Summary: Who has the momentum in US politics, Republicans or Democrats? Who is most likely to mold America during the next generation? A brief comparison gives a clear answer.
“Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and believe in it the longest.”
— Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, in the film Pearl Harbor (2001).
Soon we will get the big match. Only one side can win.
The Republicans: party of the Right
The leaders of the Republican Party have simple wants, as we saw during the first two years of the Trump administration – when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress. They quickly pact dealt with the essentials. They cut taxes for the rich and businesses. They worked to suppress unions and deregulate corporations. They boosted military spending. They are loyal servants of the 1%, who have small dreams – and prefer a slow pace of progress.
But that is not an attractive election platform. So although obviously a conman (proven by his history), Trump wrapped himself in populism and won. His platform appealed to the politically active people on who are the GOP’s core voters. They want the borders protected, abortion limited (or stopped), their taxes cut, regulations reduced on their lives and small businesses, veterans well-cared-for, a strong military but few foreign adventures, and being allowed to keep their guns, These are small goals, mostly defensive.
In my thirty years of political activism, I have talked to thousands of these people. Their most common characteristics are resignation and defeatism. They know that the GOP’s leaders do not share their dreams and values. They believe that America is moving away from them. They are passive and apathetic, often dreaming of the coming Revolution in which They Will Arise and Smite Their Foes – or the coming Armageddon (cultural or economic collapse) after which the survivors (they, the pure of heart) will thrive in the New World.
Speaking to them of responsibility is like throwing holy water on vampires. Speaking to them of the need to defend America at the cost of “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” brings forth passionate defeatism. Any discussion about reform – social, economic, military – ends with a recitation of their mottos: “It’s Not My Fault” and “It’s Not My Job.”
Side note: Trump quickly abandoned most of his populism promises (this was obvious from his first appointments). The rest he pursued in a desultory manner, with almost no support from the Republicans in Congress.
With such leaders and followers, what is the secret of the GOP’s success? First, a large fraction of America hates the Left’s agenda. That was, perhaps, the biggest factor in Hillary’s defeat (she did not adequately hide her agenda).
The second reason is even more basic. The powerful forces running (owning) the Republic Party have a well-conceived plan for reversing the New Deal. They have spent decades building organizations. The lavishly funded think-tanks, such as CATO, Heritage, and the Hoover Institute. The conservative academic institutions, such as the U Chicago Economics team and its satellites. The web of organizations that locate, recruit, train, and support people from the grassroots, such as the Young Republicans (the SHAME PROJECT biographies show how this network works). They have invested and reaped a thousand-fold. See The 1% build a New America on the ruins of the old.
The source of their power is fundamental.
“It’s all about power and the unassailable might of money.”
— E. P. Arnold Royalton, the great 21st-century industrialist in Speed Racer (2008).
The Democrats: party of the Left
The political forces powering the Left, like those on the Right, have spent decades building institutional supporters. Academia and the news media are their core, supported by a host of lavishly-funded non-profits. They recruit young people and launch them on careers like the Mormons do missionaries. But unlike the Right’s loyal employees, the Left has built a mass movement.
The two most recent mass political movements show the differences between Left and Right. The Tea Party was little more than a series of fun block parties, quickly coopted by the GOP’s leaders like errant sheep (born in opposition to Wall Street, they became activists for tools of Wall Street). Occupy Wall Street was a movement of people onto the streets, inchoate politically but showing the untapped energy of the Left.
This year’s presidential debates show the state of the Democratic Party’s activists. They crackle with energy, overflow with ideas, among a wealth of candidates eager for action. Many of their ideas are wild, even mad – but their supporters love them. That rule by Democrats has ruined so many cities does not bother them.
By comparison, the 2016 GOP debates were like those of Boy Scouts running for Senior Patrol Leader: mild, well-behaved, offering small goals, boring speeches.
The Democrats are the opposite of the Republicans. Republicans love our society and want to preserve it; Democrats hate much of our society and want to destroy and rebuild it (they nod benignly at even wild violent rhetoric). Republicans have small dreams; Democrats have big dreams. Many Democrats consider the Green New Deal too much, too soon – but it describes their vision of a new society. Republicans are mostly apathetic and pessimistic (letters to the editor are the most extreme action for most); Democrats have a passionate intensity and optimism. Talk to each group about climate change to see the difference!
