Three decades separate me from Blake Masters. He arrived 34 years after me and yet when the topics are America’s uniqueness, our personal freedom, and the opportunity to create lives shaped by opportunity and self-reliance there is no light between us.
The issues we face today are not unlike the issues of the ’50s,’ 60s, ’70s, and ’80s. We are again living under a cloud of mistrust for big, bloated, and abusive centralized government. We are hell-bent on a renewal of the cold war, and yes, the ominous threat of nuclear war with Russia and now, China.
Our schools are failing, inflation is being fanned into flames, the government is huge and largely inaccessible, politicians are claiming newfound powers, our courts are activists, the media is a den of vipers, we lack confidence in our elections, our debt is astronomical, our southern border is being invaded, we don’t know men from women, and it’s starting to frighten many of us.
We have been awakened from our slumber and the fake notion that America has a silent majority waiting to bail us out. The fact is, we have been electing the wrong people for a long time, for all the wrong reasons. We are only an election or two away from losing America.
God has blessed me by giving me the opportunity to talk with Blake, to listen to him, understand him, and get an answer to my question, “Is he the kind of person we need in our quest for the next generation of conservatives?” Can he be to Arizona what Goldwater once was, a principled constitutional conservative? Can he slow the tide that carries the Grand Canyon State deeper into the blue?
To be sure, Blake would blush at the thought of filling the shoes of Barry Goldwater. Now that I know Blake Masters, I don’t need him to mimic anyone, he can just be himself, and that will be enough. He claims Arizona as his home state and Tucson as his stomping ground, having arrived here at the age of four.
In 2012, while a student at Stanford, Masters met entrepreneur and speaker, Peter Thiel. Blake’s notes from a Thiel talk became the catalyst for the book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, which they coauthored in 2014.
During our nearly two-hour marathon interview, I discovered a refreshing personality, easy going but not at all weak, well informed and principled but not your typical ego-driven, power-hungry politician. Frankly, he has other things he could be doing, but he won’t, not now, not while Arizona and America spin out of control.
He’s a Catholic, I’m an evangelical. We share a disdain for Roe v. Wade. He’s quiet and contemplative, deliberate but careful. As a child of the sixties, I’m a tad more bombastic. He looks at the universe and life with the full assurance that all things have a purpose, and we’re moving toward individual and yet undefined national destiny. He would agree, America sucks right now. We both agree…let’s fix it.
More significantly, Blake Masters understands the issues eroding the Republic will take a long time to fix. Time might not be on our side. The repair of America could take a generation or more. We are awash in moral and political chaos, buried in secularism, dominated by liberalism, and some say correctly, large doses of Marxism. What we face is sobering, daunting, and frightening.
iVoteAmerica is in the hunt for the next generation of conservatives. Blake Masters is “next-gen” and ready. He’s no man’s fool, understanding the road ahead is riddled with complexities and convenient off-ramps that could take him to a productive and rewarding life outside of DC. He will have none of it and is centered squarely on a set of beliefs that America’s greatness is worth defending, and its people worth serving. I like that about him.
It’s with pleasure and confidence that I am announcing our endorsement of Blake Maskers for U.S. Senate. iVoteAmerica and iVoteArizona will be standing with Masters in the Arizona GOP Primary, the general election, all the way to that sacred moment while, with hand on Bible, he says, “So help me, God.”
Please enjoy the following interview with Blake Masters. Get to know his heart, vision, and commitment to Arizona and America. Then please, join his campaign to take back Arizona, and the U.S. Senate.
———————————– THE INTERVIEW ———————————–
Q: Who are you, Blake?
BLAKE: I grew up in Arizona, and am almost a native. I’m a Catholic, a husband, a father, and a successful entrepreneur and tech investor. Right now the most important thing I can be doing with my life is running for the US Senate, winning, and defeating Mark Kelly.
Without being too cliche about it, I believe we are on track to not have a country when my sons, now 8, 6, and 2, are my age. I’m a normal American, blessed with certain opportunities and talents, and I want to make the most of them by doing what I can to make sure we remain a free country.
Q: Is there a Zero to One (his book) factor going on in politics today, i.e., not so much what we are doing but how we are doing politics in new and innovative ways?
BLAKE: I think so. There are some procedural elements in the use of social media. Everything is recorded, making politics less conventional than in the past. There are more opportunities for authenticity. I think I am using these opportunities with a new generation of younger politicians. There is a log of message innovation with Instagram, Twitter, and other social media.
