Discover more from The Rabbit Hole
Marketing Problems: A Critique of the Right’s Public Image
Liberals dominate the mainstream media. AllSides, a company dedicated to assessing political bias of major news outlets, stated that out of the top six television news networks five of them are classified as “lean left” or “left”, with only one rated as “right”. Other outlets such as the New York Times, TIME, and The Washington Post - all of which lean left - have much larger followings than their conservative-leaning counterparts at Epoch Times or Washington Times.
“The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.” ― Thomas Sowell
The long arm of liberal media means that they can push their agendas to more people in less time with little pushback. Armed with their reputational influence, legacy institutions can deem rivals uncredible. From the get-go conservatives are disadvantaged from the collective efforts of mainstream media. News outlets have virtually free reign on how they want to frame any opposition. However, conservatives haven’t necessarily done themselves any favors either. Conservatives, particularly the Republican Party, have struggled to secure minority, female, and the millenial/Gen-Z voters. While some progress has been made, the data paints a bleak picture. We’ll break down two of the problems the right side of the aisle has, and how they can course correct
The first issue is a lack of organization. There is no unified front on what the right really stands for. Libertarians, conservatives, tea-partiers, and evangelicals have commonly been lumped together as part of “the right”, though all of the aforementioned have varying beliefs and different methods on achieving what they want. To make matters worse, third-parties are often the target of backlash after elections with claims of “election spoiling.” Many don’t even know the definition of their beliefs, which is very prominent among Libertarians.To highlight the amount of fighting, a book titled American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump spoke about how rival factions of the GOP waged war against one another to gain party supremacy. Throughout the years, the Ted Cruzes and the Rand Pauls, the Mitch McConnels and the Kevin McCarthys of the party fought to gain control. Some were more evangelical, some more libertarian, and some were more hardlined. While President Trump did do good to unite the party in 2016, even though some Republicans were not playing ball with the first-term President. With Trump no longer in office, the right once again faces a lack of a cohesive structure.
The younger crowd fares similarly. We sat down with a former member of a right-leaning university activist organization. To maintain anonymity, we won’t delve into much detail about “Paul”. It was one of the largest organizations of its kind in the United States, and Paul had the job of managing several universities’ chapters. When asked about what one of the main problems he saw, Paul said, “There was way too much infighting between rival ideologies. It ended up being a battle between people who took politics seriously, and those who were more concerned about being anti-woke. Because of the infighting, there was rarely any direction and lack of leadership was rampant.”
The second issue is that the right is broadcasting to the wrong people, or they’re just promoting themselves in all sorts of bad ways. The Republican party remains the strongest force for conservatives. However, they’re marketing to an older, whiter crowd. According to Pew Research, as of 2019 17% of Republicans or people who lean Republican are nonwhite, compared to 40% for the Democrats. 10% of African-Americans identify as Republican, compared to 83% who identify as Democrat. In fact, depending on the year polls are taken there are few categories where Republicans have the advantage over minorities, women, or the younger generations. Whether most Republicans believe in the power of diversity or not, the GOP needs to make it an effort to broadcast itself to all three of the groups. We asked Paul about promotion tactics. “I remember the College Republicans were tabling in the main university walkway, and one guy had a blown-up photo of Trump. He was shoving it in people’s faces asking ‘is he your president?’ Not only was it obnoxious, but I wouldn't even want to join those guys.” The takeaway here is that there needs to be a goal of what the right wants to accomplish, and by what means they accomplish those goals. If their goals are to frustrate the left, then the right should forget about gaining voters. The point of argumentation is not to frustrate people, it’s to convince the opposing side that they’re wrong and you’re right. Videos such as these don’t do anything to promote any type of civil discourse or discussion in good faith. Making fun of those that you’re speaking to will almost guarantee no one comes to your side. What it comes down to is this: do you want to piss people off or get more voters?
The right needs to do a better job broadcasting to those in the middle, and maintain an emphasis on speaking with the left in good faith. Hardcore liberals are unlikely to vote red in November elections, but independents might. They can do this by speaking more about economic policies to the youth, and not diving into a trash talk commentary about the left. Paul told us “Most of the ‘Republicans’ in college weren’t even really Republican. The vast majority weren’t even conservative. Most were probably Libertarian if anything. They didn’t care about same-sex marriage, a lot of them smoked weed, had sex out of wedlock. They didn’t exactly tow the party line when it came to social issues. They just cared about the economic issues and fighting the far left.” The right also needs to ensure they don’t discount problems that affect women or minorities. It might not seem like a problem to them, but it would at least help to acknowledge their respective issues and investigate them if need be. There has been progress made, and all of this isn’t to say that the right isn’t doing anything. For example, Chris Rufo has been pushing for more transparency in public school curriculums in his Parent’s Movement - locally challenged but nationally changing; Latino voters are now split between Republicans and Democrats. Overall, if the right doesn’t want to be dominated by the left they need to do even more than they currently are.