"One more such victory and we are undone..." -- Pyrrhus of Epirus
Author's note: Originally, I thought I would have needed to write three essays to figure this out. Turns out, I didn't. This is gonna be it.
We've now had two weeks to digest the results of the 2022 mid-term elections.
'Digest' might be a fitting word, since whatever has been said on the subject by various pundits and other assorted idiots in media is something very akin to feces.
Ultimately, the promised and much-hoped-for Red Wave failed to materialize, primarily, for a very good reason.
The GOP failed to stand for something other than 'the Other Guy Sucks Harder'.
There is no amount of flag-waving, appeal to patriotism, bemoaning trespasses -- real or imagined -- of the past perpetrated against you, no well of pent-up frustration deep enough, to overcome this basic flaw in republican 'strategy', if one can even call it such.
Eventually, you have to tell people what you're FOR, and that list of pros had better be something concrete and substantial when the races eventually devolve into a battle over emotions and personalities.
Because, sez me, that's what these races very quickly, and disturbingly, became. The GOP, collectively, fell into a trap, and did so willingly, earnestly, determinedly, and with their eyes wide open. They zombie walked into an ambush whose main weapons were an appeal to raw emotion, and when it comes to a battle over which side can generate the stronger emotions, the republicans arrived at this battle of unbridled feelz completely unarmed.
For the Left are the masters of emotional manipulation, being at it's base a series of ideologies grounded in hatred, grievance, envy, greed, jealousy, empathy (real and imagined) and despair. You started, for all intents and purposes, with a deficit in the 'poor me' department that's felt by every American, given the experiences of the last three years, and knew neither how to generate the necessary affinity with these folks, or alternately, how to overcome the obstacle of presenting yourselves as deeply caring, invested and empathetic to the plight of Joe Average.
I heard none of that this past cycle; oh, sure, there was a bunch of nonsense about 'the American Family' and the 'American Citizen' and the assaults upon Civil Liberties, the economy, the public schoolchildren, the traditional values that are no longer traditional, but there was no effective program to counter these 'attacks' that was ever presented.
It was if you had Usain Bolt running a 100-meter dash where everyone else in the field was given a 90-meter head start.
In fact, one could say the Right did have emotional weapons of it's own. These were personified by two people named Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.
And therein lies part of the problem. Both are about as useful and effective as a Russian anti-aircraft missile.
Both served as a handicap, not aid, to the campaigning process.
There are those who are on the 'Ditch Mitch' bandwagon who thoroughly hate the man, and this is juxtaposed with the mass of idiots who buy Trumpy Bears and MAGA hats by the dozen and who wait in the rain for hours to enter some arena in a provincial outpost to hear the same speech over, and over, and over again...and who pay for the privilege, as well. We'll call them the 'Trump Crushers', for their puppy love is very similar to that of the 15 year old who has discovered Nirvana because his first girlfriend showed him her tits.
Then again, there was the 'Dump Trump' contingent, as well, people who mainly concern themselves with a self-constructed illusion of there having once been a sense of righteousness and propriety in American politics that is entirely a by-product of the Norman Rockwell/Beaver Cleaver visions of an Ur America that is about as useful, fashionable, and relevant today as a hoopskirt or saddle shoes.
This internecine battle -- ostensibly for 'the soul of the party' -- undoubtedly contributed some to the failure of the Red Tsunami. We can argue just how much it did so, but in the end, we'd only be arguing about assigning a percentage of blame, and frankly it is my opinion that this is a small percentage.
The real problem is that it is not enough to be 'against' something; you have to be 'for' something.
And whatever you're 'for' had better be something that has an immediate and relevant effect on an electorate laser-focused on Right Now.
So, you'd like to limit the scope and power of government? Great.
I'm having trouble paying my bills. What do you have for that?
So, you'd like to close the border and revamp the immigration system? Fantastic.
My kids have been mentally poisoned by COVID lockdowns and ideologically-polluted public schools. What is your solution?
So, you want to wave the flag and remind us of our former glory? Excellent.
Does that fill up my gas tank this week?
So, you'd like to restrict abortion access by one friggin' week, restructure Social Security and rebuild the military that just gave half it's weapons to Ukraine?
I might not eat Thanksgiving dinner this week, and these are your priorities?