In terms of substantive politics, I think we are at a Zero to One moment and we are asking can we do something new and innovative within the framework of the Republican party. The Republican Party is at a crossroads. What is it? I think Donald Trump came in and helped bust it up, in a beneficial way, the sort of Republican establishment way of interacting with voters, the media, and government.
We are now in an “opportunity zone” where we will have to decide are going to revert to the party of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, which is by definition not innovative as it represents the past. But the big question today is what else can we do to be objectively more pro-America, an America First party, how do we deliver outcomes that are so much better than what the Republican party has been doing for the last twenty to thirty years? That’s the moment we are in. Can we take advantage of this moment? That’s what I want my candidacy to do.
Q: With specificity, how did you transition into politics…what prompted you?
BLAKE: I can think of a few. One prompt came to me when I was serving on the Trump transition team in November, December 2016, and January 2017. It was the first time in my life that I met some of the members of Congress, representatives, and Senators. After meeting them, some were impressive, many were not. Even the impressive ones didn’t understand why the country elected Donald Trump. Keep in mind, I was thirty at the time. And these politicians were asking me what the moment meant and what happened to the Republican party. Why would America elect Trump? That was an eye-opener for me, as a person becoming an adult…maybe the adults don’t have it figured out…maybe members of Congress don’t know what’s going on.
That’s the moment I began to think I could do what they are doing. Maybe I could win an election, and unlike them know what time it is, and be more effective in solving some of our problems. So, that’s what got me thinking.
We moved back to my hometown Tucson, Arizona in 2018 in time to see us lose both U.S. Senate Senate seats in 2018 and 2020. We had been reliably red for most of my life. That was another wake-up call. Could I do public service? And I did not want to just get into office but create change. When Mark Kelly won, I knew he would be really bad for Arizona, and he turned out to be worse than I originally thought.
I looked around and said to myself, “this is it.” Not only can I win by defeating Mark Kelly, but I can be effective to create the kinds of change we just talked about. I felt called to run for the U.S. Senate. My personal skills, personality, and interests all aligned to create a belief that this is the most important thing I can do right now. After praying about it and talking with my wife, I decided to get it the race.
Q: Are you a jacked-up libertarian?
BLAKE: [Laughter-chuckles] Jacked up in what sense? What does that mean?
DONALD: What I mean is there are libertarians with a capital “L” and a lower case “l”, and in the extreme, there are libertarians who will slaughter babies in the womb and support forms of infanticide all in the name of being a libertarian who doesn’t want government or law telling us anything because everything to them is about individual choice apart from the state, all carried to the extreme. Are you a Republican dedicated to the GOP or are you a “jacked-up libertarian” who realizes he can’t win without being a Republican…what are you?
BLAKE: Well, I am conservative, some people call me a nationalist, others a populist. I am not libertarian in the sense you just described. Maybe a civil libertarian because I believe in the Bill of Rights. But the libertarian movement as a political party is a complete dead end. As you just said, to those people, it’s all just about individual choice, autonomy, which leads to a ghastly policy like supporting abortion on demand, which I do not, I am 100% pro-life. Many libertarians support open borders because they view any government intervention into the affairs of humanity as bad. I believe in borders…I believe in nations. At the same time, I believe in limited government, a constitutional government that is instituted to protect the rights of men. But the government must be effective. There can’t be a libertarian free-for-all.
I think we can learn some things from libertarianism, but as a political ideology it just goes too far in emphasizing one value, individual liberty, to the exclusion of others.
Q: You said, “Imagine a very scary world, where everyone, the 7 billion people are just like you — equally interested in everything, equally good at everything. That’s really scary because you are just undifferentiated. The cool thing is people actually have different interests, different passions. What you should do is to find something that you care about in your personal life, professional life, and figure out the best way to do it. Then you do it.” Are we being undifferentiated as people and a nation?
BLAKE: I think we are, all too much. The left talks about diversity, but in the end, they want every person to think and act alike, believe the same things. No culture is superior to another, there is no such thing as American culture. The whole point of relativism is to just homogenize everything, everyone. That’s why I think globalization as a homogenizing force makes people the same. When you look at all the left-wing institutions, like Hollywood, we used to have diverse movies, now the push is to make it all the same with a unified message that doesn’t allow for individualism.
Look at the universities. We used to have a belief that diversity meant diversity of thought, speech, opinions. Today, education has become obsessed with diversity, but it really means being the same. The history department at Stanford is just like the one at Harvard and all the rest. Mass society is running on the engine of sameness. We are being ordered, commanded to be alike. We’re being told we are unique while at the same time if you are a successful individual you got there by means of ill-gotten gain, racism, sexism, or something else.
