Conservatives Have Many Fronts But Little Fight

With the announcement that John McCain will not be voting in favor of the Graham-Cassidy bill that would repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, conservatives raced to Twitter and talk radio phone lines to express their outrage. “Woe is us! John McCain has ‘betrayed’ us again!”

Conservatives shout these words into the ether and to those who are paid to listen to (and stir up) their rage. Sadly, conservatives did not take to Twitter or flood the congressional phone lines in support of Graham-Cassidy in the days leading up to McCain’s “betrayal.” It seems that in the policy battles where the stakes are highest, conservatives want to complain about the establishment rather than complain to the establishment.

The primary reason for this isn’t that conservatives don’t want to fight, or that it’s hard to know when to fight. It’s because conservatives have to fight on so many political battlefields at once. Just this past week, we’ve seen many political and pop culture battlefronts where conservatives have had to engage.

As always, there is the Trump front. How many resources were conservatives forced to expend in order to defend the president’s discussion of the mythical African nation of Nambia? Nevermind that there is a country called Namibia to which the president was expressly referring. The Left were ready with their “look at how dumb Trump is” memes and conservatives were more than ready to spend time and resources responding to something that would best have been ignored. Mockery only works when you give it legitimacy by acknowledging it and conservatives fell over themselves to do that when they chose to fight on this front.

Added to the Trump gaffe front was the Left’s love affair with anti-semitism. While the mainstream press does everything it can to connect Trump with Nazis, it is the Left that has and has always had the real problem with anti-semitism. The latest example of the Left’s casual anti-semitism was Valerie Plame Wilson’s casual linking on Twitter to an argument that Jews were responsible for America’s wars. To those of us who endured over a decade of references to evil “neocons” who are behind all of the ills of the world, this flippant anti-semitism was nothing new. The Left is rife with anti-semitism in the guise of peace movements and divestment movements. Conservatives were rightly incensed by Valerie Plame Wilson’s comments and were quick in their attacks against her.

Add to these events the articles insinuating that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was having the government pay for her private jet, Maxine Waters’ continuing cries to impeach Trump, and the anti-Trump rant that was the Emmys, and you can see that there are any number of places for conservatives to use their political capital in frivolous spats.

Frivolous? Yes, frivolous.

Every one of these events is a distraction from what is really important. The articles on DeVos are not about who funds her travel and security—for the record she’s footing the bill—they are about how she’s moving against the star chamber Title IX kafkaesque shadow courts that were established under the Obama administration. If the media can undermine DeVos’ credibility, they can win on an issue that might disproportionately affect minority students and that removes constitutional protections from all students.

But manipulative attempts to protect Title IX non-trials weren’t the biggest battle that conservatives were being distracted from fighting. That battle was the battle to repeal the Affordable Care Act. While conservatives were tweeting away about Valerie Plame Wilson, my twitter feed was filled with Leftists sharing the phone number of the congressional switch board, places to text that would send anti-repeal faxes to key legislators, and links to the “Indivisible Guidebook.” While conservatives were barking at squirrels, the Left was orchestrating a targeted attack on repeal legislation.

The Left has finally learned the most valuable lesson that political science teaches about how politicians behave. Politicians first and foremost respond to the reelection incentive.

Though David Mayhew wrote about this phenomenon in the 1970s, most organizers on the Left and Right ignored it. They trusted elite pressure from the media, activists, donors, and party organizations to do the work necessary to get their preferred policies passed or scuttled. It’s more lucrative for voters to think that your radio show is the means of shaping opinion than it is to spend your time tweet storming phone numbers to the public. It’s more profitable to complain without solutions than it is to spend time in the trenches. The Occupy Movement taught the Left this lesson, but the Right has yet to learn it.

Politicians have no better means of knowing how to vote than from direct communication from constituents. Let me repeat that. Politicians have no better means of knowing how to vote than from direct communication from constituents. They don’t vote based on ideology or promises, they vote based on pressure. Mobilization matters, it’s all that matters.

