One thing that keeps coming to mind in thinking about the political problem is the separation of the right-wing media, how to deal with it. Occasionally we see stories about how conservatives can’t be persuaded, but the fact is they are very much persuadable by their own media. The fact that mainstream media can’t persuade them has more to do with the source than their minds.
The need for a Brand New Party and less toxic right-wing media go hand in hand. Digging out these lost souls requires persuading them, and that requires alternative media programming. We do see the same pattern between conservative media and conservative politics: trying to outflank competitors to the right (the more I think, read, learn about politics, the sillier I feel using terms like right-wing, conservative, and even Republican to describe what they stand for).
The whole point of my writings about a BNP is that you have to anchor it elsewhere. It’s always possible to get a frat boy to host a rant-show where they virtue-signal about racist replacement theories. There’s always a more vile and maniacal candidate to the right. The reason that GOP politics gets so toxic is the business community doesn’t want regulation or taxes, will fund crazies who can draw votes, don’t really care about the consequences. Some real crazies get in office that way and the whole country suffers from their instabilities.
The anchor point is center-right. Center enough that you can draw some folks who won’t listen to crazy People’s Republic of Donald John Trump bullshit, but far enough right that it’s still tolerable by traditional Republican electors. Is there such a place to set an anchor? Not under the current policy preferences of Republicans. But more on that below.
What does the anchor give you besides avoiding chasing competitors to the right? It sets expectations for audience share. You’re not trying to win over every conservative viewer or reader. You’re limiting yourself such that the dregs can and will fall away from you. That helps with advertising and content volatility issues. It saves your soul, as well, if you care about that sort of thing. If big business wants you deliver outrage-on-tap, that’s not your game, and they can piss up a flagpole.
One challenge of anchoring is that competitors may be juicing a bad story for cynical reasons. Opposition coverage tends to focus on a framing: “Can you believe how bad our competitors are?!” But Brand New Media could focus on why and what without necessarily acting judgmental about it. In doing so, they would check two boxes:
- Still being acceptable to the right-wing and centrists at the same time.
- Having some coverage of a story they would prefer to avoid entirely.
The idea of conservative-lite media requires new policies. Providing real market-driven solutions is key, but it also require acknowledging that many of the problems Democrats highlight are real problems. It’s been a long time since most Republicans have had to think about some of those problems: denying them was cheaper. But it’s better business to address them. There’s a lot more money to be made through competition than oligopoly or monopoly.
Simplifying regulations is a big winner. Keyword there is misregulation. Traditional Republicans talk about overregulation or simply use the word regulation to mean that any regulation is bad. But if you focus on the real problems and on alternative solutions, you can actually get more changes through that wouldn’t be possible through slashing all regs.
The current crop of Republicans in Congress believe obstruction is key, but if ten Republicans negotiated on the reconciliation bill, they could cut it by a trillion bucks and make it worth twice as much to the country. Instead, we end up with either a more expensive bill that does less, or a bunch of wasted time and no benefit—that still costs us trillions in both opportunity costs and damages from a less functional economy. Businesses are pissing a lot of money away by backing obstruction rather than smarter legislation. Dumbasses.
The Democrats tend to propose to make things less expensive by having the government pay for them instead of individuals paying for them. They don’t actually work to make the things cheaper, just to remap the path the money takes. But many things should get cheaper over time. That does require tradeoffs of labor for automation or structural changes to markets. But the result is better products and lower prices both, rather than inferior products at premium prices.
Another feature of a Brand New Media is a focus on experimentation, on trial and error. There is an easy-to-build hope and pride in a society that solves problems by giving different policies a chance and evaluating them. If a new center-right media presents such efforts in that light, it would help them build good will that the doomsayers they compete with couldn’t match.