The Left’s protest trap.

(H/T: Instapundit) The Economist has the right idea about the problem that the Left is having right now:

The other reason to doubt whether Occupy Wall Street will become a tea-party movement of the left is its fixation on protest. But Zuccotti Park is not Tahrir Square and America is not Egypt. It is not even France. In France street demos are tolerated, sometimes glorified, as a way to blow off steam and win the attention of deputies who neglect voters or forget their election promises.

America is different. It is, indeed, the sort of democracy that some people in Tahrir Square lost their lives asking for. With endless elections and permanent campaigns, it is exquisitely sensitive to voters’ wants.


The tea-partiers grasped all this. They, too, took to the streets. Some strutted about in tricorn hats. But at the same time they learned their way around the machinery of elections and how to scare the bejesus out of any candidate they did not like.

…what it may perhaps lack is a complete understanding of how American political demographics could get in the way of any solution. Specifically, ideological demographics. Polling has consistently seen (Gallup, Pew/Pew, Rasmussen) that conservatives outnumber liberals in this country by about a two-to-one ratio (which  is a reality that you simply have to accept*).  Couple that with a badly-skewed urban/suburban ratio of reliable Democratic/liberal supporters, and you can see why the Tea Party was generally unaffected by the disapproval of the Left; most of our electoral fights were in places where the Left just didn’t have the strength to handle a motivated and energetic Right.

So.  Now the Occupy Wall Street people want to duplicate the Tea Party’s success… but they have two major structural problems.  The first is the demographic ratio mentioned above; which inexorably leads to the second problem, which is that the Left is simply more vulnerable to criticism than is the Right.  When you’re trying to bring in the moderates, and your side needs to get 75% of them to win elections and the other side only needs to get 25%, being successfully mocked simply hurts you more.  The moreso when it’s accurate mocking.  I mean, there’s a reason why liberals only make up 20% of the electorate.  People don’t like nosy busybodies with an attitude getting into their business**.

Solutions for the Left?  I recommend that they try suffering with dignity.  Or not; their dissatisfaction with the karmic backlash to their actions is not my problem, either way.  The truly ironic bit?  Occupy Wall Street’s only viable path to relevancy would involve linking up with the Tea Party populists and presenting an united front.  Unfortunately for OWS, their typical member has spent the last three years attacking Tea Partiers on behest of the Democratic party, usually via the charming media of gay-baiting sexual slurs.  Funny thing about the American middle class, particularly the ones that vote Republican; they don’t react well to condescending abuse by self-appointed, sneering ‘elitists’…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Democrats certainly do: that’s why their default electoral strategy is to frighten enough moderates to not line up with the scary, scary conservatives.  They don’t have enough natural support to really trust in running positive campaigns based on their ideals and principles.

**And now you know why liberals love to yell about social conservatives, in precisely those terms.  Whether you agree with the characterization or not, you do have to admit that ‘nosy busybody’ is how so-cons are usually portrayed by the Left.


  • Ric Locke says:

    “Nosy busybody” is exactly correct, and until/unless conservatives internalize that and decide what to do about it they’re going to be talking out of both sides of their mouths — and therefore easy prey for the leftoids.

    For instance: a law against abortion. Given that a D&C can be performed by any first-year med student and lots of RNs using about $100 worth of equipment, the only realistic means of enforcing a law against abortion is to have some system for determining whether or not a randomly-selected female is pregnant. The resulting, necessary Pussy Police will get lots of volunteers, but it’s not clear how it fits into a scheme of “limited Government”.

    Don’t bitch about maltreatment when it’s the result of handing your head to the Other Side.


  • MikeCG says:

    Ric, I’m not sure what your point is there. Are you arguing against fighting for laws banning partial birth abortion? I don’t see how that is a loser politically (to say nothing of the moral imperative of making a stand on the issue). Outlawing partial birth abortion is a fairly non-controversal position outside of the extreme kook-fringe of the abortion rights movement. Furthermore, outlawing such a thing has the duel effect of a) heightening awareness in the population as a whole of the innate horror of abortion, and b) decreasing its use specifically because it is illegal and therefore carries a stigma. Contra the much-peddled narrative of millions of back-alley abortions pre-Roe v. Wade (which Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of NARAL, says his group made up out of whole cloth), abortion was a very rare thing in pre-Roe America. The fact that it was illegal meant that people self-regualted against having abortions in all but a few cases, without need for any kind of “reproductive police”. However, once abortion became legal, millions began to be performed each year.

  • Mike says:

    The only problem I have with what you are saying is that it presupposes that the goal of OWS is to win/influence U.S. elections. I think that is true to a certain extent, but I also think they are prepared to reject our form of government (they are tired of losing at the polls and “suffering with dignity”) in hopes of some sort of global government more amenable to their views and desires.
    Also, I think these lame college kid protests are only to get the ball rolling for unions and radical political groups to come in and get really down and dirty later in the year leading up to the elections.

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