In a country like ours, where politics is organized by party, parties are organized by ideological principles, but those ideological principles tend to align with demographic categories, we see three types of political strategies.



This political strategy simply uses power to enact one’s program.  It is a self-limiting strategy over the short-to-medium term.  The enthusiasm of one’s own supporters diminishes as they get what they want, and the energy of one’s own opponents increases.


Realpolitik.  Anti-naïve, but stupid.

This political strategy simply uses power to maintain power.  Give the voters whatever they want, vote pork to important donors and special interests in your political coalition, come up with largely symbolic meaningless fights to placate your voting base.

Any successful political faction has to indulge in some pragmatism, but the more pure the pragmatism, the stupider it is.  In the medium term, pragmatism destroys its power also.  The mass of one’s own voters lose interest in voting for a group that never seems to give them anything other than political theater.  It is also a disaster in the long term, because it allows opponents who are at the third level of political strategy to proceed unchecked.

The current GOP is deeply afflicted with realpolitik pragmatism, and is suffering accordingly.  Doubtless many or even most GOP operatives pride themselves on their hard-bitten realism.  They are fools.



This strategy realizes that the best use of power in a democracy is to expand the size of one’s own demographic factions and decrease the size of one’s own opponents.  In so doing, you set up long term momentum for your own increase of power and create electoral incentives for your very opponents to start enacting your programs and enforcing your principles in law.  Put crudely, the strategy for Democrats is to make sure there are more of the people who have the principles that make them vote Democratic, and less of the people who have the principles that make them vote Republican, and the strategy for Republicans is the opposite.  Demographic strategy is the ultimate strategy in a democracy such as ours.



Democrats are quite good at demographic strategy.  Republicans are terrible.  The consequences are manifest everywhere.

Reliably Democratic groups are immigrants, minorities, government workers, academics and educators, people on government assistance, atheists, and singles (especially single women)

Reliably Republican groups are generic assimilated “whites,” private sector blue-collar industries such as mining and oil, married folks, the military, and the religious.

We are on a decades-long bipartisan project of increased immigration and decreased immigration enforcement, of expanding affirmative action and diversity training efforts that incentive people to identify as minorities and not to assimilate (recently even Jews have started to argue that they shouldn’t be considered white), expanded funding for education (especially education bureaucracies), increased non-military government employment, decreased military personnel, easy divorce and propaganda for actions that make marriage less likely and divorce more likely, and decreased role of religion in public affairs.

The GOP’s main planks are abortion, which is demographically neutral and which the GOP has done very little about anyhow; gun rights, which is also demographically neutral; lower taxes, which is the one plank that arguably expands their coalition slightly by increasing incentive to work; and expanded funding for military hardware, which is demographically neutral.

As a result, the GOP is getting little of them and will soon get none.

Further Thoughts

  • The holy grail of politics is to hit all three levels at once.  Consistent with one’s principles, politically popular, and demographically sound.  I can think of several Democratic thrusts that hit this sweet spot.  I cannot think of a single Republican effort.  They are determined to be beautiful losers.  Cynicking themselves to death.
  • If the demographic efforts necessary to maintain the groups that support one’s principles are contrary to those principles, then the principles are flawed and need to be rethought.  I suspect libertarianism is probably the best example.  Here’s a libertarian who makes an interesting demographic argument, some of which is applicable to the Right generally.  Yet the leading examples of libertarians who thought seriously about what kind of power structures would maintain libertarianism over the long term are Hoppe, who became a monarchist, and Moldbug, who because something even more outré than that.
  • If you think this is an essay that gets deeply into politics,  you have been deceived by our discourse.  this is a shallow essay, making obvious points.  What passes for normal political discourse in this country isn’t shallow.  It is froth.


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