The Democrats have found a slate of issues that might put them in power.
- Giving free money for their followers (political crack, since one dose is never enough).
- Opening the borders (irreversible demographic change, a new underclass, social destabilization).
- Breaking America’s social cohesion, inciting hatred among countless fractures.
The Left’s multi-generational propaganda campaigns are effective beyond anything seen in Western history. They have reshaped millions of American’s vision of their history, convinced them that the world is doomed unless radical changes are made, and made them despise their society and its core institutions. These have created a pre-revolutionary condition. We lack only the spark to set off a conflagration. Like a dry forest in the summer, a spark – natural or deliberate – will occur. See the Scary lessons for America from pre-revolutionary France.
We are seeing a conflict like that between herds of sheep and buffalo. Unless something changes, the likely outcome over time is obvious. No matter who wins in 2020.
“The Second Coming” by Yeats.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. …
Another possible outcome: a third way
The Founders built America on lessons from the Roman Republic. The conflict between our two great political alliances eventually might bring America to a similar end, with neither winning and the Republic falling. It is too soon to do more than guess about this future. See the books at the end of this post for more about Rome’s story.
- The middle in American politics has died. Now extremists rule.
- America isn’t falling like the Roman Empire. It’s worse.
- Rome’s last citizen warns America: don’t repeat our mistakes.
- After Independence Day, look to America after the Republic.
Both Left and Right have turned against us, putting the Republic in peril. But the political machinery bequeathed to us by the Founders remains decisive, needing only our energy to set it in motion. You can help re-start it. See some ways to reform America’s politics.
For More Information
Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about populism, about Republicans and Democrats, about the Left and the Right, and especially these…
- On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let the GOP remember its great betrayal.
- 2016 revealed the true nature of America’s left & right. It’s bad news.
- Left and Right use race as a way to divide America.
- The Left crushes the Right. The counter-revolution will be ugly – Final victory is rare. There is usually a second act.
- The Left crushes the alt-Right, but Darwin might bring them to power – an alternative future, if the Right comes alive.
- Trump promised to rebuild America but did nothing – The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.
Rome’s history shows us a third path to the future
The Founders looked to the Roman Republic for ideas and inspiration. In this time of peril, we too can do so. See two books about the people who were the poles of the forces that could have saved the Republic, but instead destroyed it.
Caesar – a biography by Christian Meier. He wanted to reform the Republic, but destroyed it.
Rome’s Last Citizen by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni – The life and legacy of Cato, the mortal enemy of Caesar. He loved the Republic, but his greater loyalty was to the 1%.
38 thoughts on “Campaign 2020 shows who will mold America’s future”
Minutes after this was posted at Facebook, the first defeatist comment was posted by a conservative. It’s like putting a coin in a gumball machine. Drop the coin, out comes the surrender.
Being a guy in my 50’s, I can understand why other 50 year olds feel defeated. Start at the workplace. If you work for Corporate America, your CEO and the entire upper management are on board with the leftist agenda. They sponsor a float in the local “Pride Parade”. They endorse globalist candidates. You are forced to attend leftist indoctrination sessions. And if you speak out, bad things will happen to you, meaning that the next time there is a layoff, your name might be on the list.
Then there is the education industrial complex. In addition to saddling the next generation with crippling student load debt, they brain wash them into being eager leftists..
But the real problem, which I think you pointed out, is that the left is so much better organized. They recruit, they offer rewards and promises of rewards to recruits: free heathcare, reparations, open borders, government jobs, etc. They even have their own Red Guard to intimidate the opposition in public and on college campuses.
They also have demographics on their side, and it’s going to get much worse. Just look at Colorado. While it was never a true “Red State”, it is the home of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) which is still in effect, Yet last year it elected a leftist homosexual to the governor’s mansion (while voting down new taxes to pay for roads). Polis wouldn’t have been able to win 10 years ago, but he did because of changing demographics. Colorado voters also legalized (and heavily taxed) marijuana, with the promise that the money would go to schools. Yet the schools are still a wreck, both physically and educationally.
