Daniel Larson thinks that the Republican Party has lost its moral standing and the values that made it a party the championed the rights of the individual. Citing the party realignment that occurred in 1968, he argues that the party has become driven by “corporate interests” and a “conservative power base” that tolerates racism.
And he’s convinced that a universal basic income is a conservative solution to economic inequality and unfairness in the United States.
In an interview with The Montana Post, Larsen discussed this centerpiece of his campaign, his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, his concerns about the direction of the Republican Party and more.
On the universal basic income (which would give $1,000/month to every person in the United States) idea, Larson argues that it would kick of entrepreneurship:
And just, for example, the hardware stores that are working at something like a thousand dollar a month universal basic income would be creating an economic opportunity on every main state street in Montana and really drive the value of our small businesses and allow the people that are really creating value in our economy to take off with a whole new wave of entrepreneurship. So I’ve always been a firm believer in entrepreneurship as an economic development model. And I think that universal basic income is the one that is the most powerful thing that I’ve seen that could really spur that growth.
Asked how he squares the of UBI with traditional Republican “bootstraps” ideology, Larson argued the system would be fairer and more efficient than the current system of assistance:
So you’re actually replacing the spending that we have on the social safety net. Disability as a negative incentive to try to come off of disability. And I think programs like that actually foster a greater dependence on this system. And if you were looking for cash assistance similar to a thousand dollars a month, currently, you could get it through different gaming of the system or requests or things like that. So it’s not like those resources aren’t available to people currently. But this would be distributed to everybody. So whether you’re a productive member of your society or if you’re somebody that needs assistance, there’s equity.
Larson also talked about his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the tar sands oil it would transport is the “most energy-intensive oil we could be burning as humans”:
I don’t think these are the type of economic opportunities that we want to pursue at all costs. Plus. Pipelines, they leak, you know, and. And Montana has this great environment that needs to be protected. And why would we sacrifice our water quality for a short-term economic gain that would only provide jobs for a few months? You know, most of the economic development is just not sustainable.
We also talked about his concern about the Republican Party and his hope that it could abandon the politics of fear:
So I would like to see the future of the GOP actually win votes through inspiration and instead of fear and then propagating some of these. You need to choose to go away from those and actually inspire people to some of the better things that that might exist within the party. So I think you have a responsibility to people of faith to actually follow some of the Christian examples and be more focused towards humanity and not focus towards political gain.
Asked if Steve Daines was one of the leaders responsible for the shift in the Republican Party, Larson said no:
When I was talking about the leadership, it was probably different leaders than Daines. I don’t necessarily see him as a leader. I see him as somebody that’s willing to kind of follow wherever he has to go. But when I’m talking about the leadership, it’s definitely people like Mitch McConnell that are trying to hold onto this very narrow and eroding power base. And they are willing to essentially cross any line that they need to work up a base of voters just to try to protect an existing political advantage.
Please be sure to listen to the entire interview, in which we discuss these issues, impeachment, public financing of elections, and more.