Election psychology

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by sculptor, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    There's your problem. Selective attention span.

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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Sometimes they are justified. Other times they are the result of dividing the world into good-guys and bad-guys, of perceiving everything in terms of 'good' and 'evil'.


    I think that lots of people enjoy feeling that they are the 'good guys' and that they are on the side of the angels.

    I think that it's growing in society as a whole, perhaps to historical dimensions. Everything is being turned into an issue of morality, with some positions staked out as morally good and others as morally evil. Everyone wants to do the 'good' thing, which inevitably means that those who support something else must not be good people. I'm inclined to perceive this as the new age of moral puritanism, with everyone wagging their fingers at everyone else going, "Bad! Bad! Bad!" Most political controversies, social problems and government disagreements are treated that way these days.

    Oh, it's there all right. But I don't agree that Clinton supporters are the only ones doing it. The religious-right has a long history of doing it, though their influence is slipping dramatically. Trump is a huge break from that in that he thinks in terms of American interests. He's a deal maker who is fundamentally an American nationalist, and hence very out-of-style in our "globalized" and hugely self-righteous world.

    But even if he doesn't think of framing policy in terms of stamping out evil, Trump does have a tendency towards negativism that might still destroy his campaign -- replying in kind whenever he is dissed. (And everyone disses him.) So he pops off unscripted in insulting ways that that don't look good, like when he criticized John McCain for being a former POW. With Trump, it's 'You attack me, I'll attack you back'. It's not always in his own best interest to do that.

    What won him the Republican nomination was his sticking to issues, such as being the only candidate that emphasized the illegal alien problem. (The other Republicans had to scramble to address it after Trump did and rose to lead the polls.) He took on free-trade, deindustrialization and foreign out-sourcing, the beloved darlings of both the Democratic and the GOP donor elites. Interestingly the only other candidate who was originally strong on that one was Bernie Sanders. (Again, the rest of the candidates in both parties had to scramble, with Hillary now saying she's against the same TPP that she once promoted.)

    The thing is, we do see a lot more of the anti-Trump negativism than anti-Hillary negativism, for a very simple reason. Trump is running a populist campaign against the elites. And the journalists, celebrities and the pundits are all elites, simply by definition. So turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper or magazine, and with a few exceptions it's all anti-Trump, all the time. Even the historically pro-Republican 'Wall Street Journal' trashes him. (Why? Just look at the paper's name.) So almost 100% of the American (and world) opinion-makers are anti-Trump. Turn on late night talk shows or attend a university class, same thing. It's the elites and would-be elites protecting their turf against the eruption of the little people with the expensive-shoe footprints all over their backs. (In other words, oligarchy defending its privilege against popular democracy.)

    It reminds me of the British 'brexit' vote, where the elites were almost 100% for remain, but leave won. I'm not saying that Trump will win, but it's the same kind of populist dynamic.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
    sculptor likes this.
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    There's just about time before there is nothing left to conserve to constitute a new conservative party...
    Not going to happen, is it?
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    These people are buried too deeply to ever extract themselves.

    Ok: 1) Not only are the Clinton supporters not the only ones doing it, they are not even the majority of the ones, or the majority of the doing. It's been called hate radio for a reason, after all, these past thirty years or so.
    2) Trump has never shown the slightest indication that he thinks in terms of anyone's interests but his own - certainly not "America's" interests, of which he has no idea or much curiosity.
    3) The guys at Goldman Sachs have proven themselves to be significantly better "deal makers" than Donald Trump. So have a bunch of other guys. That doesn't make them good candidates for high public office.
    4) Trump is not out of place anywhere self-righteousness predominates.
    Trump is running a con job.

    Thing is: Trump is actually a very bad candidate for President, and a lousy type of human being in general. All that negative stuff is true. That's the main reason there is so much of it.
    In this case, what you would be leaving is sane, competent, reasonable, government of your country. You sure you want to do that?
    There's always the Democratic Party - why not take the one you've got?
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    It's not my country. If it were, I'd have been a Dem, probably, since that's as far left as America goes. It's not been able to get much of its rather feeble social policy enacted in the face of a massive, organized propaganda campaign, legal shenanigans and election fraud engineered by Koch's et al, but it just might have prevailed with enough grass-roots support. If it had some vertebrae. Sanders is the last American politician with integrity, and he made a valiant effort.
    So what's left to support?
  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    As the rhetoric gets crazier and crazier,
    Perhaps a refresher course in propaganda would be appropriate?

    All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be extended in this direction.
    The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be. And this is the best proof of the soundness or unsoundness of a propaganda campaign, and not success pleasing a few scholars or young aesthetes.

    The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are.

    Once understood how necessary it is for propaganda in be adjusted to the broad mass, the following rule results:
    It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance.

    The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.

