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Burn the Boats is an award-winning podcast featuring intimate conversations with change-makers from every walk of life. Host Ken Harbaugh interviews politicians, authors, activists, and others about the most important issues of our time.

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Olivia Julianna: The Future of Texas

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Olivia Julianna: The Future of Texas

Olivia Julianna is a 20-year-old abortion-rights advocate and the director of politics and government affairs at Gen-Z for Change. With the help of her substantial TikTok following, Olivia initiated the takedown of an anti-abortion website that encouraged Texans to inform on their neighbors, and raised over $2.3 million after a twitter battle with congressman Matt Gaetz. She’s also a Senior Advisor to Lose Cruz, an organization dedicated to defeating Ted Cruz’s reelection bid in 2024.

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Olivia Julianna:

I think it's really irritating to tell candidates, “Okay, go out and win this race, but you're going to have a 10th of the money your opponent has. You're going to have a 10th of the infrastructure your opponent has. But you better do it, it's your responsibility.”

I think that's part of the problem. Part of the problem is there's a severe lack of investment in the state of Texas, and there's a severe lack of infrastructure in the state of Texas because people won't invest of it.

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm Ken Harbaugh and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.

My guest today is Olivia Julianna, an abortion rights advocate, and the director of politics and government affairs at Gen-Z for Change.

With the help of her substantial TikTok following, Olivia initiated the takedown of an anti-abortion whistleblower website and raised over 2.3 million after a Twitter battle with Congressman Matt Gaetz.

She's recently become a senior advisor to Lose Cruz, an organization dedicated to defeating Ted Cruz's reelection bid in 2024.

Olivia, welcome to Burn the Boats.

Olivia Julianna:

I am very happy to be here.

Ken Harbaugh:

You said in a recent TED Talk that Texas has become a beacon of extremism for the nation, and as goes Texas, so goes the nation.

I have been watching Texas for the better part of a decade, waiting for it to flip. And my parents live in a rural conservative community, probably not unlike the one you described growing up in. So, the state has a special place in my heart, but it keeps letting us down.

Can you give us a sense of what is going on there and how it became, as you put it, a beacon of extremism?

Olivia Julianna:

Yeah, absolutely. What we've seen happen in Texas is not unlike what we've seen happen in other states that are run by conservatives and by the Republican party.

It's been a slow tick over the last several decades of strategic investments, voter suppression, and just general fear tactics that have been used to create this conservative stronghold in the state.

When we look back at like the election and the heyday of the former governor Ann Richards, there was a lot more infrastructure. There was a much more active democratic party in the state.

And now, when we look at Texas, we have these millionaires who have been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into elections on every level of the ballot in Texas for the last 30 years. And there's just not been the same investment on the left into the state of Texas.

And I think that's a mistake because we've seen now, Texas is a majority-minority state. And we have a huge number of registered voters who are just not coming out to the polls or aren't able to cast their ballot because of how extreme our voter suppression laws are.

And so, what's going on in Texas is a mix of national Democrats, national donors are not investing as much as they should be. There's not enough infrastructure to keep up with the organizing that we need to be going on in the state. But also, we are facing attacks on all cylinders.

And these conservative leaders who have taken charge like Greg Abbott, like Ken Paxton, (who's currently being impeached in the Texas legislature) have put forward some of the most extreme pieces of legislation in the entire country.

The first state to have a Civil Bounty Abortion ban was the state of Texas. And we've seen constantly from this governor, constantly from this Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who I want to point out because people so often leave him out of the fold.

These pieces of legislation that attack civil rights on all fronts, that take power away from Texans, that take power away from public education. And they refuse to do even simple things that other Republican governors will do.

They won't expand Medicaid even though there's federal money for it to be there. And then they get mad and point fingers and wonder, “Well, why is Texas one of the worst states in the country for maternal healthcare?”

And so, it's just a constant attack on all cylinders. It's lack of investment, and it's the fact that we have billionaires who are propping up these conservative politicians, bankrolling their campaigns to pass policy that benefits them and not the working people of Texas.

