Obama: "Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?"

“It’s an interesting question,” he muses, which is true, although it’s also true that the Resistance will still be pretty farking mad all the time even if they take back the House on Tuesday. The standard answer to his question, though, is that liberals have most of the cultural power in America and conservatives have most of the political power (for now) and each craves some of what the other has. Liberals can solve their problem by winning elections. Conservatives can’t.

“I think that is a difficult thing for a lot of liberals to get, that for them you know they look and say, ‘Trump’s in charge, Mitch McConnell’s out there, Paul Ryan — well Republicans have got everything,’ ” said John Hawkins, the founder of Right Wing News, a Facebook group with more than 3 million followers…

But beyond politics, Hawkins said, the average American conservative feels bombarded daily with disrespect.

“He turns on a TV show where he’s insulted, and then he’s like, ‘well, maybe I’ll just unwind and watch an awards show’ — the Oscars or something — where he gets trashed all day long,” Hawkins said. “He goes to Twitter and he’s got some you know guy calling him in a-hole … this is sort of like a pervasive all-out attack if you’re a conservative. And it’s all the time sort of thing.”

That’s part of it. (It’s also why, as Rich Lowry said elsewhere today, conservatives remain “pathetically desperate” for any form of celebrity validation.) The inefficacy of political power in reshaping the culture goes hand in hand with it. Most right-wingers view immigration as a cultural issue and yet we’re two years into the Trump era and the wall remains unfunded. A caravan of immigrants is traveling the entire length of Mexico to reach the United States and likely will be admitted provisionally under asylum laws, and then who knows who many will disappear via catch-and-release while they’re waiting for their asylum cases to be decided. If winning elections was a path to cultural change for the right, there’d be more happiness when it happens. As it is, with Washington Republicans unwilling or unable to do much of anything, the chief satisfaction in winning them is the knowledge that the left’s agenda will be thwarted — temporarily. For a few years. You never really “win” an election as a conservative, you merely delay the next defeat.

But there’s something more basic that explains the anger too. There isn’t really a coherent “right wing” at this point. There are nationalists, conservatives, social conservatives, moderates, a smattering of libertarians, some hawks who still see the GOP as their most useful vehicle, and a great mass of people who simply want improvements in their quality of life and are put off by the left’s cultural agenda. There’s nothing holding that coalition tightly together ideologically, which is why it’s been so easy for Trump to build support among his base for anything he wants to do. “The right” is just an assembly of forces that view the left with suspicion or antipathy for their own particular reasons; “negative partisanship” thus becomes the lingua franca of right-wing partisanship. Absent any ideological “glue,” the glue that holds the right together is anger at the left. Hating the libs is a community-building exercise. Without it, this shabby little birdhouse that is the modern GOP might fall apart.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on December 01, 2022