She identifies as a millennial voice for Florida conservatives, but 37-year-old political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso also contends she’s an old soul.
Perhaps that’s why a generation gap is no problem when she’s working with veteran political journalist, blogger and commentator Brian Crowley. The two analysts team up weekly on WPTV’s To the Point and co-host a podcast called High Tops and Politics.
Mary Anna created a niche for herself as a political pundit after arriving in Florida in 2012 to work on Congressman Connie Mack’s U.S. Senate campaign. He lost to Senator Bill Nelson but she found a home in Florida. Mary Anna quickly became a regular commentator on radio and television throughout Florida. She learned some of TV skills working at the New York bureau of Fox News and as an intern for NBC.
It was during a radio interview in Tallahassee that an email asked, “Is American conservatism dead?” A friend later suggested Mary Anna answer that question through a blog and in 2013 she founded politicalhype.com. “It’s a place for a millennial voice, I work hard to eliminate the policy speak and make issues understandable,” she says.
She has worked on other political campaigns since then, as a digital or social media strategist. She particularly enjoyed her involvement with Lindsey Graham’s 2016 presidential run. “He was not afraid to say something that was not politically correct, which made for great texts to send out.”
Fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Mary Anna considers herself a moderate conservative, who always puts country over party. She believes today’s politicians should look to history for guidance. “Our founding fathers were able to put aside partisan differences and move forward.”
Historical references are often embedded in Mary Anna’s political comments. As an adjunct professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, she teaches Freedom in American Society, from the British Magna Carta to America’s civil rights movement. Mary Anna considers teaching as a way to serve her country. “I love encouraging my students to be engaged. That’s the challenge, to inspire them to participate civically in the world around them.”
Her love of politics was inspired by that patriotism, along with a well-versed high school history teacher and civic-minded, active grandparents. Those influences motivated her to study political science as an undergraduate student in upstate New York and focus on foreign policy as a graduate student at Long Island University.
Now she’s eager to engage in deeper political conversations with Brian Crowley on High Tops and Politics, especially at a time when people are tired of political noise. “We have congenial conversations. We can agree to disagree but still listen to the other’s point of view. And we love to laugh.”
As for the podcast’s curious title, Mary Anna says it evolved from a mutual appreciation for high top sneakers, which they both wear on To the Point. Mary Anna gives out a weekly High Tops Award on their podcast.
“We try to have fun during the podcast,” says Mary Anna. “We don’t just talk about politics. Our goal is to make political discussion interesting and informative. ”
“After all, our country and constitution have weathered far worse conditions,” she says. “Just look at the fact that a vice president assassinated a former secretary of the treasury.”
She’s referring, of course, to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, the political duo whose infamous rivalry and duel is featured in the Broadway musical, Hamilton, which has served to educate millions of theatre-goers about our founding fathers.”
It’s an interesting insight, from a young political voice with an old soul
F – French fries or tater tots? Onion Rings
R – Right brained or left brained? Super Creative
E – Email or carrier pigeon? Owl Post
S – Sunshine or moonlight? South Florida Sunsets
H – Homebody or party animal? Bookworm