Republicans must actively engage in and change popular culture

In C.S. Lewis’s book The Last Battle, when the characters find themselves in an afterlife of tremendous beauty, Lewis includes a group of stubborn dwarves who insist that they’re actually trapped in a dark, dirty shed. In many ways, Republicans are the same: Despite a world of virtually unlimited media channels, they continue to act as if it’s still 1970, and there are just the three big networks when it comes to popular culture. Until Republicans break out of that mental prison, Democrats will continue to control popular culture and, by extension, the vote.

During his Wednesday night monologue, Tucker Carlson said something important, having to do with the fact that, when it comes to selling their message, Republicans are like the dwarves: They insist that their ability to communicate with Americans is still a little, 1970s-style shed with one crackling microphone:

The mechanics of an election…they matter sometimes more than any individual running in the election. The way people vote makes a big difference to the outcome. And so, by the way, does access to channels of communication.

Why does that matter? Well, because you can say whatever you want but, if no one hears you, you’re not really speaking.

And that’s the case for Republicans. So often, as of tonight, Republicans can communicate their message unencumbered on a single cable television channel and low-trafficked websites. That’s it.

The rest of the American media amounts to a gigantic filter designed to distort Republicans. It’s a campaign apparatus, and only the Democrats have it.

Now, you can whine about that—“Ooh, the media are liberal”— but it’s not about liberal or conservative. It’s about winning elections. Democrats can win because they have that. So, if Republicans want to win elections, too, they might spend money to fix that, to achieve parity.

So to restate, as of tonight, Democrats have far more control over the election machinery, and almost total control of the American media, and Republicans don’t.

These are not ideological problems. It’s not a question of who’s right on the issues. That’s settled, certainly in our minds, but probably even in the minds of people who vote Republican if it would occur to them, but it doesn't because they don’t know what they stand for.

I’m not as dismissive as Tucker is about internet sites, not just because I write for one but because they are a very good medium for communicating political information. Only the Daily Wire, though, has grasped Andrew Breitbart’s important insight, which is that politics is downstream of culture—and it’s probably done so because Ben Shapiro, when writing Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV, interviewed some of the most important people behind 1960s and 1970s TV, and heard them unabashedly boast about how they used entertainment to shift people’s values.

In 1972, the popular sitcom Maude ran a two-parter on abortion, with the eponymous character deciding to get one. It’s probably not a coincidence that the next year, the Supreme Court, measuring the cultural winds blowing, published Roe v. Wade, paving the way for over 63,000,000 American abortions.

Family watching television—and it’s time to offer them good stuff, not leftist propaganda. Image by mego-studio on freepik.

Other television shows subtly, and not so subtly, pushed the culture further and further left, on everything—feminism, gay rights, transgenderism, illegal immigration, economic policy, etc. Sitcoms, talk shows, crime dramas, nighttime soaps and, perhaps most importantly, kids’ shows, whether on the networks, PBS, Nickelodeon, or Disney, pushed a consistent cultural message: Democrat values are good; Republican values are evil.

In 2022, though, the GOP still spends money the old-fashioned way: On consultants, most of whom seem to be useless. Imagine how much more helpful it would be if conservatives had a TV channel that had a comedy show in which a woman doesn’t get an abortion, a nighttime soap opera in which an unhappy character is lovingly steered away from having so-called “gender reassignment” surgery, or after-school shows in which a teacher is a bad guy for trying to “re-identify” or the cool characters wonder if it’s unfair for people to jump the line to get into America when so many have waited patiently to do it the legal way.

People point to Christian TV to say that these conservative shows are a cul de sac in which no one is interested. But the early Christian TV shows were too earnest, too primitive, and too obvious. We can easily create entertainment just as good as the left’s, only with different core messages.

More and more, one gets the feeling that the GOP doesn’t want to win. The power brokers seem to enjoy the perks and the money without the responsibility of governing.

No wonder then, that when it comes to countering the left’s total control over popular culture, the power and money people behind the GOP seem perfectly content to live in their dark little shed with no access to ordinary Americans, rather than going out into the light on the internet or cable TV with a brave new station carrying entertainment that delicately but entertainingly pushes classic American and Judeo-Christian values.

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