Shelby’s Kavanaugh confirmation push, TPUSA’s Owens and Kirk fight against racial politics, liberal academia highlight 2018 ALGOP Summer Dinner
TUSCALOOSA – There was a unified mood at the University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center for Friday’s ALGOP Summer Dinner, which was very different from the organization’s last major gathering in Montgomery earlier this year.
The discussion among the attendees at the Alabama Republican Party’s second major event of 2018 did not dwell on the divisions created by the aftermath of the 2017 U.S. senatorial special election. Instead, it was forward-looking, particularly toward November’s 2018 elections, but beyond as well.
With party primaries settled and GOP candidates locked in for their November contests, the theme of the evening was clear: It was about defeating Democrats and pushing back against liberal policies.
That was evident given the message of Friday’s ALGOP dinner speakers, which included ALGOP chairwoman Terry Lathan, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) and featured guests Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens of Turning Point USA.
In very brief remarks to attendees, Shelby emphasized the importance of the U.S. Senate confirming Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“One of the most important things to me facing is in the United States Senate is the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court,” Shelby said to a round of applause from attendees.
“The stakes are high,” he added about the pending confirmation battle. “The stakes are the future of the soul of this country. That’s important here and I’m going to do everything I can to help him get confirmed, starting next week with a hearing before the Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. [Chuck] Grassley.”
Shelby said Democrats would attempt to thwart the confirmation. However, he urged other Democrats, which includes Shelby’s colleague Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook), to join Republicans in confirming Kavanaugh.
“The Democrats and the left are going to do everything you’ve ever seen to stop that – to slow it first,” Shelby added. “I believe we’re going to get it. We’re asking everybody to vote him, including some of our Democratic friends. I believe some of them will, I hope maybe out of conviction – but better than that, maybe out of fear.”
Race and academia were the focus of the events featured speakers, Owens and Kirk. Owens, who had garnered some national attention when hip-hop artist Kanye West tweeted out praise of her, explained how she came to Turning Point USA, an organization founded by Kirk.
I love the way Candace Owens thinks
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
“He asked me one question,” she recounted. “He said, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I said, ‘I’d like to lead the black revolution against the Democratic Party.’ And he said, ‘You’re hired.’”
Owens recounted the financial hardship, which forced her to drop out of college without earning a degree and coming to the realization that race and political affiliation could be decoupled.
“I would to say that, if you show me a black person in America, I can show you somebody who is conservative, but doesn’t know it,” Owens said. “And the reason we don’t know is our life is so burdened by problems that were brought to us by the Democratic Party, that we don’t have time to get up and get air and realize, ‘Hey wait, where are these problems coming from?'”
Owens went on to add she would unveil an effort she deemed “Blackexit,” which would encourage African-Americans to leave the Democratic Party.
In an interview with Yellowhammer News after the event, party chairwoman Terry Lathan touted the success of Friday’s event, which also happened to be taking place in the city that Alabama Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox presides as mayor. She also praised Owens and Kirk for the content of their remarks on the race in politics and liberalism in education.
“Our event here with Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens was sold out a month in advance,” she said. “I haven’t seen that in a very long time. We’re also in Tuscaloosa, home of Walt Maddox. We’re at full capacity. I think that’s not an accident as well. We had a great night. The message that Mr. Kirk and Ms. Owens delivered was spot on – it’s not about your skin color. It’s about your choices that you make. Also, the deep concern that they have, and we have as well – everyone should, Americans – about the very progressive, liberal ways that are moving on our college campuses, even younger, K-12. And they do they do make a very good point: It does start with who is in charge of your school boards, who decides what textbooks you get, who decides the curriculum. So, I think they hit on many different points tonight that this crowd really liked.”
She added that the loss of 2017 was in the “rear-view mirror” and Alabama Republicans were looking toward the future 2018 midterms.
“Every election, really – you learn, and you grow from it and you move, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” she said. “So, 2017 is in the rear-view mirror for us, for sure. And 2018 is upon us in a few months and we’re really excited. Our teams are working very hard together, and we’re going to bring it.”