Ken Harbaugh:

I definitely want to get into some of those policies and the extremist bent that they have taken on, especially the Civil Bounty Abortion ban.

But your framing is especially helpful in pointing the finger at the conservatives who run Texas, not Texans. And you said, I believe it was in the Teen Vogue article, “The reality is Texas is not a red state, Texas is a voter suppression state.”

Tell me about Texans, not the politicians who run the state, but the people you grew up with. Though they may cast themselves as conservative, the government of Texas isn't really reflective of the people of Texas today.

And as you said, it's due, if it's not already, to become a majority minority state. There is this incredible energy that just hasn't been tapped into to move the state forward because it's being held in check by a extremist minority in power.

Olivia Julianna:

Yeah. I mean, there are a lot of self-identified conservatives in the state of Texas. I won't deny that, it's true.

But the thing about Texans that I find to be so uniquely beautiful is there's this quality of coming together in difficult times and truly being there to help your neighbor. And we see that most commonplace in Texas, unfortunately, through natural disasters.

I think of in my life, (I'm 20 years old, turning 21 this year) the moments where I can think of Texans coming together the most were during Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane that happened, oh gosh, I think I was a few years old. I don't even remember the name of it.

But in those times, it is really true that … or when the grid failed during the Texas winter storm. It is in those times where your political affiliation truly does not matter. And you will see people all walks of life coming together to help their neighbor.

And I think the people who really remind me of that are my family. My dad is a lifelong Republican. He has voted for Republicans, he's voted for Abbott before, he's voted for Trump before.

And I look at my father, and this is the same man who the day of the winter storm, was driving around our small town fixing people's pipes and paying for the materials with his own money, because that's the type of person he is. And there are a lot of people in Texas who are like that on both sides of the aisle.

And so, I don't believe this notion that all Texans are malicious, or hateful, or bigoted because I know a lot of really great people who are conservatives. I know a lot of really great people in Texas who are Democrats.

And there's just this culture of friendliness, and hospitality, and being welcome that I think a lot of people really don't know about because they only hear about Texas from the articles that are talking about all of the bad policy that's coming out of the state.

And the reality is, most Texans are just really good, hardworking, good-hearted people.

Ken Harbaugh:

But the reality of growing up where you did, and I'm reflecting on my parents' community in rural Texas, (and you have written about this and commented on it) is that there aren't a lot of visible Democrats. At least out Democrats, if you will.

And that has a real effect on people's perceptions. This idea that all your neighbors think a certain way about politics tends to steer you in that direction.

Can you talk about being the only Democrat or what felt like the only Democrat growing up in a small Texas town?

Olivia Julianna:

I mean, it was incredibly isolating. I grew up in a very small conservative town. Very, very, very small, very conservative town. And I think back to different moments of my childhood where I could feel those partisan lines very clearly.

And one of the most prominent stories that I really don't tell a lot is after I had started being involved in politics, on election day in 2020, (I lived kind of near the high school that I went to) a group of teenage boys quite literally organized a Trump parade to drive by my house to my high school that day.

Like that is the reality of the city that I grew up in. And it was hard to deal with, it was hard to feel like, “Am I the only person who believes this?”

And I think that that's why social media became such a big part of what I do is because I was able to find other people like me who believed the same things that I did, who had the same morals that I did.

And I think that now, because you start to see more people coming out as outwardly Democrat … and I will credit that I will work for a lot of that because there are a lot of what we call dirt road Democrats who really started kind of show themselves more in this past gubernatorial election that happened in Texas by putting out signs.

Because there's this kind of idea, like you said, that there's not really Democrats in these rural areas. There are, they're just for one, not being campaigned to.

I grew up in Fort Bend County, which is one of the fastest growing bluest counties in the state of Texas. And I did not ever get a piece of literature, my door was never knocked on. I didn't even live that far outside of the city limits. So, I didn't see a Democrat campaigning for me to vote for them until I moved to Houston.

And I think that's a mistake. And I think that that's part of the problem that we see so often with Democrats not just in the city of Texas, but around the country, is I'm a firm believer of run every race. There should be a Democrat on every single ballot in every single election across the country.

