by Ann Ridgeway
Right-wing “libertarians” such as Del. Nick Freitas – the Republicans’ nominee for Congress in VA07 – claim that they want to establish a totally free market economy, reduce regulations, drastically reduce taxes, and support an anti-statism platform. These policies might look good on paper, but in practice, they only benefit the wealthy, not the average American. And the reality is that some regulations are necessary to protect the health and welfare of our citizens, such as the quality of food, air and water.
In a debate I had with Freitas back in 2019 during our House of Delegates election, he said, “Ann does not trust people,” when talking about the need for people to have freedom to govern themselves. This is the right-wing libertarian line on which he often pivots. In fact, laws and regulations have been developed to protect people and to provide security and a safety net for all. Contrast that with libertarians like Nick Freitas, who (naively? disingenuously?) believe that the wealthy and corporations – in the absence of government – will magically step up to the task of helping those in need.
The reality is that having a libertarian-based government would result in sharp cuts to, or even elimination of, such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicare, disability benefits and health care – just to name a few. All Americans are equal in that we are all subject to disasters, be it a natural disaster, health-related, or some man-made disaster as what happened recently in Beirut. It is regulations that help keep us safe, and government programs are set up to help us if we become victims of a disaster. Yes, we are a proud people who would rather take care of ourselves, but we all must realize that life is not easy and it is unpredictable. As a nation, we must support all our citizens. This COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequalities we have had in this nation for years. We are all currently seeing what happens when the national government – in this case under Donald Trump – is unwilling to create and implement a serious, effective plan to address the crisis.
As for Nick Freitas, his answer to everything seems to be to use buzzwords like “deregulation,” “liberty-minded people,” etc. as frequently as possible, without actually explaining how he’d help make VA07 residents’ lives any better. Of course, this is the same Nick Freitas who – along with his wife Tina – has received a great deal of financial backing from out-of-state, far-right (rabidly anti-union, homophobic, etc.) billionaires, Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein and libertarians Chris and Melodie Rufer. See below for details.
2018 – Nick Freitas vs. Corey Stewart for US Senate: Chris Rufer, $2,000; Richard Uihlein, $2,000. Note: over 44% of the money spent on Freitas’ 2018 US Senate campaign was donated by ultra-rich benefactors trying to buy a seat anywhere.
2019 – Tina Freitas vs. Virginia Senator Emmett Hanger: Chris Rufer $50,000 (that comprised a significant chunk of Tina Freitas’ fundraising)
2019 – Nick Freitas a “write-in” candidate for 30th District House of Delegates: Richard Uihlein, $500,000; Chris Rufer, $15,000 Note: The Uihlein donation was by far the largest donation by a single donor to a House of Delegates campaign in 2019, recorded by the Virginia Public Access Project.
2019-2020 – Nick Freitas primary campaign for 7th District U. S. Congressional seat: Richard Uihlein, $2,800; Elizabeth Uihlein, $2,600; Chris Rufer, $5,600; Melodie Rufer, $2,800. Also, the hard-right/anti-tax Club for Growth Super PAC – which is supported by the Uihleins – has donated $165,775 to Nick Freitas campaign as of June 30, 2020. What is the Club for Growth up to? See here for more.
By the way, Richard Uihlein has been a political donor to right-wing candidates for many years, increasing his donations after the “Citizens United” decision. Some of the candidates Uihlein has supported include Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Roy Moore. In fact, Uihlein was one of the few donors to give money to Moore after he was accused of having solicited women as young as 14. In general, the Uihleins donate to candidates who support broad access to assault weapons, are anti-abortion and want to get rid of government regulations by having a totally free market economy. They also have bankrolled efforts against gay and transgender rights. And they push their messaging by supporting a network of broadsheets and websites that appear to be news outlets, but which make one-sided attacks on opponents.
Also of interest: Liz Uihlein was one of the 36 executives who were invited to participate in a call with Trump in March to discuss the National response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s overhyped, “ she said, “ I don’t wish anybody ill will. You know I don’t wish that, but I think it hurts certain ages in certain places and largely in a lot of parts of the world. In the(this) country it is not as rampant as the press would like you make it.“
As for Chris and Melodie Rufer, they are founders and owners of the Morning Star Company in Woodland, California. The company operates on a libertarian philosophy of no supervisory management. Workers are encouraged to innovate independently, define job responsibilities, with an expert consultant and equipment purchases. The Rufers are top donors to the Libertarian Party and conservative PACs, as well as to Nick Freitas.