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At the Frontier Lab, Anne has applied deep values methodology to numerous political topics, including why people decide to become politically active, Occupy movement participants’ motivations, and why Republicans won’t call themselves Republican, among others.
I saw Anne at CPAC 2015, and in the course of our discussions, I asked Anne who she liked among the many rumored presidential candidates. She said Donald Trump.
I was like, what is that all about? He’s never going to run, he always teases, and anyway, Trump? Seriously? She was serious. She said, look, he’s the one. She was insistent not only that Trump would run but that he’d win. It seemed totally incredible.
These conservatives had had enough after 2012, being told to get in line and vote for Romney, and then the RNC Autopsy report came out basically as a rubber stamp to keep pursuing the same tired strategies.
Those aware of the Autopsy felt it simply confirmed what the Romney debacle had already shown them – that the GOP and its parasites were incapable of reforming themselves. The only answer was an outsider to blow it all up.
Recently, for example, I found myself asking “why is it that Black Lives Matter appeals to you MORE than your time as an activist with Occupy?” And then, “why is it important that your classmates see you as affiliated?” As we continue to push we reveal the underlying values and emotions that drive this behavior.
At the time, I was following these threads about conservatism:
The desire for a concrete way to demonstrate the action of “standing up for your beliefs”
Concern that they had been enabling “bad behavior” of the GOP in the same way that a parent enables a child
A taste of empowerment that had come from interaction with the Tea Party movement, but yearning for more
There was so much anger I had been cataloging at those in charge. There was a seething sense of being disrespected by those in charge. One of the insights from my research at the time was that when people were asked to “choose the lesser of two evils,” they were basically dropping like flies from the Republican label.
WAJ: What were their issue differences with the CPAC crowd?
Anne: It was outside of the issue spectrum completely. There was a shift away from one-off issue concerns (taxes, health care, even jobs) in favor of the underlying heart foundation for those issues. Another event that those leaving the Republican label had in common (and yet remaining to vote that way) was an incident of perceived betrayal by the GOP establishment. Individual after individual had an anecdote to relate of an extremely negative interaction with a party official or candidate. Those peddling the issues simply looked down upon them and that showed.
The GOP insiders didn’t realize “things had gotten truly bad.” They were still working. These people weren’t.
Even though Trump was so wealthy, he offered a sense of fairness in life. His show the Apprentice asked people to perform, and if they didn’t they were gone — that’s fundamentally what everyone was asking for. An economy where hard work could be rewarded. Not a handout.
Ted Cruz being so conservative simply wasn’t enough to win the hearts of people. It was as though he was disliked rather than respected for going against the grain. Trump succeeded at this outsider status.
Then he said he’d address the issue of sovereignty. We’re being told constantly, even and maybe especially by the GOP, that we must orient ourselves to global opinion. That it’s old fashioned to have borders, to insist on constants in our values. Diversity as an end in itself must be kow-towed to, instead of our country’s unique set of historic values.
Immigration and border security, even terrorism, relate to the broader ideas of “is our culture in America unique?” “Do potential immigrants need to share those values?” even “what is diversity without shared values?” And of course, “is sovereignty important, or does the broader global community offer better guidance than we can?”
WAJ: Are you saying small government doesn’t matter?
Anne: No, it’s not that it doesn’t matter. Just like the Constitution didn’t cease mattering before the Civil War. But slavery needed to be addressed. Today, sovereignty and elitism are those issues, is what Americans were saying.
Then as now, despite this historic rebuke of the GOP’s management capabilities, many Republicans are insisting on broadcasting where they are along this “right vs. left” spectrum. They aren’t answering the fundamental questions driving Americans anymore. It’s like when the Whigs failed to give an answer on slavery, and the Republicans came along and said, “abolition,” this is what the GOP will be built upon.
WAJ: What should we understand about the Americans who supported Trump that we still continue to miss?
Anne: They may care about all these conservative issues too, but they recognize that the enemy is within the gates. Our culture is what’s’ being eroded. Small government may be the mechanism to restore much of our country’s greatness but it isn’t the emotion, the value, that drives our country’s unique role in the world.
WAJ: You predicted Trump more than two years ago. What’s your next prediction?
Anne: I’ve been focusing my work these past few years to studying the attraction of mass movements on the left. The problem is that the left is provides through its mass movements the fulfillment of deep human needs. Sense of purpose. Meaning in life. A community of like-minded individuals. A sense of belonging. Etc.
Much of this comes from my work on Occupy Wall Street and more recently a project on Black Lives Matter operatives and activists. Their stated aim is “total social upheaval.” I’m afraid that these programmed participants will engage in escalating levels of violence as our culture continues to fracture completely into two different sectors.
Through this the left has been programming a separate society, with values utterly fractured from mainstream, conservative America. What BDS, Black Lives Matter and Occupy provide is quite compelling to a segment of young people who fear being ostracized from the left’s cultural community. That’s hard to replace in the short-term, although there are pathways. We are failing to provide a competitive product to the left’s cultural community and enforcement mechanisms (ostracization from your peers on campus or in the workplace, for example).
originally posted by: beeeyotch
actually I had it pegged since the first two weeks after he came down the escalator. Then when I heard the liberal media pounding him every day then I knew he was the guy. Now they are inciting riots and protests. They are crazy and low with their tactics.
"Anne: They may care about all these conservative issues too, but they recognize that the enemy is within the gates. Our culture is what’s’ being eroded. Small government may be the mechanism to restore much of our country’s greatness but it isn’t the emotion, the value, that drives our country’s unique role in the world."
And this is the first of the warning statements. We know we are infiltrated. We know that people inside our own nation are busy tearing apart our culture by labeling it as every evil thing under the sun and seeking to undermine it in favor of a polyglot of nothing. This election was the first shot in our fight to keep what is ours as Americans of all stripes and creeds.
"Anne: I’ve been focusing my work these past few years to studying the attraction of mass movements on the left. The problem is that the left is provides through its mass movements the fulfillment of deep human needs. Sense of purpose. Meaning in life. A community of like-minded individuals. A sense of belonging. Etc.
Much of this comes from my work on Occupy Wall Street and more recently a project on Black Lives Matter operatives and activists. Their stated aim is “total social upheaval.” I’m afraid that these programmed participants will engage in escalating levels of violence as our culture continues to fracture completely into two different sectors."
And this is the second warning statement.
The historical American character that celebrated the equal promise inherent in each individual regardless of race, religion, or creed, and that rejected the rigid class structures that prevailed in Europe, now has competition from a divisive and freedom-undermining philosophy. I call it the communitarian culture.
NationalReview: The Frontier Lab Thesis
THE FRONTIER LAB conducts cutting-edge, private-sector-based market research to understand how and why Americans form their opinions about the civic, cultural, and political landscape.
THE FRONTIER LAB employs the latest methodologies, from laddering analysis and behavioral event modeling to framing psychology, as well as traditional surveys, to map “political consumer” behaviors and the psychology behind their choices.
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