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Salem Media Has Allowed Mike Gallagher to Help Others

During his interview with BNM’s Jim Cryns, Mike Gallagher credits Salem Media for the opportunity to dive in and help others.

Jim Cryns

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We’ve had a few stellar Santa Clauses in our day. Ed Asner in Elf was formidable. Edmund Gwenn in the original Miracle On 34th Street was a humdinger. However, just about every Christmas Mike Gallagher seems to set a new standard as the giving guy in the red suit. 

Okay, Gallagher may not wear a red suit and sport a white beard, but he’s just as giving. 

“I’m still bouncing off the walls over our show raising over 260 thousand dollars in December for the Prison Fellowship/Angel Tree Christmas campaign for children of prisoners,” Gallagher said. Whether it’s a mom or dad in prison, children of incarcerated parents unwrap joy each year with a gift that reminds them they are valued and loved.

“Years ago, my late wife Denise figured instead of just jawboning our way through life, we should do some good for people,” Gallagher explained. “She thought we should do something on a large scale for a bigger audience. Do something productive for a change.”

Gallagher credits Salem Media for the opportunity to dive in and help others. Gallagher said Denise was his whole world and took her advice to heart. He created a 501c3 for police officers and families–Gallagher’s Army: Fallen Officer Fund. At Christmastime, I think it’s a cool tradition to help raise funds for kids.”

It has taken off beyond Gallagher’s wildest expectations. 

“We’re able to send thousands of kids presents and a bible. This year we reached about 10,000 children with gifts and gospel from their incarcerated parents. Our audience connects with that and we’re so proud. Again, I’m grateful to work for a company that wants us to do good for each other.”

You can still donate throughout the year. Just go to the website and find the banner and click. Prisonfellowship.org. 

“We have a summer camp and we partner with a number of charities,” Gallagher explained. “I have another foundation for police officers and their families. Gallagher’s Heroes offers assistance to families of officers killed in the line of duty.  Fellow news talker Joey Hudson is the executive director. 

“The officers and first responders are the heroes of our culture,” Gallagher said. 

It’s not only helpful, Gallagher said it’s a nice diversion from politics and the daily butting of heads. 

“It adds another dimension to our show.”

Gallagher said he’s been impressed with the giving nature of America this past week with the outpouring of love and support for Bills player Damar Hamlin. Shortly after his traumatic episode on the field, his charity for children’s toys  raised nearly 6 million dollars. This was all on a GoFundMe page. 

“I think this incident shows the giving spirit of America,” Gallagher said. “Too often we often hear how our country is on the decline, falling apart, how we agree on nothing. Situations like this show tremendous unity. All the players took a knee for one thing. Not for politics, not for race, but over concern for the young man. It was truly a beautiful thing to see. It’s amazing how he was only seeking to raise $2,500 for his cause and America responded.” 

Gallagher said Americans are gracious and loving people. That’s why he gets so excited about his Christmas campaign. He believes Americans are good and decent. 

“It’s a very sobering reminder of what we should be,” Gallagher explained. “I’ve been in radio for more than 40 years, and I’ve done my share of yelling into a microphone. Sometimes I get frustrated and mix it up with a caller. I’ve strongly disagreed and hung up on them on occasion. But I sometimes forget how far an act of kindness goes. In talk radio, we’re largely full of conflict. I know it pretty well. One of my goals of the new year is to be kinder.”

To access Gallagher’s show, you can visit his website at Mikeonline.com.

As a show host, Gallagher isn’t beyond recognizing his ego sometimes gets in the way of doing good. He said many in his seat feel they need to win every argument.

“I don’t feel that way,” he said. “I like to learn. I like the interactions. I could have six callers on hold and I want to take the one who doesn’t agree with me. 

That pushes discussion. I have to remember I asked them to call. I don’t want to invite them into my living room and chew them out. I think that’s one of the biggest complaints about talk radio. I can get rambunctious, feisty, mix it up.”

Gallagher said most of his audience trusts him. 

“I’m not always disagreeable with callers. There has to be a good mix. But I need to show restraint.”

