“Learn the 5 Tactics Republicans Will Use, and How to Counter Them”
There ain't no Cavalry Coming to the Rescue, But We can Still Win
Welcome back readers! In our first piece we illuminate and forecast, based on models and intelligence assessments, what tactics Republicans are surreptitiously deploying now, and what they will do next. We then detail how those can be effectively countered through strategy, organization and tactics. The second piece is a concept deep dive in which we illuminate Republican mis-information efforts, with specific focus on how the right purposefully and effectively mis-characterizes its intent -- aided by propaganda, projection, and the mainstream press -- and successfully characterizes its adversaries as existential threats to the nation. Enjoy. Comment at will. And please forward this to your friends and colleagues!
What Republicans Will do Next – And How We Defeat Them
This piece combines the results of a detailed and long-running examination of Republican Party strategy, and an intelligence analysis focused on the right’s near-term objectives. Its purpose is to provide you sufficient situational understanding to do your part in effectively countering the most likely tactics Republicans will employ from today through, and just beyond, the 2024 elections.
While there is much more to the right’s agenda than we have room for here, we’ve prioritized and consolidated Republican objectives and tactics into five categories, and within each we identify the Republican Strategic Line of Action first, then detail some of the key tactics associated with that Line of Action. We close each section with countermeasures that we’ve determined through modeling and research are most likely to be effective.
Line of Action 1: De-construct “America” as We Know It –
· Systematically Weaken Democracy’s foundational and supporting elements, by laying the groundwork for:
o the elimination of safety net programs, such as social security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, WIC, Head Start, the Affordable Care Act, free public education;
o the elimination or functional emasculation of all Federal Regulatory Agencies;
o new DOJ memos: broadening the President’s investigative role; and a total “get out of jail free” card for all things done by him and in his name while in office;
o legislation: outlawing or bringing all unions under federal oversight, restricting international travel, outlawing capital flight;
o the elimination or hollowing out all anti-discrimination amendments and laws such as 14thamendment, Title IX, and the Voting Rights Act;
o criminalization of powerful progressive concepts such as political activism, Critical Race Theory and other theoretical and conceptual frameworks, including most notably participative and to some degree representative Democracy itself (We’re a Republic you know!)
· Re-orient the Basis Underlying Government Service. They’ll try (and likely succeed) to change the oath that government officials take when joining and upon assuming offices. The beginning of the oath currently reads: “I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It will be changed by replacing “Constitution” with “President.”
These tactics provide their own pet ideologies and theories, such as neoliberalism on the more benign end of the scale, and eugenics towards the scarier end, a pseudo-intellectual veneer that allows their educated elites who should know better to delude themselves that they are animated by high principles instead of low morals. It also animates their masses. And it gives the press --who simply must fill their content channels to make money -- something to fill them with that costs them nothing to acquire.
Countermeasure: Mass mobilization; and immediate, broad, integrated and sustained political activism in the form of non-violent collective action
Line of Action 2: Demonize and De-legitimize “Government” while simultaneously seeking its total control.
· Propaganda Leveraging Smart Data: When I was young it was Republicans – paradoxically most notably Richard Nixon, who worried about the erosion in citizen support for American government and institutions. But then their data analyses indicated that they could leverage this trend and use it to feed their resentment machine. Now they deliberately accelerate this trend, and they weaponize every politically polarizing issue to give it the anti-government spin.
A substantial proportion of their ecosystem resources is dedicated to this subtle, long-term, Line of Action. For example, the Canadian trucker protests – for which we’ve already tracked the majority of its funding back to the American right – are designed both to intimidate the left, and to preempt left activism and maintain the offensive. But most insidiously, their purpose is to reify their position that violence, protest and activism against the oppression of “the state” is legitimate societal behavior – of course only for issues of their own choosing. Through this, and in fact all other tactics, the right is deliberately amplifying a systems effect known as “path dependence,” in terms of response both of its own troops as well as the left’s response, such that each subsequent act increases the outrage and mobilization of its own forces and dampens the left’s willingness to respond.
You’ll note that Republicans rarely directly attack the left’s policies themselves -- because everyone wants free health care, including Trumpists. So the attacks are subtle and seek to fool ignorant people into thinking that universal health care is something they should fear -- like Socialism, instead of something they want. The impact is pervasive. After 50 years of this tactic, even the left has given up on resolutely articulating what it wants, and now advances a basket of very weak apologetics as its primary countermeasure against the right’s anti-government propaganda onslaught.