There should be somebody who even if they don't know that they're going to win, they're still making the effort to show their community like, “Hey, you're not alone in the beliefs that you have. I'm out here. I believe the same things that you do.”

And I think that that's part of the reason why we see so much of this narrative of Texas conservatives because there's some places where Democrats just won't run, even though there are Democrats out there. And I think that we need to be more open about our political beliefs.

Ken Harbaugh:

Can you talk about what Beto achieved? His loss was heartbreaking for so many of us, but his attempt to campaign in every Texas county, the effects that you saw on the ground, you mentioned those yard signs. I've seen that for myself campaigning in a very conservative Ohio district.

It takes a lot of guts to put the first Democratic yard sign up, but before long you see another one and another one and another one. They're out there, it's just a matter of overcoming that intimidation factor.

What did Beto do to show Texas Democrats that they could be a force?

Olivia Julianna:

I think that the biggest thing that Beto did honestly was start a conversation. The Beto we saw in 2018, I think is a very different Beto that we saw in 2022, especially considering who he was running against.

And I think that there were a lot of things that people were forced to talk about in this election because not only was Beto the candidate, but he was also, running against Greg Abbott, who is a wildly unpopular politician for the large part.

And so, I think by traveling across the state, Beto did a couple of things. Number one, he showed people that every voter is worth investing in, which I agree with.

Number two, he showed that Texas isn't just Houston, it's not just Dallas, it's not just San Antonio. There are a lot of other towns out there that people, they want to be seen, they want to be heard.

Now, I would've done things a little bit differently in terms of how much time I spent where, but I respect the fact that he made the effort to show every Texan that he does care about them.

And I think that sparked a lot of conversation about, “Well, where do we need to be investing in Texas? Where are we the closest to making gains? Where are we the closest to flipping seats?”

And if anything, I think the results of Beto's election is it shows us an electoral map that shows us where the weak spots are in a midterm year. And it shows us where we need to invest. And I think that it's going to help us out a lot going into 2024 in terms of the strategy of where we're making investments in Texas.

But I also, do think it sparked those conversations with your neighbors. My family in particular, I have several family members who are like, “Hey, like I'm voting this election because of your TikToks about Beto,” or, “I went to this Beto rally and I listened to him talk.”

And God love him, Beto, that he's just one of those people where he just draws people in and he just knows how to keep your attention.

And I think that the national narrative that he was able to create about good people, good democrats, good solid hard workers coming from Texas is something that's very valuable. Because I think for people nationally to see him and go, “Wow, this is a Texas Democrat. He is from El Paso, he's been here for most of his life. And these are his beliefs and these are his morals.”

There's probably a lot of other Texans out there just like him. And I really appreciate him for doing that and helping create that narrative.

Ken Harbaugh:

How much is the Texas legislature doing to animate Democrats? I mean, their extremist policies seem like just political malpractice. The overreach really seems like it's going to provoke a response.

Are you seeing that on the ground? And please use this opportunity to talk about the Civil Bounty Abortion ban, which again, Texas was a pioneer, not in a good way, in inventing new ways to persecute women.

Olivia Julianna:

Yeah. I mean, the Civil Bounty Abortion ban is one of the cruelest pieces of legislation I've ever seen in my entire life.

I know I'm young, but someone who quite literally sits and sifts through policy every single day, to read it, it incentivizes not only neighbors and loved ones to spy on individuals really and to wrap them out for a financial prize.

But it also, puts this horrible pressure on medical professionals. If you provide somebody with the care that they need, you potentially could be liable to pay this money to this other individual. And it's just a horrible system.

Ken Harbaugh:

For those who aren't familiar, can you break down the mechanics of how this works? Because it really is like Stasi level, east German informant level dystopian lawmaking.

And I ask you to be specific because the first time I had a conversation with my parents about it, they had no idea it existed given the news that they consume.

And I realized as an Ohioan, I actually knew more about this law than my parents living in Texas because of just how stove piped news is and how insulated some people are.