No better example of how the Left is willing to genuinely mobilize, rather than complain for fun and profit, exists than Jimmy Kimmel’s personalized and political “kill the bill-athon.” He was doing more than complaining, he was telling people who agreed with him what to do. He was telling them to call Capitol Hill and flood the phone lines. He even told them which offices to target: Heller, Murkowski, Collins, Moore Capito, and McCain. He know this matters.

It’s right there in the “Indivisible Guidebook,” a guide of equal use to conservatives if they would only use it. Instead, conservatives are content to complain to the professional cash-servatives like Mark Levin and Ben Shapiro. Let me clue you in on something. The only time Ben Shapiro tweeted the congressional hotline was when he retweeted a Guy Benson joke that included the phone number to ABC executives. Shapiro is perfectly content to help his friends pay their mortgages by selling books filled with blank pages. His job, like the rest of media conservatism, is to complain about how bad things are. It’s what gets people listening and what brings them advertisers, but it isn’t what mobilizes change.

If conservative media were serious about repealing Obamacare, they’d be flooding my Twitter feed with contact information and multiple means of contacting my legislators. Instead, they are content to complain about being betrayed. Conservatives need to be more targeted in their efforts. I know that it’s a target-rich environment and that we want to shoot down every lie or exaggeration that the Left brings up, but we have to focus on the big ticket items and we have to shoot true. Instead of calling the Mark Levin show, or your own favorite host, try calling the congressional hotline. Let’s use more political capital on the important fights, and use less in skirmishes.


About Nathaniel Wright

Nathaniel Wright lives in Southern California with his large collection of DVDs and a wide variety of single malt scotch. When he's not studying American Politics, he spends his time trying to answer the pressing of question of how we reconcile order which is not oppression with freedom which is not license. He's nowhere close to finding the answer.

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17 responses to “Conservatives Have Many Fronts But Little Fight”

  1. the key is to eliminate all the government positions and funding of prog cadres. they can mobilize because they are still paid when they do not show up for work; many being paid (see ebt) without any expectations of working. public school teachers are a prime example of this. postal service too.

  2. There’s an important flip side to your observation that the left does a better job focusing on the main game than conservatives: For many on the left, activism is the day job while those of us on the right are busy paying the mortgage, taking care of sick family, keeping the house up, and so on.

    The good news about that is that one reason activism is the left’s day job is they’re not competent for much beyond being angry and shouting slogans. AND they’re on average not very capable people. The bad news is that we on the right will only fully reorient if the left succeeds in destroying the lives that keep us so busy. At that point our country’s wounds may already be fatal but the left will be swept from the field.

  3. I comprehensively disagree: House and Senate Democrats are extremely disciplined, as you can tell by their unanimous opposition to any GOP initiative; and also by their Senators tying up Presidential appointments via the “blue slip;” while Mitch McConnell refuses to discipline rogue Senators by kicking them off committees.

    Also, last night & this morning, President Trump at his epic Huntsville rally tied the Left’s underpants into a wad by trolling the NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem; and Stephen Curry this morning on Twitter by disinviting him to the White House.

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  4. “The primary reason for this isn’t that conservatives don’t want to fight, or that it’s hard to know when to fight.”

    The primary reason for this is that “conservatives”, who almost invariably are nothing of the sort, have been conditioned like Pavlov’s mutts to react with outrage, paranoia and distrust, and are for the most part incapable of anything else.

  5. I have spent the last 6 months posting/emailing that a pro-Trump/pro-right web site is needed to galvanize conservative action, starting with flooding Congress with emails/phone/faxes/. A website that suggests specific actions and gives specific instructions, names, dates, addresses, dates, times. I too have noticed conservatives spend their time whining to each other, rather than doing real world action. I notice too huge gap in Trumpworld strategy – Trump tweets and does rallies, but no one has created a mechanism to convert support into visible action.

    I owned an internet company dependent on a highly functional, user friendly website. I know how easy a website to mobilize conservative action would be for someone with access and resources.Protests, support rallies, boycotts, counter boycotts and above all, bombarding Congress. All could be mobilized.

    I have posted/emailed a description of such a website many times. No one is reading/paying attention.

