Monday, March 18, 2013

Arithmetic: A Memo to CPAC

So we've heard from conservatives now.  And as much fun as that was, I feel like it's important to underline something.

Conservatism has become all about division.  I don't think it was always that way, and I don't think the philosophical roots of conservatism have to lead to that conclusion.  But right now, conservatives want to separate the country into good guys and bad guys.  Then they want to say only the "good guys" matter, and still call themselves patriots and still win elections.  And the only way that actually works is if there are few bad guys or you cheat in elections.

The current "conservatives" think a whole lot of American people are bad guys.

  • The lower-income 47 percent of Americans whom conservatives maintain "take" from the government (setting aside, for the moment, the fact that pretty much everybody "takes" and "gives" different things to the government depending on your definitions and parameters, let's just look at the math).

  • People who believe in, and would like to address, climate change.  84 percent of Americans say that climate change is "definitely" (50 percent) or "probably" (34 percent) happening, and most want to do something about it.

  • People who are not religious (and maybe people who are not Christian, depending on which conservatives you ask).  Pew says the number of Americans who openly do not believe is significantly on the rise, and now makes up 20 percent of Americans (disproportionately young people).

I'm sure I'm missing some, but this is a good enough place to start.  I could make a list of the people that Democrats or liberals say are bad guys, and maybe I'll do that next.  But the truth is that there are elected Democrats who are openly anti-gun-control, pro-life, and very rich.  And I didn't even include the whole "non-white" thing - there are clearly conservatives who think non-white people are bad guys, but I don't think I even need to get to that.  

Mathematically, when you say all these groups of people are bad guys - not just that you disagree with them, but that they are morally wrong - which with the exception of climate change, conservatives have said about all of these groups of people - then you are going to lose in fairly-run popular elections.

It's not the quality of the messaging, in other words.  It's the message.

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