If there is one thing that no one can take away from the right-wing, it is that they are organized and led from the shadows by a group of very intelligent people. The GOP is good at politics, even if their policies are not good for the country. With that said, I present to you the unofficial “Ten Step Plan to Power: Ruining the Country AND Getting Re-Elected”:
Step 1: Support Among the Rich and Powerful
Step 2: A Propaganda War
It must be asked, what the purpose of the right-wing making friends with the rich is if they don’t expect something in return? Obviously, the right-wing needs money to finance their politics; and they need more of it than the Democrats because, simply, their message is less popular. Therefore, the right-wing uses war tactics to win such as, propaganda.
Over the past few decades, the GOP has slowly been transforming from the party of somewhat noble values to a party controlled by far-right activists, the “Tea Party.” The important aspect of this is that the party’s voting base hasn’t changed; it’s the same as before. So how are they kept voting on party lines for a party they should, by all measures, no longer support? The answer, and always will be for situations like this, is propaganda. The Right bounces from enemy to enemy but the pattern is clear, to maintain your electorate you must: demonize the enemy to the point where even your ideas are more acceptable than “the other side’s.”
Take the Tea party’s relentless attacks on President Barack Obama. Posters of him bearing “Hitler’s Mustache” and the swastika on an arm band, or where he’s given the likeness of Stalin, are everywhere. Very few men can claim the title of “More Evil Than Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin”. You can’t simply out-murder them; their policies led to the deaths of millions, even when they were not intentionally killed. The message clearly is that Obama is evil, and he must be stopped! The demonizing of Health Care Reform as “socialism” is another example of these unfair attacks.
Another strategy in the right-wing propaganda war is, word association. To many people, the term “liberal” is now something of a curse; the unfair, absurd use of the word is an effective tactic. Socialism too, is a good thing that has been destroyed by association with “death panels” and Stalin. Tax reform, according to them, is class warfare: destroying our country because it is putting an unfair burden on our “job-creators.” Enough people actually believe these things that it is difficult to use the terms, while the exact tactic the Left is accused of is used by the Right. Class warfare is alive and well in the tactics of the Right, but it is associated with the Left.
This is where the rich have always been essential to the GOP. It is difficult to organize a rally no one should support or to put campaign ads on TV, without a significant chunk of money. Take the Koches, for example, it has been estimated that they have donated upwards of $85 million to right-wing think tanks and Political Action Committees, all to advance their allies’ radical, pro-business agenda.
Step 3: Elected for Jobs
The Republican Party has a carefully crafted image. In many ways, it resembles the kid in High School that knows he’s different but just wants to fit in and be accepted. The difference is that the GOP is willing to do what it must to get into power and then its true colors will show. George Bush did this, Govs. Rick Snyder (Michigan) and Scott Walker (Wisconsin) both did this, and the freshmen Tea Party officials elected to Congress have done this.
Everyone remembers the pledge of the GOP in 2010: Jobs, with a capital J. The Republicans campaigned, saying that their focus would be creating jobs for the struggling economy. Hell, I don’t remember an election cycle with so unified a message. Of course, this fits right in with the general tactics of radical conservatives, everywhere. Confirming Godwin’s law a second time in only 800 words, this tactic is the same that was used by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. This is, undoubtedly, a good tactic; so its success here is hardly a surprise.
Step 4: Shock Doctrine and Social Policy
There is no longer a doubt about where the GOP stands on politics. Social issues take precedent over actually helping the economy, end of story. “We have a deficit? Good! We can use this to end Planned Parenthood, PBS, and NPR!” This tactic is called Shock Doctrine, and has been used for centuries by dictators to seize more power. The theory is simple: when a catastrophe or something of the sort occurs, then the people are willing to be subjected to a more powerful government to help them. We’re seeing this all over the country: Michigan has the, now-infamous, Emergency Financial Manager law, Wisconsin was bullying public unions, and the Bush Administration’s Patriot Act and massive grab for power over the Executive Branch.
We have seen the use of the crisis to grab national attention. Michelle Bachmann is using both a social platform (God called me to run….and to stop gays from getting married) and an economic platform (no new taxes! Cut! Cut! Cut) to run for President, an office she is much, much too dangerous to hold. However, a combination of good propaganda and an energized base has given Bachmann, as well as new front-runner Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, large amounts of support.
Very few people in this country support any type of government other than a Republic, or, as it is so often called by the Right, our “democracy.” According to an A.P. U.S. Government book sitting on my bed, 93% of Americans consider democracy to be the best type of government. With such a high number of people honestly believing in democratic principles it must be asked; how are the people letting their rights be infringed? Some laws have thin veils of being “for the greater good” (Michigan and Wisconsin). While some snubbing of our system is done without any reason at all: confiscating cameras at town hall meetings, congressmen refusing to meet with constituents with whom their views differed.
Step 5: The Domino Effect
Step 5 is as far as the GOP has gotten and as far as I expect them to make it. From this point on, steps 6-10 will be pure speculation, albeit speculation with significant historical precedent. Stay tuned for Part II soon.
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