Conversations Frozen In Time: Movement Campaigns In Disarray

Together over the years we have discussed among ourselves the fundamental nature of political movements beginning on the Continent and their often unrecognized manifestations here. While this version of the Bunker captures some of it, STSOZ 1.0 probably has the more complete analysis. You can find it at the links above and search.

All of which is to say that we together have understood that political movements require amorphous natures and to survive must ignore formal organization (even when proffered for show). So it’s no surprise to see so many Rightist Movement campaigns stumble and flail – at least according to the considered professional judgments of political pundits unschooled in political philosophy and deploying the smirk certitude of assumed American participatory pluralism. Or the “Republican” professional campaign mercenaries.

We’ve had conversations with long time Movement operatives close to two such campaigns (no, we’re not including Newt). Long story short, you’ve probably already grokked the basics – new media ensures there are no confidences anymore, just delayed Tweets. In one case, a formerly high flying candidate rejected objectively sound advice and we’re told embraced a modern day Rasputin for final advice. Some of the instances shared with us sound unusually idiosyncratic. The candidate, however, remains in the game, continuing to send Movement dog whistles. It’s frankly hard to imagine when this candidate announced that a movement campaign in this environment would somehow subject itself to the discipline and boring work such as planning and budgeting. So, in that sense, everyone involved made their own beds.

A separate conversation involved a still leading campaign (currently struggling with a brutal news cycle). The ask was for contributions on themes heretofore ignored by the campaign. As typical in a Movement entity, despite the existence of a formal Vice President for X, Vice President for Y was seeking advisors and information about X to give to the candidate. It’s true that some duplication and rivalry is inevitable when a stunt campaign inexplicably finds itself forced to become (or at least pretend) the real thing. But the underlying process of ‘working towards the leader’ for favor and face time ignoring formal organizational tables is inherently a trait of ideological movement entities. So we weren’t surprised or put off. It’s just how these things roll.

There does seem to be a growing resignation that Romney will be the nominee among the professional Movement operatives. Much talk about how damaged Rubio is by implosion of his immigration mythos. Which gives the tattered remnants of the professional “Republican” class some relief. What they see in all of the above is a glimpse that the radical tide of 2001-2011 finally might be spent, and having reached its crest, begin to recede. Which poses the interesting question of who is the most out of touch?