· Political Corruption of Federal Agencies: Republicans will -- when next in the White House -- vastly expand the number of political positions in the Federal government, and change Government personnel policy to enable their appointees to “burrow in.” This will have an increasingly chilling effect on government employees, who rightly fear retribution such as termination, with the effect over time being to gradually turn politically neutral institutions of the state into political arms of the Republican Party. This effect will be amplified by the change to the Oath of Office mentioned above.
From personal experience and research we have concluded that this has already largely occurred at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), by far the most powerful and important agency of the Department of Homeland Security. It must be noted that tens of thousands of CBP employees -- the vast majority -- are great Americans who do the right thing every single day. However, they are increasingly being influenced by political appointees and the fear of how their current actions will be perceived the next time there is a Republican Administration.
We consider it highly likely that the next Republican Administration will target the U.S. Treasury Department’s FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), because this entity has the mission and capability to track global dark money flows, and thus to completely identify all nodes in the right’s global impunity network. Illumination of their network and its funding sources is of course the right’s biggest fear.
· The Democratic Party must rapidly:
o accept that it’s in a war it doesn’t want, that it is losing and on the defensive on every front, that this war is asymmetric and favors the right, and that the war is being fought on grounds of its adversary’s choosing;
o create a data-driven sense-making capability; because our analysis indicates that they are operating in the dark and that the right has decisive “information dominance” over them;
o develop and deploy a long-term strategy to win the war, not just survive election cycles while waiting for demographics to save them
· American citizens must: conduct counter-protests and disruption operations against all intimidation attempts in the public space, such as at school board meetings and the trucker blockade. We have a numerical advantage that when effectively mobilized and coordinated can cover all the bases. Join one or more of the progressive organizations in the linked list: https://www.startguide.org/orgs/orgs00.html
Line of Action 3: Intimidate Democratic voters, women, people of color, activists, press, moderates, and left-leaning elites
Tactics (proposed or already in use) –
· Running (legally!) over (liberal, women and/or Brown) protesters with automobiles
· Funding the defense of police and Rittenhouse-type nut jobs accused of wrongly killing liberals, women and/or Brown people
· Pledges of future investigations and prosecutions against adversaries
· Voting place police and goons
· Collecting data on citizen social media content, organizational memberships, political party voting registration
· Marches, blockades, shows of force, counter-protests
· Tactics we forecast:
o Targeted assassination of journalists
o Strategically planned Kyle Rittenhouse-type murders in jurisdictions unlikely to convict
o Fear campaigns targeting Brown people in competitive Congressional districts and Senate races
o Workplace loyalty oaths
o Mandatory pledge of allegiance for school attendance. This is one method to force compliance or force non-conformists out of the public schools – oh – they’ll be ineligible due to this expulsion to receive private school vouchers.
o Stochastic and ever-increasing levels and types of violence (lessons they learned from Stalin, Hitler, Putin, terrorist movements, and organized crime)
Countermeasures – Integrated left ecosystem Strategy; mass mobilization; planning and preparation; courage, and determination
Line of Action 4: Normalize and “Define Down” Aberrant, Un-American Points of View and Behavior.
Tactic – Systematically Launder Horrible Points of View in the manner raw sewage is rendered into wastewater. I was dismayed by how easy it was for even my liberal friends to accept the tripe that the recent/current worker shortage was caused primarily by people receiving Covid-related unemployment benefits being too lazy to go back to work. It was a plausible theory, but statistics showed such programs to be a rather minor contributor.
To illustrate how this happens, note this recent article by the Heritage Foundation (https://www.heritage.org/jobs-and-labor/commentary/no-surprise-study-finds-enhanced-jobless-benefits-prolong-unemployment) – whose main assertion is that “ a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper found conclusively that paying people not to work during the COVID-19 pandemic was why many of them remained unemployed.”
Clever writing that without further examination would lead the reader to believe that the NBES paper concluded that the primary or biggest reason people did not return to work was the unemployment benefits they received. The paper did no such thing. It tentatively (not conclusively) concluded that Covid-related unemployment benefits had a measurable impact on people’s willingness to return to work – as do all unemployment benefits by the way and mentioned in the paper – but an impact that could not by statistically disaggregated from the fear of contracting Covid in the workplace.
