We recently heard that Daniel Francisco, President of Blue Star Union, is running for mayor in Englishtown, NJ. You may already know Daniel from his YouTube content or for being the named plaintiff in the FPC case Francisco v. Cooke. Happy to find out that a true fighter and defender of our 2nd Amendment rights was running for political office, we asked him for an interview. Read on to find out what Daniel has to say.
News2A: You’re running as a Second Amendment purist. That’s not a popular platform. Why do you think that is?
Daniel Francisco: I generally think very few people truly dig deeply into what having a natural right means. Part of this is government education, which for many, legitimizes and exalts the abuse at the hands of the State. Some older generations can vaguely relate when they think of movies like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, but the symbolism almost becomes ironic to the point where people don’t think the imagery is quite literal.
It’s frankly illogical to be anything but a purist on this issue once you understand the paradigm on what the State’s legal duty is in protecting anyone, or even more simply, merely comprehending behavioral incentives.
Lastly, the electoral system in NJ encourages vague moderation and perceived palatability to the senses of the masses, as the county parties have an undue influence on the candidates they end up blessing with resources and positioning on the ballot. All of these factors lead many that may even believe in “pure” outlooks on firearms rights to dilute their rhetoric intentionally in order to get ahead in the political realm. Another element to it altogether, is that New Jersey is inherently a progressive jurisdiction.
News2A: You’ve obviously been out in public campaigning. What are your constituents telling you that their concerns are?
Daniel Francisco: They span a few issues – I would say the most pressing one is simply communication, or lack thereof. I notice most people, even those that are trying to pay attention to local politics, tend to misunderstand or omit details in their attempt to follow local stories. They often are shut out of context of certain conversations, and have a lack of access to clear live-streaming to our council meetings.
Additionally, many want to see an improvement to our community downtown and public events.
Lastly, they want to see a value-return on their property taxes. We live in a borough that is wholly inside Manalapan township, which is a lower tax rate than Englishtown does. Couple this with the fact we lack the resources to provide the same services as a larger town, it begs the most important question; if we can’t cut anything further because we are operating at a bare-minimum, then, how can we dramatically increase our revenue through new, fresh streams of income? Many have rejected any sort of ideas or modernization to foster business growth. We are going to take the opposite approach, and become the best facilitators our business community has ever experienced.
News2A: Englishtown is a relatively small community in a state that has a very high population density. What kinds of meaningful changes can residents expect from your mayoral candidacy? How could those changes set a precedent for other small municipalities?
Daniel Francisco: Rhetoric and philosophy matter, and being able to articulate it in the process of execution has the ability to impact culture greatly, which often is way more powerful than the mere “politics”.
Our town has the ability to embrace legalized cannabis, substantially update our downtown by supporting and attracting business investment, acting as a good steward to community stakeholders, and bringing real value back to the tax payers in terms of rate reductions. There are other smaller ways to make these arguments in tangible form – such as privatizing services like waste management.
Moreover, we are a small town, and therefore we owe it to our residents to provide the hospitality of a small-town feel. We should know our residents, respond swiftly to their concerns, and encourage community solutions as opposed to top-down mandates.
News2A: If elected, do you see yourself as a wrecking ball to the establishment, or somebody looking to compromise across party lines? Or something in between?
Daniel Francisco: In our town, and many others, party is somewhat of a foregone conclusion. One must be in the “majority” party to compete in general elections, which in our town happens to be the GOP. The real “election”, is the primary.
The mayor and council have exclusively been Republicans for decades, yet this comically means very little. I have consistently had philosophical debates with my all-Republican colleagues where repeatedly they argue for more government power, while other issues that retail Democrats in NJ tend to support, could be described as “smaller government” solutions.
The paradigm of labeling things “left vs right” at the local level is facile. The real question is; “are you empowering and promoting the sovereignty of the individual human being, or are you empowering the government?” This is the true barometer for all political questions, particularly at the local level, and is a much better indicator than party labels.
News2A: Tell us what month one looks like when you get in office. What are the priorities on your agenda?
Daniel Francisco: Cutting unnecessary measures and resources, working to lift many senseless regulations, abolish licensures, and swiftly encourage and incentivize rapid investment in the downtown.
News2A: Let’s talk a little bit about the current two party system. Why aren’t more conservatives on the ballot in New Jersey?
Daniel Francisco: First off, I tend to reject the term “conservative” altogether. What is a “conservative?” What are they “conserving”? How does the “right wing/conservative” crusade look today relative to say, 30 years ago? Is it identical? If not, then what exactly was “conserved”?
There are many ways to attack this question. The obvious answer is – being prudent with money is inherently difficult for long-term political longevity. You only need to negotiate one contract with a public entity to understand the fallacy of negotiating government contracts. While markets rise and fall, business owners have a duty to a bottom line. They must learn to do without when times are bad, lest they cease to exist. Government entities and negotiating actors face no such reckoning ever. They will demand more from you merely because they exist, and if you neglect to honor their increasing demands, in NJ you are likely to be dragged in front of special courts that will force you to pay up regardless. Most government negotiations are not negotiations – they are dressed-up hostage negotiations.
This is merely one aspect of this discussion. Being “conservative” does nothing to make you electable, is not exciting, and frankly, is not even legally realistic in NJ. This is why no one campaigns on what departments they would abolish or programs they have slashed.
In New Jersey, you have progressives, and speed-limit progressives. They are both going to the same destination – one is just moving a little slower.
News2A: Is there or can there be a political middle ground when it comes to civil liberties?
Daniel Francisco: Ideally no, but this isn’t to say that if I had the power to increase some modicum of freedom for an individual, I would, even if the end result is not my ideal “finish line”. I’m a believer that any incremental good I can bring to reality is worthy of pursuing.
News2A: How does your platform as a Second Amendment purist shape your views on other important social topics?
Daniel Francisco: I was philosophically influenced by Murray Rothbard’s “Anatomy of the State” , and I use it as a basis for much of my thinking. There is no government monopoly that can do better than what a private solution could.
Much as firearms rights incidents have fostered conversations about what the government’s duty is in protecting individuals (hint: they have no legal duty to protect you) I have grown to always shape my thinking around this fundamental premise: how can this problem be resolved with MORE liberty? Is there a way in particular? And as I mentioned earlier, am I growing the sovereignty of the individual with my actions?