The Liberal Redneck shares a belief by many other Liberals and Progressives that Republicans, the Trump voters, should have caved on Trump support by now. He even gives a reason why that will never happen. I beg to differ. Excuse some of his explicit wording, but the gist is what I want to explore.
The Redneck Liberal: What's it gonna take y'all
Liberals and Progressive simply cannot believe that the Trump voter and Republicans continue to stick with Donald Trump even as he proves incompetent on the job. He is not the only one. DailyKos' Linc wrote the piece "BREAKING: You will never win over the Republican base on the "issues". NEVER." Linc wrote,
Literally never. Tried it, doesn’t work. They hate you; and like all things hate-motivated, they are going to hate everything about you. They hate your dog, they hate your friends, they hate your “concern”, your “care” and most importantly, they hate your “issues”.
For eight years the GOP has rallied its base on issues that almost entirely defeat the long-term and even short-term interests of their base. They did this, for the most part, by playing on fear of the other. They have turned every single nice person we put up in front of them with great command of the issues, into demons for their base. Every. Single. One.
The Socialist. Pocahontas. The Kenyan. The Reaper of Benghazi!!!!
That is not at all dissimilar from what The Liberal Redneck, Trae Crowder said.
"Sometimes it seems like they hate us more than they love their country, man," said The Redneck Liberal. "Some of these people, I swear, I really believe they would let Donald Trump burn their f$cking house down if the Liberal next door had to choke on the smoke for fifteen minutes. And that's a God damn shame."
Yes, Conservatives hate us. They also fear us. They think we intend to take away something they never had, or values they think are more in line with goodness when the converse is true. But the discipline that the GOP has had in the implementation of a false narrative necessary to execute the Powell Manifesto have been successful. They never let up. They go from faux scandal to faux scandal to keep those who follow them in a state of alarm, fear, and chaos.
I have been to many Conservative and TEA Party gatherings. Their leaders use every opportunity to keep their base primed. They inject the narrative that makes Liberals look like some strange being that is damaging to them. This behavior occurs in churches, Chamber of Commerce meetings; you name it. This behavior is not practiced in the aggregate by Liberals and Progressives.
I think The Liberal Redneck's second point is also important.
"The second thing is just human nature," said Crowder. "Nobody likes to admit that they were wrong."
The above is true. But when people believe it is about their survival, they throw everything out the windows and vote for survival. During the Obama campaign, this exchange with a canvasser and a racist, written in a Salon article is probative.
Sean Quinn, of the polling site FiveThirtyEight, respected for its obsessiveness and eerie prescience, recently posted a hair-raising story about a pair of Barack Obama supporters. Quinn seems ready to verify its source, but only after the election. At any rate, it goes like this: A man canvassing for Obama in western Pennsylvania asks a housewife which candidate she intends to vote for. She yells to her husband to find out. From the interior of the house, he calls back, “We’re voting for the nigger!” At which point the housewife turns to the canvasser and calmly repeats her husband’s declaration.
Moreover, the above indicates the fluidity of "bases." In other words activating our base is not the issues. Activating those who vote to vote for our cause is what must be done. Obama did it for himself if not for the Democratic Party.
Linc further writes,
Issues or really great ideas for America on the platform of candidates matters nada at this point. Since at least Reagan, EVERY election in this country has been a base election. The only people that don’t realize this are members of the Democratic party establishment and base. ... throw every damn thing we possibly can at them until they are so demoralized, confused and put-upon that they become hopeless ALL WHILE invigorating our own base and its sympathizers with won battles. You will NEVER get the GOP base that put Trump in office to think about the issues until they have been defeated. Literally never. ... I suggest we cut out the hand-wringing about who’s running on single payer or whatever (current) fantasy we might have. These are already in our platform (it's a beautiful platform! The MOST beautiful!), but those issues are NOT going to defeat the literal evil that now occupies the White House nor will it defeat the morally bankrupt GOP establishment that is currently enabling it. ... Trump’s not going anywhere unless he is destroyed (I know, sounds serious! Well, it f$cking is). We must destroy him and use whatever tool, weapon or tactic of THE MOMENT we can to make sure he is taken down without haste. Do you want a demoralized, defeated GOP base for the 2018 election? Then cut off it's GD head.
I understand the sentiment, but it does not work effectively. In fact, I believe the forty-year decline of the middle-class is because we've been playing these games for too long. Both sides keep Americans stupid. Real democracy requires an educated populace otherwise a benevolent dictatorship is best.
It takes time and investment to educate. When one has a Plutocracy, an Oligarchy, that controls an entire party (the Republicans, and a portion of one (Establishment Democrats), then education is the last thing either party establishment wants. They are willing to entertain battles between narrow rails. The clearest example is the Obamacare fight where Establishment Democrats never actually considered single-payer or even a public option.
The solution is simple but time-consuming. It can be done. The reality is Right Wing Republicans are doing it. It is the only way their "base" continue to vote against their interests. Right Wing leaders are at every country fair, community meeting, churches, civic gatherings, etc. In my very red town where we worked our school board elections and loss because of that dynamic, I saw it in action.
We have to engage and let folks know us before we necessarily engage in a political discussion dissing all of their false beliefs. We have to establish relationships where we have the possibility to educate and be educated. We have to temper our pride and self-righteousness. When I engage these folks, I worry less about their self-righteousness, their belief that they are right and more in my ability first to listen and turn the conversation in a manner that they answer their questions unexpectedly in a way I would.
Again, it is time-consuming. But if you want a permanent Progressive majority, it is less about bringing out our base, and more about building our base.