What has the right done? A tax reform that mostly benefited the rich. They couldn’t even repeal Obamacare (no doubt that was under orders from the Medical/Insurance Industrial Complex. The Tax Break on foreign earning did not result in new investments in jobs, most of it went to stock buy backs.
Then there is the fact that many who are opposed to the Left are afraid of losing what they still have: the six figure corporate job, the nice suburban house, the luxury SUV’s, etc. Rock the boat and you might get doxxed, and lose everything.
So the question is: where and how do we start to fight back? As you mentioned, the Tea Party was quickly co-opted and neutralized. I meet a lot of people who “want to do something”, but don’t know what to do. Most don’t buy into the “take up arms and start a revolution” or the “let it burn to the ground and we’ll start over” ideology.
They can’t talk at work, they can’t speak up in public, and in some cases they can’t even speak up at home: A relative of mine was rebuked by his adult daughter for saying “that’s so gay”. He told her to shut up, but it shows that even your own children have been co-opted by the enemy. It’s Orwellian. I have relatives who have procured foreign passports and are making exit plans for when living in the USA becomes utterly intolerable. Very defeatist. Of course, in that case the question is: to where do you run? The rest of the west is already pozzed. Latin America? A crime ridden clusrerf*ck. Africa? Just kidding. Eastern Europe? Asia?
“Being a guy in my 50’s, I can understand why other 50 year olds feel defeated.”
I’m unimpressed, on several levels. Americans have faced far worse problems, with much lower odds – yet worked on them, on won.
Second, these are pitiful as excuses for passivity and preemptive surrender. Nobody is asking you to participate in 1916-style trench warfare. Just become politically active. I doubt that you’ll risk losing everything you have, or anything you have.
You inherited much from previous generations. Now comes the bill, to work to a better future for the future generations.
Don’t misunderstand my understanding with sympathy. Sure, I can personally get “involved in politics” but if no one else shows up, what do you do? You’re quick to accuse people of being defeatist, but how about you propose some tangible things we can do? How do we stanch the demographic tide that will reduce whites and hence conservatism to a permanent minority status? If we don’t stop that, it’s over.
“but if no one else shows up, what do you do?”
Don’t try to kid a kidder. I was a Republican volunteer spear-carrier in the Deepest Blue Boston and San Francisco Bay Areas. I was never the only one there.
“how about you propose some tangible things we can do”
Every single post about American politics has a link to “Reforming America: steps to new politics“, which has links to ~130 posts giving suggestions. This post concludes with:
Almost nobody clicks on it or those 130 posts giving suggestions. Links to posts about actions are like the “on” switches to the sun lamps at a Vampire Convention. These are among the lowest-pageview posts (along with posts about good news).
Well, if you want to spread the message, maybe typing it out instead of posting a bazillion links might be more effective.
As for your activism in Massachusetts, how did that work out?
The spirit of modern American Conservatives
Conservatives love America – as they annouce loudly and frequently. But not enough to get off their butts and get involved in her politics. Their spirit is described in that great classic, Bored of the Rings. Our heroes are armed, since Middle Earth is an open-carry continent.
I don’t have a problem with Trump. I think he’ll win a second term and the Republicans will take back the House.
The greatest sh!tshow on Earth.
“I don’t have a problem with Trump.”
What a wonderful example of the defeatism that I discuss in this post.
How so? I go with his Conservative agenda. Unless you want to run (smartest man I know), I’m stuck with Trump. His delivery is bad, but as you know, I can relate.
“I go with his Conservative agenda.”
So you want tax cuts for the rich, massive fiscal deficits, cutting benefits for the bottom 50%, crushing unions, deregulating megacorps, etc? If so, the 1% consider you a useful idiot – and are happy that there are so many of them.
Trump’s done almost none of his promises that would benefit most Americans, even when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress.
The resurgent Left is in part a reaction to the Right’s failure to deliver almost anything.
“So you want tax cuts for the rich, massive fiscal deficits, cutting benefits for the bottom 50%, crushing unions, deregulating megacorps, etc? If so, the 1% consider you a useful idiot – and are happy that there are so many of them.”