And what gets left unsaid in this imaginary dialogue between politician and electorate is the sense of 'why haven't you been doing any of this before'?
And Joe Voter knows precisely why none of it has been done before, but won't take the blame for it. You put the louts, the blowhards, the ineffective, the mentally-deranged, the stupendously-self-absorbed, the lazy into office. In fact, you sent them back to office 85% of the time, normally, and then you expect that this same group of maladjusted doofuses, who you alternately accuse of being criminals and unfeeling, to suddenly come up with a program to save you from yourselves?
No wonder you constantly look for Messiahs.
No wonder you so easily find them, too.
Even when there is no Salvation in them.
And here I have to start taking shots at Donald J. Trump, because he bears a great deal of personal responsibility here for this loss.
Regular readers already know my feelings on Trump. If you've read this blog for any length of time -- say the last 6 years -- you understand my position. Trump, no matter how miraculous his victory was in 2016, was doomed from the start, handicapped by two deep faults, one personal and the other experiential.
The personal fault is easy to describe, as it is self-evident. Trump is, on the whole, everything people say they despise in a politician. He's loud, obnoxious, arrogant, and ultimately, everything is about HIM. His name might as well be 'Hillary' for all the attractiveness he possesses as a leader, because in the last three-plus years, he sounds exactly like the Hildebeest -- 'I was robbed!'. 'I'm the victim of a conspiracy!', 'the media hates me!'.
It was unattractive in her; it comes across as entirely conceited with Trump. And while he may (does) have legitimate and justifiable complaints to make, the contrast between the confident salesman, the pro-America juggernaut and the whiny fucking crybaby, make him even less-attractive.
The experiential fault was also easy to describe: having never run a government before, Trump never understood just what a government is, that is to say, a collection of professional bureaucrats who labor largely anonymously and well-compensated for seeing precisely to their own interests, either personal, those of their unions, or those of their distinct social class, and the politicians, judges and citizens are merely the background noise with which they have to contend in their quest to 'earn' a very good living largely doing things no one needs done.
With the words 'Drain the Swamp' Trump signed his own death warrant.
I supported him only because the brain-dead voters of this country left me with alternatives that were -- and have proven to be -- far worse.
The results are less than stellar.
And while I have had arguments now, for months, with friends and colleagues over the 'Trump Effect' on American politics, I will say this: the good feelings, the aura of prosperity, the idea of having someone who 'fights back' were all temporary. Fleeting. As if they were smoke dispelled by a stiff breeze.
None of it was ever enshrined in acts of Congress. None of it wasn't 100% fully-reversible by a senile old coot in adult diapers armed with -- as his former boss so ably put it -- 'a pen and a phone'.
Trump's elevation, did, however, unleash one form of Wave or Tsunami, and that was the explosion of fucktard that occurred all over America as entitled Leftists took to the streets -- because they didn't have jobs in that sterling Trump Economy, I reckon? -- to burn, loot, pillage, and kill.
And the Right had no antidote to that, either.
Except to call for 'decorum', maybe?
While this is not, strictly speaking, Trump's personal responsibility, it tells you all you've ever needed to know about the Left, just in case you never knew this beforehand -- beneath every pussy hat, just behind every 'No Blood for Oil' sign, inside every tie-dyed t-shirt, within every cloud of pot smoke on a city street, lies a cold-blooded parasite that will do anything to suck your blood.
And no return to an imagined civility, no 'fighting back' against a media largely comprised of morons and illiterates, no amount of 'Mean Tweets', no allusions to pussy-grabbing, no third-rate Nuremburg-type rally in Chillicothe, Peoria, Lansing, Valdosta, or Dothan can, nor will simply 'flipping' seats in the House or Senate, overcome that, change many minds, nor reason with any of it.
This violent mob lives by extraction, distributed by the bureaucracy and the professional bureaucrats, as directed by the politicians buying support with other people's money.
And what did it bring us? Riots. COVID lockdowns. Economic upheaval. Hyper-inflation. Vaccines that don't work and which are deadlier than the disease they're supposed to treat, a program that was seemingly built of cardboard and tissue paper -- like everything else Donald Trump builds and then plasters his name on.
(Say what you will about Biden, but the bank vault was opened by 'Operation Warp Speed' and to COVID response. Biden simply picked up where Trump left off and then hit the accelerator).
