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Thursday, October 22, 2020

When Political Fire Means Failure

 Richard Fernandez (Wretchard) pens an interesting essay about the price the Left has paid to take over the country.

The costs of keeping the unwilling onside are even bigger. The American scene is also illuminated by fire of another kind: the incandescent efforts of those who want to return Washington to the 2016 normal over those determined to continue a revolution in the capital. But a political scene lit with the flames of burning personal bridges is less a sign of imminent triumph than with stalemate and retreat....

... the prospects of the liberal project to remake America have declined because an agenda that was once “inevitably” advancing must now be actively imposed on a conscious opposition. The burning of bridges in 2020 means it must now spend enormous amounts of energy for every inch it wants to gain.

The only chance to suppress the populist rebellion cheaply was through something like Crossfire Hurricane. But it failed and now the progressive project is facing what is at best a protracted campaign, a long slow slog that may prove too expensive for even them to mount.

If that enterprise seemed formerly viable it was because it could command enough assent through the application of nudges and prestige to make way. But those powers to persuade have been expended in the bitter acrimony. The prestige well is dry and friction has gone way up. 

The Left owns the press and social media, a combination that lulled a soothed the American public to accept the inevitability of the transformation of America to socialism.  That's where Obama's inevitable "arc of history" was supposed to lead.  

 But the excesses of the last 4 years have so damaged their power to define a reality that today roughly half of the American people don't believe anything they read.  They now know they have been lied to and have their opinions suppressed by power brokers and technology oligarchs who were grasping for total power.  

The Antifa/BLM  riots in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Kenosha, and dozens of places throughout the country were naked attempts to intimidate.  People stocking up on guns and ammunition in record numbers are but one reaction to this physical threat.  

It is possible for a minority to rule a passive majority.  It remains to be seen whether the majority has a core of rebels who will make it prohibitively expensive for the Left to cow the country to its will.  

The experiment in freedom for the individual continues.