How Abusive Gubernatorial Edicts Created a True Grassroots Protest Movement

Guest Piece by Gregg Updike

Here is a little history on the success of genuine grassroots movements and citizen led protest rallies:

In 1990, New Jersey had a dictatorial governor named Jim Florio. There were two major protests held in Trenton New Jersey that summer by a true grassroots group called “Hands Across New Jersey” (HANJ). It was a protest against Florio’s 2.8 Billion tax Increase which included everything including, ironically, toilet paper (people were actually mailing used TP to his office in protest). HANJ was also protesting Florio’s “assault weapons” ban, which effectively made criminals of about 700,000 New Jerseyans overnight.

The law did not ‘grandfather’ current legal owners, and demanded the heretofore legally purchased guns were to be surrendered to the state without compensation. Since NJ required that all guns be registered, the NJ Gestapo knew who bought/possessed the guns and threats were made, but not carried out, against the 690,984 who failed to abide by the law. Many guns were temporarily “stored” in Pennsylvania. “Florio Free In ’93” was the rally cry.

HANJ was NJ’s precursor to the 2010 Taxed Enough Already Party (TEA Party) movement. It was ridiculed by the press, and ignored by the media and the politicians, but Florio overwhelmingly lost his (D) legislature a year later, and then his race in 1993 narrowly to a relative unknown. That heretofore unknown had glommed on to the HANJ movement and ran against a very popular Senator Bill Bradley in 1990. Since no state races were up in 1990, Bradley was targeted by the movement even though he was a federal senator not directly responsible for Florio’s dictatorship.

New Jersey’s Senator Bill Bradley of 1990 is Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner of 2020. Bradley’s challenger was Christine Todd-Whitman, a little known county freeholder who very nearly upset Bradley (Bradley was so shaken he chose not to run again in 1996). Bradley’s narrow two point win in 1990, and Florio’s loss of the legislature in 1991 should have been wake-up calls, but they and the people were arrogantly ignored. In 1993, Florio became a rare one-term governor. Sadly Whitman – now 73 and last I heard was a “moderate RINO” pro-choice operative working out of, ironically, Michigan – was a massive disappointment to conservatives.

The sad fact is, it is very hard for large truly grassroots rallies to occur, unlike the left’s well funded and organized (by whom?) phony rent-a-mob rallies where the professional malcontents and paid protesters (most of whom are otherwise unemployed) are able to spring up overnight and often with violence, invariably ending up trashing the place with all kinds of garbage. The real reason why there are so few conservative counter protests is because most conservatives work full time for a living, are generally not very political, and don’t have the time to engage in constant protests and rallies.

Well, not now! Thanks to the virus ‘pandemic’ and the unconstitutional edicts by dictatorial governors and mayors, we/they now have much free time to exercise our right to peaceful assembly and protest.

To some degree, we/they are lazy, and to some extent, we/they are cowed by the media and its coverage – but not any more – a sleeping giant has been awakened and the governors will find they won’t be able to shove the toothpaste back into the tube. For an example on how we were ridiculed by the media: James Carville, AKA “the Ragin’ Cajun” who served as campaign manager for both BJ Clinton and Florio, was also a TV Talking Head; he called us “Teabaggers”. If any conservative commentator on FOX ridiculed the left’s protesters like NOW, in such a derogatory way, he/she would have been Schiff-canned in a heartbeat.

The bottom line: These dictatorial governors can threaten and ignore us protestors all they want; the media can mock and downplay our rallies all it wants, but once you get ordinary working law abiding citizens aggravated enough to come together in a real genuine grassroots protest movement against a specific politician or political party, they are toast. Ask Florio, ask the thirty five or so NJ Democratic legislators (they lost half of their members in the 1991 election), ask Pelosi how she fared in 2010 after her Obamacare bill spawned the TEA Party.

So, go ahead you leftist tin-pot dictators, keep up this economic crippling of your state in your attempt to hobble the US economy and beat Trump in six months; continue to keep your subjects needlessly suffering to further you and your master’s agenda; ignore real grassroot protests, and continue to mock and ignore the soon-to-resume Trump rallies, and you will pay the price when most of your elections come up in 2021 and 2022. You may feel safe from voter retribution because most of you are not up this year, but the people attending these rallies and tens of millions of like-minded people who are not actually participating will have long memories and will remember come your November election.

Years ago, a marketing study showed that every real letter written to an editor of a newspaper, or every real complaint letter written to a corporation or politician, represents the thoughts and feelings of about 5,000 people. I have to believe the same holds true for protesters at these state rallies and at the past and future Trump rallies.

Relent now or Repent later!

