(“Crash” Davis coaching “Nuke” LaLoosh on clichés - Bull Durham, 1998 - Orion Pictures)
So, when Branton Nestor (Millennial Review Co-Managing Editor) first told me, “I just want to do what is best for Senator Ted Cruz, for the team, for the country…” I probably dismissed it as a talking point, as a cliché… just his way of selling himself to me. I just knew he’d become the typical young activist, looking for a sexy title and once granted it, would proceed to fade off into oblivion, at least until the candidate was in town and he wanted to attend a fundraiser, for free! He’s a millennial right?
Needless to say, I’ve developed a pretty strong “BS-Meter” when it comes to those who will just say what I want to hear and I was pretty confident that said “Meter” was working just fine when I first met Branton Nestor.
Of course, I’ll never forget my introduction to BRANDON Nestor. Everywhere I went, those involved with the campaign already kept stopping me to say, “BRANDON Nestor is looking for you. This guy named BRANDON wants to talk to you about the campaign. BRANDON, some goofy, tall, red-head kid has been asking for you all day….”
After some research, reference checks and so on, I found out that Branton was a pretty impressive kid. (If they are younger than me, they are a kid!) But why did I need to take a chance on him? He was from Orange County, we had no shortage of phenomenal people who wanted to lead the campaign in the California Conservative Mecca. But he bugged me so much in the coming week or two, I just had to throw him a bone. And the rest… was campaign history!
I recall frequently saying to Branton over the course of the campaign, “Don’t you ever, not say the right thing?” But unlike most activists his age whose phoniness you could smell a mile away, it would not take long for me to realize, anything Branton said came from his heart. There was no better example than when working on delegate selection, and I had to break the news it was unlikely he would be chosen, since he was from the most difficult district in the state. Knowing how hard he was working, this wasn’t easy news to break.
The millennials who came together to create The Millennial Review are devout, God-fearing, constitution loving, patriotic young conservatives, and our future depends on them.
As I type this article, I’m texting back and forth with Editor Danielle Cullum who at one point during the campaign, I swore was a gift from the heavens.
As a part of my role on the Ted Cruz campaign, I was ecstatic to be able to go to Northern Nevada prior to the Caucus. But my excitement quickly met reality. It was a grueling couple of months. We were constantly dealing with bombastic supporters of other candidates, it was cold, icy, and we were making a thousand phone calls a day. With about a week to go in the campaign, I was told that Danielle (Millennial Review Editor-in-Chief) was taking time off from her “real job” to come and help us run the office in Reno. I knew very little about her, but I didn’t care. We needed the help as we were battle weary and the office needed a serious injection of enthusiasm and energy to get us through the final days of the Nevada Caucuses. Enter Danielle!
It wasn’t long before I learned of the great work Danielle had been doing as a volunteer. Among other things, she was organizing weekly phone banks for the campaign with the “phone from home” option. It wasn’t easy and required some pretty serious training, but she was doing it and had an office full of volunteers back home in Sacramento regularly. Heck, I don’t even know if we had given her a title at that point, but she was performing better than many who held one!
As time went on, Danielle became one of our most important campaign leaders, assisting with delegate selection, regional leadership, and of course Millennial Coalition leadership. And like Branton, Danielle would finish the campaign as an official staff member in charge of the Sacramento region.
But again, I don’t think she ever asked for a thing. She cared about the candidate and was willing to do whatever it took to assure maximum success for the campaign.
By no means is this article intended to discuss the merits of Ted Cruz as a Presidential candidate or potential future nominee. But one thing all of the millennials on this campaign had in common was their dedication and commitment to their conservative values. As the late Senator Fred Thompson once said, “Now is not the time for the philosophical flexibility of our principles.” Regrettably, 2016 might be the greatest example ever of such a time in which the Republican party ignored many principles it is said to hold dear. But we live, we learn… and we will move on, and conservatism will rise again!
The bottom line is this…the future leaders of the conservative movement, of the Republican party, of our beloved country must dig in deep to save each. I don’t believe that the American Dream can go on for generations without a strong Republican Party based on conservative values. We need great conservative leaders to make this happen. I’ve been fighting for conservatism for years, but for the first time in a while, the desperation and the heavy weight on my shoulders feels a lot lighter now, knowing that people like Danielle Cullum, Branton Nestor, Connor Radlo (The Millennial Review Foreign Policy Editor and former Cruz staffer), Ashley Estebo (The Millennial Review Co-Editing Manager and former CA Millennials for Cruz State Chair), and many others involved in The Millennial Review are not just a part of the team, but are helping to lead it.
Soon, we won’t be calling on them to volunteer or work on behalf of our favorite conservative candidates and causes, but we’ll all be standing behind them, making calls, walking precincts and organizing fundraisers for their campaigns for City Council, Assembly, Congress, and more.
If you are like me, your default is to dismiss the political activism of young conservatives, but I urge you to not brush aside the efforts of “The Millennial Review.” Remember, most activists their age and experience finish up campaigns and move on to figuring out what the next great resume building role will be for them. But not these millennials! I expect in a year or so this “Review” will make it’s way across the web and become required reading for all those young conservatives looking for guidance, direction, and encouragement. Though I may not officially be a member of the millennial generation, I know I will most certainly follow it’s progress closely, and proudly!
Follow this author on Twitter @GOPCoachJ
Jason Scalese is the Managing Partner for Fusion Strategies Political Consulting. He served as the California State Director for the Ted Cruz for President 2016 campaign. Jason is a veteran campaign and finance manager for State Legislative and Municipal Campaigns. Jason has served as a California Republican Party Delegate from 2008 to present, and a member of the San Mateo County Republican Party from 2007 to present. Jason served as the Outreach and Volunteer Director for Chuck DeVore for US Senate in 2010. He also served as the Grassroots Chair for Fred Thompson for President in 2008. In the 2012 Presidential election he held leadership roles with both Hermain Cain and Newt Gingrich. When not working in politics, Jason has coached private, high school, and collegiate tennis, and serves on the board of the United States Tennis Association. Jason grew up in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and has been a resident of the Golden State of California for 18 years. Jason's first political project was waiving signs over the freeway for George H W Bush when in high school in 1992 with his little sister who was only 10 years old at the time. His first official campaign position was as a college coordinator for then Gubernatorial Candidate George Allen in 1993. Jason obtained a History and Political Science Degree from Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. Jason currently resides in Burlingame, CA with his loving wife and their two beautiful children.