Meet Grace Reilly, Conservative Commentator and Ambassador for TPUSA
Jerry speaks with Grace Reilly, conservative commentator and Ambassador for TPUSA.
Jerry Ewalt: Welcome to the First Right podcast. A weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I'm Jerry Ewalt, chief marketing officer of Restoration of America. Today. We are blessed to have a fresh new face in American politics. Grace Rielly known as conservative grace on social media. She is an ambassador for Turning Point USA, a popular political organization geared to younger people. We're excited to get her unique perspective on the American political landscape. So grace, welcome to the show.
Grace Reilly: Thank you so much for having me.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, well, we're, we're very excited to have you before we begin though. I'd love for you to give us a little bit about your background, where, how, how you got to this point and how you became this political influencer on the conservative side at such a young age.
Grace Reilly: Yeah, absolutely. Well, it started back when I was in high school, I believe four or five years ago I got involved. I just was looking at the things going on in the world and I was very interested in everything going on. I always growing up joke. I would sit at the adult table at family things. I would love the talks about politics and the world, even when maybe I didn't necessarily understand what everything meant, but as I got older, I started to do my own research more and really get more involved. And I became involved with Turning Point USA, which I'm an ambassador for now. And they really inspired me to start my own social media account, which I've been working on and growing ever since. And that's really how I got my foot in the door. And now I've been pretty heavily involved the past few years.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, no, we've seen you a lot out there. So which is, which is fantastic. And you're, you're really bucking the trend here, right? Because you know, it, what we typically see with youth right, is even if they grew up in a conservative household, they start growing up and venturing out on their own. And before you know what they're going to college and all of a sudden they're leaning to the left of the political spectrum. So you buck that trend. But, but we see a lot of the youth doing that over time. Do you see that, that trend changing anytime soon, obviously you've done it, but what, what, what's the deal with that?
Grace Reilly: Yeah, I would say that certainly true that there are a lot of people my age in gen Z that are on the left, but I would love to start by saying that there is hope because there are so many young conservatives my age, even though, you know, sometimes it seems like there may be isn't there definitely is. And I can say through Turning Point USA, they have conferences they have chapters across the country. And there are so many other organizations that allow young conservatives to be involved. But also I think it's just important to, you know, recognize that as conservatives, we want to preserve the traditions and the values that our great country was founded on life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that it's our responsibility to stand boldly for those things and to reach the younger generation with those values and those truth.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. I'm going to touch on the younger generation a little bit and how we do that, but I just, you know, do you feel that that change, that that trend is changing in any way? Because again, growing up, I grew up in a conservative household as well. Great values were taught to me, but, but I did see myself and many of my friends, you know, start leaning towards that left right out. Right, right. And heading into college. Do you see that changing anytime soon or is that, is that trend going to continue?
Grace Reilly: Yeah. What I would say is looking at the education system and the reason, you know, why that is, why people end up trending towards the left and at college age or high school age is a really important thing. So our education system today, I believe has been fully taken over by the left effectively where I'm fortunate, I'm a college student to go to a conservative Christian school, but that's not true for the vast majority in the nineties percentile. You know, my generation, my generation is going to schools with Marxists professors that are focusing more on teaching people about wokeness and, you know, teaching kindergartners about sexuality and other things like that. Then they are on education and on teaching people history. And I think looking at the issue of socialism is a really interesting way to do that because you know, so many in my generation support that I in two-thirds in 2020 victims of communism and you go polling put out a poll saying that 49% of gen Z was in favor of socialism, which was an increase from the previous year.
