We are told every four years that the presidential election is the most important of our life. But does it really matter who wins the presidency? Do our lives really change that much with each new president?

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Connor.

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So, by the time our listeners hear this, we record a little bit in advance. It’ll be almost springtime, I think. Yeah. Wow. You’re going to fly by quickly. And that means that people are going to start announcing that they’re going to run for president because it is an election year this year, and elections are always just, they give me so many headaches. Like every time you turn on the news or the TV, every time you turn on a YouTube video, listen to the radio or a podcast. There’s all these political ads everywhere. But this year is going to be real bad because it’s a presidential election, and I just feel like everything is ramped up even more. And even when it’s not an ad for a presidential candidate, it’s going to be another candidate talking about who they’re voting for president. So it’s going to be everywhere. And I feel Connor, I feel like we just did this. It always feels like, wait, we just have a presidential election. Totally. So, not looking forward to that. So, we’re going to hear a lot of people saying things like, this is the most important election of our lifetime. That’s my favorite one. You hear all the time, or you’re going to hear people saying that if you don’t vote for this candidate, you’re destroying the country. Or if you do vote for this candidate, you’re destroying the country. It’s going to be people just being so hyperbolic, which is a word I really like, meaning they’re just making the situation, they’re exaggerating and making it seem so much worse. But what I want to talk about today is how true is this. Is it that important? Who we vote for president? Or is this just something that in our heads we’ve started believing means everything? And I want to start by asking you this, Connor, do you think your daily life changes? Like you wake up, you eat breakfast, all the stuff. Do you think that changes every time there is a new president?

Connor: That’s interesting. I’ll say yes and no. Yes, because whoever the president is, it changes how the news media act. It changes how all my friends act. It changes what people focus on. It changes what people talk about. It changes what people get angry about and think about, because the president does have kind of a bully pulpit is what it’s called. It just means they have a platform that they can use to push an agenda or be outspoken about things. So, they can shift the debate in that sense that they can control the narrative, they can veto bills, presidents can do things and appoint certain judges to the Supreme Court. So, that then has all the ripple effects of everyone’s talking about it. And anyone that I want to talk to about a different legal issue or a law we’re working on, they want to talk about that. So, in maybe I’ll call it a superficial sense, who the president does change, it changes the conversation, it changes just the overall vibe, but in a substantive sense. So, let me pause there. And superficial means at the surface level and superficial and substantive means substance. In other words, a superficial meal might be like a Big Mac at McDonald’s, right? You’re eating some calories, but it’s not very nutritious. A substantive meal is like a Thanksgiving dinner, right? Multiple courses, good nutrients, delicious Turkey, and all the rest. So that’s the contrast between something that’s superficial and something that is substantive. So, to your question, I think that who the president is, there are superficial reasons why it matters kind of on the surface level or they don’t matter too much, but they’re there. But substantively the substance of it, I don’t think it ultimately matters that much because typically most presidents govern the same ways. They may be different in 10 to 20%, but most of them will sign the same kind of laws. They’ll declare the same wars, they’ll push their agendas and they’ll veto things. But it’s so distant, removed from my day-to-day life that it doesn’t really actually, impact me that much, except everyone gets so focused on all that superficial stuff, what the president said and what he tweeted and what this reporter asked him. And so everyone is paying attention to this person who doesn’t really have that substantive or that big of an impact on our day-to-day life. Do you feel differently?

