming more moderate will grow the party. Party elites discourage or condemn the type of dynamic candidates most conservatives are looking for.
But the “experienced” consultant’s model of a viable candidate hasn’t been updated in 20 years.
When the establishment-preferred model fails, GOP elites always blame the base for the loss, when realistically, it is that their milquetoast candidates and campaigns that lack the kind of broad appeal and the substantive ideas needed to win in today’s political environment.
The establishment honestly believes, that if they could only take down the tea party, the GOP would prosper and win.
But conservatives have endured their blueprint time and again. What GOP elites excel at most is losing elections and refusing to learn from past mistakes.
There are candidates right now under the Republican establishment’s nose that would attract the very voters even the experts agree the GOP desperately needs. You would think Republicans and the broader conservative movement would be eager to spotlight examples of young people, singles, women and minorities who are running as Republicans. You would think right-leaning journalists would be falling all over themselves to cover a conservative candidate who has been fearlessly taking on the GOP establishment and challenging a 17-year incumbent and staunch ally of House Speaker John Boehner.
You would think that a young, conservative, black single mother who made a name for herself by fighting to elect Ted Cruz to the U.S. Senate would be a cause celeb for conservatives.
You would think that the conservative media would want to profile her or give her some kind of coverage, just as BET (Black Entertainment Television) has.
You’d think, but you’d be wrong.
Katrina Pierson is challenging incumbent Representative Pete Sessions in the Republican primary for Texas 32nd Congressional District, though few outside of Dallas have heard about her race. Rep. Sessions has voted for TARP, against reining in the NSA, to raise the debt ceiling eight times and personifies pork-barrel spending.
Sessions is the quintessential “RINO.” Pierson is the exact opposite on each of these issues, taking the conservative stance.
But it is Katrina’s incredible story that should make her so valuable and inspiring to a Republican Party seeking to reach more Americans. Born into poverty, Pierson’s mother was only 15-years-old and her upbringing was certainly less than ideal. When she got into trouble as a young adult after a friend encouraged her to shoplift, she was caught and didn’t have much hope.
But instead of giving in, she saw a fork in the road. She had a choice of taking the easy flat road or climbing the hill, taking a more winding and challenging road.
She could have taken the flat road that led to the cyclical dependency on government, but instead she gave it her all. She wanted to give her child a life better than what she had. She put herself through college and earned a degree in biology. Most recently, she worked as a healthcare administrator at a level I trauma hospital. Soon, she will be sending her son, who is now 17 years old, off to college.
Katrina did what we would all hope to do when faced with adversity. She overcame.
In September of 2013, Pierson decided to run for Congress. She has worked tirelessly the past several months to build her campaign and name recognition in her district. She has reached out to people across her district, and the country, to give them her message about what Washington needs.
The primary is just two weeks away and the mainstream media wants to focus on how establishment can “beat” the tea party. Instead of the same flat soda and stale chips we have all been consuming for years, how about covering Katrina Pierson’s race?
In Texas, an intelligent and inspiring black woman is challenging a 17-year entrenched politician who has drifted far from conservative principles. She may not have all the pedigrees or the right number of zeroes in her bank account, but Pierson is smart, principled and more in touch with the average American than the person she’s challenging. Katrina embodies the American spirit and epitomizes what the less fortunate can accomplish through courage, dedication and personal responsibility.
To the establishment, if you continue to alienate your conservative base they will not turn out in the numbers that you need for victory. And if you remain focused solely on retaining power and drinking out of the Potomac, you will never win again.
Katrina is running for Congress in Texas 32. Her story is the kind that inspires conservatives and that the Republican Party–and Washington–so desperately needs.