Partisan political stuff is as tacky as you can get, and if anything could get people chucked out of NRx (and into the garbage-compressor of history), that should be it. Having said that, and — of course — in a spirit of the loftiest imaginable detachment, here’s just the slightest morsel.
The Sailer Strategy is a model of sorts. This is due less to its concrete recommendations (fascinating even to those who disagree with it, perhaps vehemently), than —
(a) Its configuration of the political chess board as a puzzle, posing the question: Given this set up, is there any way for the GOP to win? Playing GOP is much more fun, because it’s actually a challenge. Sailer doesn’t need this encouragement, because he’s clearly a small-d democrat, and probably also a big-R Republican, in sympathy at least. Despite this, his disreputable noticing habit makes him radioactive, which brings us to —
(b) While a paragon of ingenuousness, Sailer is positioned by strategic necessity in a position of subterfuge. His ideas are discussed in fearful whispers, in shadowy corners of political think-tanks, and circulated only in heavy disguise. It would be quite impossible for a pursuit of the Sailer Strategy to be publicly admitted, short of a social and ideological catastrophe so profound that its recommendations would have already been rendered moot.
The Outsideness Strategy is anti-democratic, merely opportunistically Republican, and politically-unmentionable for even more essential reasons than those just now alluded to. It has the advantages of extreme practicality, comparative simplicity, and — most importantly — definitiveness. It is intrinsically irreversible. It cannot be part of any continuing political dialectic. Once it is executed, the GOP will have expended itself utterly in completion of its teleo-historical function and auto-dismantle, among the ashes of American Democracy®.
The unspeakable core of the Sailer Strategy: The GOP actually doesn’t need anything but the white electorate to win, and [gasp!] racial polarization could easily be conceived as an asset.
The Outsideness Strategy analog: the almost incomprehensible idiocy of the democratic system and, more specifically, of the American electorate is a massively under-exploited resource. The subtitle of the strategy paper that really cannot ever be written reads: Winning big and terminally on the idiocratic battlefield.
This is not the place to rehearse the neoreactionary diagnosis of democracy as an engine of cognitive deterioration. The “appalling political ignorance of the American electorate” isn’t exactly stupidity, but it’s a reasonable proxy, and no one has any serious plans to fix it. Let the liberals explain it to you:
Election 2014 makes a compelling case for Netflix to re-classify 'Idiocracy' as a documentary.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) November 5, 2014
I’m assuming it can be assumed.
Two helpful references before bolting things together:
(1) Peter Thiel explains why it would be a disaster for the GOP to win the presidency in 2016, unless the financial has crashed by then (which he doesn’t expect it to).
(2) Jonathan Chait argues:
Eternally optimistic seekers of bipartisanship have clung to the hope that owning all of Congress, not merely half, will force Republicans to “show they can govern.” This hopeful bit of conventional wisdom rests on the premise that voters are even aware that the GOP is the party controlling Congress. In fact, only about 40 percent of the public even knows which party controls which chamber of Congress, which makes the notion that the Republicans would face a backlash for a lack of success fantastical.
Nobody expects these two to agree upon much, but they do agree upon one thing: ‘Blame the President’ is the key to the democratic game. The figure-head of executive power — crafted ever more blatantly to Hollywood standards with each fresh election — is the convergence point where sublime ignorance, mass resentment, media opportunity, and electoral agency intersect. Just recognizing the President largely exhausts the mental capacities of the electorate as far as political matters are concerned, with a little slack left over for First Lady reality TV, and then — possibly — knowing the name of the Veep. After that, its swirling cognitive chaos, fed by outrages from partisan bubble-worlds, TV sound-bites, salacious detail, and race porn. The thought processes of the median voter are extremely easy to model: Things bad, blame President! Nothing beyond that has any real relevance, except to nerds.
Outsideness Strategy jiu jitsu jumps straight out of this. The fundamental recommendation: Shore up the symbolic radiance of the Presidency, and then avoid it like the plague. Aim to win everything except the Presidency, until the whole machinery comes apart. In other words, a GOP pursuing the OS would (furtively) renounce presidential office for the remaining duration of American Democracy.
What would be in it for them? Everything except the Presidency. That’s almost everything already. Pursue the Strategy, incrementally gut the powers of the executive, and the proportion of political prizes lying outside the Whitehouse steadily grows. That’s where the interests of an intelligent (if still craven, gluttonous, massively corrupt, and in most other ways radically despicable) GOP lie. All the pork warehouses get shifted away from the glittering media-saturated magnificence of the Whitehouse, ever deeper into the shadows, enabling monstrous plundering on an unprecedented scale to take place completely beyond the horizon of concrete democratic comprehension. (Nobody said it was going to be pretty.) POTUS gets the blame, Nu-GOP gets the gravy, FedGov is delegitimated, power is salted away steadily into state houses, and the whole abomination hurtles towards national disintegration. There’s only one thing the GOP has to do, and that’s to lose the presidential election every single time. Manage that, and it wins pretty much everything else without even trying.
If the Outsideness Strategy had already been initiated, we certainly wouldn’t have been told about it. The 2016 GOP Presidential pick will tell us a lot.
ADDED: “Republicans need to remember: The electorate that turns out at midterms is demographically narrower than the pool of voters who elect presidents.” — Relevant, and usable.