But if Texans understood how brutal this law is in the details, I think they'd rebel.

Olivia Julianna:

Yeah. So, the law does not place this civil burden. When I say civil burden, I mean the ability to be sued and have to pay a sum of up to $10,000 in a civil lawsuit. It does not place that burden on the individual who is seeking the abortion.

Instead, what it does is it seeks to place that responsibility on anybody who aided the individual in getting access to an abortion.

So, that could be an Uber driver, it could be a friend who drove you to a clinic, it could be a coworker who helps you get access to abortion pills, and it could be a medical professional that provides you the abortion that you're looking for.

And so, this uniquely cruel way, not only is it incentivizing people to report on those helping you get access to the care that you need, but it's also, keeping the people who are seeking care from getting help from individuals around them and the fear that they will be liable to pay this money and have to go through these lawsuits because of this Civil Bounty Law.

It's deeply isolating, and I think it's incredibly cruel. And I also, think that it places this extreme burden and weight on medical professionals to have to understand the reality of if I help this person, there's a possibility that I'm going to be named in this lawsuit and that I may potentially have to pay out this money.

And I think that's an incredibly terrifying thing. And I think it's an incredibly dystopian thing to quite literally say like, “We have people who are watching you.”

And something that was even created here in Texas, and this is kind of where I got my start, is Texas Right to Life, the organization that has pushed for a lot of these anti-abortion policies, put out a tip line where they quite literally had people reporting individuals who aided in abortion access. And the kids on TikTok, we ended up taking it down.

But the point is the fact that that even existed is terrifying. And the Republican legislatures in the state, especially in the state leg, it's not just abortion.

And I think that that's the thing that frustrates me a little bit when it comes to politics in talking about the state of Texas, is a lot of people will talk about abortion, but they don't talk about all of the other major pieces of legislation or things that are happening at a state level in Texas.

We just had one of the largest school districts in the state, HISD, have their entire democratically elected school board removed, and a new school board was put up by the governor. That just happened.

We just had a whole session go through where we have more voter suppression bills being put up, where we have bans on trans kids healthcare being put up, further restrictions on different healthcare procedures.

The thing that scares me most now, is there is (there really is not a better way of saying this) a huge pissing contest going on right now, in the Texas legislature between the governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the speaker of the Texas House over this whole school choice or voucher program debacle.

And the results of that is we went through this entire session of the Texas legislature to now, these bills are making it to Governor Abbott's desk.

And if you are not somebody who supports his voucher program idea, he is now, vetoing your bills that you have passed through the legislature, saying maybe you'll consider this bill after a special session where school choice has been passed.

And that is happening to both Democrats and Republicans who oppose the school voucher program because they're from rural areas and they don't want taxpayer money going to different charter schools or voucher programs.

And so, the policy livelihood of the people of Texas is quite literally being gambled with by this governor who is turning against his own party and turning against legislation for his own political beliefs and his own political gain, really.

Not even political gain, it's quite literally just his political beliefs because public education is very popular amongst Texans. This is just a private issue that he's using months of legislative work to just piss away because he can.

Ken Harbaugh:

It seems like things are getting worse in the Texas legislature. And when I think about your reaction to the attacks on women's healthcare and your incredible effort to raise over 2 million in the wake of these attacks from Matt Gaetz and others, I mean, credit to you for that.

And I know that money did great things for women in need, but I look at the Texas legislature and I don't see the changes happening. When is that backlash going to materialize? When is the Texas legislature and when is Governor Abbott held accountable? Do you know what I mean?

Olivia Julianna:

When are national donor tables going to start investing in the state?

Ken Harbaugh:

Talk about that.

Olivia Julianna:

I think that's the real issue here, is Texas is getting a fraction of what it should be in donors and in organizing help. This is a state of 30 million people, 30 million people.

And I think it's really irritating to tell candidates, “Okay, go out and win this race, but you're going to have a 10th of the money your opponent has. You're going to have a 10th of the infrastructure your opponent has. But you better do it, it's your responsibility.”