So we are seeing these increases in support. And the question is, well, why is that? Why would so many young people being support of an idea of have an idea and an ideology that you know, has failed every time it's been tried throughout history, communism filled over a hundred million people. So why would, why would young people think that that was good? And I think the reason for that is that they don't know what it is. The education system has failed kids in a lot of ways. So we should be looking at, okay, well, the education system is not teaching kids about socialism, communism, history, critical thinking and all those things. And that's going to be the core of the problem because people are just not, you know, like they just don't know the truth about a lot of these things.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. I love that. We've we fall into the trap of saying, well, it's communism. Socialism has never has worked in the past, but if we just tweak it and change it here, it's going to be great. And I think you look at the youth and they're so optimistic about the future and they're so fired up and passionate about this stuff. They buy into that trap right. Where they can, they can, they can make it work this time, those older people couldn't figure it out, but, but we can. Right. So that makes sense.
Grace Reilly: Yeah. And that's so well said. And I think, again, people hear things that sound good from politicians. You know, some of these popular socialists politicians, that's another huge thing. Socialism is a mainstream part of political discussion in America. Now, how did that happen? I mean, where it's really freedom versus socialism. Like
Jerry Ewalt: It is shocking. I, I couldn't agree with you more. I, I wake up quite often thinking how did we get in this spot? Right. But the good news is there's people like you, there's people, organizations like turning point USA, restoration of America that are really fighting to wake people up and turn it around. As we like to say here, restoring America, right back to those foundations that we all know of. So, so that's the good news. So let me shift gears a little bit. Right. Cause we just, we just got through the pandemic. Right. And, and I think we've learned a lot through that. And I would say, I would love, I would love for your opinion on our country's response to the pandemic. Right. Because I think the youth of America, right. We would typically see a counter-cultural movement through from the youth. Right. And I'm just curious in your thoughts, like how did the youth respond to that, that pandemic response that our country did not depend demic itself, but the response of our country, what did that mean for youth? How did they respond?
Grace Reilly: Yeah, absolutely. I think that, you know, the response to the pandemic ruined a lot of things for young people. I mean, we were living through high school college, some of these years that are supposed to be so big in our lives and our development, you know, just the, some of the biggest times in our life. And unfortunately the government decided to shut all those things down, even though young people were not at high risk for COVID. So I think my generation has kind of experienced this and kind of enforced to see, okay, like this doesn't make any sense. Why would our entire lives be shut down for not 15 days? But for years now there's been, you know, different actions taken. And I think my generation has kind of seeing that and as kind of maybe shifted away from the left a bit and how this was handled. And even we see that now with vaccines, a lot of young people don't want to get that. And part of it probably has to do with the fact that, you know, there are all these regulations and, you know, people trying to force that.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. So you're, you're S you're seeing your peers wake up. So this, this may be kind of a wake up call. It's not just the pandemic, there's a lot of things. Right. But when you start to kind of piece all of that together, right now, it's very destructive for the economy. I mean, you're going to be graduating very soon, right. Looking for job opportunities. I'm sure you won't have an issue there, but you know, it's going to be an issue for a lot of your peers that are, that are going to do that in the near future with the economy where it's at, based on a response to the pandemic.
Grace Reilly: Yeah. And I think that's exactly the point where a lot of people in my generation are going to have to have a hard wake up no matter what, because of the state of the economy, which is getting worse. And even for things as simple, as gas as people have been joking about this whole promo gas prices are bad, but that's the very real thing that young people are figuring out now, oh, wow. This is, you know, a problem. And now going into the career field and, you know, trying to buy a house, pay all the taxes that are getting more. I think those things are going to open a lot of people in my generation's eyes. Cause they're going to really feel what it means to have these policies.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. You guys have a major hurdle to overcome with this. Right. So we're, we're trying to fix that obviously, but yeah, you're you're right. And, and people need to wake up to what that actually means. Practically the school loans, schools getting outrageously expensive. Right. I got, I got college aged kids and some entering some. So it's, it's, it's a, it's a big burden for these kids and, and they're going to start to understand what that means and it's coming up soon. So no, and, and so it's good that we, we see people like yourself and many of your peers starting to wake up and understand what's going on. And so, you know, there's a lot of things like turning point USA, again, restoration America. There's a lot of things that we can do, but I would, I would have to admit that most conservative political organizations and candidates on the conservative side obviously have not done enough, a good enough job attracting the youth. What, what have they done wrong in the past, in your opinion?
