Reality on the Ground: the Republican & Conservative Information Distribution System

From the archives:

Here was a recent headline: “Rand Paul warns of blue Texas.” I know what you’re thinking. That’s ridiculous. There’s no way. Unless, that is, millions of illegal aliens are granted the right to vote for ever-bigger government. Actually, in the news article Rand Paul wasn’t even talking about the issue of immigration.

Sen. Rand Paul, who represents Kentucky, said his home state of Texas could easily switch from a Republican stronghold to a Democratic voting block if the GOP doesn’t open its arms and take in more working class and more minorities.

“Texas will be a Democratic state within 10 years if you don’t change,” he said at a Houston dinner with Sen. John Cornyn, CNN reported. “That doesn’t mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party. We have to welcome people of all races. We need to welcome people of all classes — business class, working class.”

He added, “The party has to be bigger across the country, not only appealing to people of various ethnic backgrounds but various economic backgrounds.”

Those who are schooled in free market economics and the miracle of class mobility understand that an opportunity society seen as one big boom town is a far better deal for the quality of life for all Americans than a stagnating economy and growing welfare state.

Except we’ve got one little problem. Actually it’s not little — it’s big. Those who understand the potential that exists for rising living standards (if we’d limit the size and scope of government) don’t dominate society’s chief institutions for disseminating information.

Surely you don’t think kids in the government-run school systems are going to be taught to agree with what Ronald Reagan said in his Inaugural Address in 1981:

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

It’s just not economic policy where there are grave challenges facing the nation — the list of policy areas desperate for reform is long. We all know them — here are just a few. Health care, tax-payer funded schools, energy, and the countless foreign policy decisions for keeping us safe and promoting freedom. It’s a complicated world where, as Mark Steyn has said, “everyone lives next door.”

Republicans and conservatives don’t agree on everything, of course, but the GOP platform still speaks for a majority on the right. Okay, here’s my question: is there an information distribution system for winning support for proposals based on those platform principles?

It’s not the schools. It can’t be the media that refuses to tell the truth about Obama and the rest of the failures of the political left. So what else is there? Hollywood through TV and film? The idea is both funny and not funny.

Talk radio is wonderful but it mostly preaches to the already converted. The burgeoning conservative alternative press and websites like this one are great, but as a whole they need to reach a lot more of the uninformed and misinformed.

How are we going to win converts? Decrease the number of low information voters? Turn blue states red? Keep red states like Texas from going blue?

By now it’s clear that winning power — like Republicans in Washington at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in the early 2000s — is not enough.

If you disagree, read this from a Ronald Reagan speech in 1975:

Our people look for a cause to believe in….[We need] a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people[.]

Does that make you think of the current U.S. House GOP leadership? Obviously not.

The other day I asked the question, “what’s the plan?” In my next column I’ll answer with an introduction to what I call the “idle army.”

First published February 13, 2014.

Image credit: