Ben Sasse is a republican Senator from Nebraska, but he seems most proud of being a father — a father who raises tough kids. He appeared last night on Late Night with Seth Meyers to promote his new book The Vanishing American Adult, where he spoke of practicing what he preaches. Just ask his 14-year-old daughter who he sent off to a ranch to deliver about 600 calves within a month at the height of cattle season.
“She suffered and it was good for her and she knows it was good for her,” he told Meyers. Sasse isn’t some masochist. He’s a former federal health official and president of Midland University who earned a doctorate in history from Yale University. While first elected in 2014, Sasse is already a rising republican, centrist star who was the first sitting Senator to take a stance against President Donald Trump. His scathing Facebook post on the matter had conservatives questioning if he was going to run against Trump as a third party candidate himself. That didn’t happen in 2016, but 2020 is anyone’s guess.
Sasse, who is still very much a conservative, ultimately agreed to disagree with Meyers on the role the government should play in helping children who don’t have parents like Sasse and his spouse. But he proved effortlessly charming and, in terms of electability, is off to a decent start, winning hearts and minds with a message that resonates with parents regardless of political affiliation: Stop raising soft kids. Sasse joked that his daughter didn’t know what she was getting into with calf birthing (and that she might lose a watch), which wasn’t exactly Pokémon Go (despite her trying to catch them all). Sasse may want to bring that rancher’s number on his book tour — and perhaps future campaign trail. “Everywhere I went in Nebraska, people didn’t want to talk politics. They wanted to say ‘How can I make my kid suffer too?’” Quite the platform.