The Democratic Party has abandoned heartland voters, offering Republicans a chance to make crucial, permanent gains across the nation’s interior, according to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin in an exclusive interview with LifeZette. But only if the party unifies behind Donald Trump at the top of the ticket and wages a unified battle against the Democrats radical national agenda.

The conservative Republican governor is currently driving an effort an effort to flip the Kentucky state house — the only state house of representatives in the South that is still controlled by Democrats — and Bevin is bullish about his chances.

“There are many conservative Democrats who frankly are weary of being taken for granted are weary of the fact that their Party has left them in so many regards.”

“The message is pretty simple,” said Bevin. “I’m asking people to vote their values and not their party,” he said. “There are many conservative Democrats who frankly are weary of being taken for granted are weary of the fact that their Party has left them in so many regards.”

“My appeal to folks and what I’m asking those who are running for the state house is to appeal to their values their love of life and of liberty, of individual freedom and responsibility — these core fundamental principles — these values that are the values of America and the values of Kentuckians,” the governor said.

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Bevin rose to national prominence in 2013 when he launched a long-shot Republican primary bid against then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and earned the support of the Senate Conservatives Fund. Bevin quickly became an anti-Establishment icon but failed to overcome McConnell’s massive political infrastructure. Just over one year after the bruising August 2014 loss to McConnell, Bevin defeated the state’s incumbent Democratic Attorney General to become the 62nd governor of Kentucky.

“I’m asking people to vote their values and not their party, that’s how we’ll win, that’s how I was elected as governor that’s how we will flip this house,” he said. Bevin says the national Democratic Party’s endorsement of radical economic and social positions is alienating conservative-minded Democrats in Kentucky and elsewhere.

“For those folks who are conservative socially, fiscally and otherwise they see what’s going on in America,” Bevin said, “and I think what we’re seeing now is people pushing back.”

“Life, family — these things matter to people — freedom of religion matters to people. When the federal government starts to reach into our school districts and to tell people who can use which bathroom and which locker rooms, people are offended … people are outraged,” the Kentucky governor said, “you are starting to see a backlash.”

Governor Bevin told LifeZette the stakes couldn’t be higher both in Kentucky and nationally.

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“We’re at a crossroads in America, is what we hear, Bevin said. “But I truly believe that it’s a fork in the road, that it’s not really a crossroad — we don’t have multiple choices — we’re going to go one way or we’re going to go the other way,” he said.

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“The values, the Judeo-Christian principles upon which this nation was built upon which Kentucky itself and its constitution was founded are under assault intentionally and unintentionally,” he continued.

According to Bevin, those stakes are not manifest only on the state level in Kentucky.

Given the what’s at stake, and the damage eight years of President Hillary Clinton could do to the country, Bevin had a stern warning for NeverTrump conservatives and conservatives — especially conservative Christians — still wary of supporting Trump.

“Falling on one’s sword in principle and dying in a remote corner of the battlefield as the war rages on serves no purpose whatsoever. Someone might feel good about themselves that they fell on their principled sword but there are battles and there is the war,” Bevin said.

“There has never been in the history of warfare — spiritual, physical or otherwise – any war that has ever been won by every single battle being engaged in and won along the way, he said. “What are we proving to ourselves if on principle we allow the war to go in a trajectory the likes of which we can’t recover from?” Bevin asked.

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“We’re at a fork in the road and we going to go towards a more godless, more corrupt bureaucratic, more authoritarian approach or we have the opportunity to do something different,” he said.

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“Our founding fathers knew and said that the roots of liberty are watered by the blood of tyrants and the blood of patriots,” Bevin said. “If we don’t step up when we have a chance to engage ideologically, philosophically, politically — then we will ultimately find ourselves forced to the point that as a people we will be forced to shed the blood of both tyrant and patriots.”

“Could we recover, conceivably so, but it will come at a price that none of us would want to bear nor would we want our children or grandchildren to bear that and that is why this election matters so so much,” said Bevin.

“We have a choice — it is a binary decision,” he said. “For people to think that by not engaging that somehow they are getting a free pass, they are affecting the outcome … they are furthering the very thing that they would be the first to tell you that they stand against,” he said.

“It would be a terrible terrible mistake.”