With the specter of out of control Covid-19 increasing fear and economic ruin, and with the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) gaining national prominence—in addition to protests and violence in our streets, America is certainly living in interesting times.
For many on the Left, there is a feeling that the upheaval has been a long time coming; racial and economic disparity, along with police brutality against people of color, could no longer be tolerated. Something had to give. And it has.
Statues of Americans that were once held in saintly esteem have been pulled down or otherwise vandalized. Young people have taken to the streets in raucous protest while the idea of a socialist America, once rejected out of hand, has gained support and legitimacy.
The aforementioned, along with Trump’s approval rating hovering below 40% has created a political mine field for conservatives. All this with Biden pulling a two-digit lead in the poles.
But here is the worst nightmare that Republicans and conservatives will have to face and deal with: Even if Trump can pull off another miraculous election day win, CNN, MSNBC, Antifa, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, et al, are not going away anytime soon. In fact, a Trump victory could energize and enrage his adversaries and further consolidate the Left.
Years ago there were indeed differences between conservatives and liberals, between Democrats and Republicans—but there was always a layer of common ground. Both sides listened to each other and exchanged ideas.
Those days are long over.
We live in an era of talking past each other, rather than talking to each other. This presents a scenario that has not only further divided the two parties, but Americans as well. There are stories of people being forbidden to see their grand children because they voted for the wrong candidate. The so-called “generation gap” of the 60’s is nothing compared to the chasm that has opened since the 2016 election.
For conservatives, all of this is a frontal assault on the things that they feel they stand for. Small government and home and hearth are getting overcome by a hard Left ideology, and the conservative voice seemingly is getting fainter and fainter.
One of the most prominent incubation factories of the revitalized Left ideology is the college campus. It would be easier to find a gold mine under your house than a passionate conservative professor who is taken seriously—if he could be employed at all—on one of our university faculties.
Conservatives have struggled with this reality for quite a while, as well as the growing tide of socialist thinking among undergraduate college students. Sure, there may be a conservative group on campus, but their voices are drowned out by the tsunami of the new social thinking.
Conservatives have always prided themselves in, not just support for the traditional family, but a firm belief in God. In particular, the God of the Bible. But yet again, they are being confronted by the “New Atheism” that seems to go hand in hand with the current Marxist revival. This atheism is a bit different than that which was encountered by them years ago: the old atheism was seen as out of the norm and odd ball, while the New Atheism has manifested itself as an almost an ersatz religion unto itself, with many people proudly listing it as their belief—or lack thereof—on their Facebook page and other social media. This would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
Tie all this in with legalized gay marriage and the acceptance of transgenderism, and one has a very potent social steamroller going.
What is a conservative to do?
As the old 1960’s cartoon character, Pogo, once famously said: “We have met the enemy, and he is US!”
Conservatives and the Republican Party have often been their own worst enemy. He who hesitates is lost, and many times the inaction of conservatives has allowed the Democratic Party and those on the Left to win policy victories. Currently, unless the “silent majority” flocks to the polling booth this November in record numbers, conservatives could be facing an irreversible defeat, one that would put Congress and the White House out of reach indefinitely. Moreover, there are many young first-time voters who are chomping at the bit to pull the lever (or mail-in ballot?) for their candidate—and if a sampling of opinion is accurate, it will not be for Trump.
For conservatives, this is a time of both true soul searching and practical action. The clucking of tongues and the wringing of hands must give way to a real a strategy and an examination of the electorate. Have they been tardy in their approach to racial justice? Has their message been obscured by a poor messenger? And who will be groomed as a future party leader when the old guard fades away?
Right now, the conservative ship is heading straight for the iceberg—and all the lookouts are asleep.
Joseph M Bianchi is a columnist, author and independent journalist based in Greenville, SC.