Gallagher’s not the easiest guy to get in touch with. I had to reach out to Joey Hudson for help. Let me tell you, Joey Hudson is a fantastic guy.

“If I hear one more time how great Joey Hudson is,” Gallagher jokes. In fact, they’re the closest of friends. 

“He’s Upstate in South Carolina, where I cut my teeth in radio in Greenville at WFBC, eventually becoming the station manager. I met Joey 30 years ago. We’ve developed a deep friendship and I visit him down there often. When my wife was ill, she summoned Joey into the room a week before she passed, telling him he needed to watch after me. He doesn’t know how to balance a checkbook.”

Gallagher said he works hard for Salem and his audience. “I have two goals; to provide a solid and compelling radio show on Salem and to hit my budget and numbers.”

Despite Denise telling Hudson her husband couldn’t balance a checkbook, Gallagher has proven that to be untrue. In fact, he’s fixated on the business side of radio. He said ratings will come and go but you have to deliver for your company and make sure you’re hitting the revenue budgets. 

“Every morning starts with a spreadsheet,” Gallagher said. “I see what my show is billing, and I’m proud of that. I review my monthly goals, see where we have to improve. Ultimately it’s up to me to meet or exceed my budget.”

Gallagher spent two years with WGY in Albany, New York. Afterward, he was hired for a morning drive at WABC in New York City. 

“It was while I was at ABC that my previous owner in Albany approached me about syndication,” Gallagher said.  

In 1998, The Mike Gallagher Show was launched nationally with 12 radio stations. By 2011, Gallagher was the sixth most listened-to talk radio host in America with over four million weekly listeners.

“It was a dream scenario,” he said. “John Dame asked me what it would take to walk away from WABC and go national. To carve out my own destination. 

I was a sweat equity owner. I scoped out the office space in the Empire State building as I believed that’s where our studio should be.”

Gallagher said he loves being able to tell his bosses at Salem he hit his budget for the month. 

“I’ll get on the horn and ask where we’re missing. I think a lot of the talkers in our business don’t really care. They see themselves as artists and let the sellers do the selling. I’ve never believed in that. I’ll physically call people, get intimately involved with the business end.”

His involvement with the nuances of the business is what he calls the proverbial fuel that drives the engines. 

“Without advertisers, we’re dead in the water,” Gallagher said. “We’re always looking to find new revenue dreams. The Salem news channel, social media. The pressure is enormous, but I thrive on that pressure. It’s satisfying. We’re a for-profit organization and Salem expects me to deliver, to do my part in that.” 

Some radio talkers are actors. Gallagher is really an actor. 

Last Christmas he played Daddy Warbucks in a production of Annie in South Carolina. He shaved his head and everything. No latex skullcap was good enough for Gallagher. His head went to the Full Monty.

It was a four-week run for Annie and he was constantly flying back and forth to New York. Three weeks into the run, the superhuman Gallagher proved to be human when he got Covid.

“The shows were sold out in Greenville and there was no immediate understudy,” Gallagher explained. 

The show finally found someone who had played the role before, and he walked on. 

“Here I’m at home in Tampa. It’s all decorated for Christmas, and I’ve got Covid,” Gallagher recalled. “All I had to keep me company was pity and streaming television. I binged on Yellowstone when it burst onto the scene.”

Gallagher also played Mr. Bumble in Oliver, the enforcer of the workhouse.

“I like acting, but I love what I do for my day job,” he said. “I also did A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the role Nathan Lane played.”

Gallagher was given a Tony Award as an investor in Pippin

“For a theater geek like me, that is a special recognition.”

Gallagher said not a minute goes by where he doesn’t realize he’s been incredibly blessed.

“I’m always in a deep state of gratitude. Sure, there have been some rough bumps along the road. Loss, tragedy. But I’m blessed with kids, a granddaughter, and a career I love. My health is pretty good, and I have a comfortable lifestyle.”

Then he had some really unsolicited and kind things to say about Barrett News Media. 

“It’s so cool to watch Barrett News Media grow,” Gallagher said. “Nobody is doing it the way you guys are. It’s fun to read the profiles, and I think they’re really needed. I know they’re deeply appreciated. You guys are carving out a site other publications and sites should be looking at. So many people are always trying to tear us down. Be overly critical. Barrett is fair but never panders. I know a lot of my colleagues are impressed with what you’re doing.”