I think that's part of the problem. Part of the problem is there's a severe lack of investment in the state of Texas, and there's a severe lack of infrastructure in the state of Texas because people won't invest in it.

The second part of the problem is that we have all these voters who are registered, they're eligible, and they're not voting. And I think that that is a problem reflector of a larger issue that I have found within democratic politics, in particular, within how we campaign to young people.

If you look at the demographics of messaging that people pick for young people in America, what are we going to get to say to bring the young people out to vote? They're basing it off of voter demographics.

The number one demographic of young voters who vote in this country are young, white women. And when you base your messaging of what young voters want based off of just this demographic, it's not going to include the messaging and the issues that are important to the young people who aren't voting.

And the young people who aren't voting for the most part are young black, and brown people who are either disenfranchised, voter suppressed, or who honestly haven't been campaigned or reached out to.

And I think that that's a really big issue in Texas, is that we have a lot of people, black and brown people in particular, who feel like they have been left behind by both the Republican and the Democratic Party.

And until we start having legitimate conversations about the issues that black and brown, specifically black and Latino Texans are facing and highlighting what we can actually do to better serve those communities and what we've actually done for those communities, and then we're going to keep having issues.

And I think the biggest mistake in my opinion, that Democrats in the state of Texas make far too often is purposefully distancing themselves from national Democrats, in particular, President Biden.

Especially because Democrats have not had control of Texas for 30 years. You cannot run just on a fear-based platform. You have to run on a hope-based platform. And that's why President Obama is so popular in Texas.

And so, when we have these successes like the IRA, the American Rescue Plan, the CHIPS and Science Act, the first piece of bipartisan gun legislation, and this lifetime, when we have those successes and then we have no state record to run on, why aren't we talking about that?

Why are we talking about all of the money that's coming into Texas because of the Biden administration? We should be.

And I think if we get more investment from national donors, we have better messaging to accurately reflect all of the demographics in the state of Texas.

And we actually talk about the successes of Democrats on a national platform to the people of Texas and show them how that has tangibly benefited their lives, I think we'll start to see a lot of changes happening here in the state.

Ken Harbaugh:

Talk to me about Gen-Z for Change and how you're capitalizing on those policy successes.

Olivia Julianna:

Gen-Z for Change has been around since the 2020 election and we've worked with different politicians in different groups all over the country on a number of different issues.

And the main issues that we've really focused on are labor, LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, and public education. And we use social media to leverage our power and talk about those issues.

Our most successful campaigns to date have been our safer initiative, which happened after Roe with the fundraising numbers that you mentioned earlier being the biggest part of that.

But we also, worked with Congressman Carolyn Maloney to send a letter to Yelp and Google to talk about how they need to have disclaimers on crisis pregnancy centers to say that this place may not offer abortion services because that is a common misconception that can lead people to not actually getting the care that they need.

We've worked with Starbucks Workers United to send fake job applications to stores that were looking to hire scab workers as the stores were trying to bust up unions.

And we've worked to help elect politicians like Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman and any number of people up and down the ballot.

And we've done it all on social media. We've done it all by meeting young people where they are.

And when we start to make investments in the places that we know young people are constantly at, where they're being talked to, not talked at, but talked to, by people who look like them, who have similar backgrounds to them, who understand the different generational traumas that they've gone through, there's a real impact there.

Because you're hearing from your peers, you're not just hearing from a politician or from a news anchor. Because the reality is young people aren't going to MSNBC, or CNN, or CBS to get their news.

They're coming to people like me on TikTok who have a following, who are covering what's going on in a way that they can actually understand.

And so, that's what Gen-Z for Change has been doing the last two years. That's what Gen-Z for Change will continue to do.

And my time at Gen-Z for Change is coming to an end soon as I transition into focusing on the Lose Cruz PAC, but I know, and I have full faith that the team that I've worked with for the last two and a half years is going to keep giving them hell because that's what we've been doing.

Ken Harbaugh:

Good. I want to talk about Lose Cruz in a second, but a philosophical question about Gen-Z for Change. The leadership of the organization, the membership is 20 somethings for the most part, which is great. We need that insight. We need the wisdom you bring to the fight.