Thus while there is some truth in the article – the main thrust is inaccurate, and deliberately so. But then the soundbite quoted above was “validated” within the piece itself by a torrent of politically motivated half-truths, then further laundered by Fox News in its usual “we told you so” style. Then the mainstream press accepted and presented it is a “legitimate political point of view,” even though the statement was clearly promulgated by the right as fact instead of as interpretation or point of view. Then social media blew the story up using the mainstream press comments as legitimizing factors. Finally, then those looking for easy answers jumped on this interpretation and the real story got crowded out by the noise.
The real story, as we have indicated in so much of our work, is that in a complex system such as a society or economy, there are always multiple inter-related “causes” of outcomes, and an understanding of their interrelationships can only be teased out with computational support, modeling and structured analysis. If you haven’t got time to wait for that to occur, better just not forming an opinion in the first place because it is more likely to be wrong than right. And after you form an opinion you’re likely to defend it fiercely even in the face of truth. That’s what the bad guys do, and it’s what they want you to do.
The main point though is that the whole premise on which the article rests is flawed. We don’t have an economy to force people to work. That is known as, er, Communism, right? Rather, we have a society to protect people and allow them to flourish individually and collectively – and we have an economy to support our society’s objectives.
We then provide social programs through collective agreement – such as unemployment benefits – to smooth over the rough spots as evidence of our care for citizens so that they may once again flourish as soon as possible. Whether and when they choose to return to work – and what defines “work,” is not to be decided by a conservative think tank but through a collective series of choices we deliberately make as citizens.
We can no longer allow plutocrats to solely define “what work is,” who should be doing it, what the “right” wages of work are, and the terms of the debate.
· One fix – we’ve got to change our threshold for “good people.” Stop giving our friends and family a pass on accountability – that contributes directly to the right’s impunity. We’re not saying we have to pass judgment and take action – necessarily, when confronted with points of view that have not been thought through and that we disagree with. But we first have to notice them – they often pass unnoticed into the conversational bloodstream - and we have to counter them appropriately. You may lose friends – I have – you may jeopardize your livelihood – I have – some of your family members may be stunned – mine were – so be it. This is the least of the engagement we require to turn this thing around.
· Also, reach out to your elected representatives – Republican and Democratic – when you see this sloppy thinking evident in their proclamations and policies.
· Third, stop reading, paying for and supporting any media that plays this game. I canceled the New York Times because they make their living off their part of this laundering game.
· Finally, over the long term, after we’ve secured democracy, we’ve got to reset the entire American political and socio-economic system so that all elements of the nation have commensurate political power and voice. This will be achieved through participative democracy.
Line of Action 5: De-construct Rule of Law/Consolidate, Advance and Obfuscate Impunity Efforts
· Enact legislation contrary to long-held American principles – every time this happens the good guys get more demoralized and there is one more item on the to-do list for the opposition when back in power.
· Adopt Hypocrisy as Animating Principle – hypocrisy - eating your cake and having it too if you will, is the key behavioral trait linking totalitarians, authoritarians, Republicans, Evangelical Christians, White Christian Nationalists, and Trumpists. They are quite proud of their moral flexibility, thus it is impossible to hold them accountable in the classic moral sense for the actions they take or the positions they hold. The problem is that the rule of law is based on public morality, and absent a shared public morality there is no rule of law, there is just raw power. We are dangerously close to this condition today.
· Threaten Adversaries with Retribution – we’re already seeing this with Gingrich’s recent Fox News comment: “I think when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down and the wolves are going to find that they are now sheep, and they’re the ones who are in fact I think going to face a real risk of jail for the kinds of laws they’re breaking.” This tactic will get worse and more widespread, because it is effective and no one is stopping it.
· Co-opt Law Enforcement – we will increasingly see: legislation in Republican-controlled areas that provides police accused of misconduct with more protections, likely even funding their defense with public money; larger police forces; substantially higher pay; and post-retirement sinecures in the vast Republican ecosystem.
· Strengthen the Global Impunity Network – Republicans will grow ever more supporting of Putin and other, particularly European authoritarians because all benefit from a weakening of American power and willingness to enforce norms of justice. The U.S. is by far the most important global force for justice and this is the primary reason Putin targets us so fiercely.
· Flood the Communication Zone – Propaganda doesn’t have to be perfect or even plausible if there’s a lot of it and a ready audience. It is one machine that can win with mediocre product, because its primary consumers have been trained to believe that TGI Friday’s, NASCAR and vacationing in Branson, Missouri constitute “the good life,” and because the media needs evergreen content to feed its outrage machines.
· Attack Adversaries Continuously – this is simply “Warfare 101,” and how the left continues to be perplexed and unprepared for it is beyond me.