The real principle of conservatism is “all men are created equal.”
Q: Can you speak to relativism and secularism?
BLAKE: Yes, I can. It’s the philosophical underpinning for communism. I believe in God, and I think most people still do. If you believe in a higher power and that belief keeps humanity grounded. When we throw off all thought of authority and governing principles we remove the ability for people to be aware of their faults and deficiency, and we have a lot of them. I am a Catholic and the doctrine of original sin is not running around feeling guilty all the time but it does mean that while the human heart has a great capacity to do good and to express love, it also has a tremendous capacity for evil. The most dangerous people are those who don’t know or acknowledge that reality. While we are called to do the best we can with the gifts we’ve been given, it is a mistake to think humanity can create a utopia on earth. Our Founders believed in an ever more “perfect union” but we have to understand the limits to what human beings can do. If we cast off God entirely and live without any rules, allowing the government to define life, we get a left-wing, socialist hell hole. You get communism.
This is the endpoint in the evolution of secular humanism, or transhumanism, anything that places human selfishness at the pinnacle of the human value system. Relativism, the idea that anything goes, is the first step that leads to where we are today. History shows us that we cannot operate on the basis of whatever people want. Subjective elements find their way into that kind of thinking. I won’t defend the idea that there is truth, there is beauty, there is God.
Q: What was your first car?
BLAKE: My first car was a 1994 Mercedes 220, dark green, provided by my parents. Later, in college, I got a Toyota Corrola.
Q: I want to deal with elephant in the room. Has Peter Thiel put any mandates of any kind on you?
BLAKE: No. Zero. He wouldn’t do that, and he is smart enough to know if he did, I wouldn’t listen. I think he likes my potential. It’s important for people to know that Peter was Trump’s biggest supporter from the business world, and he was his ONLY backer from Silicon Valley. Peter never asked Trump for anything, legislation, favors, or access. He did recommend a couple of people for Ambassadorships, and ultimately they were appointed on their own merits. Peter supported Donald Trump because he understood who Hillary Clinton was.
Peter is backing me because he believes we need change, younger conservatives in office. We need people who know what time it is. We know we face the threat of technology, social media scores. Peter Thiel is an America First guy, but he doesn’t have a role in my campaign, and he won’t tell me what to do or how to vote when I am in the office.
Q: You had the first job, what was it?
BLAKE: My first job was making casted fountains. I did the glazing treatments, delivery, and some installation. I was making $7 per hour and came home exhausted. It gave me a deep appreciation for skilled tradespeople who make an enormous contribution to our lives, and who are frankly, at times, devalued by the Democrats.
Q: You have talked about immigration reform and H1-B. Immigration is giving us a demographic modulation, a tsunami. Talk about immigration, where are we, where are you?
BLAKE: Well, first of all, if someone comes here illegally they can’t have amnesty. If a person’s first step in their relationship with America is to defy and break its laws, you don’t get citizenship. Caving on that issue will only provide an incentive for more illegal entry into the country. No amnesty for illegal entrants.
Most Republicans are not talking about legal immigration. Every year we take in one million legal immigrants, and that is probably too many in a country where the middle class is disappearing and our own citizens are starving for popularity.
Chain migration makes no sense. We can debate the 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship, and there are some interesting constitutional debates about rescinding it. As a policy, it doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s just a magnet to get into the country. Of course, people will try to come here using that idea.
The lottery system is ridiculous. If Donald, you were going to hire someone to work in your company, you would put their names in a hopper and draw them out. You want qualified people who can make a contribution as quickly as possible. Not random employees.
We should have some immigration, but I want the world’s best and brightest. Congress needs to have a debate. How many people do we need and want, where should they come from, what skills should they have? Politicians won’t ask this, but I will. What is a good immigrant? Someone with a track record, skills, maybe entrepreneurial. But can they contribute in specific ways? They should not be able to displace American workers upon entry or as a reason for entry.
Finally, will our new immigrants assimilate? Who is a bad immigrant? Someone who enters illegally, won’t create jobs, replaces a citizen by doing work cheaper, and refuses to assimilate. We have illegals who are a net drain on our society, values, and economy via social services. Let’s have a national debate, led by Congress, and ask these and other questions.
This is how we get back to a sane immigration system, and we are so far from that today.
