Posted by: coloradokiwi | March 28, 2009

Ghyslain can certainly relate to the Republican Party

The GOP is rapidly losing an entire generation of voters, and I don’t mean just in  the short term of their series of epic fails.  It’s no secret that they are losing badly among the youngest voters, in part due to their intransigence on the culture wars, and in part, I think, because as a brand they are hopelessly uncool right now. Of course to some extent this has been true for some time:  in send-ups on Family Guy, The Simpsons, and myriad other pop culture ephemera, the GOP has been the party of rich, cranky, mean old white men.  With this “budget” rollout, however, the GOP appears to me to have finally cemented their place in internet culture—in a really detrimental way for them.  It’s one thing to have a stupid rollout and your policies openly mocked in the media.  It’s far worse, and more insidious, for your policies to become snarky internet memes.  This is bad for two reasons:

1.  The internet is where younger voters spend almost all their time now.  Even if they still get their news from more “mainstream” media sources, they do almost all their social networking online.  If the primary representation of Republicans and their policies happens via anti-Republican internet memes, then the impression of incompetence and idiocy becomes further cemented.

2.  These things almost never really go away.  Despite the impression we get that internet memes come and go with roughly the same regularity and speed as the tides, at least in terms of a meme’s popularity, a meme tends to be re-packaged, re-introduced, re-worked in some way that keeps it alive as a reference point.  How long has “All your base” been around now?  Its near-constant use during the height of its popularity has severely waned, but references to it as a kind of cultural place holder remain pretty steady (and I would argue even more widespread now than before).  Ditto Leeroy Jenkins, or Chris Crocker, or whatever.  And the incentive to keep this particular meme (i.e., making fun of the GOP’s chart) is higher, too, since this is politics and not “mere” zeitgeist effluvia.

The point is:  the GOP has now basically become Star Wars kid.  Sure, the popularity of making fun of their charts (or whatever else comes up) will wax and wane.  But the referent here will never truly go away, will instead be re-worked in shorthand to be the stuff of further jokes for the foreseeable future.  In addition to being outgunned in the blogosphere, they are now a part of the net ecology.  And I can’t help but think this will make it very hard to make inroads among younger voters, without which the GOP will continue to lose elections.




  1. This is hilarious, and probably true (at least in the sense that the jokes will continually be re-worked and re-integrated). However, another thing that kids seem to like is being contrarian and independent. If the GOP can effectively re-brand itself (let us hope the re-branding comes with substantive and intelligent re-positioning on a myriad of issues), I think they could create a new and energized base. Let’s hope the Coutlers, Hannitys, and Limbaughs are cut and thrown aside like the nasty refuse they are.

    On the other hand, Obama fucking rules, so … those bitches have their work cut out for them.

  2. Good points, Quinth. I wonder whether it will be Meghan McCain or Ann Coulter who will represent the GOP in the future. One way or another, I fully expect a major schism if after 2010 they do not gain several seats in Congress.

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