Blue Pill Conservatives versus Red Pill Conservatives

This has certainly been a summer of a crack up and civil war within the conservative movement.  It started out as the summer of the Cuckservative, in which conservatives attacked each other over who was giving in and trying to please leftists and their media.  It’s ending as the Summer of Trump; the domination of Donald Trump over all other Republican Primary candidates.

Something is radically changing in conservative politics and the fault lines seem to be radically changing every few months, but there seems to be a current divide that explains a lot of the conservative on conservative conflict: Red Pill vs. Blue Pill Conservatives. If you’re not familiar with the term, a simple trip to Mister Google will solve that since Blue Pill/Red Pill is a fairly common internet meme, based of course on The Matrix movies. Blue Pill is living your life under a delusion, and the Red Pill is when you finally wake up to the sometimes bitter reality.

I first started to have the fog lift out of my blue pill haze after the 2012 elections.  Although I expected Obama to win, I was fascinated by the post election armchair quarterbacking that was trying to pin every other imaginary reason on Romney’s loss other than the fact that, as NBC Political Analyst Chuck Todd put it, “The demographic time bomb went off.”  It was a turning point election because it demonstrated that policy positions, the state of the economy, the unemployment rate, or winning the independents; none of the old rules applied. As I wrote after the 2012 election:

Even if Romney had won, it would have been the last gasp of an archaic idea in US politics; political parties that are more or less based on policy decisions and ideas and to a lesser degree, ideology and the left/right continuum   Eventually, I suspect that we will be voting according to our ethnic, gender, and sexual preferences.  In other words, our politics will become more tribal.

What that means in 2015 is that the Republican Party, which is dependent on white votes, is seeing a steady decline in their voter base. As the Washington Post reported:

The total number of white voters decreased by roughly 2 million in 2012 as compared to 2008, the first time since 1996 that a “race group” (as they describe it) has seen a diminution in net votes cast. And, in the last five presidential elections, the white share of the electorate has dipped by nine points…

That coincides with the factoid that Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections.

So if you put the increased tribalism of American politics with the decline of the white “tribe” you end up with a more or less inevitable decline in chances for the Republican Party to win the White House.  Each Presidential election will have whites, the mainstay of the Republican Party, as a declining percentage of the electorate. The result of this is that for 2016, the Democrats start out with an advantage of 217 electoral votes more or less locked up.  When you need 270 electoral votes to win, most of the race is already over before the first primary or caucus vote is cast. The Democratic electoral vote advantage is only likely to widen for each Presidential election.  Every four years the Republican base contracts and the Democratic base expands to fill in the gaps.

So how does the Republican Party Inc plan to address this?  Their 2012 Autopsy Report boiled down to go big on amnesty and then Hispanics will love Republicans since they are “natural conservatives.”  This is so counterintuitive to common sense that I honestly can’t believe that the autopsy report writers believe it.  It sounds that it’s a justification of a policy that the establishment of the party is already committed to based on donor desires.  Certainly passing Amnesty didn’t help either Reagan or Bush Senior.

Pro amnesty John McCain got only 4 percentage points more of the Hispanic vote than self deporter Mitt Romney got.  Considering that Romney would have needed 73% of the Hispanic vote to win, there is no path to Republican victory counting on Hispanic votes. In fact, if you consider the Electoral College math, the increased tribalism of American politics, and the declining percentage of the Republican base it’s easy to conclude that all things being equal, conservatism, as it’s currently formed, is doomed.

As a conservative, when you finally come to that conclusion, you’ve taken the red pill.

This really shouldn’t be that much of a shocker.  The Republican Party was a secondary party for much of the 20th Century.  After being caught holding the bag after the Great Depression, the Democrats were the American political party for decades. Republicans only got a shot at the Presidency again by nominating a national hero and celebrity, Dwight Eisenhower, for President.  Eisenhower’s status made it OK to try voting for a Republican again.  That coincided with the rising post war middle class that found themselves more comfortable with Republican Party values.

Much of the Republican Party is still under the blue pill, and thinks that each election, the slate is wiped clean and they have a 50-50 chance to make their case to the American people (who must be devoid of party preferences and are willing to listen to Republican arguments on an equal footing with Democratic ones) with a promise of tax cuts and smaller government, just like they’ve promised every election for decades.

