The American political opposition, whether on the right or the left, tends to adopt a ‘savior mindset.’
The general model that they operate under is in thinking that if only enough people hear ‘the truth,’ enough people will be converted over to the new way of thinking, and the day will be saved. Happiness will return to the country, the budget will be balanced, social justice will come to the land, everyone will be equal, the income tax will be eliminated, and the mountain will come down to Muhammad.
You get the idea. The spiel tends to be “listen to what I have to say, eat my red pill, and you’ll get everything you want.”
This tends to ignore how effective political change tends to happen. Effective political change happens through conflict and displacement. It just about never happens through internal reform, because, as a rule, most people have little ability to change their ways, even when there is a strong desire to do so.
The savior mindset leads to an indiscriminate way of speaking and acting politically — the leaders speak endlessly to the crowds in an attempt to convince the crowd about what is and isn’t righteous. Whom they speak to is less important than growing the size of the crowd. There’s often also a strong tendency to want to debate and convince people that they are wrong and that the ways of the savior-politico are correct.
In the real world, the rhetorical part is only really important insomuch as it builds up a large enough crew of supporters to use to clobber the other group’s supporters through physical and legally repressive means. Shay’s Rebellion did not succeed because George Washington’s gang was bigger and stronger. However right Shay’s men might have been in a cosmic sense from a certain perspective, Washington could muster more and better guys when the conflict came up, so the rebellion failed.
In a more contemporary context, it’s mostly a waste of time to attempt to convince people who have no interest in being convinced of something. Vestigial ideas of national unity also tend to get people trapped into mystical ways of thinking, because to win elections, democratic politicians have to promise impossible programs to compete with the rival political parties which are also promising impossible programs.
Syriza in Greece was never going to be able to both keep the Greek welfare state intact and regain Greek independence from the dictates of the European Union and the European Central Bank. An American politician will have to promise that taxes will be cut, there will be no resort to inflationary policy, entitlement programs will be expanded, crime will be suppressed, infrastructure will be constructed, forward progress in technology will be made, pollution will be reduced, and aggressive wars against evil will be fought.
Bismark called politics “the art of the possible,” but in the case of universal suffrage democracy, winning elections is the art of pre-selling every childish voter a unicorn that excretes gold.
By comparison, it’s more achievable to form a competitive faction and focus on breaking away from the people dazzled by incredible promises. That’s why it’s better to emphasize exit over voice.
The competition in the ‘voice’ space is all around puffing up imaginary futures, whereas ‘exit’ is wholly practical… if a bit rougher and more dangerous, but perhaps no more so than sitting tight and waiting for your unicorn to come in the mail.