Grace Reilly: I would say, you know, I would say the first thing is understanding that for the youth right now, I don't agree with it or like it, but they're finding a lot of their news on their phone, social media, that's kind of where they are. So I think.
That conservative political candidates need to do a better job of meeting those young people where they are and going on social media or having their, you know, marketing go their, all of their, you know, different policy points and things like that. I think, you know, politics has changed where that's kind of where you have to go to get the young people, because the young people aren't really paying attention to the traditional ways of marketing politics. They're marketing a candidate, you know, like those old traditional practices aren't working as well for this generation. Who's looking just for these instant gratification, viral trends online.
Jerry Ewalt: So, so expand a little bit on that, grace. So you're saying people, your age are getting their news from social media. That that's where they go first and foremost to get their news. Is that right?
Grace Reilly: Yes. And I've seen statistics backing that up. And also, yeah, my generation, they're looking on Instagram for news, Twitter, whatever it may be. So that's obviously probably not the best thing they should be looking at other sources as well. First of all, but it's not going to evolve for, you know, I think conservative politics. That's an amazing opportunity for us to use these tools to reach more people than we ever have been able to before with our messaging.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. It's, it's a, it's a double-edged sword, right? Because you have so many people on and you can get so much information so quickly, but it's just, it's just like scratching the surface of the information we need to make them, them, all of us, including older people. Right. We need to, we need to get curious about what we're seeing on social media, but then that, that curiosity needs to be triggered and we have to go out and explore, is this the truth or not? What are the real facts behind this and not take the social media as gospel truth, if you will. I remember going, when I was going through college, we had Wikipedia, right. That was never allowed as a source to be referenced. Right. But I think nowadays that we, that a lot of people just go to Wikipedia and assume that that's the truth when anyone can update that or, you know, on their own. So I think we have that, that issue right With social media.
Grace Reilly: Yeah. And that's a really, really great point. And I would agree with you that yeah, we need to figure out ways where we can be bringing more substantial information because understanding the why behind these things and understanding the deeper background is what is the most important thing. And that's why, for example, my generation thinks socialism's a good idea because they hear, oh, free this on social media and then they don't look into, oh, well actually this is not economically sustainable at all. Right.
Jerry Ewalt: No, no, you're right on with that. So that was going to be my follow up question. Right? So, so knowing what, what we have done wrong in the past and knowing what the youth is looking at in terms of where they're getting their news sources, my question was going to be, what, how do we fix what conservative politicians organizations have done done wrong in the past? And I, I hear you saying social media is, is that the key to it? Or is there other aspects to it that we need to address?
Grace Reilly: I think there certainly are other things. I think that's an important part of it to, you know, be meeting them where that, where they're at, because that's what the left is doing as well. They're on social media, they started, you know, the black square trend back during black lives matter D during all the abortion things, there were plenty of internet trends going around viral graphics. So I mean, we can look at it and the left is doing that. They're, you know, reaching young people on these apps and they're kind of just starting these viral peer pressure share trends. And I'm not suggesting that necessarily, but I'm just saying, you know, it is an important place for us to be if we want our ideas to have a chance with the youth combating against that. But also I think we need to just as always be thinking about our messaging and looking at what is important to the youth and adjusting our messaging to how we can reach them best.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense. And, and we both know, right. That the, the left is knowers good at memes is the, is the conservative side, right? The right is much, much funnier, right.
Grace Reilly: Oh, by far starting to be funny on the left you're canceled. So it doesn't really work.
Jerry Ewalt: That's right. That's right. That's so true. I love it. Okay. So let's, let's move into a little bit on some of your, what are the main issues that you and, and your, your, the conservative youth out there are really? What are the issues that are really motivating young people? What is it that you really honed in on right now?