Red Pill Conservatives think this is a path to continued failure and realizes that something big has to change.  There has to be a massive shaking up of the old order, since it’s on a glide path to obsolescence.  What will that look like?  I’m not sure, but the Republican Party needs to be ripped apart and put back together with a 21st Century sensibility.  Maybe we’ll get a glimpse this election season.


6 thoughts on “Blue Pill Conservatives versus Red Pill Conservatives

  1. If the Republican Party is doomed to demographic irrelevancy, how long will it take before Democrat Party voters start to wonder why “their” tribe isn’t getting the legislation they thought they were voting for?
    The Democrat Party is a coalition of tribes. There is the African-American tribe, the Hispanic tribe (actually a group of unrelated tribes), the LGBT tribe, the Green tribe, the Elder tribe, the Union tribe, etc. Will this eventually (2020+?) lead to a splintering of the American two-party state into a multi-party European-style system or even a disjuncture between state and federal level parties a la Canada?
    I still believe that we are at a crossroads where race is becoming much less a defining factor in political party selection so that the “browning” of America will lead to a weakening of the Democrat Party as people are less concerned with voting against the “white” establishment and more about voting for their core issues. Many of the Democrat Party tribes hold antithetical views from one another which will eventually cause more and more friction between them.
    The Democrat Party has long walked a tightrope as a coalition of northern Liberals and southern Conservatives whose main bond of commonality has been as a counterbalance to the Republican Party. Will the diminution of the Republican Party’s base not also lead to an unraveling of the Democrat Party’s tightrope? Without the Republican Party to vote against, how much is left to bind them together? How long before the Democrat-Green tribe is tired of losing primaries and dumps the Democrat part? Will the Democrat-African tribe have much interest in electing Democrat-LGBT tribe candidates?


    • Yes, the Democrats are a coalition and in their heyday of the mid 20th Century they were a much broader coalition than the GOP ever was. It’s a party that at one time had segregationists, civil libertarians, socialists, trade unionists, and the middle class; basically everybody. It’s more narrow now in that old sense, but also broader, in the new, identity politics sense. As blogger Steve Sailer refers to it, it’s a coalition of the fringes. And in spite of that, they do a pretty good job of holding their coalition together.

      How do they do it? Because, in spite of the insistence of some on the right that every Democrat is a doctrinaire socialist, the real ideology that holds them together is, as Samuel Gompers once defined the goals of the union movement, as “more.” More of whatever each group wants. When you want more of everything, you don’t usually bump heads. There are exceptions of course, like last year’s war of the Blacks and Hispanics against the Asians in California’s battle over affirmative action in the state university system. But by and large, just wanting more usually means waiting your turn to feed at the trough. Ultimately, that’s a much more unitary goal than the disparate goals on the right. So I don’t see much of a splintering in the foreseeable future. The Democrats kept Civil Rights activists and segregationists in the same party for decades after all.

      I think all things being equal, if our politics remains following the same course, that politics will become more racial, not less. Of course, I readily admit that sometimes things don’t follow the same trends forever, as I wrote about here a lot of things could happen to skew things.


  2. As long as the crazy radical conservatives keep getting all the airtime, the democrats will continue to veer to the right for fear of looking too liberal. Of course Bernie really kills that theory, but he’s just an exception at this point.
    Eventually the crazy radicals will be all thats left of the gop,the dems will be the (more)conservative,war loving party,and rhe liberals will branch off into their own party..

    And i think each ‘tribe’ will fall into one of the above categories. .not voting as tribal blocks,but with whichever ideology they follow


    • Do you see Democrats veering to the right? I sure don’t. Instead, I see Hillary trying to run to the left of Obama in order to keep down a leftward insurgency in her own party, such as an Elizabeth Warren candidacy. As it is, her own scandal generated falling poll numbers are the wind beneath Bernie Sander’s wings. Democrat blue dogs and centrists have been pretty much purged during the Obama administration. If you’re worried about the Dems moving to the right, don’t be, as Jim Webb’s poll numbers will attest.

      I think all things being equal, first comes tribe, then ideology comes after, not the other way around, although I suppose something out of the box could break up that pattern.


