Autonomy for Red America, Part 2
Digital networks and apps to help build communities in Red States. A public affairs organization focused on making Red States more based.
NOTE: This is the second part of a series called, “Autonomy for Red America,” here at Late Republic Nonsense. In it, I try to make the case that the most urgent task ahead for the Right is to build the things that are required to sustain life and happiness:
Autonomy is separateness, but it is also self-sufficiency. As physical separation alone will not eliminate the necessity for these institutions required to sustain Red Americans, replicating these institutions is imperative.
Here is Part 1.
With the silencing and censorship of social media, millions have come to understand that the traditional focus on federal elections or the dramas of corpulent and corrupt politicos inside the Beltway has been misplaced; any changes to the system will have to be at the state and local levels.
As politics has become more polarized in America, once-purple states like Virginia have trended Blue. And traditionally Blue states have deepened to an even darker shade; they are now closer to one-party states—like California and New York—where, because they no longer expect to win elections, sclerotic state Republican parties are hapless and corrupt.
Much of this change is said to be due to illegal foreign immigration, the spread of cities and swelling of well-heeled cosmopolitan suburbs, as well as what could be understood to be a kind of media- and culture-induced radicalization process that contributes to more lockstep Democratic voting.
Proposal 1: Assist The Big Sort
Another underappreciated factor, though, is that the most committed Republican voters have been abandoning Blue states in increasing numbers in favor of more business-friendly, competitive, and livable Red states like Florida and Texas. Many authors have dubbed this phenomenon of increasing waves of ideological migration within the United States the “Big Sort.”
We must do everything we can to assist the acceleration and intensity of the “Big Sort,” providing resources of all kinds for conservative Reds living in Blue states to migrate to Red states where they can better participate in local politics and form a bulwark in Red states against leftward drift toward Blue politics in cities.
To that end, we should build websites and social networks to help these political refugees re-locate to Red communities within Red States, including “Moving to Miami” or “Moving to Dallas” toolkits to make the transition easier.
We are very good at building digital networks in virtual, digital space. Niche interests have been able to flourish, as it only takes a few moments and natural curiosity to stumble on and become engaged in a subculture online. You could, as a teenager in Queens, become obsessed with fly fishing—and then find a community of others with whom you can discuss your passion. Or, closer to home, you can connect through Twitter with thousands of other conservatives around the country and the world. These can even be real friendships.
But people have to live somewhere—and there’s a sense of community that is essential to human life. It’s primordial. There’s an entire universe of digital apps and networks that can be built to manage, sustain and enrich local communities in Red States.
Proposal 2: The States Project—Public Affairs
Now, activists might have reason to believe think tanks exist mainly to fleece donors and generate useless white papers, but the truth is, you can have no real policy victories without a public affairs infrastructure; instead, you have personalities flailing away, creating a soap opera atmosphere with very little to show for it.
As would be expected, policy works differently in state capitals than it does inside the Beltway. Even in the largest Red states, the scale of the influence infrastructure—think tanks, special interests, corporations, donors, media and grassroots ideological groups—is dwarfed by what happens in Washington, and the massive, improvised empire-scale apparatus that gets things done in the nation’s capital.
This presents opportunities as cost of entry is far more manageable, and policy or legislative victories can be won with comparable ease.
What would be required could be something I’d call “The States Project.” TSP is a proposed non-profit public affairs group focused on (1) changing policy offensively through governor’s office and legislature, and (2) fighting back against Federal encroachment in Red States. It is a hub for a small and agile network of policy and public affairs non- profits, each focused on another deep Red State.
TSP would be comprised of Research, Lobbying, and Communications components. TSP experts on state issues would write model legislation; brief relevant stakeholders in local and state government; testify in state legislatures; write research and editorials; and appear in media.
TSP lobbyists would work to influence local state actors and grassroots organizations. The TSP communications team disseminates the work product and runs a media campaign to bring attention to the issues.
Offensive use of the courts to achieve an extra-legal result is known as lawfare, and its use as a tool of public education is very common. TSP could assist Red State governments in engineering conflicts with the federal government in Washington on a host of issues on which it has the upper hand locally and drawing bright line between the rights of individuals in Red States and a faceless, over-stepping administrative state in Washington.
Even as the political dynamics and hot button issues in each Red State are unique, well-conceived lawfare campaigns can unite several Red States in a number of legal conflicts with the Biden administration, its Justice Department—as well as the media and the cultural and political Left for significant public relations advantage.
This isn’t some kind of sorcery; it’s long been the bread and butter of political work. Similar groups exist today, and have for several years or decades—but, for a variety of reasons having to do with donor priorities, these organizations are libertarian rather than on the Right. They’re certainly not focused on the issues and concerns of most Republican voters.
The New Right—or whatever you’d like to call it—needs something like The States Project, like yesterday.
On the Turntable
So many interviews with musicians or other artists are terrible; their processes and aesthetic choices are treated as if they’re magic, just dropping from the sky at random. This week, however, my buddy Rick Beato released his amazing interview with Pat Metheny. Because he comes from the point of view of a practitioner, Rick always asks intelligent questions—and Pat is articulate, candid and comes off as a remarkably interesting guy. The most fascinating question was actually from Pat himself, who considered his career in the grand narrative of jazz history and asked, “am I the Last Old Guy or the Oldest New Guy?” This is a really profound question, actually. Watch the whole thing.
Of course, I’m going back to Pat Metheny records I’ve loved for years, like Rejoicing, 80/81, Bright Size Life, and Song X with Ornette Coleman. Some other ones—like the PMG live album, Travels—is something I’ve only recently come to appreciate. Couldn’t find that version of “San Lorenzo,” but this is a very beautiful one from a 1977 concert.