Republicans and Democrats are currently locked in a brutal power struggle over border wall funding. No one is buying plane tickets back to their home districts for the holidays. Washington insiders suspect that the battle over border wall funding has only just begun.
Republicans don’t truly understand the real war they’re fighting.
Nancy Pelosi gets it. The one thing she must do, and must be seen to do by all, by the people who elected her and donated to other Democrats at her behest in the mid-term election cycle, is take on Donald Trump. He is the bad guy, she, the good. Pelosi wants to be Speaker; this is no time to leave the Hill. Public perception is everything.
Republicans just don’t get it.
This isn’t a battle against illegal immigration in the U.S., it isn’t a battle against gangs, and narco-terrorists who constantly try to enter the country via any means necessary for their own nefarious purposes.
It isn’t even a battle to stem the tide of the ultra-deadly opiate fentanyl that is killing millions of Americans.
It is a war for the hearts and minds of American voters, present and future: And the Democrats are winning it.
The war for the hearts and minds of the American public is more like an arms race. A popularity arms race.
And conservative ideals are currently very, very unpopular.
The vicious, vocal and decades-long anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan is well known and documented. Yet, he is still routinely welcomed to speak at college campuses across the U.S.
Contrast Farrakhan with how conservative speakers have fared in universities across the country. Conservative Ben Shapiro faced protests at Marquette University and at the University of Utah. Nine protesters were arrested when he spoke at Berkeley, even after Berkeley spent over half a million dollars on extra security for the event.
Milo Yiannopoulos, on the other hand, has been driven from college campuses, protested to the tune of $100,000 in damages at Berkeley and practically run out of town on a rail.
Why isn’t Louis Farrakhan with him?
College campuses aren’t the only places where conservatism is a serious faux pas. Google and Twitter face new lawsuits alleging discrimination against conservative voices. Some even report more-conservative leaning employees being hounded out of their jobs by their left-leaning co-workers.
In the 24/7 popularity contest of the optics economy, conservatives are failing to assert their identity and failing to adequately counter the left’s carefully curated public perception of what it means to be a conservative.
Why are Republicans letting Democrats control their branding and message? Pepsi doesn’t let Coke make its commercials. Universal doesn’t let Paramount make its movie trailers.
The popularity kiss-of-death is that labels stick, and those labels don’t necessarily have to be true. Ask any liberal Democrat who lives inside an ideological bubble to describe the conservative ideology using single-word labels and see if the following words don’t crop up: racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted, hate, nationalist and homophobic.
How Republicans brand conservatives. Short answer, they don’t. Or rather, they do, but they do it so widely and broadly, encompassing so many different meanings and variants to the word that any label which might stick is hopelessly lost in the complexity.
The truth is that conservatives are conservatives for all sorts of different reasons. Some conservatives might be racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, nationalistic or homophobic. Conservatives don’t hold the franchise on those attitudes. Democrats have them, too. They exist everywhere, unfortunately.
If Republicans can’t confront this new reality and adjust, the party is close to being doomed as a political party. Different segments will form into new parties, but Republicans, as we have known them, will cease to exist.