How do you balance that against the wisdom of those who've been in the fight for decades?

You mentioned Shapiro and Fetterman. How do you integrate those two and make sure that your voice is heard, but you're still open enough to the tactical or strategic guidance of those who've been in the trenches for a long time?

Olivia Julianna:

Yeah. I mean, the honest answer is we just talk to them. If we have a labor initiative we want to do, we talk to SEIU, we talk to AFL. If we have a repro initiative we want to do, we talk to Jane's Due Process.

We consult and go to these people who have been in the fight longer than us and say, “Hey, what do you think about this? Or what are your thoughts? Or what can we be doing better?”

And I think that that's something I really appreciate about not just Gen-Z for Change, but about the older people who have been in this fight who will come in and help us, is I think it's reflective of something that we're seeing much more nationally too, is that it's not so much the kids will save us anymore.

It's a lot of intergenerational movements that I really respect and I'm really happy to see because I think when we all finally come together, different walks of life, different age groups, different generations, I think that that's when we really, really start to see a lot change.

And that's when I point to states like Pennsylvania, where it truly has become an intergenerational fight. Because you have Josh Shapiro who is an amazing governor, who was an amazing candidate.

But you also, have the fact that his daughter Sophia was leading Students for Shapiro and organizing young people across the state.

And I think that that's just really reflective of not just Gen-Z for Change, but of what's going on nationally as we're starting to see more and more people coming together, and more and more people getting involved in organizing.

Ken Harbaugh:

I am absolutely guilty or have been in the past of the kids will save us mindset. It's largely a reflection of my faith in my own kids and your generation. But I am much more aware now, of the totally unfair burden that places on your generation.

What do allies most get wrong when engaging Gen Z and trying to leverage your energy and learn from your wisdom.

Olivia Julianna:

Oh, I think the thing that bothers me the most is I have a lot of older folks who follow me and support me and they're on board when they think I'm smart, they think I'm brilliant and then I say one thing they disagree with and then it's, “Oh, well, you're just a kid. Oh, you're young, you got more life to live.”

And I think that that's the problem is if you're going to take us seriously for the things you agree with us on, you have to take us seriously when we're telling you we disagree with you on something. Especially because there's a different perspective there.

And I think that there's this really weird culture of calling people out instead of calling people in. And I really appreciate how I have some older mentors who will quietly come to me and be like, “I disagree with this thing that you said.” And I'll be like, “Oh, you know what, you're right.”

And so, because there's just this defensiveness because we are young in this space. So, I think that's the first thing.

I think the second thing is the thing you said of the kids will save us. I'm an organizer, I work in politics full-time, but I'm also, a student. I'm a full-time student and like I'm still in college.

And trying to balance doing my homework and also, being told, “It's your responsibility to save democracy,” kind of exhausting. And it's kind of this a huge burden to place on young people. I think instead of saying like, “Oh, kids will save us.”

Is, “Okay, well what can we do together to save democracy.” I think is probably the two biggest things that drive me nuts about how people view older or younger folks.

Ken Harbaugh:

Could not agree more.

Alright. Lose Cruz PAC. My first question is, why does Texas keep voting for that guy and what can we do to help you beat him?

Olivia Julianna:

Well, first of all, I think a lot of people when they talk about Ted Cruz, they point to 2018. So, 2018, this is a midterm year and Ted Cruz came very close to losing his seat in 2018.

It's now, Ted Cruz is going to be up for election in 2024. This is a presidential year where it is entirely possible that we are going to have Donald Trump on the ballot as the leader of the Republican Party once again.

And if I'm Ted Cruz, I would be absolutely terrified at the prospect that I have to run in the same seat that I almost lost by three points in a midterm election the last time I ran for this seat.

And now, I have to run in a presidential year where we know that the number of voters who are coming out is going to be extremely higher than it was in that midterm year.

Not only is it going to be higher because it's a presidential year, but it's going to be higher because the two people who are likely to be on the ballot are potentially Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

If I'm Ted Cruz, I'm terrified of that prospect, especially considering how many people absolutely hate my guts on both sides of the aisle.

