Catalina Lauf, Adam Kinzinger and What ‘America First’ Actually Means

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Adam Kinzinger has a primary challenger; but is Catalina Lauf as “America First” as she claims?

‘America First’ is a slogan thrown around quite a bit these days. First popularized among the right wing by paleoconservative Pat Buchanan and his ‘brigades’ in the 1990’s, the term was resurrected by Donald Trump and has gained traction with many Republicans since his election. But, as Trump is now censored from the internet and out of office, it is important that we define what ‘America First’ actually means– or more specifically, what it does not mean– in order to continue to advance the ideas that 75 million Americans voted for.

If we’re defining “America First”, Adam Kinzinger is a shining example of America last. Kinzinger is the most outspoken anti-Trump republican in Congress since the aptly named Jeff Flake. Representing the 16th Congressional District of Illinois, he voted to impeach the President. A disqualifying move in and of itself, Kinzinger also frequently attacks both Trump and the GOP regularly. Kinzinger has successfully built a reputation for himself as a mild-mannered, anti-Trump, so-called ‘principled’ conservative. It is thus no surprise that he has struggled to gain supporters while flying the banner of a party that overwhelmingly approved of Donald Trump’s performance.

Catalina Lauf, a former Trump appointee and candidate for the state’s 14th Congressional District in 2020, has emerged as the main primary challenger to Kinzinger. In her announcement video, Lauf portrayed herself as the pro-Trump alternative to the “weak-kneed, establishment Republican” Kinzinger.  “I am the daughter of a legal immigrant who moved to Illinois to pursue the American Dream and a small business owner,” Lauf said in a tweet. “That’s why I love this country… because it gave my family so much.” She promises in the same tweet that she will put America First.

But is this an America First agenda? 

To find out, let’s actually compare her campaign promises to those of ‘weak-kneed’ Adam Kinzinger. Although she conveniently scrubbed her website of all campaign promises, I was luckily able to find archived versions still available. 

The only campaign promise she made of any substance was in regards to immigration, and I was actually surprised to find that she seemed to have a position to the left of Rep. Kinzinger’s. Overwhelmingly similar in substance; they both opposed illegal immigration and open borders while generally supporting easier legal immigration. However, Kinzinger seemed to be more focused on protecting our borders, while Lauf seemed much more concerned about “supporting legislation that encourages legal immigration.” 

Furthermore, much like Kinzinger, she actually attacks fellow Republicans who disagree with her, specifically on the issue of immigration. When Josh Foxworth, a (more successful) 2020 candidate for the Lone Star State’s 14th district, called her out on this issue, she responded by calling him a racist. How is this behavior any different from that of her ‘weak-kneed’ opponent, or even the average woke Twitter user? Can we count on someone like this to fight for President Trump’s agenda? 

As the 2022 midterm season begins, it is absolutely essential to know what America First truly means- and it certainly isn’t the same old failed garbage with a MAGA hat. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Catalina Lauf is pushing.

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