This election season, the GOP is taking 4 key strategies to their recent success to the extreme. Extremes radical enough to impinge on Americans' conscious minds.
Now, it must be stressed that these strategies have been incredibly successful. But, I would suggest that a key condition for their success has been that they percolate in a semi-conscious realm of the average, low-information voter.
This season, they are being pushed to the point where people are talking about them. And a fundamental question arises:
Is America's core, genetic commitment to democracy strong enough to fuel a negative reaction that beats these strategies back to more normal levels?
Or will America let a plutocratic elite ride these extreme propaganda strategies to a hegemony that breaks down our democratic institutions?
I'll list the strategies briefly below--no one here needs any explanation. Then I invite comment.
1. Money shoveled into advertising: the idiotic Supreme Court ruling opened the doors to unlimited floods of plutocratic cash, and it is pouring into inconceivable levels of advertising. But intrusive advertising has a powerful tendency to lose its effectiveness, as commercial advertisers know all too well. Will the American people begin to react negatively to the party outspending the other by massive margins?
2. The war against minorities and, especially, women: when the attacks, especially on women who form a small majority of the country, become aggressively overt, will they lead to political blowback?
3. Voter suppression: they've been doing it since 1789, of course, and when you suppress the rights of a minority group, other folks can shrug it off. But now, they are suppressing the votes of old people. Which means US, OUR grandmothers and grandfathers. These suppression tactics will be experienced by millions of retirees who have been voting in what they perceive as their interests for decades. Is this attack on democracy going too far even for complacent America?
4. Lying as a campaign tactic: Lee Atwater taught the GOP the lesson of Josef Goebbels--lie large and often, and people will believe the lies. The GOP has been lying well beyond the spin-line since the 1980s. But normally, they lie with message discipline. Mitt and Ryan are lying impulsively, inconsistently, incompetently. And the lies increasingly contradict the lived experience of most Americans. Will the GOP finally develop a serious credibility problem?
Obviously, it is my--our--fervent hope that these tactics finally begin to backfire this year. If that happened, I think we would see a break in the fever of right wing ideology that has gripped the nation for decades. Credibility once lost is almost impossible to regain, and we in the reality-based community have for decades been yearning for a return to some form of epistemological normalcy in the nation. The GOP is basically betting the house on taking their trusted tactics to the horizon. It would be ideologically orgasmic to see them lose that bet.
But will it happen? There are some encouraging signs I think. But these Goebbels-inspired tactics are awfully strong.
What do you think?