Glenn Reynolds makes an interesting suggestion to Republican donors in the New York Post today: instead of pouring cash into ineffective old-school political advertising during campaign season, they should use their millions to “buy some women’s magazines… or at least some women’s Web sites.”
The average male conservative has no idea just how much political agitprop gets stuffed into the big womens’ magazines, like Redbook or Cosmopolitan. “The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party,” Reynolds explains. “So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft – or sometimes not-so-soft – hits on Republicans.” He notes there is no reason conservatives couldn’t play that game, too, and it would cost less than the crazy amounts of cash thrown into TV ads during the last few months of a presidential campaign.
This is one of numerous suggestions made in the wake of the 2012 election, sharing the common theme of encouraging Republicans to make long-term investments in cultural capital, rather than frantic last-minute margin calls on political capital. Others have encouraged the financing of more conservative publishing, Internet, television, and cinematic ventures. It won’t be easy to recapture this cultural territory from the Left – it took them decades to establish their near-monopoly on cultural media space – but if the efforts are launched immediately, they could bear some fruit by 2016.
Cultural battles are fought before political contests, and as we saw in 2012, they largely pre-determine the outcome of elections. Big-money Republican donors were fighting a battle they mistakenly believe was joined after the GOP primary concluded, but in truth some vital terrain was lost long before the primaries even began. Elections are tactical exercises, featuring battleground maps that cover individual consistencies and geographic regions. But the culture wars are about long-term strategy – the vital moves which occur before the first electoral shot is fired.