  6. So politicians are concerned with reelection. And how many seats have Democrats lost because of Obamacare? If politicians really cared about reelection, the Dems would have repealed it themselves, and the GOP would be listening now (Hi, Eric Cantor!). Clearly they don’t care about voters as long as they think they can get away with it.

  7. What do “conservatives” conserve? The system they serve kills their voters. Its not betrayal, they are merely “controlled opposition” to stave off revolt. Revolt against a system that wants you dead and is Unconstitutional by default is NECESSARY. This system has lost all legitimacy. The bankruptcies that crush it shows how NOT PROFITABLE their Anti-White Bias and Prejudice really is. Those fool Billionaires will not see any benefit long term. Their dark skinned savages cannot keep them in the profit margins and without White support, they are in a World That Hates Them and Wants Them Dead. Make no mistake, there is NO FUTURE IN THIS. Obamacare really is just a tax. The tax base is shrinking. All the States are NOW BROKE. The Feds are 15 minutes from collapse. There is no bailout possible. The tax base will continue to shrink the more they do this.

  8. You’re assuming that they answer their phones. (They don’t.) I have a better idea, though: DO WHAT THE EFF YOU SAID YOU’D DO. It is time to start the (figurative) beheadings. Primary them. Every Congresscritter that’s been there for more than 10 years needs to go. There are obviously profound and doubtlessly completely corrupt reasons why they’d all murder their mothers to get reelected.

  9. As a frequent former caller to the Congressional offices of my House member and Senator I can tell you it is a total waste of time. Neither one cares a whit about my input. They both lied about their Obamacare repeal plans and don’t give a crap when they are reminded. They are haughty, obnoxious and mostly lying slime. So, the only hope is the death of the Republican Party.

  10. Stop drinking the koolaid. The GOPe is fighting. Fighting against Trump and the America first movement. McCain and his ilk are running dog lackeys of the global plutocracy. Delay, Obstruct, and Sabotage is their battle cry. They’ve done everything in their power to bring our President down. “Repeal and replace” was a GOPe money making scam. The GOPe had no intention of ever taking action. They supported hillary over Trump because they knew they could blame hillary for their inaction. How could anyone think differently? The House had put up 60 phony “repeal and replace” bills knowing they weren’t going anywhere. It was all a ruse to waste time. the Senate and House put a bill on obama’s desk in January of 2016 to gull the voters for the 2016 election. They didn’t want Trump to win but they wanted to keep their majorities in the House and Senate. If they had been serious, they would have put that bill on Trump’s desk the first week. But they aren’t interested in the Peoples’ business. They’re bought and paid for by the global plutocracy. We can’t expect any help from the traitorous GOPe. We have to “Cantor” them all.

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  11. How many Senators are lying with their votes because mcCain, collins, and paul, give them the cover to do so? IMHO it is a very big number. Why do I think that? Because the Senate agreed unanimously to remain in “Informal” session through the break to prevent President Trump from making recess appointments. That means ALL FIFTY TWO R SENATORS ARE AGAINST TRUMP’s MAGA AGENDA!!!!

  12. They don’t vote based on ideology or promises, they vote based on pressure.

    And there is the problem.
    You can’t trust a politician to follow through on the promises they make in a campaign to get elected.
    Fraudulently advertising themselves as conservatives to get elected, these traitors then stab the voter in the back when offered money, “contributions” and feel good press.

    The voter expects that the politician that promises to be a conservative in the Congress, will actually do so.
    Sooner rather than later, the rinos will be primaried out. And if not, then we, the voters, deserve the representation we send to Congress.

    • We expect a modicum of integrity and they deliver a “bill of goods” (or nothing at all). Political office has become a profession – one that survives on telling us what we want to hear.

  13. If you replace (in some contexts) ‘conservative’ with ‘nationalist-populist’ then I am in agreement. Nationalist-populism needs a ‘ground game’. Neither party wants the Deplorables, but, as a result of Trump, the Republicans are the ones who are feeling the heat right now. Eventually, the Democratic Deplorables (who are, I suspect, embedded in, but are not the same as, the Sanderistas) will make their presence known.