Every presidential election draws long shot candidates who don’t stand much of a chance of winning.
Some run on pure ambition while others do it for notoriety. In the case of then-Wyoming resident rapper Kanye West who launched an anemic campaign in 2020, getting on the ballot in 12 states, the motivation behind wanting to be one of the most powerful people on the planet wasn’t clear.
Red Lodge, Montana, resident Walter Clapp doesn’t fall in any of those columns.
The 35-year-old Republican barnstorming across the region says he’s different from the other Republican hopefuls who’ve declared for the 2024 election in that he has former President George Washington “by my side,” because they share a similar desire to greatly expand the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I’m championing an idea that was not mine,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “It was championed by George Washington, and that makes it easy.”
Whip It Good
Although he was disenchanted by his past experience working on Capitol Hill, Clapp said he doesn’t want to drain the swamp, but rather “whip it into shape.”
It’s a recurring theme, including his campaign slogan: “bullwhip the bullshit.”
“Just put one foot in front of the other, that’s all I can do,” he said, acknowledging he’s a long shot.
Clapp has been regularly campaigning around Wyoming on his horse-drawn carriage, and last week took his show on the road when he attempted to gain entry into the Republican National Committee meeting in Milwaukee to watch the first national GOP debate and interact with spectators there.
He described the overall vibe there as “anger mixed with fear” and said the leaders of the Republican Party are deeply concerned about former President Donald Trump’s MAGA supporters completely taking over the party.
Clapp was denied access into the building where the debate was held.
After seeing a Wisconsin politician handed a ticket to go inside and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson being allowed to participate despite refusing to sign a pledge to support the Republican presidential nominee, Clapp saw that as symbolic of where the party stands and the establishment forces it supports.
“The gatekeepers keep keeping gates,” he said.
He’s Suing Yellowstone
Clapp’s running as a Republican in an increasingly crowded field that aside from frontrunner former President Donald Trump, is desperately vying for attention from the party at large.
Maybe he’s halfway there on that battle as he’s already whipped up his first campaign related lawsuit.
On July 28, Clapp, who’s an attorney, filed a lawsuit against Yellowstone National Park for prohibiting him from riding his horse-drawn carriage in the frontcountry of the park, a location where he said all First Amendment events in Yellowstone must take place, but also where horses are prohibited for use by the public.
The horse-drawn carriage holds a special significance for Clapp as an important reminder of America’s heritage.
“I want people to connect to the history of the first proposed amendment, which was proposed by George Washington, in a time when everyone drove around in horse-drawn carriages,” he said. “I’m asking people to look back to our founding.”
‘Uncap The House’
Clapp said he wants to “uncap the House” by greatly expanding the U.S. House of Representatives to around 11,000 members, more than 25 times the 435 there are now. He believes the House is naturally corrupt because of the vast regional areas members must represent and the special interest forces that pervade the body.
Clapp believes this issue ties into every item of his campaign platform, and if elected president, he vows to veto every bill that comes before him until the House is expanded. He said this proposal has gained particular support from “die-hard” Trump supporters that he’s spoken with.
On the campaign trail, Clapp said one commonality shared by everyone he’s spoken to is a feeling of being unrepresented and unsure of the truth, a common emotion in today’s age of rampant social media and AI misinformation.
The ultimate solution, Clapp said, is to have a trusted representative in Congress.
“The idea of feeling represented or a representative class they can trust is super appealing,” Clapp said. “That two-way street is totally gone.”
Other Platform Stances
Clapp also wants to revamp the American electrical grid by establishing a massive set of underground tunnels that would both mimic and act as an alternate interstate highway system for nighttime travel.
He said getting high-voltage transmission lines underground would be a huge boon for the U.S. and would avoid protracted local battles with residents who don’t want to see more power lines flying overhead.
By establishing these underground networks, Clapp said America can attain a much stronger energy independence and national defense.
“We’d become Switzerland,” he said. “We don’t have to fall to the new conservative ideology that we have to go to every place in the world and assert our amazing form of governance that’s broken.”
When asked if his plans would be enormously expensive to roll out, Clapp said it would, but also would be cheaper than fighting in the Ukraine War to get it started.
Clapp generally believes American “money is made up” and backed by military might and the country’s ability to continue flourishing economically.
He said America’s war on drugs is the root cause of a number of other problems like the southern border crisis and human trafficking.
Drug Test Trump, Rest Of Congress
Clapp has mixed feelings about Trump.
Although he supported Trump’s foreign policy stances, he didn’t find “the means don’t necessarily justify the ends” when it came to a lot of his other decisions.
He also believes the former president is on amphetamines and that all presidents and members of Congress should be drug tested.
Clapp believes Congress, not the judicial branch, should be deciding on Trump’s upcoming legal battles. He worries about what it will mean for America if Trump loses the presidential race, is sent to prison and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden is set free.
“What are the patriot groups going to be doing?” Clapp asked. “I think Jan. 6 would just be a shadow of what they probably are planning.”
Clapp says he would become a committed supporter of the former president if he vowes to only serve one term and embraces his idea of “uncapping the House,” which Clapp believes would give him a guaranteed victory in 2024.
“It’s the biggest anti-corruption thing he could do,” Clapp said.
Tough Road Ahead
Clapp plans to travel around the country in the coming months in the hopes of gaining a viral following. One of his main motivations is his belief that the American people are mentally, physically and spiritually sick because of the actions of federal bureaucrats.
Clapp said expanding the House will put the country back on “a path of wellness.”
“We could turn that around pretty quick, in a generation or two we could be back on our way to health and wellness,” he said.
Clapp already encountered some of the harsh realities of modern politics and the massive roadblocks to overcome to become president, ineligible to participate in last week’s RNC debate because he hadn’t raised $40,000 of individual contributions for his campaign. He hopes to qualify for next month’s debate, which has a $50,000 requirement for donations.
If Only Musk Would Retweet Him
Just one retweet from Tesla founder Elon Musk, Clapp said, would likely do the trick.
“Done,” he said.
Clapp wouldn’t say specifically how much he has raised so far, but put the number in the “tens of thousands.”
“People who don’t have money are giving me money, and that’s powerful,” he said.
There are different requirements for getting on the ballot in each state, most requiring a certain threshold of signatures.
If his campaign doesn’t start to gain traction by late fall and early winter, Clapp said he will have some tough decisions to make.
But he doesn’t plan to let that get in the way of his overarching goal to expand the House, and plans to convert his campaign committee into a bipartisan effort should his presidential dreams become extinguished. That effort would once again include his presence on a horse drawn carriage, trying to steer the rest of the Republican field into embracing his proposal.
For Clapp, restoring America is “a marathon, not a sprint,” vowing that he’s in it for the long haul. “If it’s not this cycle it’s the next.”
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.