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Jay Whitcraft

I give this crap 7-10 days max before a majority of the people in those States simply ignore their Governors. Jay

Jimmy MacAfee

Agree completely.


The Left simply ignore these protests. After her jackboots ended the protest in Michigan Gretchen simply decreed that the shutdown continue even longer. As long as Whitmer and Cuomo and the rest can get away with this tyranny…they will do so.


One other comment on Florio losing his Democratic legislature. He had solid majorities in both houses prior to the 1991 mid-term. After the 1991 mid-term the GOP had the required 2/3 veto-proof majorities in both houses(58-22 in the General Assembly and 27-13 in the Senate). The sales tax that Florio raised from 6 to 7 cents went back to 6 cents. Florio vetoed that bill and was overridden which was a big victory for conservatives.

However through legislative chicanery, the “assault weapons” law was not overturned. When Whitman beat Florio, she still had overwhelming legislative majorities, but the gun law stayed intact. However, the income taxes were retroactively reduced in 1994 since Florio retroactively raised them in 1990. But other than that, she and her GOP intercoursed away the endgame and set up major Dem victories from 2001 until 2009 when Christie won due to horrible Dem governors and in protest to Obama’s first year radical agenda. VA also went for a GOP governor in protest that year.

To show how hard it is for the GOP to win statewide elections in NJ, it hasn’t elected a Republican senator since 1972; two were appointed by GOP governors to serve out terms, but they were in office for less than a year total. And NONE of the GOP governors were much better that the Dem governors, they just weren’t as awful. Glad I moved out of that hellhole.

Jimmy MacAfee

As I said: Excellent column!

Love your conclusion. Doubt “Wonder Womyn the Jaw of an Ass” Whitmer will take your advice. She’s as perceptive as an rotifer in a cryptobiotic state.

Glad you mentioned the Tea Party! It didn’t have to continue to have had a profound effect – it is still having an effect psychologically, as the Deep State recoiled in horror at Americans actually thinking for themselves. It wasn’t killed by the IRS, but by an inability to think strategically, losing because of the all-or-nothing pyrrhic victories, and the inability to learn to adapt and flank an enemy. It was straight-forward, run-it-up-their-gut Woody Hayes football. Cruz was one of those, and he seems to have learned how to assemble a far more complex battle plan.

The Tea Party lives in more ways than anyone can imagine, and far more sophisticated. Always keep an eye on those who called it a party of “whacko birds” (No Name) and other dismissive terms (Lindsay Graham, right?)

The Left gave us a call-to-arms when they used the vulgar term “teabaggers” (I threatened someone with physical harm if they used the word again, but they didn’t know what the word meant, and when I told them, they were angry at those who had taught them to use it.) Just as H. Rotten Clinton gave us words to focus on in the locker room, like “deplorables” and “irredeemable.” Consider the latter word irredeemable: its a fine word for trash bottles that can’t be redeemed. Certain criminals, too, who always to back to committing the same crime.

Right now, they’re labelling us again, particularly those who won’t give up on the Constitution. Good. Let them provide us with fightin’ words. They can’t seem to help themselves.



The beauty – and curse – of the TEA Party was it was/is a national movement with no actual leader to demonize. But it lacked national staying power, in part because it had no national (Perot, with his 1990s “Reform Party” might have been a good leader as an activist and not a presidential candidate) leader to be in the face of the politicians, and it lacked funding; after all, their was no GS PAC to fund it.

Were they strategic? No, but they were effective in bringing the nation together to revolt against Obamacare and TAXES and Trillion dollar deficits. They weren’t able to stop any of those disasters, but they were successful in gutting the Democratic Party’s political bench in 2010. Unfortunately they couldn’t flip the 60-40 Dem Senate in 2010, but managed to (temporally) gain the corrupt murderer, Ted Kennedy’s seat in 2009 when he died which should have blocked Obamacare. It failed because Klink managed to force her House (to commit Hari Kari) to pass the Senate’s version unchanged (that never happens as there is always a conference committee set up to mesh the bills). After that vote, as they say, the rest was history for her majority.

The only reasons Obama was able to keep the senate in 2012 was because the TEA Party’s fervor faded, ‘the One’ was on the ballot against another crappy RINO opponent, and the GOP, as is their wont, ran some GOD awful candidates in a couple of vital swing states allowing Dingy Harry (with the help of turncoat establishment speaker Boehner) to keep the TEA Party movement quashed.

Not until 2014 was Obama effectively neutered legislatively – then ‘the One’s’ dictatorship really took off via EO’s which were supposed to be cast in stone with Walking Eagle being anointed to his third term.

President Trump deserves to be reelected just for stopping and reversing ‘the One’s’ agenda via HIS EOs.

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