Out of the seven candidates running for the Republican nomination to the 4th congressional district seat, James Nease stands out in his beliefs.
“There’s no real third position for this where it’s just like who’s gonna argue for a constitutional approach,” Nease said. “There’s nobody out there saying that you have to rein this in and stop it.”
A Lebanon, Indiana, native and a graduate of the University of Indianapolis, the 30-year old candidate’s views steer toward libertarian values, but Nease says his decision to run in the Republican primary was a logical one.
“Your requirements as an independent (in Indiana) are 10 times higher than that because you’re attaching yourself to a primary system and that’s just the (unfairness) of it,” Nease said. “There’s a lot of people that say, ‘I don’t want to run as a Democrat or a Republican, I want to run as this,’ but the amount of paperwork you have to do in compliance is just so great that it dissuades people from campaigning.”
One particular topic Nease is passionate about involves the recent Facebook scandal, where the social media company sold data to Cambridge Analytica and allegedly used the data in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election.
“People are upset with Cambridge Analytica,” Nease said. “When Facebook sold data to them, people got upset about it. Facebook’s stock dropped like $30 billion. The problem is when you sign up for a website like Facebook or like Twitter there’s a huge block of terms and service. ... So when you’re mad about it, that’s all on you. You don’t want Facebook to have your data, don’t put in your personal information.
“Be a little more conscious for what you sign up for.”
Nease has also had his own personal run-ins with Facebook after being suspended multiple times for posting memes.
“I do a lot of memes,” Nease said. “I (posted) a ‘Pepe the Frog’ meme and someone reported it and I got a 30-day ban for it. So I get banned for memes quite often.”
Pepe the Frog, usually depicted as a melancholy hand-drawn amphibian, has been affiliated with right-wing activists after extensive use during the 2016 presidential election. According to Nease, people who view the meme as a symbol of white supremacy take it too far.
“It’s literally a frog fist-fighting a bear,” he said. “It’s totally innocuous.”
His other political views are reflected in the legacy he hopes to leave behind — one that will have reduced overall regulation in the United States.
“Raising the age to 21, which to me was a silly thing to say,” Nease said, referring to a question asked at the Republican primary debate. “You’d have to be 21 to purchase a firearm but you can go enlist in the military at 17, then you go shoot people across the sea with a weapon you can’t get here in the U.S. So is it permissible to say ‘I’m going to change your constitutional right. You can only get it when you’re 21, but we can go send you to Afghanistan or South Korea and you can use the weapons there.’”
Nease, who has worked in the information technology sector since he was 16, likens inefficiency in the government to bad computer code.
“(If something is inefficient) we should get rid of it,” Nease said. “If it’s ineffective we should just get rid of it. If the code is ineffective, just remove the code. Don’t just try to patch and fix the code. You’ll make a bad program that will bug out and people will be pissed off about it. Just remove the code.”
Referring back to his speaking time during the debate, he described the inefficiencies of trying to replace programs with new ones.
“We’ll get rid of this old program, and we’ll put a new program in place that might grow,” Nease said. “But it will grow to be 20-30 percent of what it currently is. ... We reformat the system, we boot it up again. You’re not really shrinking government, you’re just trading hands.”
For starters, Nease said that the state of Indiana can become more efficient through the use of referendums.
“I think when we just had a legislative session where nothing got done,” Nease said, referring to the Indiana State legislature, which just recently passed a bill confirming the firefly as Indiana’s official state insect, “to make this more efficient we should allow referendums to get passed. For example, with alcohol sales on Sunday, they wanted it a long time ago and it took forever to get passed.
“If it’s involving commerce or what you’re going to do with your businesses — issues with vaping as well — that should’ve been a referendum as well.”
Following the strain of deregulation, Nease detailed heavily on the history of marijuana and how it came to be regulated — and why it shouldn’t. According to Nease, marijuana was legal in the 1930s and 1940s but was regulated for racial reasons.
“The whole usage of the term ‘marijuana’ is to make it sound foreign, as opposed to ‘cannabis,’” Nease said. “When it sounds like marijuana they attached it to immigrants from the Southwest at the time. Then they attached it to African-American communities.”
The regulation, he said, goes against two centuries of Americans free to grow hemp.
“If someone is over there smoking weed, are they doing anything wrong?” Nease said. “He’s just doing what he does — it’s fine. ... Having it as a Schedule I drug just seems like a way to fill prison quotas and to get district attorneys cash flows through civil asset forfeiture.
“There’s no point in criminalizing it.”
The Republican primary will be held May 8, and voters can read more profiles about candidates from both parties on The Exponent website.