Grace Reilly: Yeah, I would say among the conservative youth, we are pretty concerned about the economy, honestly, and just Marxism as a whole. And, you know, it trying to infiltrate into our country because I believe Marxism is really the root of a lot of these things, both culturally and economically, we can look at, you know, things that have been done in different countries in the past. And there are a lot of patterns in what the left is trying to accomplish here. So I think a lot of the conservatives in my generation have their eyes open to that and see a very real threat with, you know, the way our freedoms bend diminished over the past two years and over the past year alone, even. And we're worried about that for sure. And obviously the abortion issue is a big one. My generation that's pro-life is very concerned about that. And other, I think other cultural issues are really important because that is, I believe what the young people are looking at, which isn't new to, you know, this age, that young people will be looking at these cultural issues. But I think that's the key through a lot of these different things.
Jerry Ewalt: I see. Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And I always keep grabbing, gravitating towards the economic side of it, knowing that many in your age group, or are looking into the job force, getting into the job force now in, in very soon. But it's also encouraging to hear you say that you're also concerned with the bigger picture of Marxism socialism, things like that, but also, right. Pro-life I mean, that is obviously for the conservative side, that is a critical issue for us, and it's great to see that you and your peers are getting involved with that as well.
Grace Reilly: Yeah, absolutely. And I would say through with them, like the left and people in my generation on the left, they care about that as well, which is why that's one of the biggest issues right now. And I think, you know, the, those on the left care a lot about the social justice issues, which, you know, as we know with a lot of the things going on. So I think there are different issues that we're all cared about, but understanding the why behind those things is important and reaching people on the other side and bringing them over.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. No, absolutely. And tell me, who are the, who are the politicians that your peers are gravitating towards right now?
Grace Reilly: Yeah, I would say the politicians, my peers are gravitating towards are the most non-traditional ones that there are for whatever reason. I think my peers have, they loved president Donald Trump. They really like a lot of these new Congress people. They like a lot of these, you know, new people in office like Lauren Grover or some of these other ones that have kind of just started to make and, you know, show results. So I think my generation really likes being the results and seeing people unapologetically stand up for America and for freedom and for their constituents without kind of turning into the political establishment.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. I, I really like that. It's there, there's a, there's a chip on the shoulder. Some of these people realizing what's going on and, and the time to fight for this now is now, and I love seeing some of these new people come in. And then I see again, people like you, that that recognize that in our kind of rallying your peers and, you know, in this grassroots movement of, of getting behind these, some of these new people entering in the political realm. So that's, that's awesome.
Grace Reilly: Absolutely.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, grace, this, this has been great. Is there anything else that you want to share with the audience that we haven't touched on yet?
Grace Reilly: I would just say again, that it's easy to lose hope and kind of be discouraged, looking at a lot of things going on in our country right now, it's easy to kind of just go down a rabbit hole of, oh, this is all looking bad, but I would say everyone listening to not lose hope because it's all of our responsibility as Ronald Reagan once said, it's the last Dan on earth, the freedom here, there's nowhere else to escape to. So no matter how discouraging it may theme, it's important to know that there is a huge group of enthusiastic young people that we don't see on the left either. By the way, you know, the energy on, of conservatives that are young, you don't see that on the left. A lot of people that are enthusiastic and patriotic and really care about preserving freedom. So there is hope. And even for everyone listening, just having conversations with people in your life about things you care about and your values and about why we should preserve freedom in America and how we could do that. It all helped it really all of our jobs together to fix our country.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. I, I agree. I think that's amazing to see the energy and the excitement of, of people standing up being bold, right? Like yourself, like many organizations that we've already talked about, standing up being bold and look at the end of the day, we have to always remember that God is in complete control, right? He's sovereign and he's in control of this. So no matter how bad things look or how bad things get, he's always in control. And he's always going to raise people like you and others and throughout the country to make sure that that hope is realized. And we turn this thing around. So grace, I want to thank you so much. It was a fantastic interview.
Grace Reilly: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure.
Jerry Ewalt: All right. Well, that's our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in and supporting conservative media. Don't ever forget that by working together and staying diligent, we conservatives can bring our country back to true greatness until next week. Let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America
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