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“The Progressive Liberal” turns politics into a contact sport

BOYD COUNTY, Ky. — If the name of the game for an aspiring professional wrestling villain is that fan anger fills the seats, then Dan Richards has it all figured out in the wrestling hotbeds of Appalachia.

Richards is “The Progressive Liberal,” reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

“You feel this character,” Axelrod said.

“I mean, I am this character,” Richards replied.

CBS News

“When I go drive through the hills of West Virginia or Kentucky or Tennessee, I wasn’t seeing a bunch of Hillary Clinton campaign banners,” he said. “I was seeing Trump, ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Which is why Richards, actually a 37-year-old real estate agent named Daniel Harnsberger, decided to don some “dump Trump” trunks and a Hillary collage T-shirt, and call out the fans.

“I know you use government assistance and then talk bad about the government that provides it for you,” he taunted the crowd with at a recent event.

“You have a signature move, don’t you?” Axelrod asked.

d2-axelrod-liberal-wrestler-0725-transfer-frame-875.jpg

Richards heads to the ring in a shirt covered with images of Hillary Clinton

CBS News

“The Liberal Agenda,” Richards said. “It’s just a variation of a neck breaker, but I like for the announcer to say, ‘He hit ’em with his liberal agenda.'”

“Dan and I are complete opposites,” said Beau James, Richards’ manager. “I’m a Bible-believing — gun owner — tobacco-chewing hillbilly.” 

James has been around the pro wrestling game for nearly three decades, long enough to know he’s got a winner on his hands.

“I’ve got at least four years out of him,” he said.

“You think The Progressive Liberal’s got some staying power?” Axelrod asked.

“For at least four years. After that, who knows? Maybe four more,” he replied.

“I’m saying my piece. I think other liberals could take a page from that,” Richards said. “You know, have a clear message and speak it boldly and be unapologetic about it.”

Who knows if Dan Richards’ approach would be good for his party. But from the looks of things, it’s certainly good for his bank account.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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