From pages 257- 258 of Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
This disproportion of conviction and application leads me to the second advantage the progressive Democrats enjoy. Over the past generation, they have one by one taken over the most influential institutions of our culture. Here I am referring to Hollywood, Broadway, the music industry, the world of comedy, the mainstream media— both TV and print— higher education, and increasingly also elementary and secondary education.
I call these the megaphones of our culture, because these are the ways that information is transmitted to the American people. Young people get their knowledge mainly from what they learn in school and college. Many of them today get their political information from comedians like Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart. All Americans are shaped by the music they listen to and by what their see on TV and in the movies.
While conservative Republicans have been fighting in one corner of the battlefield— can we take the House and Senate? Will we win the presidency this time?— the Democrats have been occupying the high ground of the culture. Incredibly the Right has let this happen. To take one depressing example, in the sphere of comedy, they have Maher, Colbert, and Stewart and we have nobody, nobody, and nobody.
Long-term, the GOP cannot win if it doesn’t take some of this ground back. This requires a serious commitment of funds and effort. This is not philanthropy or political contributions; this is survival money. Just as people who moved west and built homesteads had to invest in fences and gunslingers to protect them from hoodlums, conservatives and Republicans must recognize that not just America’s wealth is at stake here; their own livelihood is too.
In the long run, it’s not enough to send speakers like me to college campuses or even to establish alternative educational institutions like Hillsdale College. I speak on a campus Monday and am gone by Tuesday, while the progressive faculty is there day after day, drumming their propaganda into the students. Conservative colleges like Hillsdale are islands of liberty in a sea of repression, but they offer no chance to alter the general landscape of higher education.
Thirty years ago, the situation seemed hopeless. Then it seemed that conservatives would have to build three hundred new campuses to rival the ones that have been taken over by the progressives. Today, thanks to technology, we don’t have to do that. We do, however, have to build the academic iPhone. If we can figure out how to supply high-quality college education at a fraction of the cost, we can threaten— if not wipe out— the whole progressive infrastructure.
Similarly, conservatives have to invest heavily in media and movies. This is why I shifted my career and went from being a writer, speaker, and think-tank guy to also making documentary films. I got the idea from Michael Moore, who made Fahrenheit 911 and dropped it in the middle of the 2004 election. I said, “If that guy can do it, how hard can it be?” Even so, I have no illusion that documentary films carry much weight in Hollywood. The big guy in Hollywood isn’t Michael Moore, it’s Steven Spielberg. The progressives in Hollywood convey their political messages not just through documentaries but also through romantic comedies, thrillers, horror films, and animated family films. Long term, we have to challenge their supremacy in these areas too.