Zack Exley responded to my post and concedes many of the points I made regarding the GOP’s ability to organize online. First let me say that I love it when my brilliance is confirmed! Ok, show’s over! Move along.
I would challenge the last point he made, however.
The moral of the story? The Bush Republicans are doing great organizing — but they are doing it around a minority message. If progressives can find a way back to actually standing for progress (and become good organizers too) — then the whole picture changes, because that is a message that mobilizes the whole of the people. Then progressives stand a chance to win by massive landslides.
I don’t know if that’s true. As most (fiscal at least) conservatives would argue, much of the GOP message on which Bush campaigned was still a watered down message. I would argue that much of that is due to the balance between fiscal and social conservatives in our camp. I think you’ll always end up with a watered down version of any agenda. But does that make it a minority agenda?
The Democrats, I would argue, are in a worse position because their coalition is much more fragmented. They generally refer to themselves as progressives (a larger label than the reality), but that’s about all that unites them. Most of the left’s base is organized around single issues (more so than the GOP). You have your pro-choice groups, your gay rights groups, your environmental groups, your poverty advocates, etc. The common thread is a belief that government should address their issue.
The GOP, while conceding its thin-soup agenda, is united by a single theme – that people, or at best local governments, are where solutions lie. (I’ll ignore the bloated Federal government Bush will leave behind and speak of the larger philosophy of the rank and file, not the policies of the current administration.) We do not believe in large bureaucratic institutions stuffed with taxpayer cash to solve problems. We’ve seen no evidence that it works. We are split into two camps, one that says trust in God first, and yourself second, and one that says trust in yourself first, and God second.
Therein lies the problem for the left. Their party, no matter the issue, says trust in government first, “the village” second, yourself third, and God last. Most people do not see the government as a solution for everything. In fact, most people have trouble pointing to anything that government has ever fixed.
If the majority of people do not believe government is capable of fixing every problem (and many, like me, believe that government is incapable of solving any problems at all), how can a party that stands for government first be a party of the majority?