      • absolutely I do…

        gun control.. Jeez it was Reagan who passed the Brady Bill.. the NRA was all about gun control and making ‘cop killer’ bullets illegal.. this was a GOP issue.. today? the crazies have taken so much control of the GOP that it’s instant shunning to mention any kind of gun control and the leftist of the lefties, bernie sanders, is vague at best on the issue..he even voted against the above Brady act..

        cap and trade… the GOP created this.. Reagan and Bush sr passed laws capping and trading.. today, the left has come over to the (right wing) GOP idea of cap n trade, only to find out the right has again been hijacked by whackonuts…and cap and trade is all of a sudden a liberal plot to kill businesses and thus jobs

        individual mandate.. not just an idea created by a right wing think tank, but touted for years by the GOP.. used by a GOP Governor.. and so against the liberal ‘no mandate’ idea of healthcare that when it was given to the Right as an enticement to support the ACA, the leftist of left looked around for the candid camera, but was eventually was dragged kicking and screaming to the pro-mandate fight..unbelievably, today, the left is the biggest supporter of this GOP idea..

        I’m not saying this all the proof, I can’t spend the time listing everything.. But even HRC, while she is veering left on some issues to make Warren happy not to run, she’s still not what I would consider ‘liberal’.. centrist with a lean to the left, sure.. liberal when put next to Ted Cruz absolutely… but not a true blue liberal.. and that’s because the crazy right has pulled most ‘center-with a large lean to the left’, over to either ‘center-center’, or ‘center with a light lean to the left’..

        But it’s not just the Dem’s they’ve done it too.. you would admit that they’ve dragged your party way way over into crazy land too..right?
        that kind of pulling brings everyone on both sides over… just like if Bernie suddenly when nuclear in his support and created a ‘tea party’ like movement where the loudest voices in the room were chanting ‘socialism’ and gaining mad momentum..the right would then be pulled left or get left behind..

        the loudest voices in the room these days are the ted cruz’s,mike huckabee’s,Sarah palin(still)… so the used to be seen as ‘right-leaning’ like Rand Paul, are regulated to’ not conservative enough’ footnotes..

        I think you’re making the same mistake McCain made when he picked Sarah as his token girl to counter Clinton as his running mate.. he,like most white men at the time, just assumed vagina would instantly follow vagina.. well no, our lady parts may sinc up when we’re all together, but that doesn’t mean our ideals do.. so when you say you think it will be tribe first, I think that is intrinsically the problem with the Grand ole Party and why it will die off and morph into something unrecognizable in the future.. I think it’s a white man phenomena…I’m not meaning it as insult by saying that.., because I don’t think this kind of myopic view is intentional.. I think white men , like you just said, think it’s always going to be ‘tribe’ first when it comes to anyone who isn’t a white male.. whether that be women,blacks,Hispanics or etc..when in fact,’tribes’,like white men, are very capable of making decisions that don’t follow the tribe. I mean, you don’t think ‘white male’ votes in their white tribes do you? Of course not, you think they vote according to ideology, not just pick the white guy who is running (altho, yes.. there are some who do just pick the whit guy, but they are in the same minority of brown people who just pick the brown guy)

        .and that is youse guys (Tony Soprano making a cameo there-lol) biggest mistake and what will eventually come back to hurt you if you can’t somehow change your perspective…


      • Gun Control was an NRA issue? Heh, that’s an odd way to remember things. I think it’s been primarily a GOP issue for decades, but when you harken back to the Reagan era, you’re talking about almost 30 years ago, to a time when there were conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. That’s not really the case today.

        As far as cap and trade goes, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The idea goes back to the 1970’s but I don’t recall Reagan or Bush passing any legislation along those lines. If they did, it’s somehow vanished from the books since that is still part of the environmental wish list.

        As far as the individual mandate goes, the fact that you bring it up is proof that just like the Seinfeld gang, there is never learning, never ever. We had discussed it many times and if you still think it’s Republican policy that the GOP only abandoned because Obamacare, then it shows the pointless of discussing anything with you, since no matter what, it’s all washed away the next day and you start with the same old talking points.

        And seeing how you’ve totally inverted everything I’ve written on this issue, it’s still true.


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