It is the political season, and a very long one at that. At such times, conservatives end up pinning their hopes on yet another presidential candidate who will somehow, hopefully, if elected, alter the direction of the country. Zillions of dollars are spent on trying to find who that candidate will be, and every four years whether a Republican is elected or not, the liberal/progressive influence on the country continues unabated. Pete Spiliakos at First Things points out that the same thing is happening this election cycle and a good example is Carly Fiorina and pro-lifers and. The apt title of the piece is, “Waiting for Superwomen.”
The candidate’s passionate take down of Planned Parenthood in the second debate made her a conservative darling, all of whom hope her message would break out to a wider audience. Alas, because liberals dominate all the most powerful cultural institutions that will never happen, at least for the foreseeable future. My mother and sister are typically apolitical Americans who get their news and information from popular culture and mainstream sources, and they haven’t even heard of the “Planned Parenthood videos.” No candidate or election will change the fundamental direction of our society apart from a radical change in our cultural institutions. As Spoliakos arugues:
The advantage of the left is not in the quality of its candidates, but in the sweep of its institutions. They can reach relatively apolitical swing voters whenever they choose. If conservatives had organizations that could fund one-minute, issue-based messages on streaming media that up-for-grabs voters might hear month-in and month-out, conservatives could change the political landscape. It would reduce the ability of mainstream news and entertainment media to provide cover for liberal politicians. It is one thing to tell people not to trust information on talk radio shows they don’t listen to and YouTube channels they never heard of. It is another thing to tell those same people to unsee what they have already witnessed.
Instead of institution building, conservatives keep pinning their hopes on magic candidates who will give magic speeches to win over the voters we need. Those candidates may give wonderful speeches, but in the absence of institutions that can speak directly to the apolitical, the voters won’t hear them. If we build those institutions, we might find that even candidates of modest ability will be good enough.
Unfortunately the vast majority of big conservative money goes to politics; building cultural institutions and influencing the culture is an afterthought at best. Until that changes nothing much else will.