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March 03, 2016

Cooptation, for Fun and For Profit

Whatever you think of Romney's remarks today, I think most people agree they'll have very little effect.

Romney isn't talking to Trump voters. He doesn't even seem to be trying, for the most part. He is talking to people who already agree with him.

There's a lot of consternation among the Establishment that, for example, Rush Limbaugh hasn't done enough to denounce Trump. (BTW, Mark Levin has been screaming about Trump for almost two months now. But he gets no credit from the Establishment for that, and in fact is still lumped in with Hannity, because Levin supports the other candidate the Establishment finds so distasteful, Ted Cruz.)

But the question I'd ask is this: Why do you need Limbaugh to denounce Trump? That is to ask: Why is it that you have none among your own number with the credibility with the base, and/or working class voters, who could denounce him?

Why is it, in short, that you find yourself in a position where you have desperate need of someone trusted and respected by the base and/or working class, but must enlist such persons from outside your own ranks?

Why isn't there someone with credibility with these people a quick phone call away from Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the gang?

Why do no major GOP officials or high partisans have any kind of moral authority and popularity sufficient to denounce Trump?

The answer is simple: Because rather than incorporating outsiders into their movement -- coopting them, forging tactical alliances with give-and-take - the Establishment has instead pursued a strategy of simply squelching such persons and closing them off from any position of influence completely.

Let's look at the Freedom Caucus. A group of 40 Representatives which has a lot of credibility with Trump voters (I assume) due to their outsider view of politics and (generally) anti-amnesty agenda.

Sure would be a good thing if Paul Ryan could call upon them now to urge voters to abandon Trump.

But Ryan can't do that. Because the establishment has spent years making fun of them, calling them stupid and crazy, etc. Freezing them out of all positions of power. Hell, Boehner actually had a plan to strip them of what few committee postings they had. (He didn't go through with it.)

Instead of co-opting this force, they instead ran liberal SJW exclusion/ostracism games on them.

Not to mention the constant denigration of Limabaugh and Levin as the "Entertainment Wing." Hey, maybe that's why they're not exactly rushing to bail your asses out of this one, guys.

Is this a Big Tent party, or is this a party an exclusive little cocktail party for a certain breed of government-friendly, liberal-assumption-conceding, Upwardly Mobile Middle Class Professional (or Aspriational) Country-Club types?

And yeah, let me once again repeat my observation that the same people saying that Trump is the New Hitler are still unwilling to even consider rallying behind Cruz, because Cruz is Not Quite Our Class, Dear.

He's Annoying and Loves Jesus, so, obviously, he won't do.

Gotta be the guy who most represents our class -- or we'll Burn it all down our own damn selves.

If you spend four years disappointing members of your would-be coalition, promising the heavens and delivering.., the Ex-Im Bank, then another two years actively pounding them down into nothing, you're going to learn, at a time most inconvenient to you, that it really would have been far better to seek accommodation with a somewhat different (but still very similar) bunch of people, instead of fighting to keep All the Toys for All the Time.

As Princess Leia wisely observed, the tighter you clench your fist, the more systems will slip through your fingers.

You share power with people who you need as allies. You do not seek to deny them every single bit of influence in the decision-making apparatus but then demand they rush to your aid when you've found you've shriveled the party into a pale, sickly thing, bent and stupid from inbreeding.

A herd that is genetically monoculture is easily wiped out by a change in climate. Herds that survive tough times are genetically diverse.

Narrowcasting: One major objection I had to Palin is that she was narrowcasting to a small cohort of the overall electorate. Whether or not I agreed with her was besides the point -- politically, she was inviable. You can't flatter and validate one cohort exclusively, and denigrate others (both implicitly and explicity), and expect to have the broad appeal needed to win.

For years I've been watching the GOP become more "selective" in its appeal, as Ian Faith would say, also narrowcasting and flattering and validating one cohort. It's just a different cohort's than Palin's.

It's also, we're now finding out, to some people's deep chagrin, actually smaller than Palin's.

Politics requires some politics, fellas. For God's sake. For God's sake. This is basic stuff.


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posted by Ace at 04:36 PM

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