No cure-all panacea explains the GOP’s loss this past Tuesday. The country is sharply divided, and a long battle for the hearts and minds of American citizens lay before conservatives. Post-election analysis already points to the public education system, European attitudes on citizenship, Hispanic outreach, and women’s issues outreach. In a close election, every vote counts. No battlefield can be ceded. This includes the culture wars.
Culture matters. It’s the fertile ground where political seeds are planted and votes harvested.
When ethnically diverse, Hollywood actress Stacey Dash tweeted in favor of Mitt Romney last month, conservatives flocked to her defense as the left besieged her with ugly and vicious taunts. Yet she shouldn’t have had to endure this concentrated rage. The reason a moderately successful actress became the focal point of a pop culture backlash is because there aren’t enough conservative celebrities to disperse the hate.
Conservatives know they’ve been routed in the pop culture wars, and judging by the intense embrace of the few celebrities in Hollywood that skew to the right, conservatives also understand the importance of victories on this turf. Various websites often run “Conservatives in Hollywood” slide shows because the creature is so rare (for the liberal version, just go to IMDb.com, the cast of any movie). Based on the intensity of leftist attacks on conservative celebrities, the left understands how important it is to defend this ground.
Romney kinda sorta got the pop culture gap when he declared he liked Snooki during his appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael, but the objective isn’t to see the garbage in pop culture and yell, “Me too!” (and come across as phony in doing so). The object is to create your own culture and ridicule the absurdity of the existing culture. Most people like to feel clever, smart. In the know. Being in on a joke makes people feel good.
Obama is better at this kind of relationship with average people, and the exit polling reflected it. Conservative media ridiculed Obama for doing his NCAA Tournament Brackets on ESPN as well as his many appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The View, etc. when he should’ve been doing the work of the state. However, those appearances made him available and accessible to casual voters.
The old question was who would you rather have a beer with? The new question is, who do you believe has a fantasy football team? The answer to that question has won the presidency for the last thirty years. Continue reading