It isn’t the moral prerogative to lead by virtue of having the superior arguments, policies or ideology. It isn’t a push to institute more free market reforms, lower taxes or smaller government. Unfortunately, it isn’t even about increasing the amount of liberty Americans should enjoy. It isn’t about making America great again.
Distilled to its essence, a more accurate slogan would be: “It’s Payback Time, Bitches!”
While such feelings may be satisfying, the fact remains that they are just that – feelings. These feelings are emotions and while emotions are motivating, they are not a valid basis for any form of rational debate.
For what seems innumerable election cycles, the most common complaint from the political right is that arguing or debating with liberals (progressives) is futile because they argue based on emotional grounds with no respect or care for logic and reason. This is absolutely true, where there are only one set of true facts regarding any particular issue in America, there are 320 million opinions about that same issue.
There is no argument that feelings can win elections – Barack Obama won two presidential elections based on little more than waves of emotion based on the fallacy that white Americans opposed a black president due to institutional racism, “feel good” platitudes about punishing the evil rich and empty promises to give more free stuff to the Free Shit Army in America – essentially, this was the political left’s version of payback.
It is possible that the American political landscape has devolved into two small, equally partisan camps with a third huge (or yuge, if you prefer that vernacular) populist middle. These good folk are the voters formerly known as Prince – just kidding, they have been called “moderates”. The question remains if these people are truly moderates or that the new majority in America is consists of people of ambiguous morality, ideological androgyny and principles constructed of a largely superficial understanding of America’s history or founding intent and whose motivations are to have someone else take care of hard problems and to have certain things given to them. If this assessment is even a little bit correct, American is well and truly screwed.
The old saying is that if you don’t stand for something, you can be fooled by anything. This current wave of contemporary populism seems to be more of an exercise in the old elementary school argument of “are too, am not” than anything truly substantive. Democrats in 2008 wanted payback from the Bush years and in 2012, they wanted to punish the Tea Party folks for opposing Obamacare. Now it seems to be the GOP’s turn.
Winning is one thing, winning the right way is another. The feeling of helplessness that permeates the GOP base is understandable based on the disdain coming from the GOPe (GOP establishment) but using the populist middle as a ping pong ball in a game of emotionally based retributive politics is a game neither side will win.