Q: How do we back the immigration thing up to something reasonable?
BLAKE: First we stop. We plug the holes. We stop making it worse. We would still have a problem, but at least the ship isn’t still taking on water. Maybe a deal like President Trump tried to make with Congress his first year in office is good. Buthe problem is, the Democrats don’t want to agree to anything. When Ronald Reagon cut his deal with Congress, the illegals got amnesty, but America didn’t get its promised border and immigraion control.
How can we trust the Democrats when their entire intention is to flood the nation with illegals in order to change it.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your involvement in blockchain and NFTs?
BLAKE: I have been a crypto-currency fan or enthusiast at the amateur level for some time. I have been interested in the technology. How do you get people interacting economically with a third-party controller, like the government or a bank?
Look at what happened in Canada. The government seizes control of people’s financial accounts, overnight. The promise of this technology is it can deliver and protect a person’s free speech, property rights, ideas, whatever people value as their own without the oversight of a third party. There is a whole suite of things we refer to as crypto that provides a meaningful technological check on centralization, even totalitarianism, if it comes to pass that we cannot provide checks. It’s an interesting off-ramp, I will say that.
The whole premise of the Internet was a free flow of ideas, protected thought. Now there are six websites controlling it all…actually, two: Apple and Google. This is the centralized duopoly. Even television is centralized.
These are some other reasons I am running for office…privacy, freedom, and rights that are provided to us as Americans.
Q: I have a need to know…do you eat Sushi?
BLAKE: Yes, is that mistake [laughter]. I’m not an Urchin kind of Sushi guy, I go more for the fatty tuna belly!
Q: In an old blog, you wrote about life, saying, “Professional Goals: find the most interesting work possible, do it well. Short propaganda. Reorganize things more sanely. Personal Goals: become better, i.e. fitter, smarter, happier, wealthier. Make fit/smart/happy children. Repeat.”
Is your campaign organized sanely, fitter, smarter, happier?
BLAKE: As sanely as possible. I’m drinking from a fire hose. We have a consultant-light operation with just me a campaign manager, and a few advisors. I think we are running an effective campaign.
Q: Do you think the creation of wealth via technology can be throttled appropriately?
BLAKE: I think so, and I am optimistic. We can’t re-bottle it. We know there are serious downsides to technology. The question is can we be wise about it? Can we have a debate and some conclusions? We need new technology in the areas of cancer and dementia therapies. We need new nuclear reactor technologies that can translate into clean energy solutions.
What we don’t need, as we discussed, is more technology that will enable centralized political control that results in totalitarianism. That’s my fear. If we have leaders in Congress making decisions who don’t understand technology, we don’t have a prayer.
There are technologies we should not be playing around with, such as human cloning. That opens up all kinds of scary possibilities. I’m not in favor of human cloning.
Technology can be a road to absolute power, and that can corrupt. We have to be cleared-eyed about power. Who polices power?
Q: In your book Zero to One you said, “We should be more tolerant of founders who seem strange or extreme; we need unusual individuals to lead companies beyond mere incrementalism.” Are you that kind of leader?
BLAKE: In some respects. I think I am a good retail politician, a real guy, yes, with some quirks. I don’t speak from talking points. I think we need to make things better, in some ways, slowly…I’m not a wild-eyed radical. Things are so messed up it requires some radicalization of the solutions. I have some revolutionists in me and some incrementalists at the same time. I know what time it is.
Q: Do you think we have a government that lacks character?
BLAKE: I do. And when you aggregate the total impact, it ends up in the left camp. Usually, the people who go into office are narcissists. Many that go in and come out different and rich. No, I don’t think the system has good character, there are exceptions with people, to be sure. But I don’t think our system is set up to attract the best.
Q: What’s the central Mark Kelly talking point? What is his thing?
BLAKE: He doesn’t have a thing, except trying to come across as reasonable. Mark Kelly’s thing is I am an astronaut, I am a good guy, you can trust me, and we need to work together, to reach across the aisle, to roll up our sleeves, work hard and find common-sense solutions. In other words, it’s a lot of words, that mean nothing. He’s the master of cliche and banalities. He doesn’t really say anything. His message is crafted to disguise his intentions and record.
He just came up with this new talking point which he got from Elizabeth Warren: Inflation is caused by business people who decided collectively to raise prices simultaneously. Supermarkets, meat packers, gasoline producers are all price gouging. Eighty percent of Americans know that Mark Kelly’s message is BS.
Q: What is your favorite color?
Q: How’s the campaign doing at the moment?
