John Hayward Profile picture
12 Jan, 12 tweets, 2 min read
One problem with the GOP's inability to understand or process populism is that it gets walloped by the all-populist all-the-time Democrats. Another problem is that when Republican populists do appear, they tend to be rather unfocused and undisciplined.
Political focus and discipline are very hard to come by. It takes a huge organization that spreads across both the political and private spheres to harness popularity and convert it into effective policy action. The Left spend decades building and refining its machinery.
The Left's machine spots populist talent early and begins guiding it toward politically productive ends. Detailed plans are made to move the country toward the populist's goals across multiple election cycles. Money and media influence is lined up to achieve concrete goals.
Achievable goals are important, because without them - and a serious political/financial/media machine dedicated to achieving them - populist crusades usually end in disappointment, resentment, and unfocused anger. "What was all of this FOR?" furious or dejected supporters ask.
Many of the Left's endless populist crusades seem kooky or utterly unrealistic at first, but they've got a serious political machine that usually manages to come away with SOMETHING to show for it. If nothing else, they end up with more power they can invest later.
There's something of a built-in advantage in being populist crusaders for statism and collectivism: it's pretty easy to come away from every battle with a bigger, richer central government. A whole lot of very powerful forces are ready to jump on any bandwagon that leads there.
On the other hand, populist crusades for republicanism, smaller government, and greater individual liberty have few powerful and influential patrons. Rarely does anyone with serious power or money see any profit in making the centralized State smaller.
That's one reason our media and political system gives left-wing populists unlimited credit for good intentions, even if their specific demands are unreasonable or downright destructive. The elite are always happy to ride a lefty populist train to at least the first station.
The GOP has no mechanism for absorbing populist energy, no scouts out there looking for talent and grooming it for greatness, no machine ready to make incremental gains. The GOP donor class LOATHES conservative populist goals, most notably border security.
So when a jolt of populist energy hits the GOP, it's like watching a surge of electricity hit some ancient, rusty machine and blow its cobwebbed transformers to pieces. It's a party accustomed to negotiating surrender, not leading happy warriors in a charge to take the next hill.
It would be wise for the GOP to begin building systems to detect and harmonize with popular energy, realizing their task is much harder because their best leadership prospects will tend to be outsiders and iconoclasts, and they don't have the media to help with mythmaking.
With hard work and careful engineering, maybe the next time a few gallons of high-octane populist fuel are dumped in its tank, the GOP could actually get somewhere instead of helplessly watching its engine burst into flames. /end

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More from @Doc_0

13 Jan
Ever since 9/11, we've been instructed that tiny minorities of extremists are solely responsible for their reprehensible actions. There was no greater sin than blaming law-abiding people who share some of their beliefs.
That's how we got the "lone wolf terrorist" cliche. A great herd of lone wolves swept across the world, each completely isolated from anything but the most direct support for their heinous deeds. "Tiny minorities of extremists" were blamed for "hijacking" the beliefs of millions.
The Western world did backflips to completely firewall the actions of terrorists from the larger bodies of people they claimed to represent. We hired a legion of consultants to show us exactly where the line between extremism and legitimate belief was drawn.
Read 15 tweets
11 Jan
Our pretensions to civilization have become very thin. Political violence was legitimized last year and is spreading wildly now. "Might makes right" is clearly the only "principle" behind freedom of speech. That's why Chinese Communists will never be censored by Big Tech.
When every "principle" becomes nothing but a ruthless exercise of power, it's not surprising that a growing number of people conclude they must demonstrate some sort of power in order to be taken seriously. Violence is the crudest exercise of power.
A well-run civilization makes it clear *universally* that violence is absolutely unacceptable. Giving free passes for irresponsible rhetoric and destruction to groups favored by the dominant political ideology of the State undermines that message.
Read 16 tweets
7 Jan
Speaking of principles we should all agree on, let's have a full stop to Democrat politicians describing America as an illegitimate nation when it suits them, and to left-wing teachers imparting that message to our children. No more flag-burning and kneeling theatrics.
We cannot indulge irresponsible rhetoric and teaching about the legitimacy of America for 99% of the year from lefties and then suddenly start yelling at rioters who break into the Capitol for trespassing upon the sacred ground of democracy.
We were just subjected to four years of idiotic "Resistance" role-playing - and serious destructive action by Democrat loyalists in our vast bureaucracies and courts - based on the notion that America stops being a legitimate nation when Democrats lose elections.
Read 6 tweets
7 Jan
Political violence is always wrong and should never be tolerated from anyone. Once "protesters" threaten lives and property, their grievances and ideology should become absolutely irrelevant to the situation.

That is, obviously, not the country we live in.
Long ago, we had an attitude of zero tolerance for terrorism, "we do not negotiate with terrorists," etc. One reason for this was the implicit understanding that negotiating with terrorism legitimizes it. Violence becomes an instrument of politics.
Some of us warned all last year that treating violence as acceptable, even laudable, from SOME people would mainstream it and touch off an arms race. Everyone would start getting the idea that only groups with a demonstrated capacity for violence are taken seriously.
Read 17 tweets
6 Jan
One big long-term, and long-running, problem for the GOP is that it still has no idea how to harness populist energy, and no idea how to fight back when Democrats perpetually use it against them. Leadership still thinks populism is witchcraft and burns adepts at the stake.
From the Perot movement to the Tea Party and now Trump, GOP leadership views surges of populist energy as a threat to be undermined and destroyed by all means necessary, not a positive flow of energy to be understood and embraced in constructive ways.
The other side, meanwhile, relentlessly uses populist rhetoric and political strategy while doing everything in its considerable media, cultural, and political power to frighten the GOP away from it. Few strategies have been more successful at undermining an opposing party.
Read 12 tweets
6 Jan
While everyone was watching Georgia, the new masters of the world were busy making billionaires disappear, blocking even the laughable year-late WHO investigation of the coronavirus, and arresting the entire pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
And yes, they were emboldened on all of these fronts because their adversary in the White House is on his way out, replaced by Ten Percent For the Big Guy. They'll pause to ensure their power is secure and move on to the next items on their agenda soon.
The signal America's political system is sending to Beijing is a dying nation curled up in a fetal position. We're drawing our swords against each other. Nobody is watching the signal fires from Gondor blaze to life on one mountaintop after another.
Read 13 tweets

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