Democrats deliberately bolster far-right Republicans. This will backfire | Hamilton Nolan

AAn alarming number of people employed as professional political strategists by the Democratic Party don’t seem to understand what “politics” really means. If this sounds too cute to be true, think about it another way: If all of the professional political strategists employed by the Democratic Party do understand what “politics” really means, they are negligent and willing to do harmful things for short-term gain. Either way, it’s not good.

The most glaring manifestation of this in the current election cycle is the fact that Democrats across the country have spent millions of dollars boosting the candidacies of right-wing Maga candidates in the Republican primaries, on the theory that these extremists would be easier to win in the general election.

The Washington Post found that Democrats spent nearly $20 million in eight states on ads aimed at raising the profile of far-right candidates and Holocaust deniers for governors and Congress. A number of those candidates, like maniacal Christian fanatics Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Darren Bailey in Illinois, actually won their primaries, setting up, in theory, easier races for Democrats in those states to win, because , in theory, swing voters would rather not vote for lunatics.

A common objection to this strategy is, “What if one of these fools wins?” And you helped him? Wouldn’t you feel stupid? ” Sure. But this objection, however reasonable, accepts the underlying premise that the good or the bad of spending millions of dollars to build support for dangerous religious fascists within one of America’s two major political parties is boils down to whether these dangerous religious fascists are winning or not. the 2022 election. The Democratic strategists who designed this will say, “They won’t win, so the strategy was good.” And this is where their blind view of the nature of politics begins to show its true futility.

Because – god, it’s hard to believe – politics is more than the next election. Yes! Time flies endlessly into the future! And the things we do today help shape the things that will happen next in an endless and largely unpredictable chain of cause and effect! It’s crazy, I know. It is now accepted as conventional wisdom, for example, that it may not have been strategically wise for the United States to arm Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan fighting the USSR in the 1980s, because later, some of these same people with these same weapons were fighting the US.

But that same kind of basic intuition hasn’t permeated the Democratic consulting world. If you help make the Maga candidates stronger today, there is a possibility that it will have negative social and political consequences even if they do not win the November 2022 elections. The reality, which is real, is unfolding more slowly and longer than a political campaign, which is an artificial construct with an arbitrary timeline. Uh.

Imagine for a moment the possibility that the goal of “politics” is not just to win the next election, but rather to reshape the world’s deepest power arrangements in a more just way. In this conception of politics, the important thing is not just to bring in a handful of senior officials in order to obtain a 51% majority in Congress, but rather to change the opinions of hundreds of millions of people in a way that will bring public servants with them.

Electoral politics follows social change, not the other way around. And “changing society,” rather than “targeting a narrow slice of swing voters,” requires deep, ongoing organizing — the kind of organizing that creates movements, not campaigns.

When you take a moment to step back and see history for the endless stream of struggle that it is, it’s not hard to see why it’s foolish to devote resources to making the Maga Republicans more visible and viable within their own party. You promote a dreadful ideology in hopes of winning votes – but in the long run, politics is a battle of ideology. Votes follow ideology.

Consultants are fighting on the wrong battlefield, and no matter how many polls they have, they aren’t smart enough to predict the chaotic long-term effects of fueling a movement that’s the opposite of the movement that we should be trying to build.

Part of being wise is understanding your limits. Neither you, nor I, nor the Democratic National Committee can confidently predict the future. What we can do is fight for justice today. We can do the hard work of organizing today and tomorrow. We can try to push society in the right direction. By changing society itself, we can make the ground more fertile for political candidates to do the right thing.

The historical figures who have done the most to promote justice have not done so through underhanded manipulation of voter data. They did it by fighting for things that were right. Spending money trying to trick hapless Republican voters into supporting the most bumbling fascist is not only stupid; it is against justice. Fooling people is not part of the organization.

These sophisticated Democratic strategists are pouring poison into the well that we must all, sooner or later, have to drink from.

About Therese Williams

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