“Asymmetric Political Warfare”
Awhile ago at Your Lying Eyes, Ziel put up a Unified Field Theory of 21st Century politics in “Asymmetric Political Warfare:”
This imbalanced political landscape is not just restricted to the Voting Rights Act. The Republican Party is basically the party of white America, but of course such an entity as “white America” cannot be acknowledged in mainstream outlets (except of course as a source of some evil). A Republican legislator cannot complain that his constituents are being forced to move because their schools are becoming disabled by excessive numbers of non-English speakers or poorly behaved minorities. So instead he must complain about “illegal” immigration in the vaguest of terms and express displeasure with the failure of schools by blaming teacher-unions (bastions of anti-Republican rhetoric). A Democrat, on the other hand, can freely rile up his constituents by denouncing “discrimination” and favoritism, regardless of the facts.
Similarly, any Democrat politician, black or white, can make unlimited hay over alleged racial profiling among the police or “institutional racism” in the law enforcement. But no Republican politician would dare court white voters by defending the police, pointing out, for example, the disproportionately high levels of criminal behavior in the black community.
To be precise, Republican politicians are free to praise the police in general terms, but not to defend them in specific terms, such as in response to Justice Department racial profiling jihads, as in Maricopa County today. You can`t say, “The reason the cops stop more blacks and Hispanics is because blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be criminals.”
… The essence of this asymmetry in political combat is that Democrats are free to rabble-rouse and demagogue their positions without penalty – indeed, often with great showers of media attention for doing so – while Republicans must rouse their constituents only obliquely through proxies – religious faith, gun rights, opposition to gay marriage, and of course “No New Taxes”. Even then, we often hear pundits denounce the “Three G`s” – Gays, Guns and Gods – so even their proxies are derided.
But this leads to dumb policies – or at least failure to enact sensible policies. We can`t have sensible gun laws, because Republicans have to prove that they sympathize with white-Americans` anxiety over the baneful impacts of minorities on their neighborhoods not by addressing that issue directly but by supporting unrestricted gun rights.
Gun control in the later 20th Century was a long war between whites in less dense parts of the country and whites in more dense parts of the country. Rural whites, rationally, considered gun ownership to be a good form of self-defense in areas where police response times were slow, the chance of accidentally plugging a bystander were low, and they had practice with guns for hunting. (In contrast, look at how vulnerable unarmed rural people in gun controlled England are to urban criminals` home invasions.)
Metropolitan whites, rationally, felt that the cops getting guns out of the hands of minorities was a better goal, but they didn`t have any acceptable way to express this in public, so their arguments were generally couched in terms of the pressing need to disarm those vicious white Republicans in the hinterlands before they kill us all (see Michael Moore`s Bowling for Columbine for the classic expression of this ludicrous, but highly respectable, view).
In New York City, capital of both liberalism for American and pragmatism for New Yorkers, gun control actually did work pretty well in the 1990s. Under Giuliani and the smart, effective Bratton, the NYPD put a huge number of young black men in jail for packing heat. There were complaints, but NYC voters haven`t elected the Democratic nominee mayor in the five elections since. But who even understands what happened in NYC? It`s hard to remember stuff if you aren`t allowed a vocabulary and syntax that helps you categorize What Just Happened.
Gay marriage is stupid – but the real problem is the insidious “Diversity” mentality that so offends the white middle class, but instead of fighting that, Republicans must single out Gay marriage (and even that fight is being rapidly lost). And Religion leads to unnecessary constitutional battles, while it is just a proxy of course for the desire of white Americans to keep America the way it is – not a banana republic, not a dysfunctional, balkanized economic zone, as it is on its way to becoming.
The problem is that when your enemies control the vocabulary of public discourse, it`s hard to maintain a sophisticated private understanding of what is going on. Thus, the GOP lacks a brain trust of realists who determine strategy. It`s fun to assume that, like in the Big Reveals at the end of 1984 and Brave New World, that their is an Inner Party of cold-eyed realists who understand all, but there`s negligible evidence for this.
For example, here are a number of high life priorities for vast numbers of Republican-leaning, conservative-minded voters:
— They want to be able to continue to live in their suburban communities where they`ve put down roots without being driven by demographic change to the exurbs.
— They want to be able to send all their children to the local public school, which will be culturally dominated by the children of people like themselves
— They want their children to be able to get into State U.
Is this too much to ask?