When it comes to politics, one of the most important things to remember is that we have to be involved 

T.REX Newsletter

A Good Kind of Dangerous

When it comes to politics, one of the most important things to remember is that we have to be involved before we can even have a chance of making good changes happen. Complaining about how bad things are while telling ourselves there's nothing we can do is a loser's mentality. If we want to win—if we actually want to see things get better—the first thing we need to do is figure out what we can do to help make it happen.

When we embrace that path and start acting accordingly, we become dangerous in a good way. We become an active force for good and an active threat to evil.

It doesn't take a huge budget, celebrity status, or deep political connections to make waves in politics. Our company learned this first hand in the summer of 2019 when we sent a small team to repeal a long-standing ammo tax in our home state of Tennessee.

History is loaded with examples of individuals and small groups of like-minded people accomplishing big things in the world of politics. One recent example of this came in the form of a truck driver from Logan Township, New Jersey.

When Edward Durr was told that he'd never be able to get a concealed carry permit, he got angry. More importantly, he decided to do something about it. "I was told flat-out by the local sheriff, 'Don't even bother.' And that kind of angered me," said Durr. "I've never been arrested, and I couldn't get a concealed carry? ... That really angered me, so I looked into what can you do to get into politics."

Durr spent $153 to win the GOP nomination, $66 of which was used for drinks and donuts at Dunkin Donuts. He estimates that between $8,000 and $9,000 was spent on his entire campaign for the seat, which he won by about 3.5% of the vote (32,742 to 30,444).

Durr's already improbable political rise is underscored by the fact that the Senator he unseated was the longest-serving Senate president in New Jersey history and was the second most powerful elected official in the state. His opponent, Sweeney, spent approximately $305,000 on his campaign.

We had the honor of connecting with Senator-elect Durr recently. He shared some great thoughts on how he was able to go from being a "nobody" in politics to becoming well-positioned enough to make a difference in his home state. "If anything, my election has proven that anything is possible," Durr explained. "If you do the work."

His path to victory last month came after having lost his first race for a General Assembly seat in 2019. Rather than letting the loss keep him down, he realized that he had to work harder and smarter the next time around. "I was a novice at running a campaign… I made a lot of mistakes in that campaign," Durr said of his first run. "When I was asked to run for Senate this year, I said to myself: I'm going to listen to people who've been around this business… they gave me great advice. They told me what I did wrong in '19. I listened to them and I worked my butt off."

A rock-solid work ethic and a refusal to quit after being knocked down combined with a love of his family and his home state to keep "Ed the Trucker" going. "I could have moved to any state, but I love New Jersey, and I'm going to fight for my family," he explained.

There's a lot that we all can learn from Ed Durr. Here are five points that he embodies and we should all take to heart:

  1. Be Active – You've got to step up and act in order to make a change. There is no substitute for that. We are all responsible to do our part to move culture in a good direction, and we have no business complaining about the culture going bad if we're sitting around waiting for somebody else to fix it.
  2. Work Hard Showing up is the first step, but it is not enough. We have to be willing to outwork our opponents and do whatever it takes to honorably conquer any challenge that comes our way.
  3. Don't Quit When You're Knocked Down We are all going to fail, and sometimes spectacularly. Often, we will have to try again and again before getting to where we want or need to go.
  4. Evaluate and Get Back in the Ring – When we do get knocked down or we take a hard loss, we have to do two things: 1. Get back up and into the game, and 2. Take stock of what went wrong before so that we can do better the next time around. Sometimes this takes many cycles to master. Sometimes we will lose five or ten or twenty times before we finally score a win, but we have to keep getting up and keep improving no matter how many times we get knocked down.
  5. Think Local – Focus first on where you have the most influence. Running for President as an unknown independent write-in candidate might seem fun to some and it might stroke their ego, but it pales in comparison to making a serious run for a local city or county office that you can actually win. Local is where the true power lies. The home front is the one we have to win first if we're going to really move the culture in a good direction.

Ed Durr embodies each of these attributes, and he will be sworn in on January 11, 2022, to take a state Senate seat that nobody thought he had a chance of winning. That's where being active, determined, and hard-working can get you in politics.

If you're taking steps of your own and working to bring positive political change to your community, let us know. We'd love to hear about what you're doing and how it's going for you. Email us at [email protected].

T.REX Talk Podcast

You can listen to Isaac Botkin's interview with Senator-elect Durr here.