· Erase the Money Trail – Like organized crime after Capone, Republicans and their network will develop increasingly sophisticated money laundering methods so that we’ll never have enough time to put the whole puzzle together before the damage is done.
Countermeasures – White, liberal American citizens must replace their beliefs in American myths, blind faith in “the system and its institutions,” and hope for things to get better, with a much more nuanced, mature and objective view of current reality – like the ones espoused by Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, and most Americans of color. All Democrats, liberals, and progressives must combine forces behind a common strategy and uplifting vision for America. We must determine what we’re willing to fight for, then fight.
We don’t have the resources the Republican party has. But someone on our team needs to use big data to figure out precisely which tactics they’ll deploy next. Rest assured they’ll be those at the intersection of what their own base most fears, what the left is blind to and thus reacts to most slowly, and what the press will consider controversial, salacious and most likely to generate useless outrage.
Also, we should learn to de-prioritize right-generated issues designed primarily to mobilize their own base and distract the left, such as immigration restrictions, Muslim bans, book burning, etc. Ugly stuff with real victims, but we can’t address it all, and it is the classic big tent effort to address all things with specialized resources that keeps us from seeing and fighting the real enemy in the critical battlespaces.
You may have been hoping the countermeasures were chock full of interesting policy ideas. If so, sorry to disappoint. As we explained in our last newsletter, (https://www.revelatur.com/p/the-noise-before-defeat?utm_source=url) there are multiple reasons why it makes little sense to put much effort into legislation in the near term, with a few specific exceptions. The real issue is the lack of mobilization and commitment on the part of the left to political activism – without which all the laws in the world are useless.
And you may have been hoping that you’re already doing everything we recommend, and thus the countermeasures list would be validating, and constitute “someone else’s” to-do list. Again, sorry. If there is to be a swing back to American democracy as we aspired it to be, it will be the willingness of the left to line up solidly behind the rule of law, as an organizing principle of society, that will force Republican ecosystem financiers to moderate their combat forces. Only money talks to their elites, and only the fear of being brought to account concerns the plutocrats. Legislation does not matter to the elites and plutocrats – all the laws we need to fix our ills are already on the books – and anyway they can buy their way out of any legal jam.
We need to stop looking for the smoking gun, the Master Strategy hidden in somebody’s attic that lists all these Lines of Action. Republicans say these things, they do these things, all the intelligence indicators are there that tell us they’ll continue in this manner unless/until they are stopped by superior force. They’re looking at this as an existential battle, the left is looking at it like one long extended investigation. With the impunity the right has already established, even if we found such a document, and it was signed by Trump, Hawley, et al, so what? They wouldn’t likely be prosecuted, they’ll get reelected, and they’ll investigate and prosecute anyone connected with the effort as soon as they have the requisite power.
And finally, expect more of the same – not some internal Republican reckoning. The right’s think tanks have got the next fear issues for their base, and intimation issues for the left, stacked up like obituaries waiting for the opportune moment to drop them into the outrage bloodstream. From their perspective, they’re doing nothing wrong as a matter of principle — and as a matter of fact, because they have no organized opposition.
The Real Revolutionaries
If, as I aver, the United States I grew up in can be accurately described as aspirationally-democratic, pluralistic, anti-class, anticlerical/politically secular, anti-authoritarian, liberty-pursuing, actualization-optimizing (everyone can grow up to be President) pioneering (in the best senses of that word), and merit-based – all concepts that were explicit or inherent in the nation’s founding; and if, post-founding we added these aspirations: underdog supporting; generous; world-leading; freedom enabling; and inclusive -- then it is not the American left that is trying to change the American social contract, foment a revolution, turn our backs on the Founders, etc. It is, paradoxically, the American right that has this intention.
Republicans are conducting nothing less than a revolution in values and ideality. They are “conserving” nothing inherently “American,” but attempting to relitigate the Civil War and render the U.S. into the type of plutocracy-oligarchy that has reigned over most people throughout history. Since what they seek is exactly what we fought the American Revolution in explicit rejection of -- the sameness and staleness and smallness that had described life for most people prior to that point -- the right is -- knowingly and explicitly at the elite level, while ignorantly at the soldier level -- working like mad to take the U.S. backwards.
It is ironic, yet accurate, to describe the modern American right as reactionary, and the left as “conservative” -- from the standpoint of traditional American values and ideality/aspiration. That said, American liberals and progressives are, unfortunately, not currently represented by any major American political party. We progressives are thus essentially disenfranchised by the American political system.
