How To Counter The Right

Over at The Left Coaster they’re continuing the discussion of how to get a moderate/progressive message out. Go have a read and leave a comment.

Here’s a comment I left: (EDMMLB — Edited to make me look better.)

Reply to CTDem2“Toss a thousand coins, and 700 come up heads; the next thousand coins will probably bring the average closer to center.”

Not if someone is catching the coins in the air and then placing them on the ground heads up. This is the analogy to what the right is doing to our society.

Societies do not self-regulate. In fact, once the mechanisms for moderation are removed – as has happened here with the right wing takeover of the press, the courts and the media, history shows that they become more extreme.

We’re all going to have to donate our time, energy and money to combating the right and restoring moderating influences to our society. It isn’t going to happen by itself.

Reply to comment from pessimist — I don’t think the fault lies with the Democrats. Politicians respond to the public. The right changed the PUBLIC, and that is how they took over the Republican Party. They were able to do this because Scaife and a few others stepped up to the plate and provided the money. On the moderate/progressive side our philanthropists are NOT funding the kind of organization that can make a difference – except in the case of Podesta’s American Majority Institute. But while that is a very necessary component of what we need to do, it is a short-term, “hot issues” Washington-focused organization. This is much needed, but without working to change the broad, general public it is only going to fight a defensive action to try to hold back the onslaught.

What we need is for our philanthropists to step up to the plate and start funding organizations that work over the long term to change the public BACK to moderate/progressive principles. We need a Scaife of our own, and a few others, to start funding progressive ADVOCACY organizations, that work to change the broad, GENERAL public back to progressive principles of helping each other, supporting equality and democracy, respecting community, supporting collective bargaining, and other ways that people work together to combat the influence of money. This means things like working in the South and the Midwest and churches – advertising at auto races, football games, writing general-interest books, producing movies, etc.

It’s a big task, but the model is in front of us. The right has been successful and we can look at how they did it. They build their system over time using a trial-and-error approach. By following the model they have developed we can take advantage of what they have learned and get this going in a much shorter time.

One thing we need to do is recognize just how broad the right-wing infrastructure is. The people you see speaking on TV are FUNDED. People like Bill Bennett are FUNDED. The organizations that promote their ideas are FUNDED. Their activists are FUNDED! And this is what WE need as well!

But there is MORE money on the moderate/progressive side – and there are MORE people. The problem is that our philanthropists are funding narrow-focus environmental programs, etc. This is great, but with the right’s attack going on it’s almost useless – a waste of money. If they would divert 10-20% of that funding to building a broad progressive infrastructure similar to the right’s, developing public support of progressive principles in general, then this public support leads to progressive candidates getting elected – and even leads to environmental organizations, etc. having a broader base of funding support – all of which leads to the accomplishment of the very goals that the original narrow-focused programs were trying to achieve! It is an INVESTMENT and it will pay results. So the philanthropic community – the foundations, etc. – need to wake up and see that their money is wasted without building broad public support for progressive principles.