Obama Wins, America Loses

So, Obama has been reelected.  It is going to be a tough few years.  Here is what to expect:

  • Slow economic growth
  • Sustained high unemployment
  • Reduced opportunities for the lower middle class
  • Reduced opportunities for the poor
  • Upper middle-class people who are go-getters will be okay but upper middle class people used to the idea of just being a “good employee” will have a rough go of it
  • The already wealthy and well-connected will prosper under cronyism
  • Higher taxes on everyone, including the middle class

What happens next?

We need to neutralize the legacy media.  Their shameless advocacy for Obama and against Romney really hurt.  Relying on talk radio and the many great conservative websites is not going to be enough to neutralize the media.  We need need our ideas represented and treated evenly on the pages of print media and TV.  It does not matter how top-notch the conservative alternative media is if the people who need to see it don’t.  That is going to be a long-term project and at this point I don’t know how to make it happen.

We need to reestablish a presence in pop culture.  Many of us, myself included, have generally ignored pop culture.  This is probably a mistake.  Someone, I don’t recall who, once said “politics is what we do; culture is the air we breathe.”  The constant barrage of anti-conservative/anti-Republican messages received by low-information voters has really taken its toll.  The fact-free nature of the messages makes it galling but no less dangerous.

Traditional conservatives and libertarians need to focus on common ground: individual liberty and free markets.  We need to deemphasize social issues.    Like it or not, women (particularly single women) fell for the “war on women” nonsense.  They basically freaked out because Obama convinced them that Romney was going to take away their birth control.  This was nonsense of course but the legacy media actively abetted the lie.

We need to make a strong moral (rather than strictly data-driven) case for free enterprise.  See the outstanding work of Arthur Brooks for example.  We understand the economic data and why free markets make everyone better off.  But many people don’t think that way.  They need to feel, not look at data.  They need to feel intuitively that free markets give them a better life.

We need to convince minority groups (who from what I have seen voted in the 75% to 93% range for Obama this time) that progressivism is bad for them.  That’s going to be a very complex operation, I’m afraid.  A one-size-fits-all approach probably won’t work.  We will need to tailor our message differently for different ethnic and immigrant groups.  But most importantly, it needs to be more than “outreach.”  It has to be permanent and sustained, we need to become part of each other’s political consciousness.

In short, we have a lot of work to do.

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