BLAKE: Well. I’m my own biggest critic. I want more interviews, exposure. We are in second place at the moment, right behind Brnovich, who is dropping. Give me a couple of months. Jim Lamon, a wealthy solar panel guy, is self-funding. He has been able to buy a lot of TV ads lately. He is up there with me at 15-17%.
What my polling clearly shows is that when people know about Brnovich, Lamon, and me, they choose me. I want Arizona to know me.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our information shows that a large percentage of Arizona voters don’t know the candidates. As many as 40% of Arizona’s citizens indicate they are undecided about their choice for US Senate.
Q: Rov v. Wade was a seismic shift in textualism for SCOTUS and the injection of the concept into the social order that there exists a life not worth living. Please talk about life?
BLAKE: That’s right. Abortion is horrible. I oppose it. The Court invented a right that doesn’t exist. The Court facilitated a policy demand. It is the power for society to decide who gets to live an who will be killed.
Roe v. Wade should be reversed. And my competitors say leave it to the states, while I think the right to life supersedes state rights. Letting California have one policy and Texas another is also wrong. We need a life amendment, and that is what the next generation of conservatives needs to fight for.
In the act of abortion, there are two lives, not one. It’s not just about the woman or things like reproductive rights. There is a limitation on the government’s authority to determine life.
Q: We have a monolithic, multi-layered centralized education monopoly being run by DC and its public unions. Are you in favor of fully funded, unrestricted parental choice in education?
BLAKE: Yes, absolutely.
Q: Give the voters your insight on the mask and vaccine mandate as a deterrent to COVID?
BLAKE: We have been forced to conclude that masks have been used as a deterrent to social freedom. I feel the same way about the vaccine as I do the mask, we can’t force these decisions on free people. We now know masks don’t work and the vaccine is mostly a deterrent to severe illness to the medically vulnerable.
Q: What is your top personal strength you can use as a U. S. Senator?
BLAKE: Well, I think I can communicate. I understand what is happening today. I have the ability to galvanize ideas and help create solutions. No one person can solve all the issues. But I can articulate the problem and formulate the solution so we understand what all of us need to do to fix what’s broken. I can be a very effective public advocate that way. I know the threats that can upend the nation, and I know what time it is. I can do all of this better than my competitions and that will make me an effective Senator.
Q: The government is specializing in what I call “conditional liberty” a form of freedom emanating from obedience. Do you also see this?
BLAKE: You know I have never heard that phrase or thought about it in that way, but instantly it registers with me. Yes, I do. People are familiar with obedience.
Q: What happened on January 6?
BLAKE: President Trump gave a speech at a rally in which he said march to the Capitol peacefully to make your positions known. Things got out of control with some people, and I think the FBI was involved. But the left has seized upon the event as an armed insurrection and is capitalizing on it for political gain. The real question is what didn’t happen?
Q: Tell me, what would your Zero to One education model look like?
BLAKE: It would be as decentralized as possible, and let a thousand different flowers bloom. We have been failing our kids for so long, and I think we need to enable maximum parental choice in education. This will push our education system farther than people believe is possible. Parents are the experts here. We can’t pretend that every family can home school their children, but most parents love their kids and want them to have a great education. The one size fits all model with thirty kids in a column and row room obviously doesn’t work.
I want to see more charter schools, more religious schools, and home schools where our children can be introduced to the idea of a higher power because many of our children are not getting it anywhere else.
A good education should not be limited to the upper levels of society.
Q: What would your father say was the most significant event in his relationship with you?
BLAKE: When we discussed Standford versus the Naval Academy. I started the process toward the Navy. My dad went to the Air Force Academy. I remember my father telling me to follow my heart, understand what the costs of the decision will be.
Recently, in June of last year, my dad asked me to reconsider. I asked him why. He said he didn’t have confidence in our elections and if you beat him by 30,000 votes, they will find 35,000 new votes.
Q: What is the question you thought I might ask, but didn’t?
BLAKE: We talked about substance, and I like and prefer that, but you didn’t ask about my youth. I want voters to know that I grew up simultaneously with the growth of the left, I live in Tucson Arizona, which is kind of left of center.
Voters need to know that when I speak it comes from living in it. My experiences as a young person were real, I lived in parallel to the modern socialist movement and its growth in and its influence on our society. I’m not just a older guy saying we need to defeat something I don’t understand. The enemy is real for me.
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[photo background by Damien Santos, Unsplash, modified by iVoteAmerica®]
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