Recent election failures have Democrats wondering, “When is it our turn?” Yet universally missed amidst Republican triumphalism and Democrat despair is that when it comes to winning civilization’s loss — or, as some put it, advancing the “progressive” agenda — the Left is batting 1000.
The latest woes, for people to whom party victory is everything, involve two Democrat near-misses in special elections in Georgia and Kansas. In a Tuesday suburban Atlanta contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff failed to break the 50-percent mark against a basketful of Republicans; this means he’ll face second-place finisher, the GOP’s Karen Handel, in a June 20 runoff in which he’s considered the underdog. In the Kansas election, Republican Ron Estes defeated Democrat James Thompson by 6.8 points on April 11 to capture the seat vacated by Mike Pompeo, now CIA director.
Unsurprisingly, both parties have their post-race narratives. Democrats claim the close contests in conservative districts evidence rejection of President Trump’s agenda, and Republicans aver that Ossof’s failure reflects GOP strength, given the tremendous resources Democrats devoted to his race. But then there’s that Democrat lament:
When do we start winning?
As Politico writes, adding perspective, “For all the anger, energy, and money swirling at the grass-roots level, Democrats didn’t manage to pick off the first two Republican-held congressional seats they contended for in the Trump era, and the prospects aren’t markedly better in the next few House races coming up: the Montana race at the end of May, and the South Carolina contest on June 20.”
The reality, though, is that the Democrat lament is one of people who, as liberals do, see only the superficial and live merely in the moment. What gets closer to the truth is a frequent conservative lament, one expressed recently by radio host Mark Levin while analyzing the Georgia and Kansas results. Saying it’s time to ring the “alarm bell,” he rhetorically asked, noting the political gains the GOP had made in 2016, “What more could we give them [the Republicans]?” “But we get the same bowl of mush all the time,” he added, reports Conservative Review.
In fairness, there has been some positive change. For example, Trump’s Department of Justice announced that it would no longer tolerate the H1B-visa-system abuse whereby companies replace high-skilled American workers with foreigners, a violation of the program’s rules toward which the Obama administration turned a blind eye. Trump has already “saved taxpayers more than $86 billion in regulatory costs during his first three months in the White House,” reports the Hill. And Trump rescinded Obama’s intrusive bathroom directive dictating that schools should allow students claiming opposite-sex status to use the opposite sex’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
Yet insofar as the hot-button, high-visibility issues go — such as repealing ObamaCare, delivering tax cuts, and addressing the invasion of illegal aliens — the GOP has been found wanting.
One mistake often made when analyzing this is to view Republicans as a monolith. In reality, there’s a big difference between a deep-red-district Louisiana congressman and, let’s say, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who not only is more liberal himself but also will be wary of pursuing a robustly traditionalist agenda that may displease the “moderate” Wisconsinites who could oust him from office. Republicans are of one party, not one mind.
Yet there’s a deeper issue here. Philosopher G.K. Chesterton once noted, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.”
The main reason I stopped calling myself a conservative, as I explained here, is that conservatism (like liberalism) is not an ideology as much as it is a process. Unlike liberalism, it is the process of trying to preserve the status quo. Unfortunately, our status quo is one of continual change in the liberal direction.
Consequently, despite the vaunted “Reagan Revolution,” the country was more politically correct after President Ronald Reagan’s two terms than before them. As for recent times, note that since Trump’s election, states and cities have continued to vote to advance the “LGBT” agenda, the white-privilege and racial-grievance industry has continued flourishing, the media continue moving left, and, in general, the leftist/statist agenda proceeds apace. None of this, mind you, is the fault of Reagan or Trump.
The first thing Americans (or any people under a representative government) must do when complaining about their politicians is look in the mirror. There’s a reason, after all, why writer Joseph de Maistre said, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” Yet it’s instructive to delve deeper still.
The conservative “nothing ever gets done” lament is reminiscent of something Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) tackled: Why hadn’t socialism taken hold in the West? Gramsci concluded, correctly, that Western institutions were too Christian/traditional in nature and thus didn’t create an environment conducive to Marxism’s spread.
The solution, he said, was to engage in a “War of Position” — the placing of leftists in the media, academia, entertainment, etc. — in order to transform America’s institutions. This has occurred.
And as Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov said in the 1980s already (though he called the phenomenon “demoralization”), the process is “more than complete.”
This is why “nothing gets done” or, to be precise, little good gets done. After the successful leftist march through the institutions, a 180-degree about-face has occurred: They now simply are not conducive to the spread of traditionalism/constitutionalism. Remember that the institutions shape the culture, and as the culture goes, so goes, ultimately, the politics.
So it’s much as if our country is a huge ship steadily drifting left. Most people don’t perceive the drift, not any more than we sense the Earth’s movement. But its reality is why — no matter how the deck chairs are rearranged via elections, shifting port one time and starboard (right) another — they always end up further left than a decade earlier. For they do nothing to alter the vessel’s general drift.
This happens, quite naturally, mind you, because what we call “leftism” is really movement toward disorder (the moral variety). And as with a house or car — which deteriorates if not maintained via an application of energy — civilization degrades and declines unless Truth is sought, recognized, and put into action. This requires a level of energy seldom exhibited by conservatives, whose live-and-let-live credo means tolerating even the intolerable who would destroy everything worth living for.
Until this is recognized, leftists will continue to “win,” whether in office or out of it — that is, if winning can be confused with losing civilization. In order to stop this leftward drift of civilization, the electorate must be educated. This starts at the grass-roots level in the home, as academia and mass media can no longer be counted on to do anything good for society. Organizations such as The John Birch Society, publications such as The New American, and classical homeschool programs such as FreedomProject Academy are all examples of the effort to educate our citizenry back to a condition of "less government, more responsibility, and — with God's help — a better world."