“My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.” – Donald Trump, The Art of The Deal
In July, my wife and I took our oldest son to summer camp in Stanley, Idaho. Because Stanley is about four hours from home and because this was our son’s first trip alone, we pulled our camp trailer and camped about thirty minutes away. Should he encounter an emergency that required us to be there, we could get there much quicker than had we gone home. Thankfully, no such emergency arose, and we spent a relaxing week enjoying the area.
We in Idaho know that Stanley is a bit of a bohemian town for outdoor enthusiasts. If creature comforts are your thing, Ketchum and Sun Valley may be more your speed and are a mere forty-five minutes up the road. We spent one day driving out to Ketchum to have lunch and visit the grave of Ernest Hemingway. Both along the way and back in Stanley, we encountered the San Francisco invasion.
On no fewer than five occasions, we encountered families and couples who were vacationing from San Francisco. One conversation I overheard was between a local and a software engineer, originally from Monaco, who admitted that he didn’t like to share that he was now a Californian. He stated that they don’t carry a good reputation outside California. Ironically, the L.A. Times ran an article the same day repining about the Californian invasion of Mexico City and how the locals resented the soaring costs and neo-imperialism created by the Californian invasion.
In every conversation that I had or overheard, they all lamented the rampant crime and homelessness in San Francisco, and they spoke of how they no longer locked their car doors so that they could avoid broken windows on their vehicles. Several had moved out of the city and into the suburbs. One family moved all the way to Richmond, Virginia. Sadly, some voters had to experience this to learn a lesson. Or did they?
In every scenario encountered above, the vacationers spoke of how nice Idaho is and how they are actively looking to move here. They would laud the outdoor opportunities and low crime that Idaho offers. Then, following that, some would lament some of Idaho’s “backward ideas” on things like abortion while singing the praises of the progressive utopias they currently reside in, such as Richmond, Virginia. They would brag about how educated a city Richmond is and how that resonates with them. For my wife and myself, being overly educated in government indoctrination institutions isn’t something we hold in high regard.
I have written in the past about how it should be our objective to protect those things that make a locale worth moving to. It is a commitment that my wife and I take seriously. In Idaho, that means staunchly conservative. It means low taxes, low crime, and a commitment to family values. As a paleoconservative, in the mold of Barry Goldwater or Ron Paul, I have strong libertarian tendencies. In general, I believe in the non-aggression principle and the idea of leaving people alone. Unfortunately, the people whom you wish to leave alone often don’t reciprocate or hold the same values. Where does this leave us?
On the way back home from camping, it dawned on me that the only conservative solution to this invasion is to double down on our conservative positions. For instance, as a libertarian-leaning guy, I have long stated that I am ambivalent about the practice of smoking marijuana. I choose not to partake in it myself but prefer to stay out of other people’s lifestyle habits. From a policy perspective, there is no benefit to Idaho being an early adopter in decriminalizing its use. Pot-smokers tend to vote progressively, and being an early adopter would make Idaho an attractive destination to progressive voters. From this position, we either decriminalize it all at once nationally or be the last state to legalize it.
This solution extends to any conservative issue, such as abortion. If you don’t want to move to a conservative state because you can’t utilize abortion as a contraceptive, you’re probably the target demographic of anti-abortion laws. The progressive press refers to this as the rightward march of conservatism, but is it? Conservatives have long supported drug prohibition and opposed abortion. These positions are the status quo of conservatism, which by definition is unchanging.
This brings me to what I learned from my art teacher, and by art, I am referring to the Art of the Deal.
Donald Trump famously penned a book by this title on successful negotiation tactics. One such tactic is the Big First Demand. In this tactic, a negotiator will make big and often unattainable demands at the outset of negotiations so that by the end of the negotiation, he has gotten his opposition to arrive at their true end goal. For instance, demanding the construction of a border wall and demanding that Mexico pay for it still achieved the initiation of the construction of a border wall, even if not financed by Mexico. The Big First Demand is a successful strategy of any good negotiator, and it should become the mainstay of conservatives nationwide.
Studies have shown that the political poles are shifting to the left. This means that what was once the middle ground has shifted leftward, while unchanging conservatism has become farther from the median. As a result, conservative proposals are routinely painted as extreme. This accusation of extremism has deterred conservative politicians from promoting bold conservative positions in the name of electability. Unfortunately, this has made conservative America more palatable to the extreme left.
If conservatives wish to stave off the progressive invasion, they must first drown out progressive critics’ accusations of extremism and return to unapologetically conservative positions. In doing so, they will ultimately arrive at where they had hoped to be all along.