There are three aspects to problem solving that seem obvious when stated but are not always obvious to philosophers of problem solving. One is that you have to identify that there is a problem, as in an unwanted result. The next step is to then narrow in on the possible causes of the problem. The final step is to then produce a list of possible corrections to these complaints and causes. In the world of problem solving, this is known as Complaint, Cause and Correction.
If you are a working man who does productive things for a living, this is something with which you are familiar. If you fix big scary trucks for a living, every day someone points at a big scary truck, hands you a list of complaints and you then set about finding the causes of those complaints and their corresponding corrections. If you are a philosopher of big scary trucks, then this is a bit of a mystery. You wonder how any of this fits in with your particular school’s philosophy or ideology.
This disconnect is obvious in politics. The Republicans have been vexed by one primary complaint for close to a decade. The people they want to swindle into voting for them do not like them very much. In fact, they went so far as to vote for the one guy the party said was off-limits in 2016, Donald Trump. Despite the party’s best efforts to rid themselves of this troublesome man, the rank-and-file voters still prefer him over whatever the party offers as an alternative.
In other words, the party’s complaint is that the voters refuse to support the blocks of wood the party is selling and they support the guy they hate. This turned up in the local elections yesterday, where the Republican Party underperformed again. They even put up a based black guy in the Kentucky governor’s race, but the Democrat still won, in a state that is reliably Republican. In Virginia, the party failed to win the state house, despite their claims about the governor’s popularity.
Going back to the big scary truck idea, the complaint is that it is the wrong sort of big scary truck, and the driver wants his old truck back. You, the big scary truck fixer guy can certainly figure out the cause of the complaints. The company bought the wrong truck, or the driver is a knucklehead. The trouble is you have no correction for these causes, so the complaint must remain unaddressed. That is the problem for the Republican Party as it sinks into irrelevance.
The philosophers of political problem solving, like the philosophers of big scary trucks, will immediately point to their favorite correction. No matter the complaint, no matter the cause, they will argue that the correction is to do whatever it is they are paid to promote or what their ideological school promotes. They will skip that middle part, the cause, and maybe even recast the complaint to their liking. This is why politic punditry is endless rounds of more of the same.
There will be some who pretend to be smart by focusing on the cause. They will roll out some polls claiming that the party does not appeal to this group of new people or this other newly labeled identity group. They will argue, for example, the GOP lost support among young female Tinder users in Ohio. They failed to capture the one-legged lesbian Elvis impersonator vote in the Northern Virginia suburbs. The point of this analysis is to avoid looking too closely at the complaints and the causes.
The place to start for this result and what will be a similar result in the 2024 election is the complaint portion of the work order. If you asked white people to list their top-5 complaints with the party, none of them can be found in the op-ed section of major news sites or in the talking points of candidates. For close to a decade now these voters have been pilloried by the diversity rackets. The party’s corrective to this in Kentucky, a very white state, was to offer up Jeb Bush in blackface.
That is the problem of the party in a nutshell. It no longer pretends to care about the complaints of its voters. They refuse to even discuss most of them. The reason Youngkin won the governorship is because outside groups and grassroots volunteers were outraged at the diversity stuff in the schools. As soon as Youngkin won, he fell silent on all of this stuff and began dreaming of bigger things. Why would those voters come out and support his party in the next election?
It would be one thing if the party spent time properly discussing the complaints of their voters but failed to arrive at suitable corrections. The voters could at least kid themselves into thinking these guys will eventually land on the right correction, even if it is by blind luck. Here is the campaign website of Nikki Haley, who is the preferred option by the party for 2024. Note there is nothing on site to indicate why she is running or why it should matter to you. It is just stock phrases and photos.
Here is the website of Ron DeSantis, who thinks he is Trump-lite. Like Haley, there is nothing on the site but gibberish. At the top is what looks like a campaign slogan. “I am running for President of the United States because I want to lead our Great American Comeback. Our country is going in the wrong direction. We see it with our eyes and we feel it in our bones…” Lead to where? Back from what? Which direction is it headed and what is the right direction? Who knows?
To shift gears slightly, the salesman for the big scary truck repair facility has a job similar to a politician. He tries to convince people to use his service. As a salesman, he has been trained to rely on logos, ethos, and pathos. That is, he combines logical arguments in favor of his service, with his and his firm’s reputation, along with emotional arguments to close the sale. “You know we can do a good job for you, and you will sleep better knowing you signed with us.”
If the Republican Party were operating the big scary truck shop, the salesmen would be festooned in the flags of foreign countries and showing the prospects pictures of the one black guy they have working in their shop. Meanwhile, the mechanics would be spending their days driving penis pictures on the work orders. No one would do business with them because no one would understand the point of their business or know why they should do business with them.
In fairness, the party leaders probably know this at some level. They are smart and clever in the rat-like way that is common in politics. They surely see that they are running a generational bust out. The demographic that makes the Republican Party possible is sinking into permanent minority status. The goal here is to keep them from noticing while the party squeezes the last drops from the racket. The big scary truck shop will then be set on fire for the insurance money.
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