In headlines for petitions, articles and elsewhere I keep hearing progressives say "Republicans did this..." or "Make Republicans do this..."
When I write about regressive policies being proposed or implemented, or progressive policies being blocked, I tend to refer to the culprits as "conservatives". There are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, many times, these bad actions could not be successful with only the votes from the GOP. Yes, most of the regressive momentum and votes come from that party, but let's not fool ourselves or those we're talking to that they could have done it all by themselves. As another DK member wrote, "Behind every successful Republican is a complicit Democrat." When we use the "Republican" messaging, the message isn't only being absorbed by others. If we keep saying it enough times, it can also train our own brains to believe or semi-believe the myth that it's only that one party.
Our real struggle is against injustice and inequality. The GOP may at the moment be the preferred organization for those advocating injustice and inequality, but it's better to focus on the message rather than the messenger. Our job is to build a movement against the legislation, policies, actions, propaganda and forces of regression, injustice and inequality. That means the conservative agenda and those financing the war against the 99%. By speaking of "conservatives" we directly point to their goals. And we include anyone with those goals whether their membership card says "Republican", "Democrat", "Conservative", "Libertarian" or if they're a Lieberman-type "independent".
Perhaps, we can even manage to get many among the public to react to "conservative" as a dirty word, as conservatives and their financiers worked so hard to do to words like "liberal" and "union". Some might want to make "Republican" a dirty word. As I said above, I don't think that's the best approach. Nor is it the best way to treat the Republican Party of Lincoln's day. But from a purely practical point of view, I think human psychology of group association would mean we'd be up against party loyalty in addition to everything else in making "Republican" a dirty word. That could make it more difficult.
People who are currently members of the GOP aren't the most promising audiences. However, I don't think we should entirely write them off. It might be possible to influence them with iconic figures from the GOP's past. We could present them with Eisenhower's remarks on the "military-industrial complex". He was a general during WWII, a two-term president during the Cold War, etc. - Republicans won't find it as easy to close their minds to his words. Nixon signed important legislation on matters such as the environment. Some of Reagan's policies are progressive compared to today's Republican Party. We may be able to move some working people who tend to vote Republican in a positive direction by such means more effectively than by simply calling the GOP bad names.
As I've written before, working people hear mainstream news and views framed to benefit corporations and the rich. It's everywhere. One of the reasons working people haven't been taken in by the Big Lie more than they have is that every day they hear from family and friends what working people are really experiencing. The more we can get these chats to use "conservative" as the label for those attacking working people, the more that will become the starting point from which they make sense of the world. Conservatives won't simply seem like people who like policies most working people don't like. They - and others - will be soldiers in a dangerous army intent on invading the economic and social well-being of the majority.