A lesson on politics with Matthew Hurtt: Grassroots Activist, Freelance Writer, and Political Fundraiser

I met Matthew Hurtt in 2009 when I was at the Youth Leadership School in Washington, D.C. Our paths kept crossing at various political conventions across the country. Matthew Hurtt is a brilliant political activist with a very unique perspective on politics today.


Meet Matthew: 

Age: 26
Education: Middle Tennessee State University, 2009; History/Political Science
Occupation: Political Fundraising, Freelance Writer
Hobbies: Grassroots activism, live music, karaoke
Favorite Book: Fiction: “Under the Dome” by Steven King Nonfiction: “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat
Where has your work been published?
Reason Magazine’s “Hit & Run” Blog, Daily Caller, TNReport, also appeared on HuffPost Live, BBC, Fox News.
How old were you when you first became interested in politics?
I have been active in politics since I was 16. I ran for office at age 19 and began working on campaigns that year.
Why did you choose to major in political science?
Initially, I was a history major and planned to teach high school history and government/civics. Things changed halfway through college, and I decided to go to law school. By graduation, I ditched that idea and moved to DC.
What have you done to make a difference in our political system?
I’ve volunteered and worked on a number of campaigns, attended the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, and taught thousands of young activists all over the country through the Leadership Institute.
Can you tell our readers about the importance of understanding current political events?
Whether you’re interested in politics or not, politics will take an interest in you. Every decision you make from day to day probably has some link to some government policy. Want to wear makeup? There are regulations. Want to enjoy a craft beer? There are regulations and taxes. Want to start a business (like the founder of this blog did)? There are guidelines you have to follow. A lot of it is overwhelming for most people, but I encourage people to find things they’re passionate about and examine/understand the political side of those things.
How do you feel about the current government shutdown?
Meh. If you’re reading this as a visitor to this blog, have you noticed the government is shut down? Me either.
Do you consider yourself a Republican or a Democrat? 
 I consider myself a libertarian Republican. I think, when it comes to personal choices and individual freedom, the Republican Party is the BEST vehicle to advance those issues. More and more young Republicans are considering themselves “libertarian” and that’s a good thing.
Who, in your opinion was the most influential presidential candidate? How did they leave their mark? 
Barry Goldwater. He ran as a Republican in 1964 and paved the way for Ronald Reagan. In his later years, he became very libertarian.
Do you have any plans to run for public office? Why/why not? 
Probably not. I ran at 19. Politics has become so personal, and I don’t want to subject myself to that kind of scrutiny. I think a lot of potentially good candidates decide not to run for that reasons.
Are their any popular misconceptions about our political system that you would like to clear up? 
1. We live in a first-past-the-post, winner-take-all system. That means it’s very difficult for third parties to exist and win. That’s why I work to advance my libertarian beliefs within the Republican Party.
2. A lot of the scaremongering you hear from Democrats about Republicans (think: War on Women) is just that. It’s not true. Our political rhetoric is too hyperbolic.
Although many people have their personal opinions about President Obama, is he the one that is responsible for the direction our country is headed, or is there another party who has control over that? 
Everyone in Washington is to blame.
What is a Lobbyist and why are they important? 
A lobbyist is essentially someone who gets paid to tell an elected official what’s good and bad about a particular bill or idea. Lobbyists, on paper, are good. It’s impossible for a Member of Congress to know all the ramifications of a bill, so lobbyists help them.
What can our readers do to get involved in politics? 
Find something local. Learn about issues that affect your town or state, and get involved in those. Also, get trained. Former Miss America Erika Harold took a training from the Leadership Institute (www.leadershipinstitute.org) and is now running for Congress. Like I said before, politics affects everyone. Figure out how it affects you, and if you don’t like it, then change it.
 Keep up with Matthew: 

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