This is a guest post by Admiral Boom.
The critically important thing that people analyzing the 2012 election outcome have overlooked is that in a given election, when people take their ballot into the voting booth, on a fundamental level they decide where to cast their lot based on who they perceive to be best aligned with their self-interest. Demographics are not the magical formula for determining how people vote, but rather a reflection of what those various groups that show up to vote perceive to be their self-interests.
Conservatives have been operating under a basic assumption that a message of limited government, lower taxes, less regulations, and strong national defense would be appealing to those that are builders, visionaries, and patriots aligned with what used to be known as the “American Dream.” They also assume that among the population is a basic understanding: the preservation of the constitutional freedoms the American people, writ large, now fecklessly assume are “just there,” is essential to keeping the golden goose thriving. But there’s a major problem with articulating the message in terms of abstract ideals… especially in a wishy-washy, inoffensive to independents kind of way.
We’re now at a point in time where a majority of people that go to the polls in presidential elections no longer align any of those things with their self-interest; the new majority of actual voters see things in pure terms of what government can do for them. Today it’s free birth control (thatwe are forced to subsidize through higher health insurance premiums). Tomorrow it might as well be free dildos and vibrators. Next week: gubmint cat litter.
For us, especially red pill men, self-interest is aligned with independence; whether it be starting a business, getting ripped, or pursuing a life of enjoyment, breaking free from the old blue pill burdens. For them, it’s aligned with dependence. Not having to worry about where the cheese comes from.
How else to explain two thirds of the country telling pollsters that the country is on the wrong track, and yet a substantial percentage voted to preserve the EXACT status quo? (Lest we forget, there were also Congressmen and Senators on the ballot and we have pretty much the same government we came into this with. The political class would have been better off loaning the $6 billion spent all-in on this cycle to Bernie Madoff. At least he’d tell them pretty lies about how they were earning a decent return on the money he was siphoning off.)
The answer to this question is simple. Half of those 66% see the wrong track being more government largesse, the other half seeing the wrong track as being not enough. The other half won last week because not enough of us, and what should be our coalition (more on that later), came out to vote.
I don’t think any “perfect” conservative candidate can dislodge those perceived self-interests back into the independence column, at least operating under the current understanding of how “conservative principles” are framed.
Read Next: Why I’m Not Voting Anymore