The Trump phenomenon is over. The holdouts are either deluding themselves or are clinging to the wreckage of the shipwreck for lack of a better alternative. It may not have been fair, nor right, nor even just, but it has happened.
If you needed proof of this dictum, allow me to throw a commonly-made, pro-Trump argument back in your face:
"But 217 of 221 Trump-endorsed candidates won their races!", they tell me.
"Excellent", I will reply, "so where are the 204 new Republicans headed to Washington in January?"
Primaries don't count, you see, and if you believe that tripe then you're mathematically-challenged.
As if to put an exclamation point on the entire thing, Trump -- for reasons I can easily explain as other than sheer conceit -- shits on successful republicans, like Glenn Youngkin or Ron DeSantis.
He's poisoning the well ahead of the 2024 Presidential Primary, for his own benefit, by throwing shade on two successful -- and popular -- governors.
Still think this is about 'America First' or 'Make America Great Again'?
This has become a Cult of Personality. One man's vendetta against people he bought-and-paid-for as a businessman who refused to stay bought-and-paid-for as soon as he won an election against one of the worst candidates the left could have vomited up at the time.
Four years later, the Left essentially said 'Hold muh Beer!' and simultaneously vomited, defecated and expectorated Joe Biden, and organized a widespread cheating operation to ensure his 'victory', to the point where we can't even begin to trust the results of any election (yes, I know: the left are the original election deniers), and we can't discuss our alternate viewpoints without violence, accusations, and retaliation.
THAT is what Trump brought us.
So long as that presence casts a shadow over the GOP, it will find itself further encumbered in its quest to reinvigorate and reinvent itself. So long as the average GOP voter seeks Messianic salvation (proclaimed as such by the Coulters, Hannitys and Levins of this world) from a long line of charlatans instead of getting off his fat fucking ass and getting PERSONALLY involved in the process, he will continue to be disappointed in the results.
Spend less time in church, at NASCAR races or in front of the TV watching Buttlicker State take on Pigfucker U, and get involved. Otherwise, shut the fuck up about the results, because you deserved them.
What the Trump Slobberers and Never Trumpers never understood is just who -- or, rather, what -- Donald Trump is. A professional salesman. A pitchman. If he weren't pitching real estate he'd only be on television pushing ShamWows and Slap Choppers and Snuggies.
For the pro-Trumper, he is representative: he expresses their inner angst and shits liberally all over their class enemies. That's why they love him.
For the anti-Trumper, they have realized that Donald Trump is the predictable outcome of their failures. He isn't the cause of their issues; he's the culmination of years of abject failure, apathy and neglect. That's why they hate him.
This divide in the Right is not so easy to fix -- it simply bred more Trump clones -- and thus, no Red Wave. He turned off the Left (no surprises) and he turned off enough of the Right so that his wanna-bes suffered the pangs of defeat.
The 'Never' side just got a bit of satisfaction, though, as Trump shot himself in the ass with his gratuitous attacks upon DeSantis and Youngkin and the cavalcade of losers he picked. The 'Pro' side will just dig in deeper because having lost trust in the traditional GOP, they'll follow anyone else making the right noises off the fucking cliff without a thought.
The blame doesn't fall squarely upon Trump, but neither does he avoid legitimate criticism. The Professional Right is dysfunctional, divided between a patrician class of non-boat-rockers and a slew of firebrands who offer little more than being largely photogenic, flogging merch and minor, YouTube celebrity (I'm looking at you, Crenhshaw, Lake, Boebert, Taylor-Greene) and none of them could come up with a good idea, nor muster the courage to ever push for one, if you promised them an untrammeled Paradise in the afterlife with 72 virgins.
And unlike the just-alluded-to jihadis, this bunch has no willingness to commit suicide in the pursuit of an otherwise attractive ideal.
Some Side Notes:
1. Can we stop with the "X lost because Mitch McConnell didn't give them any money" bullshit?
Money does not always win elections, and often isn't even a factor. If we take into consideration that Trump ran a campaign where he spent far less than Hillary and won, this proves my point. If we take into consideration that the left spent millions on Stacey Abrams, Beto O'Rourke and Charlie Crist -- and they all lost -- I stand further vindicated.
When you run unattractive candidates with no message, you lose.