So, I think that the first question you asked is why do people keep electing Ted Cruz? Like I said before, there's a severe lack of investment in the state of Texas and I think Beto had a lot of investment in 2018 and he came really damn close.

And I think that had been a presidential year, the outcome of that election would've been different.

Now, I think that Cruz has been able to kind of slide by a couple times and maybe get some positive press here or there from his base.

But the reality is, I think this is the first time that Ted Cruz is really going to have to face the music in a very blunt, dramatic, upright way because he's not running for president, he's up for his Senate election in a presidential year where he is one of the most unpopular political figures on both sides of the aisle in the entire country.

And that's not even coming from me, that's coming from other Republicans. I mean, I'm not going to tell you specifics, but just Google Republican quotes on Ted Cruz and it'll tell you everything you need to know.

Ken Harbaugh:

Oh, I know my parents are Republicans in Texas. I have a sense of just how unlikeable that man is.

Last question, because I would be negligent if I didn't at least acknowledge the Twitter showdown you had with Matt Gaetz. I know that's well-trod territory journalistically, but I have a I guess another philosophical question.

How do you hold trolls like that accountable when all they want is attention? And you did it masterfully. You turned the tables, you raised 2.3 million for a cause he hates.

What's your advice to other people who are the targets of that kind of trolling? How do you turn the tables without feeding the troll, if you know what I mean?

Olivia Julianna:

If they want attention, give them attention. Just don't give them the attention they're looking for.

I fully believe that Matt Gaetz, he wanted to elicit a reaction out of me, but the reaction that he wanted from me, he wanted me to scream, and cry, and be offended, and be upset because he wanted to be able to characterize me as just another bleeding heart, liberal abortion rights activist.

And that's not what I did. Because for one, it's not who I am. But two, it's because I knew that's what he wanted me to do.

When we feed into these outrage narratives and we do get angry or we get triggered, we're giving them what they want. I firmly believe in we have to start hitting these people where it hurts. We have to start being bold, and brash, and unapologetic in our attacks to them.

Like I'm sorry. Yeah, you can body shame me and you can expect me to cry and get triggered. That's fine. It doesn't change the fact that you are an unsuccessful lawmaker and an alleged pedophile.

So, if you want to attack me, that's fine, but this is who you are and everyone knows that. And it pisses them off because they don't expect you to hold their feet to the fire like that.

So, whether it's Matt Gaetz who wants to attack me like that, or whether it's someone like Ted Cruz, because Ted Cruz leans into it too, he leans into humor. That's fine, Ted Cruz, you can lean into humor.

The reality is, once again, an unsuccessful lawmaker and you're a coward who blames all of your controversy on your wife and children. And that's sad and you're pathetic. So, it's just stuff like that, being honest.

Talk about their record. These are elected officials who are supposed to be legislators and when they want to talk about these social issues or they want to put themselves out there to be a character who's on TV or who's doing all these other things, that's fine.

But let's peel all that back. What have you done for your constituents? What have you done for the American people?

And when you do that, you see two people who vote against veterans benefits, who vote against public education, who vote against expanding healthcare access, who threaten to cut social security.

And that's what they're trying to distract you from is their horrible legislative record and the fact that they can't be the main sponsor of successful legislation.

Ken Harbaugh:

Well, Olivia, this has been great. I can't wait until the next time somebody comes after you. I'm going to be waiting with bated breath for that. That'll be a good one. Thanks for joining us.

Olivia Julianna:


Ken Harbaugh:

Thanks again to Olivia for joining me.

Thanks for listening to Burn the Boats. If you have any feedback, please email the team at [email protected]. We're always looking to improve the show.

For updates and more, follow us on Twitter @Team_Harbaugh. And if you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to rate and review.

Burn the Boats is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Our producer is Declan Rohrs, and Sean Rule-Hoffman is our audio engineer. Special thanks to Evergreen executive producers, Joan Andrews, Michael Dealoia, and David Moss.

I'm Ken Harbaugh and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.

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