More Americans have negative associations with the word “militia” than the word “socialism.” And it’s not like socialism is a popular idea among Americans. I doubt this matters to most militia leaders, except maybe the ones who are getting better at public relations, but it would seem that for a vast majority of Americans, preaching against socialism from the militia soapbox is just going to drive more people toward the socialists.
There’s a thread within the movement that would like to suggest we’ve moved this issue from the fringes. I think that’s largely nonsense, because it mischaracterizes political struggle. We’ve moved the movement forwards because we’ve been very successful at reframing our ideals and ideas in a manner that the vast unwashed masses can relate to. Instead of talking gun control, we switched the subject to criminal control. Instead of speaking of preserving hunting, we speak of preserving the right to self-preservation. Instead of talking about jailing ATF agents, as Larry Pratt did at the rally last week, we speak of reforming the agency.
It’s not as emotionally satisfying as righteous battle against the dark forces of evil on the other side, but it’s effective. The vast majority of voters are not ideological. They don’t make up their minds until right before the election (the PA Dem primary is two weeks from now, and 1/3rd are still undecided), and there’s vast political ignorance among many voters. Winning in politics is bringing these folks along, little by little, either into your camp, or at least not in opposition to you. This allows your issue to work its base in order to swing close elections. If you want to do this, you need to reach them with a message that doesn’t turn them off. What this poll shows is the militia ideas turn them off.