Best-selling conservative author draws record turnout at Battle Cry 2018

An attendee wins a raffle prize at the Battle Cry 2018 event on Feb. 3 at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

Michigan conservatives crowded into a suite at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort Feb. 2-3 for the two-day Battle Cry 2018 event hosted by the Michigan Conservative Coalition.

Battle Cry is meant to encourage support for conservative values and act as a gathering for people in Michigan interested in conservative politics and “draining their local swamp.”

Best-selling author and conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza headlined the third annual event.

D’Souza has authored several books, including “What’s So Great About America” in 2002 and “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” in 2010. He has also written and directed the documentary films “2016: Obama’s America” and “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”

At the event D’Souza promoted his latest book, “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.” The book examines what D’Souza calls “the big lie” that the Republican Party has historically supported racist, bigoted policies, while the Democratic Party has historically been on the side of liberation and civil rights.

D’Souza argues the opposite has been true throughout U.S. history. He compared Democrats accusing Republicans of being racist to criminals accusing law enforcement of being “the bad guys.”

The first night featured an appearance by Corey Lewandowski, who served as campaign manager for President Donald Trump for a portion of his 2016 presidential campaign. 

During his time on stage, Lewandowski gave a retrospective of his time involved with the Trump campaign. Lewandowski also detailed how Trump’s attitude and political message gradually won him and the people of the U.S. over.

“Unlike Mitt Romney and others, we didn’t hide from (Trump’s) wealth,” Lewandowski said. “We embraced it, because that’s the American Dream. What we embraced with the campaign was the wealth that Donald Trump had made — to show people that we are the greatest country in the world, and through hard work and dedication, you can have the same type of success Donald Trump has had.” 

After speaking, Lewandowski held a signing session for his new memoir “Let Trump Be Trump,” which details his time on the campaign trail. 

In addition to Lewandowski and D’Souza, the event featured several other speakers, including:

• Tom Leonard, Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, who is currently running for Michigan Attorney General

• Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan Trump campaign director

• Stan Grot, Shelby Township clerk and candidate for Michigan Secretary of State

• Gary Glenn, state representative and candidate for state senate

• Mike Rothfeld, founder of the Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership 

• Grant Strobl, national chair of Young Americans for Freedom

• Terry “Thayrone X” Hughes, radio DJ for Ann Arbor’s WAAM broadcast program

• Bob DiBuono, comedian and Trump impersonator

Linda Brandis, MCC registration coordinator, said the turnout for the event was “excellent” and nearly twice as large as the 2017 event, which had around 200 people. Brandis credits the turnout numbers partially to 2018 being an election year, but also to general “Trump excitement.”

“Grassroots (groups) are excited for where we are right now, and where Republicans are going,” Brandis said. 

MCC President Rosanne Ponkowski said the turnout for the event exceeded the group’s expectations. 

“(Battle Cry) inspires people to take an active role in their community,” Ponkowski said. “That’s what we’re here for — getting them charged up, getting them inspired to get off their butts and giving them the tools they need to get busy.”