The Cornell Review had the exclusive opportunity to interview Liz Wheeler, the 26-year old host of “Tipping Point” on One America News Network.
Q: What advice would you give to young conservatives in college who might be afraid or reluctant to speak up about their political beliefs in the classroom, among friends, or in conservative groups on campus?
A: Do it anyway. Be pleasant, know your facts, and don’t be afraid to speak up. You won’t convince other people to change their opinion every time you open your mouth, but you plant the seed in their mind. Plus, a good, healthy argument never hurt anybody, and even if you lose the argument, you’ve learned how to argue better the next time. In the classroom, be respectful and of course, pick your battles.
Q: Many liberal students are apt to invoke notions of privilege–white privilege, male privilege, etc.–as a way to shut down conservatives, or even just other not-as-liberal students and professors, without having to engage in debate. How do you respond to these types of catch-all “arguments”?
Dumbest things I’ve ever heard. *laughs* Of course we’re privileged. We’re all privileged, every one of us, to live in the greatest nation on Earth. We’re privileged to enjoy freedom without having to fight for it (that applies to the majority of my generation). We’re privileged to be afforded the opportunity to pursue education. But that privilege doesn’t entail somebody else’s opportunity being squelched. In a free country, where all people have equal opportunity like we do in America, one person’s success does not necessitate that she steals that success from somebody else. New success and new wealth can constantly be created. Liberal students who invoke “white privilege” arguments are wrong. They are intellectually lazy. They didn’t study our system of government enough to know that equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcome, and their comments illustrate that ignorance. They just want to “win” without having to work for anything. They want a trophy for participation, but they also want the trophy to mean something, and you can’t have it both ways.
Q: What do you think is the most pressing issue that young people face today? Do you have ideas about how we might overcome it?
The economy. I know that doesn’t sound exciting to young people, but our free market, our capitalistic system, is part of the basis of our freedom to live our lives how we want. It’s critical to have a market where we can choose to offer whatever goods and services we choose and other people have the chance to pay for them. Without a free market, we wouldn’t have the freedom to choose our jobs, our careers, to use our money how we want, or to buy what we want (or save). The implications of that freedom reverberates into every other aspect of our life. If we allow our economy to slip into the abyss of government overregulating every aspect, we’re past the point of no return when it comes to the freedom to live as we choose. This is going to affect young people the most, because we’re the ones living the future. We’re the ones who suddenly will not be free to make choices in our lives… because we let the govt overtake our economy. The solution to this is easy: get govt out of the way, and let the market, made up of the people, prosper.
Q: A lot of young people, particularly college students, are enamored with Bernie Sanders. How can conservatives capture the imaginations and win the votes of young people without taking the easy route and promising them free stuff they will never actually end up getting?
Bernie Sanders is winning the youth vote for two reasons. First, because he’s promising free stuff. Who doesn’t like the sound of free college, no student loan debt, and free healthcare? Second, Bernie’s actually sincere, unlike most other politicians. The problem is, his policies won’t work the way he’s promising. Republicans have a great opportunity here to talk directly to young people; explain in everyday language the value of freedom and opportunity, and conversely, what happens when govt promises you free stuff (and what happens is somebody else pays, and eventually that somebody is you). The GOP just needs to simplify the communication of their message and talk to young people about issues youth actually care about (i.e. college debt and finding a job, not unsustainable Social Security and capital gains taxes).
Q: With all the “war on women rhetoric” happening in the past few years, are you ever criticized for being a highly public female conservative?
Oh yeah. I get nasty emails all the time aimed at my gender and appearance. Every woman in the public eye does, I’m sure. Fortunately, these days, the sexism we encounter as young women is from individuals. It’s not institutional. But there will always be jerks who are prejudiced or biased against somebody for something… whether it’s because of gender, race, age, you name it, there’s going to be somebody out there who treats you badly for some characteristic. I just ignore it. People who try to discredit me because I’m young or female are just scared because people are listening to what I say. They have no control over my freedom or opportunity to pursue what I want in my life. So I make fun of them on air sometimes, but I don’t let it bother me.
Q:Lastly, could you tell us about your show, “Tipping Point”, and how it’s different from other conservative talk shows?
We air Monday-Friday at 10pm/7pm PT on One America News Network. It’s a great show – you should check it out if you haven’t already! 😉
We’re unique because we include millennials. Not to the exclusion of other age demographics, but we felt one of the largest deficiencies in the Republican Party was the outreach to millennials… nobody was telling millennials, “This is how higher taxes will affect your day-to-day life” or “This is how increasing minimum wage or so-called free college will ultimately affect YOU.” So that’s what we do. We examine the issues (from a conservative standpoint) and follow the trail of impact that policies and current events have in the lives of Americans, young and old.