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The Populist Revolution Is Here (And Not a Moment Too Soon)

'Sound of Freedom,' Oliver Anthony capture rage against our corrupt elites

The Hill wrote a shockingly fair piece about the rise of right-leaning art in pop culture.

Sound of Freedom.” “Try That in a Small Town.” “Rich Men North of Richmond.” All three recently shattered expectations and drew huge crowds, including plenty of Red State types.

Left unsaid? Tom MacDonald’s dueling hits — “American Flags” and “Your America.”

Tom MacDonald & Adam Calhoun - "Your America"

The Hill noticed the trend.

“Hollywood” has long been synonymous with progressive media. Republicans have scoffed at the powerful microphone that they believe liberal elites hold in television, film and music. And as the country becomes increasingly polarized, conservatives are coalescing to amplify their own voices.

The article ends on a provocative note.

It’s too soon to tell whether these recent hits represent the start of a larger divide in entertainment — or if the summer of 2023 turns out to be a one-hit wonder for conservative pop culture.

It’s a great question, but in a way we already have our answer. The trick? Add an asterisk to the word “conservative.” Yes, the content in question is often right-leaning in nature, but not always.

Americans are sick of the corrupt, entitled elites, a group that includes members of Hollywood, academia, the media and, of course, the U.S. Government. They’re all progressives, more or less, thus the conservative label attached to the uprising.

The better word for this cultural revolution is “populist,” a full-scale attack on the elites. It’s why our cultural institutions, like the press, do everything possible to ignore or debase the content in question.


The Virginia resident behind “Rich Men” refuses to be labeled.

Anthony threw cold water on the Right’s embrace of his music and messaging.  He railed against the GOP for including his music in the recent Republican presidential debate.

He’s an Everyman singing about his friends and neighbors. Nothing more. Nothing less. They’re not Republicans, per se, just kind-hearted people exhausted by the elites who play them for fools.

We’ve been seeing evidence of this cultural revolution for the past year, if not more.

Top Gun: Maverick” cruised to box office glory in 2022, in part thanks to its woke-free style and celebration of talent, not Identity Politics. The elites loathe the meritocracy.

Populist comics like Tim Dillon, Ryan Long and Andrew Schulz are drawing big numbers without a lick of mainstream help.

Songs like “Boycott Target” and “Let’s Go Brandon” raced up the music charts, mocking the elites who force the country to embrace extreme cultural shifts.

Meanwhile, Cancel Culture victims like Morgan Wallen and Louis CK are doing just fine, thanks.

Wallen is one of the biggest country stars on the planet despite Country, Inc.’s attempt to end his career for saying the “n-word” during a private exchange that went viral. CK, canceled for legitimately awful behavior, sold out Madison Square Garden earlier this year.

His politics are almost uniformly left of center.

Many comedians self-produce their specials now, sharing them either on their respective web sites or platforms like YouTube and Rumble. Many don’t declare a political party. They just want more control over the jokes they tell and how they share them.

And, yes, they routinely target the elites in their material.

Tucker Carlson is thriving outside the Fox News bubble, with an assist from free speech-friendlier X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Carlson’s two-part interview with rapper/actor Ice Cube proved far more compelling, and news worthy, than any recent celebrity chat.

Angel Studios, which focuses on faith-friendly stories that uplift the audience, delivered not one but two successful films this year (“Sound of Freedom” and “His Only Son”) that elites in Hollywood would never embrace.

And while Russell Brand is no longer a movie star, his YouTube channel boasts 6.5 million followers and he draws serious eyeballs with every new video. He leans to the Left, but his voice speaks for millions of disaffected souls who see politicians acting against their best interests.

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We can’t forget the biggest name in podcasting, a populist hero who says what he thinks even if it goes against progressive groupthink.

They tried to cancel Joe Rogan, too, but it didn’t work. His critics slam him as an alt-right villain, a silly charge that isn’t backed up by reality. While the media elite pretend President Biden isn’t in mental decline, Rogan tells it like it is.

Meanwhile, the signs of pop culture exhaustion are impossible to miss. Films like “The Flash,” “Haunted Mansion” and “Blue Beetle” are failing, badly, in the marketplace. When a beloved franchise like “Indiana Jones” can’t turn a profit, you know there’s trouble afoot.

Major streaming platforms are hemorrhaging cash, forcing key players like Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney to cancel their own work to save money.


Dillon expertly explained why the Hollywood system is in trouble during a recent podcast. He shared how the video version of his show generates hundreds of thousands of views, similar to what your average CNN broadcast generates.

That doesn’t include podcast download figures or views on separate platforms like Instagram and X.

Dillon does it all at a far smaller price point, so he can quickly turn a profit. Can CNN say the same?

The comedian also can joke about whatever he wants without worrying about corporate sponsors, editors or interfering gatekeepers. His audience relishes that authenticity.

And, of course, we have dueling Hollywood strikes which have shut down the industry indefinitely. Some of the most anticipated films of 2023’s second half are moving to 2024, and both sides in the conflict have dug in deeper in recent days.

Conservative influencers are jumping on this cultural trend, and for very good reason. Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” is the perfect message for the modern Right, even if the singer/songwriter chafes at GOP candidates embracing his music.

Right-leaning influencers help spread populist art free of charge, a critical part of their success.


The mainstream media will avoid these stories as much as possible. Most journalists refuse to acknowledge MacDonald’s existence, in part because his anti-woke messaging repels them. 

The Hill rightly noted that conservatives have been slow to embrace pop culture and even more reticent to support right-leaning art when it comes their way. They ignored Andrew Breitbart’s famous advice, “politics is downstream of culture.”

That’s no longer the case.


Still, excellent, right-leaning fare like “No Safe Spaces” and “Richard Jewell” drew modest crowds during their theatrical releases. Conservatives failed to rally behind them.

Populist product is another story.

It doesn’t come with partisan labels and draws some support from the Left side of the political aisle. Who isn’t exhausted by elites who tell us to “mask up” while going mask-free right before our eyes?

That’s the success we’ll see more of in the months and years to come, art that crosses ideological borders and draws support from a growing number of fed-up Americans.


  1. The biggest problem with this assessment is that the elites of the US are hardly all progressives, and progressives hardly control all the mainstream media. Even most liberals are on board with a populist revolution to overthrow the money that controls the government, but this article falsely aligns “working class” with right-leaning/conservative and “elites” with progressives.

    1. The problem with this post is the assertion that “progressives hardly control all the mainstream media.” As our current commander-in-chief would say, “Come on, man!”
      Your other points all have some merit, although most of the elites I’m hearing lean pretty far to the left, too.

    2. What are elitists then? How about anti-populists, does that work? Progressives align significantly with global, anti-American initiatives.

      Progressives don’t control the media? Really now.

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