Have I told you that I think most liberals are horrible people? Climate crisis? gender issues? Open borders? Joe Biden? Green New Deal?
See what I mean?
Let’s face it, Trump got elected because Hillary terrified enough people. Yet, even though he was elected, and the GOP controlled both houses, almost nothing was accomplished: no wall, illegals keep pouring through, caravans show up at our border and thousands and thousands are granted asylum and are allowed to enter. The leftist agenda still gets shoved down our throats, Antifa roams the streets in leftist strongholds and beats people up, while mayors and the police look the other way. In the end, it seems like it made no difference electing Trump.None whatsoever, and I think this is what has so many depressed.
I think that in 2020 Trump will be re-elected and the GOP might retake the house, which of course means that nothing will change. We’ll still have porous borders, the middle class will continue to shrink and and the Left’s influence will continue to grow.
Just a few days ago there was a news item about a woman seeking the GOP nomination to oppose Omar (or was it the other Muslim woman?) having been arrested for shop lifting. Her excuse was that she has PTSD and “blacked out” while at Target. Is this the best the establishment right can come up with for candidates?
Trump won because he worked harder. Looks like a work in progress to me. All the other stuff is part of the show…noise.
The only one’s I see depressed are Dems and Rinos, worse than depressed. Travel over to MSNBC to see where it comes from.
Not me, I’m good with Trump.
I think the Hildebeast blew it. She thought it was a slam dunk and made huge mistakes, like calling people “deplorables”.
It was interesting how the polls said she had it in the bag, right up to election eve. This could be because the pollsters were lying, or it could be because people lied to the pollsters out of fear reprisals.
That cover for Newsweek with the caption “Madam President” is a classic. The left was that confident of her victory.
“It was interesting how the polls said she had it in the bag, right up to election eve.”
That’s wrong in two ways. First, there is no way to know if polls before election day are correct. We only run the election once.
Second, the polls were accurate within their margin of error. Hillary won the popular vote by a respectable margin. Polls on the State level have far larger margins of error – because nobody wants to pay for 50 polls with tight margins of error.
The error was in the models that translate the polls into electoral vote outcomes. But the electoral vote magnifies microscopic poll errors. A shift of (if I recall correctly) 15 thousand votes would have put Hillary in the White House. Nobody will spend the kind of money to get polls of that accuracy.
But we’re Americans! So we won’t pay for that accuracy but we complain loudly when we don’t get it. “We Wuz Cheated.”
Spotted what seems like a typo: “The rest he pursued in a delusory manner” – I am no fan of Donald’s but I suspect you meant desultory.
Speaking as someone who would call himself “left-leaning,” I consider myself “left-leaning” because I think their ideas are better on a majority of topics. (There are exceptions… but the big one that comes to mind is nuclear power, which I’m for and they’re mostly against.) I think they will lead to better outcomes for everyone, including all the right-wing folks.
Great catch. That’s a Freudian slip! Fixed.
“I think their ideas are better on a majority of topics.”
I’m not. I believe that’s lost their minds. On climate change, they’ve abandoned the IPCC and major climate agencies for nutty doomsterism. Their economic theories are far fringe. Their social policies are experiments that a lab couldn’t do on monkeys.
But the other choice on the menu is the GOP, dedicated servants of our exploitive 1%.
We have to find a third way, breaking free of these people. Polls show that a large fraction, perhaps a majority, don’t fit well on the Left-Right axis as it usually described. That suggests the potential for radical realignment, as has happened several times before in US history – usually for the better.
I agree that the left has gone bonkers. And yet they control the House and have 47 Senate seats. I fear that even with “The Squad” spewing hatred and insane ideas and with Dem Presidential candidates yammering their support for free healthcare for illegals and even reparations, (and if Blacks get reparations, a long line for “reparation gimmes” will form, with Hispanics at the front of the line) that they have a good chance of holding onto the House.
Methinks a possible replacement would be a person like the deceased candidate Ross Perot. His line “That great sucking sound you hear is jobs leaving America!” in the debates (nearest version I can remember) was a classic rebuke to his opponents. I voted for him, handing the victory to Billy Bob. He utterly destroyed Bush and Clinton in the debates, leaving Bush to look at his watch with a contemptuous sneer for Perot. The same went for Bill with his patented, slick, empty and faux benevolence for his would be flock which caused him to look askance at Perot’s declarations. The most shocking thing is that he was a one per-center.
