Robert D. Mather, Ph.D.

The Conservative Social Psychology Blog
How the Squishy Neocons Became Progressives

In my home state of Oklahoma, former Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister switched parties and ran for governor as a Democrat. She lost, but at least Joy Hofmeister switched parties. I can respect that in the unseemly game of politics where people rarely have the integrity to show their true colors.

Republicans managed to lose a lot of Republicans by suddenly doing much needed Republican things. In the Republican community we have a term for those we are losing. We call them RINOs (Republican in Name Only). The past six years have amplified this internal divide. 
The neoconservatives (“neocons”) are highly liberal and support internationalism and free trade. We end up losing that group of the Republican coalition anytime we sit down to the GOP table to discuss actual conservative policies. 

There are at least three main factors that led to the squishy neocons’ panic and flight from conservatism: cognitive dissonance, propaganda, and an extreme dislike of President Trump.

Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) occurs when there is a mismatch between our attitudes, beliefs, or perceptions. It creates an unpleasant physiological arousal and it can be reduced by making a change. For neocons, “I am a Republican”, “I disagree with the Republican Platform”, and “I disagree with the Republican candidates” are all dissonant (misaligned) and produce cognitive dissonance. There are many ways to reduce that dissonance. The neocon can change his attitudes to agree with the platform and candidates or even add a consistent component to the mix by attending a GOP event. They can also change their behavior and switch parties. All of those reduce the cognitive dissonance. Many neocons appear to be heading in the direction of switching their party and it is only a matter of time. But they were not voting Republican anyway and the Democrats have cleverly exploited them with a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” strategy of appealing to the necons and making them unwitting pawns in their Alinsky game. 

Propaganda is also a contributor to the neocons’ looming exit. The mainstream news outlets have taken a decidedly progressive turn in their programming. Former giants of the news industry such as CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and The New York Times have all become progressive activist mouthpieces. Despite how true conservatives make fun of neocons, the neocons do have some conservative tendencies which is why they managed to tentatively align with the GOP for decades.  Though loyalty to institutions is a hallmark of conservatism (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009), unfortunately the neocons’ loyalty is to institutions of propaganda whose megaphone was snatched by progressives in their calculated long march through the institutions.   

The neocons extreme dislike of President Trump is a third factor. Remember the Never Trump movement? Trump’s behavior toward neocon cherished candidates (i.e., Jeb!) in the 2016 primary was so repulsive to necons that they could not see past it and look at policy. Again, their loyalty to their behavioral ethics (apparently they stand for no mean Tweets) left them susceptible to ignoring President Trump’s policies and also ignoring the extreme corruption of President Biden. Remember when Biden plagiarized a speech and dropped out of the 1988 presidential campaign? What about Biden’s China connections and a coked-out Hunter Biden? Neocons discount that because they are so uniformly turned off by President Trump. But it doesn’t matter, because they have resolved their own dissonance by disavowing so many Republican policies and candidates that they are now progressives. Meghan McCain resolved her dissonance by filming a campaign ad for Joe Biden. 

So, to my squishy neocon GOP tentmates I have some thoughts. Ask yourself:
1. Are you a social conservative? Do you support abortion and Critical Race Theory? 
2. Are you a fiscal conservative? Do you vote to redistribute wealth and increase taxes on businesses and individuals?
3. Are you a free market capitalist? Do you vote to increase business regulations?
4. Do you support individual liberties? Do you vote to restrict gun ownership? Do you vote to increase government surveillance of citizens? Do you vote to restrict speech? 

If you don’t have truly conservative answers to these questions, please change your party affiliation from Republican and stop voting in our Republican primaries. You are not a Republican and in most states by voting in Republican primaries you are technically breaking the law. 

Stop making social media posts like “I’m a life-long Republican and I support Democrat Candidate X and you should too.” 

Change your party affiliation. Stop claiming to be a Republican and supporting Democrats. You are taking away resources from campaigns who waste time sending mailers to the Republican voter lists and knocking on your doors. Plus, you look ridiculous to both Republicans and Democrats. Have some self-respect and just switch parties. 

We figured out the problem with the political divide. The call was coming from INSIDE the house! It was you, the squishy neocons of the well-established D.C. Swamp.

Go ahead and give your red ties and elephant gear away, start wearing blue, and go all in on embracing your inner donkey. We all see it anyway. Get your votes the hell out of my Republican primaries. Stacy Abrams is waiting for you with open arms. She said to she will cleanse your soul if you send a check and she will make that nasty dissonance go away.  

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