TL;DR: HEADS THE FUCK UP: Liberals should be very afraid of conservatives gaining traction on the internet.
After the dismal failure of the GOP in the 2012 elections, we who are not hard-right conservatives should expect the following from the Tea-Party in future election cycles:
1. Focus on minorities, minority recruitment, minority representation
2. Targeted approaches to gain more young voters, single voters
3. Saturation of the internet and social media with messages to attack, smear, silence, and intimidate liberals, democrats, traditional libertarians, moderate republicans, and other free-thinkers.
We should be most concerned with #3. Conservatives are like Voldemort. They are not defeated easily, and when it appears that we have vanquished them, they are really planning to come back—plotting and gathering strength and energy to be more tacky, annoying, and damaging than before.
Liberals and free-thinkers are great at influencing culture through the internet largely because of our creativity, wit, and unrestrained humor, but we sometimes don’t know when to continue fighting. The 2012 elections were exhausting, but the rewards were great. Now, we have to keep the pressure on by continuing to engage people through the internet, through culture, and through social media in order to head off conservative fear-mongering and narrative grubbing.
Right now, conservatism is in BIG trouble. The Tea-Taliban is trying to purge the GOP of moderates with mixed results. Grover Nordquist is being raked over the coals. Eric Erikson of RedState is being called out by his own readers for leading them down the garden path. Breitbart.com and Dana Loesch are not friendsies right now because of a labor dispute (hahaha). Other conservatives are being lambasted in the media for their out-of-touch views. It’s wonderful to sit back and enjoy the in-fighting, but we can’t become complacent and believe that they are defeated. They will be back.
One need only remember that the conservative movement in America is bankrolled by rich people (not that the whole paradigm of our two-party system isn’t fully owned by the rich) and rich people are usually the ones who have the power whether we like it or not. Look at our current unemployment issue; corporations are sitting on war chests of money and holding back hiring while still making record profits. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that they hope to hold out until another bright, shiny Reagan-esque republican “businessman” is holding the reigns of our country.
If we just sit back and wait until we have to fight again (meaning wasting time between now and 2014), we will lose like we lost in 2010. Mid-term elections are usually unkind to the party of the seated president, but why give away power when we have the opportunity to fight now?
Conservatives are already mobilizing on Twitter and trying (though mostly embarrassingly in vain) to tap into the meme-space that is naturally controlled by humorous liberals. If we sit around and act like #tcot or #tgdn trending on Twitter is no big deal, we’ll truly regret it in a year’s time. We have to watch what they are doing and counter with something bigger and more innovative than their attempts to gain prominence in culture. Social liberalism is not an inevitability. It’s a trajectory for which amazing people have fought so hard.
We have to be hitting the issues hard on social media and connect with one another in meaningful ways virtually and in real life to continue to momentum we have gained in the last 4 years. The conservatives promise a revolution in 2013, but we’ve already begun the revolution and we’re already winning it, but we can’t take that for granted. We have to take every opportunity we can to move our country in the direction of progress, not in the direction of 1950’s or 1980’s nostalgia and nuclear family paradigms that worked for so few.
The time to act, truly, was yesterday.