One of the striking paradoxes in Marin is that the same people who reliably vote for Democrat candidates actually have quite conservative values. In my Marin world, people are educated, ambitious, hard-working, married, and family-oriented, and they happily live in almost entirely white communities. As to that last, it’s not that they would object if a black family moved it. It would simply have to be a black family that was “one of us,” meaning educated, ambitious, etc. Despite their essentially conservative values, these hard-working people support endless welfare; these family-oriented, helicopter parents happily consign poor children to the tender mercies of the state; and these married parents, who have the luxury of a stay-at-home mom, support any policy that advances single motherhood. The Marin dwellers I know are the living embodiment of Charles Murray’s wonderful observation that elite Democrats don’t preach what they practice.
On the rare occasions when I’m able to speak with my friends without using political labels, they invariably agree with me about the benefits of hard work and marriage, about the social and economic virtues of two-parent families, about the problem with the hypersexualization of young children, and about the fact that the best defense against bullies is projecting a strong attitude of self-defense. Point out, though, that these values align them with Ted Cruz or Mitt Romney, who support profiting from ones own labor, being married as a predicate to children, encouraging (although not legislating) a more wholesome popular culture, and projecting American strength abroad, and they’ll back away from you as if you’ve suddenly sprouted horns.
It’s that last phrase that explains why these Democrats, even if their values are completely at odds with their own party, would never, never vote Republican. In their minds, it’s not that
Democrats Republicans have bad ideas; it’s that they’re eeeevvviiiilll. Not just “evil,” but eeeevvviiiilll. To them, Republicans haven’t merely sold their souls to the Devil, which implies that it’s possible to regain those lost souls. Instead, it’s that Republicans have no souls. To the Marin liberal, politics are controlled by a simple syllogism:
Republicans/conservatives are evil.
I am not evil.
Therefore I can never be a Republican/conservative.
But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, right? For years, conservatives have wryly observed that, while conservative think liberals are misguided, liberals think conservatives are evil. So why am I dragging this old issue to the table? Because now is the time to change this paradigm.
We know from a Harvard study that the young generation is turning against Obama because he betrayed them. Unfortunately, though, despite their disenchantment with Obama, these youngsters aren’t turning to Republicans. Given the fact that Democrats lied and Republicans spoke the truth, these youth voters aren’t making a U-turn and heading for the Republican party. Instead, they’ve opted for a “plague on both your houses” approach to politics.
Their refusal even to contemplate conservativism stems from their constant indoctrination: Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll. In any Hollywood film that touches upon politics (and even in those that don’t), Republicans are evil. In any MSM news story, Republicans are evil. In songs, at award shows, on Twitter, and Facebook, the cascade of obscene, profane, and scatalogical remarks from those on the Left are uniform: Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll.
With Obamacare cratering and Obama being revealed as both incompetent and dishonest, Republicans are trying to figure out how to position themselves as the obvious political alternative. Sadly, the state of American political debate and thinking is not such that conservatives can gain voters by explaining that conservative ideas are better. We take the world as we’re given, though, and that world demands that we suit our argument to our audience. Before they listen to us, they need to like us — or at least they need to stop fearing us. The answer is to run a personality campaign.
When I speak of a “personality campaign,” I refer to gauzy photographs of Republican politicians with their spouses and children. Although that seems to play well to the base, it does nothing to convert the people who think we’re eeeevvviiiilll. Democrats have been trained to view those photographs — when they come from conservatives — as the equivalent of photographs showing Nazi camp guards having tea parties in their homes.
What the RNC and other conservative groups should be producing, instead, are gazillions of one-minute-long commercials and YouTube videos, as well as easy-to-share posters for Facebook and Twitter, all of which focus on ordinary whites, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics engaging in good acts of the type that thoughtless, but disenchanted, Democrats can understand. Each video or poster should end with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”
For example, you might have a video showing an Asian woman working at a homeless shelter, and have it end with her saying “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.” Or you have a poster of a black volunteer hard at work for Habitat for Humanity, over the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.” Another video might show someone getting out of a Prius and into a wheelchair, again with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.
The possibilities are endless, because Republicans are good people, and they actually do many things that make Democrats happy. Posters and videos of beach clean-ups, animal shelter work, homeless shelter work, Big Brother/Big Sister work, tutoring kids at inner city schools, and raising money for African orphanages, would humanize a group of people who have been demonized simply because they believe in the worth of the individual and in maximum individual freedom. When it comes to speaking out to Americans, we need to stop focusing on the politicians, whom the media finds it easy to ridicule and denigrate, and start looking into the Republican community, which is brimful of wonderful, caring, people, for whom being wonderful and ordinary is just a part of their lives.
We cannot convert people to our ideas unless we can convince them that their “conservatives are evil” syllogism is utterly false. The new syllogism should go like this:
Republicans/conservatives are good people.
I share most of their values.
Since the Democrat party has lied and broken its promises, and its ideas have failed, I should vote Republican.
[For those of you who find the ideas in here vaguely familiar, my dear friend Don Quixote made precisely this point many years ago. He was, as is often the case, a clear-sighted visionary.]