There are many things that we as conservatives can point to as reasons we don’t do better in elections. When conservative candidates underachieve, we are quick to make excuses. What we don’t do much of is the hard introspective work surrounding why our people aren’t winning the big majorities we believe they should.
This lack of self-examination goes against one of the core principles of conservativism- to take personal responsibility. While I don’t want to dismiss problems that can be either fixed or improved, we cannot continue to neglect our core values. And we’re doing far too much of that, particularly in the past three (2018, 2020, 2022) election cycles.
Too many conservatives don’t quite understand the reasons behind conservativism and instead engage in the emotional side of politics. This is a tremendous mistake.
We cannot defeat the left by making emotional arguments. If you want to see emotional arguments, turn on any television commentary, sports or politics, and it’s the same thing. The people on television aren’t paid to be right, they are paid to run their mouths. If they are right, they gloat, if they are wrong, they gloat about other things they were right about. This food-fight rhetorical style has infected candidates hoping to make strides in politics.
And the truth is, getting wrapped up in a hyper-emotionalist, overheated style of argumentation is a loser’s game for conservatives. The Right will never emote better on television than the Left, and when we try we’ll always facilitate the efforts of our opponents to make us look like villains.
We have a belief on the conservative side that we can’t give another inch, and instead we give up miles. Sometimes the correct action is to step back. George Washington gave up Long Island evacuating his men overnight. Sam Houston retreated from Santa Anna after the fall of the Alamo. The Duke of Wellington retreated from Napoleon. In Washington’s case, his retreat ensured the Revolution continued on until he ambushed the Hessians at Trenton. Sam Houston’s retreat allowed him to find favorable ground at San Jacinto and the same was true with the Duke of Wellington when he found Waterloo. We as conservatives mistakenly believe we must win every battle when in reality we just need to win the war.
Chasing the emotional issue of the day is a war that we can’t win. As long as we keep focusing all of our attention on those battles, the more ground we’re going to lose. Liberal men believe they can menstruate and are proud of it. They believe that men can give birth to babies. They believe that men can be more feminine than women and in doing so promote stereotypes of women that simply are not so. They act as if all women are super-emotional, being far more dramatic than women actually are and portraying women as incompetent, acting as though their male femininity means they can’t change a tire. These men who portray themselves as women purposely embrace the weaker-sex stereotypes of women. The reality is one doesn’t need to look very hard to see that there are plenty of women who are more than capable of doing lots of things.
The Left has so embraced abortion that they seem to wish to abort everything. Energy independence and even energy itself. Free speech. American independence. Border security. The Fourth of July. They’re for aborting anything and everything. Sanity has long been aborted on their side of the aisle.
You will not succeed arguing with such a person. They have abandoned all logic and intelligence, believing that science is there to support their beliefs and never to contradict them. That the law only applies to their political opponents.
This is the lost state of the Democrat Party and there should be some, but limited, engagement against such lunacy. If that’s the hill the Democrat party wishes to die on, we should assist them, not join them.
But the Right of Center is not without its own lost causes. Many on the right seem to have come to the belief that it is “Less Taxes or Less Government” opting for the previous and foregoing the latter. Many conservatives decry the RINO, yet they have their own inclination towards government-first solutions. We have an opportunity to shift the argument and move America firmly to the right of center but we’re missing it by ignoring what it is the Right believes.
Small government. Individual liberty. The inherent value of life. American exceptionalism. The Judeo-Christian moral foundations on which Western society stands.
It becomes our destiny to lose when we allow our side to be represented by those who don’t understand our core values and/or are ineffective in explaining our views.
We ought to be explaining to our families and friends these basic concepts, nonstop, at every teachable moment. We should be asking those who represent us to explain their values to us.
That less taxes on the middle class stimulates the economy, and how.
That getting government out of the life of the common man empowers him, and why.
That it’s not “or less government,” its “AND less government,” and what that means.
That it’s knowledge and not a belief that your rights as a human being come from God, and how that’s important as it affects our society.
That each person has the right to self-defense, and what limits that imposes on government.
That education is something one must sacrifice for, and what flows from it.
That our strength as a nation comes from our liberty, and why we must fight to hold on to it.
So-called leaders who can’t fully explain these things either don’t understand them or don’t believe in them, and that’s a problem – those are people who likely won’t win and probably don’t deserve to.
There is a middle who see the far-left for the lunatics they are, but looks at the Right and sees lunacy on our side as well. This is a middle that wants a solution – not more lunacy.
But conservatism isn’t lunacy. And by explaining the why and how of what we believe, we’ll find fertile ground.
In 1970 the movie “Patton” was released and won 7 academy awards. This was a movie that was released during the height of anti-war sentiment, yet it was still an iconic movie in its age. No matter what the world seems to celebrate, people innately understand that strong people are trustworthy. The weak man sees himself as a cunning assassin, but people instinctively understand that he is a snake in the grass and unworthy of faith or trust. People will always respect strength and honesty, even if they aren’t always in the mood for it.
There are self-evident truths that simply need to be said and we are too unwilling to state those truths. If we want to win the war, we must get back to the basics of our core values and we have to be more engaged in leadership than being keyboard warriors.