C.S. Lewis said courage is the chief of the virtues…..
I saw this yesterday: “Wilfrid Laurier University Professor of Journalism David Haskell running for Parliament: “ We have a crisis of courage. Our universities no longer cherish the idea of searching for truth
You, others, say the same about conservatives. Constant, well-practice retreat immediately, into family, religion, cherished arguments and ideas but no engagement with that must loved American, society, institutions.
I’ve been pretty much a democrate my whole life but done with them now. I’ve never thought politics is such an important thing really. But I’m horrified at the hard left pathology. And grossly fascinated like gawking at a house fire. And rethinking that politics point hard. But conservatives are really hard to help. Sheep as you say. They oddly seem a lot like the hard leftist. Disengaged, isolated individuals unable, unwilling really, to build things with others. For different reasons of course.
Meeting somewhere in the middle is not retreat for either side. Easier said then done with the political discourse that’s off the scale at the moment.
It will work out.
“It will work out.”
I love to read American’s excuses for their apathy! Situations don’t “work out”. That’s because there is no Blue Fairy taking care of us. The sentence isn’t even good grammar (who is the actor in it?) People mobilize and act, and arrive at adequate solutions. When they don’t, that society slides into the toilet. History shows examples beyond count.
“People mobilize and act, and arrive at adequate solutions.”
I said the same thing with bad grammar. What’s the name of your new party?
Both parties are ours (ie, Americans’). There is no need for the vast effort to build a new one. We just need to recapture the existing ones.
Thanks for the Lewis’ quote about courage. Worth thinking about.
“I’ve never thought politics is such an important thing really.”
That’s a common belief among Americans’ today, and directly leads to our complacency, dereliction of duty (i.e., failure to work the political machinery bequeathed us by the Founders) – and our present problems. Hence my posts – and those of others’ – attempting to wake up the American people.
With regard to the social changes us white conservatives in part brought this on ourselves, with our one child policy. In the teaching area, I teach in now, I am of the same politics and ethnicity as all the teachers bar one . All in our 50’s,one has 5 kids, I have 3 kids, one has 2 kids the rest have 1 kid and 1 no kids (a pair of dogs and a German car).
7 white teachers with 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0 kids average 1.28 kids a 36% decline in population next generation – this is the left’s reason now for mass immigration to pay for the ageing population.
1 Filipino teacher 5 kids 200% + increase in population next generation.
With the Left driven destruction of marriage as an institution to go forth and be fruitful in, it can only get worse. That a confused powerless section just dream of the end and a re-build is escapist fantasy that robs them of their time and wealth; the makers of Prepper type shows were Lefties laughing at the Conservatives would never surprise me. I have wasted time in this idea myself, now I can only smile at my silliness would I want to survive in a world of The Road.
All I can do is fight to improve the current world.
Just a guy,
“With regard to the social changes us white conservatives in part brought this on ourselves, with our one child policy.”
It is insane to attempt to govern America by each faction trying to out-breed each other.
“All I can do is fight to improve the current world.”
That’s all any of us can do. The problem is that most won’t even try.
Larry, have you read ‘The Demon in Democracy’ by Legutko? Polish veteran of Solidarity, and sees the transition to liberal democracy in a quite different light from the usual narrative.
Thanks for pointing to it. I looked at a long summary of it here. As with most books of this kind, he seems clearer on what he doesn’t like than solutions. This is the only specific, which I find ridiculous.
Yes, I agree that is ridiculous, at least put like that. Maybe less so when you learn that he thinks the US Constitution is an example of what he means. You are also right that he is clearer on what he doesn’t like than solutions.
All the same, I recommend you give it a try. He looks at current political and cultural developments in the West, and especially those of the last 50 years, with a very different framework from that we are used to. It has certainly had me seeing things I knew very well in a new light. And thinking hard about the implications.
