This week the “American Freedom Tour” came to Jacksonville, Florida. This two-day tour is the first of its kind with the idea of helping Republicans in running political opposition during non-election years. The overarching message of the tour is Faith, Family, Finances, and Freedom, which are principles that any conservative would care to protect and defend. Tickets for the event ranged from $45 for general seating upwards to Platinum prices of $10,000. I was fortunate enough to receive a Premium ticket for free, which included breakfast with one of the speakers.
During a time when many conservatives are feeling defeated by the Democrats and the radical left, an “American Freedom Tour” seems ideal to motivate the grassroots to keep fighting for the cause. I personally felt like the first day of the event could be summarized as “Tony Robbins meets Politics”, absent of political motivation. Mirtha Rust, a Cuban American with the Duval Republican National Hispanic Assembly stated, “Today was a big nothing burger and did absolutely nothing productive for the GOP at large”. No big headliners spoke on day one of the event and no agenda or literature was even provided to those in attendance. Some of the ticket packages included breakfast and lunch with certain speakers, but those ticket holders had no idea when or where to show up for what they paid for. Some of the tickets even went to “buy one get one” pricing after many had already paid full price.
Many of the speakers of the event were not included on the flyer which solicited sales for the event. Some included a presidential impersonator, Miss Universe, a social media software salesperson, and a guy speaking to the audience about buying covered calls in the stock market. Some of the speakers offered a special rate for their courses for a discounted price at the conclusion of their talk. Other speakers were those that someone could see and visit with during a monthly meeting at their local GOP office. A $4000 VIP ticket holder told me, “It felt a lot like winning a free cruise if you sit through a sales pitch, but in this situation, we had to pay for the cruise on top of it.”
One of the primary reasons the founder told us he chose Jacksonville was because of our Republican mayor, but oddly enough the mayor was not in attendance nor were a majority of our Republican elected officials. Why weren’t they there?
Vendors that were selling t-shirts at the event were told they were not allowed to sell “Trump Won” shirts because it may cause a riot. That is odd for an event that was advertising Donald Trump Jr. and many Trump supporters as speakers.
Many felt obligated to attend the second day of the event in order to get a return on investment for their time and money wasted day one. Let’s hope that the Jacksonville debut was a huge trial and error mistake that will be corrected as the tour continues through the United States. Next stop is Columbus, Ohio October 29-30.