Brittany: No, I’m actually, I wasn’t thinking of the first part. So, I’m really glad you brought up the first part. And it just got me thinking, no matter how you feel about President Trump, it was really hard to talk to strangers back then because it would always go political. It doesn’t matter. You could be talking to someone at the grocery store and somehow it would come up and it made everything a little bit scarier because you’re like, I don’t know what I’m allowed to say and what I’m not allowed to say. And that goes for either side of it. So, I think that’s really interesting that you mentioned it changes the way we talk to people or it changes the way news is when we watch that. So, I think that’s a really good point, and I didn’t think about that before. And one thing that came to my mind is a lot of people would like to blame right now, for example, eggs are very expensive. I’m sure you’ve maybe heard your parents talk about that. I think I paid $8 for eggs the other day. They were fancier eggs. But still, yeah, but people might want to say, oh, this is Biden’s America. And that’s true, but to some extent, but it’s also federal reserve and things like it’s not just one person causing all these problems. It’s the way our system is built. So I actually agree with you when you say it’s a little bit of both, isn’t it? It’s a little bit of both, but when I think about the way we interact in our communities or the way we interact in our families, I’m inclined to say, like you said, it doesn’t really change a lot in our substantive life in a deeper sense. So I think that’s a really good point. And I also think, and this is something that might be a little controversial, so let’s say you really like a candidate and you think it’s a very good presidential candidate. And I don’t know the last time we had one of those, so I’m not thinking of anyone specific. We’ll get to the Rom Paul thing in a minute so I do agree with it, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Even a good president, let’s say the candidate you want to win, they win. Can they actually fix all your problems? Because I think people think that a good candidate and their team is going to fix everything and they’ll find a way to do that. But is that really the case?

Connor: All right. Well, I’m actually going to segue to the Ron Paul thing now because I want to answer your question with a question then. If you believe or I’ll use you if you believe that who the president is doesn’t actually substantively matter why. I remember Brittany, many photos, but I remember one in particular. You’re standing next to a lamp, a street light, and you’ve got these denim shorts on.

Brittany: Am I wrong about the pulse sign? Yep.

Connor: You’ve got, you’re holding a big wrong pulse sign, right? I remember the good old days. I was there in the trenches doing the work too. So, why were you so passionate I mean, certainly people’s views can change. So, maybe back then you thought it was way more important and now you no longer believe that. So, I’m curious if that’s your answer, but why were you so passionate about electing Ron Paul as president, if ultimately it doesn’t matter that much?

Brittany: That’s a really good question, and there are two parts to this. So, yes, I absolutely, absolutely thought he was the best thing to happen to politics. And there was a time I really believed that we could elect him in office. But I think also I was very idealistic and naive to believe that the people in charge were going to let that happen. I look back now and I’m like, they were never going to let that man be president. He was too good. He was too pure. But there was something so symbolic. I think hope is really important. And when Obama ran for office in 2008, he ran on this platform of hope and change. He was younger, he was cooler, and we all know that that’s not really what happened. It was business as usual. But with Ron Paul, you had a guy on stage literally just yelling, well, yelling. But people would say something and he would just be like, that’s not true. And he would tell it like it is. And in my time in my back then I was in my twenties. I had never watched a political debate and seeing somebody just be honest. And so for me, it was this moment of, oh my goodness, this isn’t a politician. This is what they used to call a statesman, somebody who was really a man of the people. George Washington used to say that somebody should stand for office, not run for office. It was like something that people wanted and that’s how Ron Paul felt. It was really exciting to watch him just speak truth to power, as they say. And so for me, that’s why I dedicated, just like you did so much of my time to holding up signs and I went to work for his campaign for a little bit. It was a symbol of hope, even if deep down, I think I probably knew he was not going to win. But I think it was that campaign. To answer your other question, that kind of made me a little pessimistic about supporting presidential candidates today, because I think I watched the mainstream beat. I watched the establishment just try to break down his supporters and try to lie about him and try, or not even lie, but try to overshadow the truth of what he was saying with other things. And so that campaign really impacted me and how I feel now because I think it was one of those moments of, well, maybe it doesn’t matter.

Connor: As I reflect on my own experience why I supported Ron Paul so strongly. Interestingly, I think it boils down to what we said at the beginning, this difference between superficial versus substantive. I don’t think I ever thought that he would actually win, or that if he did that he would make much of an impact because he was a congressman for a long time. And people would always say, why do you support Ron Paul? He’s never done anything. He doesn’t get bills passed. He’s not effective. And I say I don’t support Ron because he can win grants and federal funding for his district and keep people happy. So, they keep, he doesn’t play that game. And I like that about him. But why? I like Ron Paul being in Congress, but I feel a little bit this way about his son, Rand Paul is basically the educational opportunity to use the bully pulpit, use platform to push an agenda. How awesome has it been to see someone, thankfully pushing back on Fauci in all of these hearings over the previous year or so when Rand Paul would be there and stick it to this guy Without someone like that there, you would have this agenda just pushing forward and no one would question it and everyone would kind of pat themselves on the head. But having, when the bank bailouts were happening years ago and the recession and all these things, Ron Paul was on this committee where they would be interrogating the, or questioning the Federal Reserve chairman, the head of the creature from Jekyll Island. He’d be sitting there in front of Congress and Ron Paul was there, and you can go find him on YouTube, go.