We didn’t pay Gallagher to say that. Perhaps we should have. 

He can essentially do his show from anywhere and spends a lot of time going back and forth between New York and Tampa. “New York essentially drove me out with taxes,” Gallagher said. “There’s no state income tax in Florida. It was wild to see how different both places were during the pandemic. In New York it was scary. Lots of shutdowns. In Tampa, it was more relaxed.” 

As cliche as it sounds, Gallagher said he’s always prepping for his show. 

“I’m prepping 24-7. I bring a laptop to bed with me, fire things off to my team. I get up at 6:40 am, go through all the websites, social media. There’s a double-edged sword to that. Sometimes I’m resistant to embrace everything we see on social media.”

His shows give people a lot of ways to connect. 

“I get about 1,000 emails a day,” Gallagher said. “It’s a new world. It keeps you on your toes, keeps you fresh. Our business is rapidly evolving. Now there are cameras. Long gone are the days where I can sit in my boxers at home and do a show.”

BNM Writers

Dagen McDowell Is Ready For A New Adventure With Fox Business

“Every decision in America is born of policy, On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

Jim Cryns

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To know Dagen McDowell, you must understand what she comes from, where she comes from. You won’t know her until you know the lessons, kindness, and determination set forth by her parents.

Her parents operated a small grocery store, LW Roark and Company. Charles and Joyce McDowell were high school sweethearts and both went to college but decided to go back home and open a business. “This is in the middle of nowhere,” McDowell said. “It was a wholesale grocery store. They sold it in the late 90s.”

She said her parents were smart, encouraging, and took every opportunity to teach McDowell and her brother.

“They’d constantly talk up people who came into the store. Both of them have and had an insatiable curiosity about everything. They felt they learned things through their customers. It was more fun to learn about things from other people.”

McDowell’s parents never took a week off work. Never. The family took no vacations as most families would. Once while McDowell was in college at Wake Forest University, the family visited the Air and Space Museum on the Mall in D.C.

“Both of my parents were very interested in architecture and landscapes. We’d go to Williamsburg and just look at the buildings.”

McDowell joined FOX News Channel in 2003 and helped launch FOX Business Network as a founding anchor in 2007.

Her mother passed away three years ago and her father is still very much a part of her life. Her father was a constant teacher.

“One time my father, who we called Dowell McDowell, was putting up an outbuilding and asked me how long one line should be if the other line was such and such. He taught me the Pythagorean theorem when I was about 4 years old.”

McDowell was nurtured by parents with endless curiosity.

“I was raised by parents who would always debate and converse around the dinner table. We shared breakfast and dinner together every day. They loved learning, were always inquisitive, never afraid to ask a question. My parents shared a fearlessness and passed that on to me. I’ve never been embarrassed to ask people questions. I love talking to people and finding out about things.”

For a long time, McDowell had no idea what she wanted to do for a living. She knew if she worked at different jobs she’d eventually figure out what she was good at.

“I knew I was a decent writer, but I always tried to get information out of people, what they were doing. Ask if they were fulfilled and happy.”

At Wake, Forest McDowell majored in art history and had every intention of working in a museum, possibly as a curator.

“I interned at the Center for Contemporary Arts. I lived in Venice, Italy for a while. Wake Forest owns a house in Venice.”

After that it was Colorado. She moved back to New York during the recession of 1991 with a duffel bag. She took the Amtrak to New York City and sublet an apartment for six months.

“I had no TV, just a radio. I knew I could find something good to do in New York, there were so many jobs. I always wanted to live in the city. Either the city or way out in the country. Nowhere in between.”

She said being in New York made her feel anything was possible. This was January in 1994 when job ads were still in the physical newspaper, like the New York Times. McDowell interviewed at Institutional Investor through a referral from a friend.

“It was a brilliant magazine with terrific writing,” McDowell explained. “Very prominent in the industry. They were looking for someone to work with the newsletter written for the financial community.”

