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It Is Long Past Time To Give Up On Most Of The Right
The Fever Will Never Break
Okay. This will do it. Finally. This expose of Donald Trump, this revelation about the Republican Party, this moment of clear and absolute hypocrisy/corruption/criminality will do the trick. Now, finally, after all this time, the scales will fall from the eyes of the right and they will walk away from their movement.
This is the repetitive and damaging thought process that has churned through the minds of far too many liberals for years and years. Not only during Trump’s failed presidency, but through the failed presidency of George W. Bush and during the conspiracy-addled meltdowns the right embraced during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Surely, the thought process goes, they can’t still support the GOP after this. Whatever this might be at the moment.
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President Obama referred to the fever breaking, Biden has done the same. Speaker Pelosi regularly invokes the idea of a “strong” Republican Party wresting control from the crazies, and Senator Chuck Schumer and most Senate Democrats seem to be the most afflicted with this plague of wishful, doomed thinking.
It is not going to happen.
The conservative movement is a cult, and most people do not voluntarily leave a cult. Even in the case of doomsday cults that make specific predictions about the end of the world, the cultists mostly don’t leave when the date passes and the world continues to live. Instead, like Republicans, they make excuses in defense of their leader for why his prophecies failed to come to pass.
As the old saying goes, conservativism does not believe it can be failed, it is the world that always fails conservatism.
Its adherents are not swayed by reality. Facts and logic have no effect on their mindset. If anything, reality tends to do the opposite and deepen their belief in the cult’s core tenets.
For many on the right, it was far more comforting to believe there was a massive conspiracy to “dump” votes in favor of Biden during the election count than to believe the vast majority of voters roundly supported him to replace Trump. Similarly, the election of President Obama broke so many right-wing brains, convinced the country could never elect the black caricature they concocted and aired on Fox News, they spent years asserting he was never truly American in the first place.
The facts never broke those delusions and they will not in the future.
And yet, liberals still keep up this false hope. It speaks to an optimism at the core of liberal ideology that in most instances is a good thing, but in this case it has been a disaster.
So much time and resources are continually devoted to trying any and all tactics designed to peel off the rights voters. It has been decades of trying to reverse engineer the phenomenon of “Reagan Democrats,” without acknowledging that most of those voters are long dead and that conservative voters are far more dedicated to the party than those voters ever were.
Democratic leaders are constantly trying to search for a moment from the TV show “West Wing,” when the “normal” Republican speaks truth to the conservative movement and gets the decent people to come on board.
But in reality, the few Republicans who have infrequently criticized the party are not representative of the conservative movement, have no real followings on the right anyway, and most importantly — they fundamentally agree with the right’s failed policy directions, they just don’t like the blowback that comes with being openly racist and misogynist (like The Lincoln Project’s curb-stomping enthusiast, Rick Wilson).
It is a failed strategy and it is long past time to just admit that liberalism must move on.
A far more rational way forward is devoting time and money to actively engaging and encouraging the wide liberal movement, along with center-left independents. The costs, both in political capital and hard cash, are much lower than shoveling resources into failed cult conversion practices. Keeping a fire lit under those voters will pay off in the short term and as a long term strategy.
The most frequent response I’ve heard to this idea is that we simply cannot abandon the cultists. It just feels wrong to give up on them. There must be something, anything, that will wake them up.
If you still believe this, I would point to an attack on the Capitol, a pandemic, a war based on WMD lies, the embrace of trickle down economics that destroyed millions of lives, and much much more to say: You’re wrong.
There is no hope for this group of people. We must accept that this loud and engaged group of Americans, numbering in the millions, cannot be helped. There are millions of them and they vote to enable the worst and they can never be dissuaded from doing so. The only hope is that repeated elections have shown that they are a minority of the populace and through engagement can be outvoted and defeated, defanged of their ability to elect people and policies that hurt the majority.
That somewhat cynical perspective goes against the grain of liberalism, where there is always the glimmer of hope for a cause, no matter how lost it may seem. But it is a realist approach to the world we really live in and a call to stop believing in fairy tales that are dooming us all.
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Exclusive Kal-El Photo
My Google Photos album shows I have over 6,600 photos and videos of Kal-El in the three-plus years he’s been in my life, and that’s an undercount because the album is not up to date. In my defense, when he just casually looks like this on a regular day and I have a phone handy, how could I not take a picture or a few thousand?