Fear

The past couple of weeks I have written some criticism of the Democratic Party suggesting some things I see as reasons why we go beat up pretty badly in lower ballot races not only in Iowa, but across the country.

In the first I noted that Democrats get active for elections while Republicans are essentially campaigning 24X7X365 using the large swaths of various media they control. Via local radio, local TV and local newspapers Republicans are pumping their propaganda and setting America’s agenda daily in all corners of the country especially the forgotten small towns and rural areas.

In the second I went deeper into the Republican owned media doing the job of deciding what issues would be discussed and how those issues would be framed. Thus even on the few liberal outlets and NPR the discussion flows from how an issue has been discussed in social media or how it has been presented in other media – controlled by Republicans.

I see both of these as weaknesses of the Democratic Party since Democrats do not have the money or people for a full time effort like the Republicans have. Republicans also depend on a lot of help from aligned groups and corporations for their set up. Once again, this is something Democrats do not have.

One other point here is that the Republican Party and its aligned groups and corporations literally take direction on what their objectives and daily talking points are. Thus whether you pick up a newspaper, sign in to social media or turn on your local radio station you will probably run into today’s talking points with the same solutions. In short they act like a disciplined army with one objective. Plus they all use the same crowd tested language to get the response they desire.

Every Democrat knows that even if we had media and allies, the likelihood of all Democrats steering the same path for very long is unlikely. We think and thinking leads us into different ideas. That is a good thing but not the best for disseminating propaganda.

When we talk about Republicans all using the same talking points, one of the things they are the very best at is creating fear and making people fearful of things that they may never deal with or that in many cases doesn’t even exist. They create stuff to fear and also create the images that go with the object or people to fear.

Remember the Red Scare of the 1950s led by Republican Joseph McCarthy with the aid of folks like Senator Richard Nixon? McCarthy created imagery of the horrors of Communism and then proceeded to tie the Democratic Party to communism through language manipulation and outright accusation. Despite being somewhat crude in his methods that association between Democrats and communism still exists in Republican minds.

How about immigrants? Non-white immigrants have always been disparaged. Those brought here from Africa as slaves have ben the object of hate and fear from day one. This is a way of dehumanizing people to justify slavery or facing such people into lower stations in life. It was used against Native Americans from our early invasions.

Turning  people into objects of fear has been one of the right’s favorite tools as immigration from countries to our south has increased. There is almost a standard profile for those people we must fear – just the nationality needs to be filled in. They are dirty, they are drunks, they use drugs, they have sex all day and have lots of illegitimate kids that they don’t pay for, we do through welfare. They are lazy, they are dumb. I do not wish to go on.

We have all heard these characterizations since we were kids. As I said they are the same characterizations no matter what the ethnicity. We all know they are bullshit. But these characterizations have worked forever to instill a fear of “others” by the right. They keep using such crap because it obviously works. With the coming of Trump we saw an almost resurrection of these characterizations – because it works.

Lastly there is the tying of Democrats or the left to => socialism which can be rolled in with => communism. It has been fashionable to fear communism since the Bolshevik revolution.

It is a sad commentary on America that using such fear tactics works in America in the 21st century. Wish I had a good counter to fear tactics. The old response is that education is the best antidote. That doesn’t seem to work, especially when trying to counter the incessant RW media.

With that I will end my short post-mortem on the last election except to say that perhaps the greatest thing in our favor is this. Democrats are the party of hope. That is one thing Republicans can’t say. Republicans are the party of autocracy with a few at the top and the rest following orders. You see even senators following order from the current autocrat.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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3 Responses to Fear

  1. A.D. says:

    As a Democratic voter, I have wondered if/how the Democratic Party tests messages. I have heard and read that the Republican Party does a lot of message-testing to see what works best. Message-testing does not have to be a dark process aimed at deception and awfulness. Many good-cause organizations do some version of it.

    What really made me wonder during this past election was that phrase “defund the police.” Did any Democratic Party professionals NOT think it was going to end up as a Republican ad weapon? As I understand it (and maybe I’m wrong), that phrase was intended to be a distillation of the (very reasonable) concept of redirecting more public funds to agencies that effectively reduce crime by addressing mental health, poverty, etc. But if that was the intention, the phrase was a bad distillation. And in the Midwest, at least, I’d bet that phrase did far more harm than good to Democratic candidates even if they never used it themselves.

    As Democrats continue to analyze and discuss how to move forward, that phrase should be part of the analysis and discussion, partly because the Democratic Party needs to figure out how to better develop and deal with messaging in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Bradley says:

      I got the impression that “defund the police” was something uttered by a protester during a TV interview on the street. I felt a pit in my stomach the very first time I heard it.

      Then it seemed like RW media immediately recognized just how damaging such a message could be and began to associate with Democrats. Dems were caught like a deer in the headlights and had no idea which way to turn. So rather than a coherent and cohesive response Dems essentially did nothing while the Foxes of the world kept tying the Party to that statement.

      Where we are free and independent, Republicans unify.

      Right you are, there is nothing wrong with messaging discipline. When will we finally learn?

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.D. says:

        “Dems were caught like a deer in the headlights and had no idea which way to turn. So rather than a coherent and cohesive response Dems essentially did nothing while the Foxes of the world kept tying the Party to that statement.”

        That certainly describes what I saw. Thank you for laying out what I will now think of as the Deer-Headlights Problem. Dems need to figure out how to respond in situations like that because I’m sure the RW is already gleefully thinking about how to do it again, with new phrases, in two years.

        I deeply believe this country needs some kind of green new deal. The environment is the issue that matters most to me. But if I were presented with evidence in the leadup to an election that talking about a Green New Deal is toxic to Dem candidates, I would accept the need to not do it.

        Liked by 1 person

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