Stopping Stop the Steal

Sometimes, shouting the truth doesn't actually work.

As the forensics and blame-placing over last week's election disaster continue to rage across the Right, one fact was proved beyond debate: as an electoral platform, "Stop the Steal" simply does not work.

Of the new candidates for whom relitigating the irregularities of 2020 was a major component of their public persona, nearly none of them achieved office.  Of similar incumbents, many who seemed or should have been safe turned out not to be.

The inescapable conclusion is that the American people don't care about what happened in 2020, don't want to hear about it, and want the issue to go away.

Doctrinaire Apathy

Let us be perfectly clear: we are ourselves persuaded that the 2020 election was corrupt from top to bottom, in ways legal, borderline, and illegal, to such an extent that it is metaphysically impossible to ever know who "should have" won.  We could, and have at length, list our reasons for this belief.

What's the point in rehashing that?  You either believe similarly, or you do not.  At this remove, nobody is going to be persuaded from their already-developed position.

What about the vast majority of the American electorate who don't much care about politics and haven't formed a firm, fact-based opinion?  Ah, there's the crux: they never will.  If it was possible to rouse them from their lethargy on this particular point, that would already have occurred.

By continuing to beat what is, in the wider popular culture, at best an utterly dead horse if not sign of lunacy and treason, Republicans simply exclude themselves from any possibility of a hearing.  The Left has achieved total victory on this particular narrative.

This should come as no great surprise: they long ago achieved total control over all major organs of public influence.  Yes, it is still possible to find alternative news and reporting, but only if you seek it out specially to buttress and confirm your own beliefs; no normal apolitical person will ever hear anything contradicting standard leftism from any apparently authoritative source.

So, to that same normal person, a Republican candidate shouting that Joe Biden cheated Donald Trump has all the credibility of the bearded guy in a toga holding a "The End is Nigh" sign on a street corner.  At best you ignore him, if you're mean you splash him with your tires as you drive by, but you certainly don't give him a moment's hearing much less any power.

What if he turns out to be right?  Well, by then it will be too late.

Is this fair?  No.  Is this good for America?  Of course not!  But it is reality.

Public Fulmination or Private Revenge?

The question conservatives need to be asking themselves is: do we care enough to do what it takes to win, even if it requires making some apparently hard compromises?

Consider Florida's excellent governor Ron DeSantis.  Does he personally believe Donald Trump was cheated in 2020?  I haven't the foggiest idea, and really, neither do you; he certainly hasn't dwelt on the topic.  On the contrary, he's adroitly avoided all attempts at baiting him into a statement that can be effectively cast that way.

What he has done, is enact laws in his own state to prevent Florida itself from being stolen.  Guess what happened?  In Miami-Dade county, a major metropolitan area owned by the Left for decades, DeSantis won in a shift of 16 points from his last race. When was the last time any Republican elected official accomplished a swing of that magnitude in a city?  1950, maybe?

Was Gov. DeSantis a champion of "Stop the Steal"?  Not so's you'd notice... but, he has accomplished more than any other Republican, maybe more than all the rest of them combined, in actually Stopping the Steal in the corner where he is.  Every other elected Republican from governor on down should go and do likewise.

A moment's contemplation of human psychology should clear up any confusion: we all know the different ways of dealing with bullies.  One way, of course, is to go screaming to Mommy, as the Republicans did to the courts in 2020.  Does this work?  Well, sometimes, briefly, the bully gets a talking-to from Higher Powers... but the next time bully and victim find themselves alone behind the school, "Uncle" will be said as before.  In the meantime, the entire schoolyard knows who is a wimp and a loser.

There's a harder road: go lick your wounds in private, then spend some quality time with Charles Atlas, Master Lee, and maybe even Dad or Uncle.  Then, next time you meet the bully, things may end up rather different.  This way, not only has the bully received a taste of his own medicine, but the rest of the schoolyard sees a new power deserving of respect.

Which approach did the Don choose?  How about Gov. DeSantis?  Which approach worked better?

As we keep having occasion to remind ourselves of the profound words of no less an authority in evil than Osama bin Laden: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse."  Of course, a moral and religious people would see beyond appearances and judge righteous judgment, but if there's one thing this election proves beyond shadow of doubt, it's that we aren't that anymore.

Gov. DeSantis has managed to be not merely a good and righteous leader, but to prove his dominance over giants of the Left - as witness his historic defeat of Disney.  Indeed, the damage appears to be both significant and permanent: its stock price has been plummeting, and mass layoffs are planned.  Nobody in the media wants to credit DeSantis with that, of course - but Disney, Florida pols, and apparently a fair number of voters know perfectly well who won and by how much.

The Boundary of Lies

For lo these many years, our side has complained that Democrats lie when they campaign, and voters always fall for the lies.  Of course they do - it works!

Far be it from me to suggest that our side start lying, but it's time to start leading with policies that answer the only thing the modern, shallow, dissolute, amoral and irreligious voter gives the slightest hoot about, "What's in it for me?"  There is plenty to offer from the conservative angle, from "keep more of your money" to "don't teach your kids to hate you and everything you believe, but, not how to read."  With rare but highly successful exceptions, conservatives tend not to even bother making those arguments, much less do so effectively.

Learn how, like Gov. DeSantis!  Then, once elected, deliver on your promises... and also, on all the other issues that the base, but not the average voter, care about.

Otherwise, we won't have a chance to do anything but blow hot air, and not even that for much longer.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

A well-thought-out article that, unfortunately, too few of us will read.

November 16, 2022 4:43 PM

Great article. Glad to see the recent articles as well as comments, thanks.

I agree with the author.. The methodology DeSantis employed - confronting and punishing Disney, as well as ensuring Florida election law is robust and that elections are transparent, is why he won and why people want to live there. He talks the talk and walks the walk.something the DC repubs don't do.

November 16, 2022 11:45 PM

Good perspective. Current thinking and apathy of the public occurred gradually and insidiously planned. The reversal, if it comes, will also be slow and bumpy but only if it is principled.

November 17, 2022 2:00 PM

Would be great if this article could get publish in a major newspaper.

November 18, 2022 12:29 PM
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