The following chart -- comparing traditional American values and ideality with those supported by Republicans, supports our conclusions.
We can confirm our suppositions because the right accuses the left of revolutionary intent, and the right is all about psychological projection. Really, if you want to know what they’re about, a simple method is to catalog all the things they accuse the left/democrats of doing and desiring, and reverse the polarity.
The two defining characteristics of the modern American right are projection and hypocrisy. Interestingly, both are signs of psychological immaturity, and render Republicans remarkably susceptible to influence and manipulation. Here’s a chart detailing Republican projection onto the left:
*John McCain was a prisoner of the North Vietnamese for five and a half years, routinely tortured, permanently disabled. Trump’s 2015 comment about Senator McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
FYI, McCain received the Naval Aviator's Badge, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit w/Combat V and Star, the Distinguish Flying Cross, the Bronze Star w/V and Two Stars, Purple Heart w/Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal w/Star and Strike/Flight Numeral 2, Navy Commendation Medal w/ Combat V and Star, Navy Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Prisoner of War Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal w/Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Two Stars, Republic of Vietnam National Order of Vietnam, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross) and Vietnam Campaign Service.
If we could only figure out why the right’s army fights proudly to disadvantage themselves, perhaps we could get back on track. Unfortunately, no one has ever figured this out -- Hannah Arendt and George Orwell come closest from the analytical and satirical points of view -- but even the combination of their good work has never quite scratched the itch for me. Curiosity aside, we don’t have to deeply understand dark motivations to fight them successfully any more than we did with the Axis Powers and Fascism. Anyway, we’ve concluded that the quest for deeper motivational understanding is counter-productive to our urgent need to fight back effectively.
Now, I realize that neither I nor any other single individual get to define what is America – we are a pluralistic society by design and lived experience, even if full democracy never quite fully flowered. But we have agreed – by virtue of citizenship, to abide by the Constitution and be animated by the declaration of independence -- two documents that lit the world on fire -- and I might add -- got the world out of abject poverty, degradation, and eventually chattel slavery. Yes, these victories were the work of political documents and human bravery on a mass scale -- not the work of the invisible hand of capitalism as the right wants you to think.
Capitalism does not and has never animated but a small percentage of people – capitalists – for whom its precepts generate massive rewards. Most of us are not capitalists – including the vast majority of Trumpists -- in that we do not own the means of production and leverage capital for our own economic purposes. For most of us, capitalism is something done to us like God’s will, which is certainly why Evangelicals and the right are so comfortable with it. Like the religious God, American capitalism has become societally sacrosanct.
Importantly, the implicit religious nature of modern capitalism gives it a teleological aspect that is providing cover for Republican misdeeds, much as the old twin Communist concepts of ‘socialist inevitability’ and the ‘correlation of forces’ served to legitimize Soviet and Chinese global misadventures and mass citizen exterminations. Indeed, American capitalism even tracks down and eliminates economic heresies -- such as socialism, Marxism and Communism -- as did the Catholic Church for a millennium and a half (I’m a lapsed Catholic, BTW). Capitalism is the right’s one true God – which is why they brook no discussion of any alternatives, and why the left is so squeamish about advancing any.
So where are we as a society?
The right is attempting to: subvert traditional American values, totally replace 250 years of aspirations that changed the world, negate the Founders’ vision, replace both the theistic God and political secularism with dogmatic and mandatory belief in the God of capitalism, and overthrow the hard-won government and institutions millions of Americans have devoted their lives to building, and hundreds of thousands have died protecting. They fervently believe that they have a responsibility to fight for this God, to the death if necessary, and in this belief and their actions expose themselves not as patriots nor good citizens, but as nihilists (their creed), crusaders and revolutionaries (motivational orientation), reactionaries (politically), and traitors (legally).
The left is proving adept at seizing the high moral ground, but finding it gives them no clear fields of fire on an enemy who willingly concedes that battlespace.
The majority is just watching it all with curious detachment, waiting for the right to cross some yet-to-be-defined threshold of outrage that is, curiously, never quite reached.
Bottom line: There is no bothsidesism (“a media bias in which journalists present an issue as being more balanced between opposing viewpoints than the evidence supports,” Wikipedia) that does explanatory justice to the monstrous nature and implications of this situation, there is no symmetry between the political parties that justifies voting for Republicans, and there are no mitigating factors justifying the current level of inaction on the part of democrats, liberals and progressives. This threat is real, it is societally existential, and it demands more sustained and effective resistance than we are giving it right now.