And in places where you get outraised and outspent by double-digits-to-one, a few extra mil from Cocaine Mitch probably didn't mean anything.
2. The 'Endorsed by Trump' psychosis. Trump endorsed 25 Senate candidates and 170 House candidates that stood for election (not counting those he endorsed in primaries who lost). Again, do you see a parade of Trump acolytes headed to Washington, DC?
Then why pretend that if it has been approved by Trump, it's somehow the gold standard?
Take your heads out of your asses.
Do we see a Republican Governor in Arizona? Do we see one in Michigan? New York, even? Because all those candidates were endorsed by Trump. I'm not making the case that because Trump backed them they lost; I'm making the case that Trump's influence is either waning, has been woefully misdirected, or is based on little more than pious hopes that resulted in lackluster candidates who gave good soundbite, but otherwise couldn't deliver.
The Quality was also lacking. I mean, Doctor Oz, for fuck's sake? He couldn't beat a fucking stroke victim? Don Bolduc? His only qualification was fealty to Trump, otherwise he's a three-time loser for public office, running in a state where mediocre and plain vanilla seems to be good enough to win.
Tudor Dixon lost to Gretchen (Half-)Whitmer, a governor so bad the FBI had to fake a kidnapping plot just to garner sympathy for her?
I could go on, but why bother?
3. It turns out that lobbying for more restrictions on abortion and promising to tinker with Social Security a week before the elections was a bad thing. Rick Scott and Lindsay Graham should be flayed alive for this sort of jackass thinking. One might even think they have been Left-wing moles this whole time.
It was especially stupid to bring these subjects up when a) the left made a fiction about the abolition of abortion rights a rallying cry, and b) we live in a day and age where a great many people are almost one or two paychecks away from the poorhouse, and the elderly in this country are in a precarious state of existence between COVID and Inflation.
Turns out people wanted some promise of security for their pet peeve, not talk of 'reform'.
4. Where successful, Republicans were accused -- rightfully -- of having done something, and furthermore, of having done something that citizens felt was important to them right now, and even more incredibly, were successful at doing it.
Hence, DeSantis' success, hence Youngkin's popularity.
Shutting down CRT and rogue schoolboards takes precedence over the argument whether an abortion takes place at 15 weeks instead of 16?
Who woulda fucking figured?
Taking on a corporate media giant that was using its influence to push an unpopular, politically-motivated agenda of alternate values that doesn't fit with the consumer's needs, expectations, tastes or desires, and beating them into submission rather than just folding to their threats to withhold campaign funds or actively campaign against you could be construed as a sign of bravery and civic virtue?
Who woulda thunk it?
Guiding the recovery from a natural disaster with efficiency and alacrity, without waiting for federal authorities to show up or whining about lack of support from Washington and not taking to Twitter to punch down at assclowns was a sign of effectiveness and ability to pay attention to the needs of your voters?
Why, it's a total mystery why anyone would want to follow that sort of guy, ain't it?
In conclusion, here's your explanation for the Red Puddle:
1. Trump's Ego, Mouth and Poor selections.
2. The GOP's genetic curse of stupidity.
3. The Electorate had other ideas, and the Right didn't present any that were more-appealing.
4. 'Fucktard in the White House promising things he can't possibly deliver, threatening World War III' somehow still beats 'I have absolutely nothing to offer you of immediate or apparent value' every day of the week.
It's long been past time to right the ship. The fact the GOP couldn't even change it's ways with it's own leadership elections proves these guys are on par with the Keystone Kops and Three Stooges.
There is no Third Party Option, as previous attempts have all failed for much the same reasons -- it's the bigger idiots who jump on bandwagons who largely give them the appearance of substance (see: Reform Party, Libertarian party, Tea Party) aided and abetted by a liberal media more-than-happy to stoke the 'divided right' story, and knowing that what these people want, more than anything is attention, and deliriously quick to give it to them.
So don't even think of going there.
This is on the GOP voter. The System is not going to fix itself; the crew of the Titanic is not going to bail very well with thimbles; selecting those who talk a good game but then fail to deliver isn't working, either. The Revolution on the Right needs to be people-oriented, not personality-driven, and if anyone makes a case that the division on the right is issue-oriented, I'll fucking laugh at you.
The differences on the Right are distinctions of Social Class, not of ideology.
Once you get that you'll understand why there was no Red Wave.