Danielle Butcher has been making decisions for her entire 21 years of life; from growing up with a liberal father and becoming a conservative-libertarian, to dropping out of college to pursue her political career, she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t fear to step away from normality.
“My dad’s side of the family is very left wing, and I was definitely raised based on those values,” she says. “Some of my childhood memories include handing out stickers in parades for DFL (Minnesota’s version of the democratic party) candidates with my grandfather.”
She grew up listening to NPR in her dad’s car, but she says unfortunately for her dad, he raised her to challenge authority and think for herself.
“That independence led me to question many of the values I was raised to hold and at some point in high school, I realized I actually disagreed with a lot of liberal platforms,” she adds, which led her to begin an anonymous Twitter account to “explore new ideologies and to test the waters” with her “new values.”
Butcher says while she was too afraid to tell her dad at first, her account — originally called “Republican Sass,” — quickly took off and gained thousands of followers. She switched the account to show her real name after she held about 8,000 followers. “That’s when everything took off for me,” she says.
On Being A Role Model
Being a role model is not a new mindset for Butcher, however, who says as the oldest child in the family, it has always been something she has considered. This is not because she thinks she’s deserving, but because “you never know who is watching and learning from you.”
On social media, she says it’s important to remember that people “quite literally see everything you say and you have to choose your words wisely.”
“I try to avoid saying things for shock value or for attention and strive to keep my social media as genuine as possible,” she adds. “I encourage honesty both in personality and in politics because I believe we can solve a lot of real issues when we put aside egos and just talk it out.”
For those who do look up to her, she says she is “flattered and humbled,” and loves helping young women get involved.
“I want to help however I can because I remember being at that stage as well.”
From College To Chief-Of-Staff
After high school, Butcher says she briefly attended Bethel University in St Paul, Minnesota, where she studied political science and rhetoric communications. She decided to leave college and pursue politics full-time. However, she says she is not “anti-college.”
“I think higher education is very important, I just don’t buy into the idea that everyone needs to have a degree to succeed,” she says. “I see great value in lifelong learning, whether people choose college or real-life experiences to learn, it’s a personal choice that should be respected.”
She says self-improvement is the key to success, and the avenue used to get there is up to the individual.
Now, Butcher is taking on a relatively new role in the political world: chief-of-staff of the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), explaining that it was as simple as a group of individuals that saw a need for this type of organization, and they made it happen.
While her father was not able to push his liberal views on her, she explains that he did raise her to care about and respect the planet, so environmental issues are nothing new for her.
“Conservatives have long ignored the topic of environmentalism, so I was excited for the opportunity to fill this niche and work with some amazing people at the same time,” she explains.
The ACC recently spoke at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida. Butcher says it was a hit.
“We spoke about free market solutions to environmental challenges for about 45 minutes, and the room was fully packed. The audience was engaged and asking questions; we truly couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was a really proud moment for me personally, to see so many students interested in our message, and it validated all the hard work the team has put in over the last few months. You won’t find a more passionate group and seeing everyone’s hard work pay off was beyond rewarding.”
A Future Female Leader Without Feminism
At the young age of 17, Butcher joined the Future Female Leaders Of America (FFL). After ordering a t-shirt from the website, the founder, Amanda Owens, sent a note with the package inviting her to apply for the Cabinet Program; a note she says she has kept all this time.
“It was the beginning of a very special friendship and mentorship between Amanda and me,” she says. “We always joke that she ‘dirty rushed’ me.”
After only months of involvement, Owens pulled her aside during a cabinet retreat to ask if she’d be interested in an internship with FFL. She says she “jumped at the chance,” and flew across the country that summer to work in FFL’s headquarters.
From there, she was invited back the next year to work with an even larger team and now works in outreach assisting with social campaigns and new initiatives.
“FFL is an organization that I greatly admire because it fills a much-needed niche of conservative women supporting conservative women.”
However, she says she does not need modern feminism to support women and achieve her goals. Her Twitter bio reads, “I don’t need feminism, I’m too busy succeeding without it.”
She clarifies that she appreciates past feminist movements, but modern feminism is not one of them.
“I stand by the quote because words have meanings which evolve over time and today’s representation of “feminism” is not something I wish to subscribe to,” she says. “Today’s feminism perpetuates a victim mindset that is rooted in delusions regarding modern society.”
She continues to explain that it’s “simply a fallacy that today’s brand of feminism is the same feminism that brought us women’s suffrage.”
“There’s a reason feminism is often referred to as ‘waves,’ and that’s because each feminist movement has been distinguished by the issues of the times. First and second wave feminism focused on clear and definite issues – third wave feminism is a contradictory mess. I won’t participate in demanding free birth control, I won’t participate in claiming guns have more rights than women do, I won’t participate in ignoring the Equal Pay Act of 1963 signed in to law by JFK. I won’t participate in the liberal narrative that is modern feminism,” she says.
However, Butcher says she is all in for feminism that empowers all women and supporting women’s choices. Unfortunately, she says, this is not the feminism we see today as evidenced by the hateful messages she receives in response to her Twitter bio.
Through her political journey, she says Owens has served as her biggest mentor. She says Owens emphasizes that you’re “never too good or important to do the hard work.”
Butcher also says her mantra is to “work hard and be nice to people,” and that’s stuck with her for a long time.
How She Handles Hate
With over 20,000 Twitter followers today, she says she receives her fair share of hate messages. How does she handle this? She chooses not to reply because they don’t bother her.
“In politics, you need a thick skin and if Twitter messages from people you’ve never met get to you on a personal level, you’re not cut out for the job.”
Butcher says she also doesn’t need this kind of attention.
“I’m not going to be the woman who decries feminism and wants to talk about how independent and strong she is only to whine about mean comments,” she continues. “If something seems excessive, the block and mute button are good friends of mine and I use them frequently.”
Rarely, she does reply to these comments to point out inconsistency or hypocrisy, but says otherwise, “no one is entitled to her time and headspace.”
Her daily work schedule requires social media, but she says it can become too much at times. When she’s feeling overwhelmed, she logs off for the day.
“Taking time away is refreshing and allows me to keep my perspective in check.”
Living The Dream
When asked what her dream job would be, Butcher says she’s already doing it.
“I love having variety and independence in my life, and being self-employed but working with different clients as a consultant allows me to do just that,” she says. “I’m a person who is very focused on problem-solving and on ‘more,’ in the sense of growth, improvement, and relationships.”
Butcher says her “lifetime achievement” goals are not completely clear, but she ultimately hopes to be an example of a woman living life on her terms.
While living her dream, she stays organized by “living and breathing her Day Designer flagship planner.”
“I use one column for scheduling, a column for prioritizing, and another column for taking notes throughout the day. I write almost everything down, even if I never go back to the note, the process of writing things out keeps me organized and on top of things.”
On Running For Office
When asked what her political ideology is, she says it’s not Republican or Democrat, but “freedom.”
“Everything I stand for boils down to letting individuals make the choices that are best for them, so long as it doesn’t infringe upon another’s rights, and allowing everyone to achieve their own version of success.”
As for a change in government she wishes to see, she says “do I have to choose just one?”
“It would be more of a culture change than a policy change,” she says. “I’d love to see political culture shift away from hyperbolic claims and accusations.”
Rhetoric along the lines of “everyone will die if x doesn’t happen” is so toxic and dishonest, she says, and it’s something we see on both sides. She’d also like to see political “sides” being addressed, but this is another conversation, she says.
“As far as running for office goes – I’m probably too sarcastic online for that.”
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