Brittany: They’re great videos. I forgot about this.

Connor: Ron Paul Federal Reserve or Ron Paul in Congress, and you’ll find these experiences. Where was, I can’t tell you how many people that I have talked to who woke up as a result of seeing clips like this.

Brittany: The good kind of woke now as a bad.

Connor: They awoke, they wakened up. And that was before social media was really heavy and everything where clips that would go far more viral now. So, to me, thinking about why I supported Ron Paul for president, when normally I’m so it doesn’t matter, is because I felt like, man, if someone like that had that platform and could push their agenda or just be, change the conversation and get reporters looking into things and talking about things that would have an impact, he wouldn’t probably get his agenda passed through Congress. Maybe he would veto a bunch of bills, which would be awesome, and veto a ton of stuff that Congress put out. But he ultimately probably would not have pushed an agenda forward, but it would’ve been such an educational opportunity to educate more people. I think that’s why I felt strongly at that time is because of that opportunity to educate people. As I reflect on his campaign, both of them, well, he’s done three presidential campaigns.

Brittany: We were too young for the first time.

Connor: We were too young. But when I reflect on his presidential campaigns, I see this Tom Woods years ago talked about where do you see the Mitt Romney groupies all these years later, or Newt Gingrich fans, all these other guys who ran for president. They have no lasting impact. They have no minds and hearts that they’ve changed. And yet you have the Ron Paul revolution, as we called it, that has had this sustained impact. People like me and you and others have now gone to work for organizations. We’ve made careers out of this. We’re in the trenches full-time every day. When early on it was just like we believed in these ideas, and we were volunteering and helping out. But imagine if we get a good president like Ron Paul, and then the ripple effect, the educational opportunity that has for years, decades, generations to make an impact on people. So, ultimately, I don’t think the president matters so much in terms of governing your day-to-day life or affecting you in a legal way, but we can’t deny, that I think that there’s a very clear educational opportunity that they have.

Brittany: No, I think you’re absolutely right. And I wanted to get in, but this will have to be a whole separate episode, which I’m actually, think would be a good one, is if you look at the way the Constitution was supposed to set up, really, the presidents not supposed to have a lot of power to change your day-to-day life. We’re supposed to duke it out like a battle between Congress and the president and the courts, which doesn’t always happen. But I think you’re absolutely right, and you’ve actually had me really think about the Ron Paul question. I was like, how does that impact how I feel? So really good things you brought up at the end there, excited to eat more.

Connor: Well, as you pointed out at the beginning, we are about to enter a phase of persistent presidential punditry. There we go. More alliteration. Good way. And we’re going to be subjected to it. It’s all the news is going to be talking about it. Everyone’s right. So, I think what’s important for us is to realize that ultimately this doesn’t matter. Maybe we should invest our time, our energy, and our mental awareness in local issues that we can actually impact. Turn off Fox News. Turn off whatever you watch or at least reduce your news consumption by say 50% and invest that extra time in things that you can actually make an impact on things that actually affect your daily life, like what’s going on in your city council or the school board or these local areas that these people are making laws of.

Brittany: Zoning meetings, zoning meetings are really bad.

Connor: So, there’s so many more opportunities to make an impact. Let’s invest that energy where it needs to go. And let’s brace for impact. We’re about to deal with all these news, so-called news channels, talking about all the presidential campaigns. Here we go again, exactly what you said, Brittany, it’ll be the most important election of our lifetimes. The kids listening to this, you’re going to hear this 30 times throughout your life. It’s going to be crazy. So, we’ll leave it at that, Brittany. Thanks as always for the conversation. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.