All Politics is Local   1 comment

What holds up conservativism from sweeping the nation?

When my dad, the classical liberal, used to tease my mom and call her a “conservative”, she was one of a tiny group of self-described conservatives in America. In the 1960s, the entire national “convention” could have been held in the hockey arena in Fairbanks Alaska. Things have changed. Today, 40-45% of the nation’s voters describe themselves as “conservative”. That makes us the largest voting bloc in the nation. But as I explained in my earlier post, mostly we’re supporting the Republican Party in electing moderate progressives who then give “conservatism” a bad name by acting in pretty liberal ways. The Republicans say we conservatives should moderate our positions in order to attract people to the Republican Party, but becoming progressives does not seem like a viable way to advance the cause of conservatism. In fact, I could argue that is what we’ve been doing since the 1990s and look where we are today.

I don’t think our principles are the problem. If they were, our numbers of voluntary association would not be increasing and they are. I think it is the Republican communication of those principles that cause us difficulty. When the Republicans got waxed in the 2012 election, it seemed as if they might self-analyze, but they’ve decided to look more like Democrats, so conservatives need to start looking a lot more like conservatives than Republicans.

If, as a conservative you’re still hanging onto the GOP, there are some things to consider about the 2012 election. The Republicans lost the minority vote, the women’s vote, and the city vote, but they also lost a large number of conservatives – and then they lost the election. If you were following the polls prior to the decision to nominate Mitt Romney, the GOP had a substantial lead over President Obama. That gradually disappeared in the runup to the general election. If you went out on conservative websites, you saw supposedly conservative commentators trying to convince conservative voters that Mitt Romney was palatable to them. But the final election results and polling following show that conservatives stayed home on election night. And the GOP lost the election.

So what does that tell us?

Conservatives are propping up the Grand Old Party and if we withdraw our support, puff, the GOP goes the way of the Whigs. In a 3-way election, if conservatives vote as a bloc, we win. But how do we pull that off?

The American Conservative Party has a good idea. I may be irritated with their insistence that you have to pay to research their ideas, but I give kudos where they’re due. Theyr’e concentrating on local elections and letting the federal level go for now. Why? Because the two major parties have a stranglehold on the federal election … for now. Ballot access laws prevent third parties from getting on the ballot in most states. However, by concentrating on each state individually, third parties can get on local school boards and city councils and then into state legislatures, so that by the time they declare for the Presidency they won’t be unknown to the people in at least a plurality of states. I wonder what color a third party might get on the election map. I like green.

All politics is local anyway and if we can prove to our communities that conservatism works, then we can move onto transforming our state governments and then our nation.

One response to “All Politics is Local

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