The mess that is currently Illinois and national politics has been brought about by the geniuses who raise and spend big donor money in the political arena. They have accomplished that feat chiefly through ignorance and hubris. Those are harsh words, I know.
Republicans and conservatives like to look at many Democrats and leftists as people who are willfully ignorant about the damage done by their policies and the necessary course correction that is desired by working class Americans. While Republicans and conservatives are correct in their estimation of Dems and the left, they overlook the glaring ongoing failure of the Republican Conservative Industrial Complex (RCIC) due to, yes, the ignorance of those running the RCIC.
Why are they ignorant? In the case of the RCIC chieftains, there are a lot of different situations. Many are paid too well to want to do anything to risk the status quo. Others dismiss outside contrary opinions—they think: “what can those people know since they are not highly paid experts who have directed things for years?” Still others refuse to learn anything new. Why should they? They are smart and self confident and have loads of experience. Mostly that experience is presiding over years of failure to elect enough people who will enact better policies.
As crazy as it is, they are convinced that doing more of the same will absolutely produce a different result. Merriam Webster defines “ignorant” this way: “lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified.”
Again, that’s pretty harsh, but this discussion is not a deep dive into what E=MC2 means. We are talking about the mechanics of reaching of enough people (words to eyes, sound to ears), appropriately messaging to them, and actually accomplishing the work that is needed to win elections.
The old saying that personnel is policy applies in politics too. Right now we’ve got the wrong personnel setting policy.
However, there are people who understand all of the above. Last month, Trump campaign fundraiser Caroline Wren was interviewed by Steve Bannon in his War Room podcast. I admit to laughing out loud a few times as she said things that I’ve been saying for decades. She certainly does know the donors and she says they are angry. My view is that they should have gotten angry a long time ago.
“It’s an interesting time for the donors,” Wren said, and lately she has been telling them to “stop giving money, close your wallet.” “You would never run a business like this. We spent a billion dollars in 2020 and what was [the donors’] ROI (return on investment)?” “If you’re a donor,” she asked, “what did you get for that?” Democrats in D.C. hold the White House, Senate and House.
“The strategic funding on the Republican side is a disaster,” she said. “Republicans do the exact same thing every two years.” “We set money on fire [by giving] $60 million dollars to Karl Rove to run a super PAC to torch two senate races in Georgia.”
Wren said donors meet with political consultants “who have no clue” what the plan of action should be, and those donors want to be presented with one. They should meet with me.
When raising money for the 2020 Trump campaign she was telling donors that the GOP would be ready for things like election day legal battles. When Wren and a few of her colleagues went to help after November 2020 election day, they found no evidence of organization on the Republican side in Nevada. It was the same in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia and Wisconsin. “It was a total disaster,” she said.
“Republicans have to really re-look at the way we fund politics,” said Caroline Wren —and to that I say AMEN.
The Ground War ongoing series of articles can be found here.