She’d cover topics like the bond business, Wall Street, and money management. The magazine made her take a reporting test where you’d make up a story and write it. She was offered a job and worked there for three years.

“I learned to be a journalist there,” McDowell said. “I could write but I became a better journalist. We’d break news, create our sources, and learn more and more about finance. People love to talk about what they do if you show interest.”

The next big job was SmartMoney.com, a resource and web newspaper for private investors. There McDowell wrote a personal finance column. She started doing commentary on television shows, the way a lot of people in different professions tend to do. “Then I started making more appearances on weekend financial or business shows,” McDowell said.

She got a call from Neil Cavuto about 20 years ago and he told McDowell, ‘Kid, you want a job? I know you don’t have much professional TV experience. We’ll give you some training and you’ll figure it out. If you do, you stay. If not, you go.’

McDowell said she was glad she was a writer first before she arrived at Fox. She writes her own scripts and has a background in finance and business writing.

“Before the business network was launched, they had only one business reporter and two senior business correspondents,” she said. “I’ve gotten to do so many different jobs, use different muscles, so to speak. As the years have passed I’ve discovered other talents I may have and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

There’s a new show in town. McDowell and Sean Duffy will co-host The Bottom Line which will air on weeknights from 6-7:00 PM ET.

McDowell said she and Duffy come from extremely similar backgrounds. Duffy is from rural Wisconsin and McDowell is from Virginia.

“We know what small-town living is like, “McDowell said. “I might live in New York City but where I grew up affects the way I view the world. I’m still grounded in my hometown. On the show, we look south and west with everything we cover. You have to think of your audience. Rather than talking about them, we talk with them. That’s our shared background and vision. Sean is extremely down to earth and generous.”

McDowell said the show is not financially based, but steeped in business.

She said Duffy’s experience as a former U.S. Congressman, he understands policy as well as financial matters.

“Every decision in America is born of policy,” she said. “On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

This is different from anything McDowell has done in the past.

“It’s a two-anchor show in the evening,” she explained. “This is not taking place during market hours. We tie all the business happenings together from the day. Again, it’s not about Washington or New York. It’s about the people we grew up with. We talk to them. Build a relationship with them on the air. For me, this is not just sitting in front of a camera. I can run off at the mouth as well as anyone, hang in there with the filibuster.”

McDowell says she is blunt, but hopes she isn’t rude. During a recent interview for the new show she used the terms ‘pig potatoes’ and ‘chapped backsides.’

“Those are terms I just made up,” she said. “I make up a lot of phrases and don’t always know what they mean. I have an entire repertoire of those kinds of phrases.”

Duffy assumed they were southern phrases he had to learn from McDowell, but she assured him she’d never heard them anywhere else.

“I’m just making stuff up,” McDowell said. “You can’t curse. Can’t say BS. At least you shouldn’t say BS on television. You don’t want to say manure. You never want to say something that makes people wince or evokes a smell.”

Dealing with people directly and bluntly seems to come from her mother.

“My mother had grit,” McDowell said. “She was also very kind, never syrupy. I used to say she had no magnolia-mouth.

That’s got to be a southern phrase.

McDowell said her mother was not a servile flatterer, but she was kind. Always there when somebody was in need.

“She had real grit. She’d stand and fight for her friends and family members.”

Her mother passed away after being diagnosed with stage-four cancer.

“She went through unimaginable pain,” McDowell said of her mother. “For nearly six years. You want to talk about somebody who was tough. There was nobody more pugnacious than my mother.”

She explained even with her illness, her mother was always on the go. Continuing to live her life. When questioned about being so active while she was ill, her mother continued to show grit.

“My mother would say she didn’t want to walk around looking like she had cancer. She asked, ‘What choice do I have? I could lay in bed and wait to die, or I can get up and do what I can .’”

McDowell said her mother’s illness taught her to be a caregiver in ways she never could have imagined. Her mother taught her to find moments of joy every single day, in the smallest of things.

“It can be as simple as telling a stranger to have a great day. Treat a perfect stranger with kindness. I do it all day long. I know it sounds corny, but I want to be known as a person who brings a casserole to a friend when they’re ill.”

A one-sheet from Fox tells you McDowell and the culmination of her background is perfect for The Bottom Line. The fact is, it’s true.

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BNM Writers

Airing The Tyre Nichols Video Was A Necessity

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, hard sounds to hear. But they aired.

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Far be it for me not to address this outrageous and embarrassing instance in humanity. After the videos of Memphis police brutally beating Tyre Nichols were shown on television there really seemed to be more outrage emerging from society this time than from the media, for a change. One would think that’s how we wish things to be.

In instances like this, where the video and audio images are far from brief but are instead chaptered as they unfold, there are few options other than to let them run their course. Clocks — breaks hard and soft — are out the window, just as in live coverage.

Because that’s what this was, only the live this time was us, and as we all absorbed and reacted to actions disapprovingly familiar yet somehow foreign at the same time, the impact was still becoming apparent even though we already knew the outcome.

It’s happened before.

Not always like this but we’ve seen it before, police encounters shown on the news overtakes and become the news.

It takes effect as the sights and sounds are digested, dissected, and discussed, often before their potential impact could really be imagined.

In 1991, when the Handycam footage crossed screens for the first time and we learned Rodney King’s name, we didn’t know then but we had a feeling.

We were on the right track, though as newsrooms evolved and street reporting incorporated a different type of storytelling.

I was a cop in 1991. Changes came. Some.

It’s 2023, I’m no longer a cop. Changes will come again. Some.

Turning points — or the overused watershed moments — mean just as much to the news media as they do to law enforcement.

The “why’s” that make this a turning point are more society and community based this time around than they were in 1991.

At least I think so. And I don’t think it makes a bit of difference who’s involved this time.

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, and hard sounds to hear. But they aired. Where they couldn’t air, they were described in great detail; descriptions sometimes can be worse than the real thing. Sometimes, not this time.

And they should air, they shouldn’t stop airing. This is what happened and this is what people need to see and hear and this is exactly why we are here.

Warn them, provide them with a heads up that they’re not going to like what happens next. It’s life and we show life, and we show what some of us do with it when it’s someone else’s.

Overall, I would say the news platforms held their composure, even after the videos were released. I saw, read, and heard some refreshingly neutral coverage, even from outlets where I expected hard turns into the lanes on either side of the road.

Legitimate questions were asked by anchors and reporters and much of the time, the off-balance issues were raised more by those on the sidewalks and those on the other side of the cameras and microphones.

As much as I find myself in disagreement with what I often see on the cable networks — all the cable networks — I did find a sense of symmetry watching CNN’s Don Lemon speak with Memphis City Council Chair Martavius Jones in the hours after the videos were released.

Regular protocols be damned, Lemon and producers lingered patiently as Jones, visibly overcome by emotion, struggled to regain breath and composure enough to be able to speak. Rather than cut away or move to other elements, they stood fast and it became an example of what often requires no words.

There were fewer punches pulled on other platforms as well.

The sounds of the screams, the impacts, and the hate-filled commands were broadcast through car radios.

As were Tyre Nichol’s calls for his mom. They aired. They had to.

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BNM Writers

Does the Republican Establishment Get It?

For many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections.

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In a move that seemed to go against the wishes of the patriotic American grassroots, the Republican party on Friday re-elected RNC Chairperson Ronna McDaniel. 

The media immediately took notice, as many on television and radio are now wondering why the party would re-elect a chairperson who has been so unpopular with the base of its party. 

Grant Stinchfield discussed this issue Friday night on his program, Stinchfield Tonight, which airs on Real America’s Voice network.

“Ronna McDaniel holds on to her chairmanship of the Republican Party. By a whopping total of — what were the numbers– 111 to 54. Harmeet Dhillon only received 54 votes. Mike Lindell 4 votes. This is proof to me that the Republican establishment is dug in,” Stinchfield — formerly of Newsmax — said. “Don’t tell me they’re out of touch. See, you tell me they’re out of touch, that implies ignorance. They’re not ignorant about anything.”

As sentiment for Dhillon grew in the days leading up to Friday’s vote, many influential politicians and party donors publicly offered her their support and endorsement. These included Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), as well as donors Mike Rydin, Dick Uihlein, and Bernie Marcus.

