It seems like socialism is spreading across the United States like an unstoppable wave. The last year and a half have seen mandates, lockdowns, and vaccine passports, in addition to critical race theory, extreme gender ideology, and the breakdown of trust in the integrity of our elections. Our elected leaders often fail to understand the gravity of the situation.
What can we do to stop this tide?
2018 was a bad year for Republicans across the country. At a national level, the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, flipping many state and local positions blue as well. This was the case in the red state of Idaho. Democrats Diane Lachiondo and Kendra Kenyon both won election to the three-member Board of Commissioners for Ada County, the most populous region in the state. Democrats were elated, seeing this as a sign that they were expanding their control beyond deep blue Boise. Republicans were dismayed, for the same reason.
County Commissioners are not usually the first elected officials to come to mind when considering who has influence over our daily lives. However, once the pandemic began, their influence became clear.
On June 22, 2020, the Central District Board of Health announced a partial lockdown that included bans on large gatherings as well as mask mandates.
Covering four counties in Idaho, the Central Health District is overseen by the county commissioners. At the time of the 2020 public health order, Diane Lachiando herself represented Ada County on the board, and the physician advisor was Dr. Ted Epperly of Boise, a strong supporter of lockdowns, masks, and vaccines.
It is easy to feel powerless in the face of government bureaucracy. If they can take over the most populous region in one of the most conservative states in America, what can any of us do? Will lockdowns, mandates, and Critical Race Theory be pushed to every corner of our country? Can we regain trust in our electoral systems? Is there anything we can do to stop the Californication of America?
Former Breitbart chairman and Trump advisor Steve Bannon has put out a call for conservative activists to reshape the Republican Party, transforming it from the establishment club of Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Mitt Romney into something that is in line with President Trump’s appeal to make America great again.
The left is clearly worried. Progressive outlet ProPublica recently published a hysterical piece warning of the MAGA takeover of the GOP.
“The new movement is built entirely around Trump’s insistence that the electoral system failed in 2020 and that Republicans can’t let it happen again,” they wrote. “The result is a nationwide groundswell of party activists whose central goal is not merely to win elections but to reshape their machinery.”
It is easy to lose sight of local politics when national elections have such grave consequences.
Conservatives of Ada County, Idaho, stung by the loss of the County Commission in 2018, mounted their own insurgent campaign in 2020. They recruited new precinct committeemen. They vetted exciting new candidates. They walked the streets of their neighborhoods, ringing doorbells and passing out materials. It paid off.
Former Ada County Republican Chairman Ryan Davidson defeated Diana Lachiondo by just six thousand votes out of more than 250,000 cast. This surprising victory flipped the 2-1 Democrat majority back to Republican control.
The first order of business? Reshape the Central District Health Board. Lachiondo’s seat was filled by former Republican Congressman Raul Labrador in January, and the public health order was rescinded on February 19. Citizens of central Idaho could once again gather, worship, and breathe freely without fear of government punishment.
The new GOP-controlled County Commission was not done. In June, they voted to remove Dr. Ted Epperly from the Central District Health Board. Three candidates stood to replace him: Dr. Sky Blue, a leftist epidemiologist who strongly supports mandates, lockdowns, and vaccine passports; Dr. Stanley Moss, a retired orthopedic surgeon who, though not in favor of mandates, believes that citizens need to be “educated” about the benefit of vaccines, and Dr. Ryan Cole, a pathologist who runs his own testing lab in Boise.
Dr. Cole has become a controversial figure in the COVID debate. A video of his talk at the White Coat Summit of America’s Frontline Doctors in which he questioned the COVID vaccines went viral this summer, making him a champion to Americans who are skeptical of vaccines and lockdowns, but public enemy #1 to the mainstream media and medical establishment.
Local conservatives flooded the email inbox of the Ada County Commissioners with messages in support of Dr. Cole, while progressive activist groups such as “Reclaim Idaho” sent letters of their own. Legacy media denounced him as a conspiracy theorist. The big regional hospital systems, St. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus, sent letters in support of Dr. Sky Blue, who made it clear he would support whatever the CDC decreed.
On August 17, the Ada County Commissioners voted 2-1 to nominate Dr. Cole to the Central District Health Board. The remaining three counties endorsed him, and Dr. Cole was officially appointed to the Board on September 3.
If it were not for local conservatives organizing and fighting to reclaim lost ground over the past year and a half, then mask mandates and lockdowns would still be in effect in central Idaho, and vaccine passports would likely be on their way. Instead, they stopped the insanity.
This is a formula that can be replicated across the country. America is not built from the top down, but from the bottom up. What can you do in your own community? Get involved today!
(Disclosure: The author is an Alternate Precinct Committeeman for the Ada County Republican Party.)