Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Trevor Drown Syndrome

Lately I have been turning my attention to why conservative activists fair so badly and are constantly outmaneuvered in political struggles, even though polls show a great deal of support for many of their basic positions. It is hard to escape the conclusion that while they may be wise on policy, they are foolish on strategy. They may know the right thing to do with power, but they don't know the right thing to do to get it.

Some of this is just due to a superior moral position. Conservatives tend to be principled beyond their own self-interest. Liberals will build a coalition with anyone if it advances their self-interest. Given that disparity it is not surprising whose self-interest gets more advanced. But beyond that, I am sad to say that conservatives don't fight smart, even when they fight for the right. And sometimes, their idealism is used against them, to divert their precious time, energy, and money into dead ends that burn them out without a reasonable chance of effecting positive change.

An example of this was Independent US Senate Candidate Trevor Drown. I am still not convinced that he wasn't either a government plant, or a candidate set up by the Democrats to drain votes from John Boozman. If that is true, then conservative activists got suckered, but even if its not true, even if Drown was 100% sincere, they still got suckered. They got suckered into wasting time, energy, and effort in a race it was totally unrealistic for him to win, or even accomplish any laudable goal whatsoever.

It takes a lot of energy to gather 10,000 voter signatures. I know, I've tried and failed for lack of help. Still, Drown got them. If those same signatures had been gathered for an alternative political party rather than a single man, dozens of conservatives could have run for local offices or for state legislative offices. Some of them might have even won. Someone could have run for Governor, and if they had gotten only 3% of the vote (likely given how listless the Jim Keet campaign was), then that alternative party would have gotten automatic ballot access next time. They could have even run someone against Dustin McDaniel, with a decent chance of winning that race. And of course, Drown could have wasted his energies trying to make the US Senate an entry-level political position.

When I gently tried to explain to my political friends that the Drown campaign was an unrealistic goal, I was often met with belligerence. When I tried to explain that we should focus on changing our own city halls and statehouse at least as much if not more than we should on trying to change Washington, I was met with incomprehension. Yet those things were, and are, true.

Mistakes are a part of being human. I make them daily. We all make them. Making mistakes does not make a person stupid, failing to learn from them does. It's past time to have a serious look in the mirror about what we are doing and how we are doing it. It's time to use our heads rather than our emotions to guide our actions. It's time to refuse the "busy work" that D.C. special interests masquerading as reform groups try distract us with.

It's time to do those things, but there is not much time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so true. I had how we conservative are always shooting ourselves in the foot. If we'd use our heads and make a concerted effort, we'd be much farther along. Good post Mark.

9:42 AM, January 17, 2011  
Anonymous Jason said...

That was a great post that I really needed to read. Thanks!

7:44 PM, January 18, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trevor Drown is the real deal. I served with him in Afghanistan in 2006.

3:50 PM, November 30, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trevor Drown is the real deal and he is sincere. I served with him in Afghanistan in 2006.

I'm posting as Anonymous because I don't want to have to register for a Google account to make a post, but if you need to contact me, you can reach me at

3:54 PM, November 30, 2011  

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