Also on board were musician and outspoken conservative John Rich, along with the state GOP of Nebraska and Washington State. Countless journalists and media personalities, such as Charlie Kirk, Miranda Divine, and Lou Dobbs, also came out publicly in support of Dhillon. Former President Donald Trump remained neutral, not making a public choice of either of the three candidates.

For many of Dhillon’s supporters, the deciding factor was public sentiment across the party’s base.

“They’re reading the same chat boards. They’re getting the same emails I’m reading. I will literally post something about this race when I was supporting Harmeet Dhillon. There was not one comment – not one – that supported Ronna McDaniel. Everyone wanted change,” Stinchfield said, noting that the party elite saw the same groundswell of support for change.

“Now, nobody has an issue as Ronna McDaniel is some evil kind of person. I don’t believe she is. I believe, though, that she is part of the establishment. She’s been around too long as far as the establishment goes. And she’s been ingrained in doing business as usual. It’s not working.”

In making their choices known, many Dhillon supporters simply pointed to the scoreboard during McDaniel’s reign.

“Think about where we are. 2018, we lost the House. 2020, we lost everything. 2022, we won the House, but we should have really steamrolled the House and we should have taken back the Senate, which we didn’t do,” Stinchfield said. “That means we’re on a real losing track since she took over. I don’t like being on a losing track. I like being on a winning track.

“Something has got to change when you talk about all of this. So how does Ronna McDaniel get 111 votes and Harmeet Dhillon only get 54 votes, when everyone, every Republican voter I talk to said it was time for change?” pondered Stinchfield.

And even more than the losses, for many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections. The most recent example of which came in Arizona, where presumptive gubernatorial favorite, Kari Lake, was “defeated” when countless voting irregularities occurred in some of the state’s most deep-red areas.

“Under her watch, Democrats instituted a mail-in ballot scheme. That may be even worse than losing, when you talk about the House and the Senate and all these things. The fact that we now have a junk mail-in ballot scheme across the country under Ronna McDaniel’s watch is serious trouble. Very serious trouble,” Stinchfield said on Friday. “And so the reason it is is because the Democrats are rigging the system.”

For years – until Donald Trump descended the golden escalator and took the world by storm – the Republican party had the reputation of being the party of the rich. Rush Limbaugh used to refer to this wing of Republicans as “the country club crowd.” President Donald Trump flipped the narrative completely, offering a clear vision of hope and patriotism to working-class America.

Reputable polling — such as Richard Baris’ Big Data Poll — consistently showed Trump running well ahead of almost every Republican candidate during the 2022 mid-term election cycle. In other words, Trump still maintains considerably more support across the country than most of the individual Senate or House candidates experienced.

Many experts believe this is because voters still view Trump as an outsider, while they view the Republican party much less favorably.

“Let’s tell you how out of touch they are, how elitist they are,” Stinchfield said, calling out the GOP establishment. “This meeting that went on, do you know where it is? It’s at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch in California. One of the most expensive resorts in America. You’re lucky if you get a room for a thousand dollars a night down there on Dana Point. Now, it’s a beautiful hotel, but why is the Republican Party holding an event there? Then I went back and I looked at what RedState did. RedState went back and looked at some of the expenses that the Republican Party under Ronna McDaniel’s leadership was spending money on.

“Take a look at this. $3.1 million on private jets. $1.3 million on limousine and chauffeur services. $17.1 million on donor mementos. $750,000 on floral arrangements. Now you compare this to the Democrats. The Democrats spent $35,000 on private airfare. A thousand dollars on floral arrangements. A thousand. Not $750,000. A thousand. And the $17.1 million they spent on donor mementos, the Democrats spent $1.5 million.

“Democrats know where to put the money. It’s not giving donors gifts. Donors shouldn’t want gifts. If you give money, give money. You don’t need the fancy pin to put on your lapel.”

Following her loss, Dhillon warned her party that it must listen to the base, saying, “if we ignore this message, I think it’s at our peril. It’s at our peril personally, as party leaders and it’s at our peril for our party in general.”

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