The GOP’s “Trigger the Left” Strategy for Winning Elections

The modern GOP cares less about substantive policy for the nation’s residents and more about igniting the media and Democrats.

The way a democracy should function is that voters look at the various policy proposals of each party and candidate and decide who has the best ideas for taking care of constituents and communities.

That’s how a democracy should work.

The modern GOP has chosen to focus less on policy and more on triggering the Left.

An article about Kristi Noem, South Dakota’s first-term governor and a “Trump clone”, lays bare the electoral strategy used by many Republican operatives.

“It’s a contest about who can trigger the media and Democrats the most, and Noem is trying to get in that conversation,” said David Kochel, a Republican strategist and a veteran of presidential politics. “It’s, ‘Can I come up with something that’s going to inflame Rachel Maddow and raise awareness among conservatives because Fox will cover how much the left hates me?’”

In the post-Trump party, a willingness to confront the news media and do battle with the left, preferably in viral-video snippets, is more compelling to activists than amassing a record of achievement or painstakingly building coalitions. Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Ms. Noem received her loudest applause for saying that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci “is wrong a lot.”


Read the full article here.

In the era of Trump and social media, the fastest route for an ambitious Republican to gain national attention is to say or do something that is sure to rankle Left-leaning media pundits and Democratic operatives.

One does not have to propose data-driven policies, demonstrate a history of effectiveness in office, or show any willingness to uphold democratic ideals.

In the modern GOP all you have to do to increase your chances of winning an election is say how much you don’t like Dr. Fauci, how the 1619 Project is “revisionist history,” and why the participation of transgender girls in sports should be a top-line legislative issue.


These are not policy platforms, these are Culture War battle fronts designed to divide and distract. They divide people of this nation who might otherwise find common cause in improving access to healthcare, fixing roads, bridges, and public transportation, and broadening access to higher education.

Culture War issues distract from debating and discussing actual policies on their relative merits and drag conversations down into an “us vs. them” scrum in which everyone gets bruised or bloodied.

None of this is to absolve the Democratic Party of any bald political maneuvering, it simply highlights the boldness with which the GOP has laid its tactics out for all to see.

It would be helpful if Republicans officials vied for voters on the basis of their political views and not how outrage they can generate from news hosts or Democratic officials. Until Republican voters demand otherwise, their party will continue to be known more for performative outrage than policy substance.