We’ve been here before – recently – how we respond will make a difference.
Since Christmas 2016, I’ve posted a grand total of three opinion pieces on this site, which is a very far cry from my usual pace; blame the weird hours of my current work schedule. The interesting thing about working “dawn patrol” is that I get to spend a great deal of time paying attention to my newsfeed. Many credible political pundits, whom I follow on that newsfeed, are referring to last week’s elections outcome as a “split decision” on a national scale. Fair enough. But here in the “Great Lake Effect State” (lots of snow on the ground last weekend), we’re armpit deep in something that isn’t snow.
The Michigan Republican Party seems to be the structurally weakest it’s been since the immediate aftermath of the Milliken Administration (circa 1983), a “rule of empathy” majority now holds the state’s Supreme Court, and an underinformed electorate has just enshrined systemic election fraud into the state’s constitution. Oh, and just in case it matters, the Libertarian Party of Michigan promptly lost their brand-new “major party” status, due to election underperformance. As with the other time something similar happened this century, the key question ought not so much be, “What happened?” as it ought to be, “What are we going to do about it?” . . . because that second question is the one that we must answer if we’re going to accomplish anything constructive going forward.
Back in the spring of 2015, during the run-up to the Proposal 15-1 referendum, I discussed the Five Laws of Decline, and specifically the need to have a follow-up plan in place should we be so fortunate as to kill that proposal. Sure enough, in spite of a record vox populi shellacking of the tax jacking attempt, exactly six months later, in an after-hours series of votes, the legislature unapologetically passed a seven-bill package that accomplished all of the core objectives of the Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment, less the things that would have forced the package onto a public ballot. What that tells us about the damage that Rick Snyder has done to the Michigan Republican Party (which, to be fair, Nick DeLeeuw had warned us about back in the summer of 2009), is another topic for another day. Today, in this essay, I want to focus on one simple thing.
“To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one’s laurels, is defeat.” – Marshall Józef K. Piłsudski, quoted by Wacław Jędrzejewicz in the latter’s Piłsudski: a Life for Poland (1982).
I’m going to take the second half of that quote first, and point out that this is a big chunk of where the tea party movement and the republican party screwed up in Michigan after the 2010 elections. (As a brief sidebar, I’m well aware of the belief that the MRP leadership screwed the pooch by design, rather than overconfidence. I’m also aware that another significant reason for the tea party collapse was ego-driven infighting. In both cases, that’s another topic for another essay on another day.) Overconfidence and naiveté after a big win, in a political climate dominated by power-hungry crooks, is precisely what the progressive elitists, regardless of alleged party affiliation, were counting on.
As I pointed out a little over three and a half years ago, every time the constitutionalist insurgency fails to follow through on an opportunity to reverse the inertia of progressive decline, the next attempt to do so is exponentially tougher (because the agents of progressivism are experts at quickly consolidating their gains). By my count, since and including 2010, the insurgency has had at least four opportunities to at least begin the process to roll back the corruption of Michigan. That means that the hill we’ll need to climb, to even begin reversing the cumulative progressive damage, is now at least sixteen times steeper than it was eight years ago.
And yet, the hill isn’t yet impossible to climb, and this is where we shift our focus back to the first half of that Piłsudski quote.
To be clear, when I refer to refusing to submit to defeat, I am specifically not suggesting, implying, or condoning a perpetual campaign of resistance. A key element of a properly functioning democratic process is accepting the results of a free and fair election, regardless of the outcome. (Yes, I’m aware of reports that two out of every five Detroit precincts recorded more votes than there are registered voters on the rolls. But until we can find someone to actually investigate, collect evidence, and prosecute for election fraud, we’re just going to have to deal with the Wayne County status quo . . . for now.) Believe it or not, the anarchists are playing a strategically critical role in the larger progressive agenda – regardless of whether they’re doing so knowingly or merely as useful idiots – but, again, that’s another discussion topic for another day.
Refusing to submit, in the sense intended by Piłsudski, is to acknowledge the reality of the current loss, retreat, rally, reset, and continue the fight another day. K.G. has done a quite excellent job, in commentary and as an original post, of explaining what went wrong at a philosophical level. To quote Dick Armey, “When we act like us, we win. When we act like them, we lose.” And maybe, just maybe, amid two years of weaponized government, at both the federal and state level, we can perhaps figure out how to recruit, prepare, and field a few quality pro-constitution candidates at the local and state level.
And that, in my honest opinion, is the real answer to what the insurgency does next. We make a point of regrouping and focusing locally. As we do that, we’ll naturally (and necessarily, if we’re doing this right) do a few things:
- We will come into contact, locally, with people who might make fine candidates for at least local office (and perhaps county and/or state office as well). When we do, we should actively recruit them, thoroughly prep them, and adequately support them with finances and neighborhood volunteers.
- We will develop a neighborhood-by-neighborhood network of people who are willing to commit to working their neighborhoods on behalf of constitutionalist candidates. Sign these people up as precinct delegates, and introduce them to the candidates we recruit (or get their input on people we’re thinking about recruiting as candidates).
- As I’ve written before, within these neighborhood networks, leaders will naturally surface to provide operational guidance and logistical support. And those leaders will naturally network with each other, which is how the network naturally expands to statewide influence – bottom-up – while retaining local clout. Leaders will be obvious by their behavior, and their results, regardless of what they may say.
- As a true grassroots network expands to statewide influence, it will naturally attract professionals, some of whom will be genuinely favorable to the network’s goals. If, upon careful vetting, said professionals turn out to be legit, then take advantage of their experience, expertise, and services – while such remain available – because final success isn’t possible without professional assistance, regardless of whether the professionals are “homegrown” or “hired guns.”
. . . and we need to keep in mind that this is ultimately going to be more than a one-election-cycle effort. The progressives, who seek the destruction of the republic, think and plan way more than merely one election cycle ahead. If we’re to be ultimately successful in saving it, then we’d better learn to do the same.
If we don’t start anything, then we don’t finish anything.