The interesting and thought provoking thing for me wasn’t really covered in the essay you linked to. Its not a comparison of liberal democracy and communism. Its rather the way the political logic of both the current version of liberal democracy and communism have come to resemble each other. How we started with John Stuart Mill’s directions, but arrived in a very curious place that he would never have intended to send us. And why this happened.
Well, if you have time. It contains a lot of fulmination, but it also has some real and surprising insights I have not found anywhere else.
“Maybe less so when you learn that he thinks the US Constitution is an example of what he means.”
He is misreading the Constitution. There is nothing in it remotely like “oligarchic-aristocratic institutions.”
Look, I can only say that I do not agree with everything in the book. You have to read his point here in context, and its then less absurd when you see what he means, but its a tiny part of the book and the argument.
I do think he has real and novel insights, and that if you read the book, you will not see our political and cultural history since 1960 in the same way afterwards.
If you can find the time, I think you will find it very thought provoking and to complement your own thinking on a lot of issues. There is some overlap. His account is more systematic. I think some of his insights are quite deep.
Entirely up to you, of course. Just a suggestion.
Sounds interesting henrik…
“Legutko notes that most governments are defective because they are one-sided, overemphasizing the monarchic, the oligarchic or the democratic element. The solution is to mix the three types and craft the regime accordingly, ensuring “democratic representativeness but at the same time some oligarchic-aristocratic institutions … [to] preserve a form of elitism as well as some form of monarchy guaranteeing the efficiency of governance.”
My thought was… ok, but the devil is very much in the details from that generality. Our 3 branches of government have different elements of these. The president is a bit monarchical, the life-long Supreme court justices a bit aristocratic, and a 2 yr representative the most immediately democratic.
“Its rather the way the political logic of both the current version of liberal democracy and communism have come to resemble each other. ”
Yes. So, what’s going on with that? We’ve created a very complex world, and while there’s so much on-line you can use to try to understand it, increasingly people don’t even try because it’s very hard work. Painfully simplistic thinking is really common. Really, left and right. It has religious qualities (by a certain definition) the way people seem to long for certainty, simple truths, which is absent, even it you do try very hard to understand our world.
“The president is a bit monarchical, the life-long Supreme court justices a bit aristocratic”
I don’t believe you are using those terms in the same sense as Legutko. You are referring to the number people exercising power. He is referring to how they are selected: by birth and wealth, which he confuses with being elite.
What he means by the way in that rather poor phrasing and as applied to the US, he is referring to the founders’ distrust of unchecked majoritarian democracy and their careful construction of checks and balances and the institutions of the constitution. It is, I agree, not a very good way of phrasing it. But it would be a mistake to dismiss the book on the basis of a review reporting that out of context.
Look, read it or not, as you like. I have just finished the last chapter, on religion in the new liberalism. And while I found much in it to disagree with, I got a new insight into something that has puzzled me since reading this site.
Larry often posts material by Dalrock. What Dalrock shows is that evangelical pastors and writers have consistently departed, often in direct contradiction, from the biblical teachings on family and men and women which used to be key tenets of their churches and movement.
Its impossible to argue with his quotations and documentation. This has really happened. Now, what Dalrock doesn’t address (or Larry, I think) is why. How has this happened? How has it come to seem reasonable to advocate a way to approach marriage and the family and social relations, that are a set of ideas that are in direct contradiction not simply to the Old, but also the New Testaments?
Never mind who is right about how we should live. The interesting thing to me now is what has happened to them to make them change. And Legutko offers a carefully thought out analysis. It may be right or wrong, but its quite deep, and you won’t find it anywhere else I know of.
You should not expect provocative thinkers to be uniformly correct or agree with you about everything. Their value comes from the fact that they see the world through different lenses, and see colors and shapes we have not previously noticed.
“This has really happened. Now, what Dalrock doesn’t address (or Larry, I think) is why.”
“Why” is often the most difficult and most important question. As Eliot Carver, the media magnate in Tomorrow Never Dies, said:
I have given quotes from Allan Bloom’s magnum opus, Closing of the American Mind. He comes the closest of anyone I’ve found to explaining how the West has evolved into this situation. Other than that, all I know is that Neo was correct in The Matrix Reloaded.
I wonder if that is all that matters about “why.”