    Thus we see that propaganda must follow a simple line and correspondingly the basic tactics must be psychologically sound

    The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.
    A lie told often enough becomes the truth. Vladimir Lenin
    Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/v/vladimirle132031.html
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And yet another standard, thirty year old, every week repeated, driven into the ground, liberal observation of Republican media tactics is dredged up and dusted off and presented as shiny new insight for "both sides", by the folks whose bubblewall has been fending off the obvious as it's been presented to them since the very first time Limbaugh opened his yap in front of a little red light.

    Nobody needs a "refresher course" in the standard Republican media operations since Atwater, except the amnesiac Republicans who are falling for them yet again. And they're deaf - their chances of recognizing what's been happening to them are near zero. But have at 'er - best of luck.
    You were looking for a way to reconstitute a genuine conservative Party - the Democrats qualify with only minor tweaking, and they are already up and running.
  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Re Propaganda: Also, it helps stay on track if one is not too much brighter than the masses one wishes to convince. And to judge the truth-value of any statement on the applause-meter.

    Re: Democrat is the new conservative: I see yon Clinton tweaking as we speak. Or, anyway, I saw her last night, playing to the armed forces.
    I wonder where the new left is coming from? Could be interesting. Could be messy.
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Maybe, if you go far enough left you come around right, or if you go far enough right you come around left?
    It seems that there is little or no left nor right, but rather we have center right as the norm for both parties.

    Maybe, we just do not all agree on exactly what we expect from our government? A soundbite here and a soundbite there, and nothing of substance? One party wants your abortions and the other wants your guns?

    In an ideal world, would "government" be a service organization?
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Nothing new about it. Jimmy Carter was elected as a rightwing conservative in the 1970s, Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 and promptly set to work enacting a good share of Reagan's agenda, leaving out only the crazy stuff.
    There hasn't been a serious Left in American politics since the Vietnam War. There's not much sign of one now - Sanders's campaign notwithstanding.

    In America, since the New Deal and given the prominence of Protestant Christianity, there is a possibility of a conservative Left - a Christian one. Wendell Berry has a small following, for example. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/146150.Sex_Economy_Freedom_and_Community

    The Republican Party is not "centered" at all - in sanity, in functionality, in anything. It has no real ideology, existing mostly to promote deregulation of corporate businesses and tax cuts for rich people, and as a power grab by corporate interests - it will adopt any position or behavior furthering that agenda, without regard for governing principles or ideological coherence. The Democratic Party is a center-right Party.

    That's what the American Constitution sets up.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  14. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Curious twist: (something I had dismissed out of hand 8 years ago without bothering to investigate)

    Back in the news: So I went to factcheck.org this morn and found:

    "...during campaign 2008 ...
    Barack Obama is not a “natural-born citizen” and therefore not eligible to be president under the constitution.
    This claim was first advanced by diehard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party’s nomination faded..............."


    Any diehards in here?
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Diehards for what - another round of bullshit smoothies from the wingnut media takeout window?

    One would assume that anyone coming up with the public claim that Obama was not born in the US during the Democratic primary campaign in 2008 could be described as a Clinton supporter. Who else would bother?

    What's happening now is that the birther aura surrounding Trump and his Republican support needs to be distributed to "both sides", so Trump looks a bit less comparatively clownish and malevolent. And the fact that it's possible to do that, or even attempt it, is proof of the degradation of the US news media.
  16. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    (That's wingnut diehard HRC supporters.)

    Reading some HRC supporters in here, that little bit of birther lunacy does not seem all that unusual.
    ergo: This thread.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And you don't even recognize the attempt to distribute Trump's bs over everyone else, hide his specific flaws in an ambient fog of "both sides"? One thing about that minority of the Clinton crowd - when they were presented with a birth certificate and birth notice, they shut up about it. They go by reason, more or less, see? Trump was just getting rolling. His crowd doesn't actually reason at all.
  18. sculptor Valued Senior Member

  19. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    But not Clinton, as Trump claimed, which was a lie.
  20. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    as posted:
    Not Clinton----just some of her "diehard" supporters...

    If Trump has people helping him with his speeches, then there seems to be a lack of competence there.
    If I can go to factcheck.org and get their studied take on the subject, so could Trump's assistants. But, it seems that he/she did not bother.
    Damned lazy incompetent @#*^%@#........................................ makes their boss look bad.
    That being said:
    It seems that Hillary Clinton campaign's Sid Blumenthal pitched the "birther" story to journalist James Asher in 2008.
    So we have a name to at least one of the early versions.
    More recently, like claims by the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump

    Crazy runs deep in america during the quadrennial insanity of the election cycle.

    What Trump should have said was "Clinton's campaign started the birther story".
    Which is most likely true.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And ended it, as soon as it was fact-checked. It didn't survive a month, among the reality based crowd. That's why right now it takes a fair amount of research to find its origin among Clinton supporters - you have to find a couple of people originating a small speculation that was quickly debunked and discarded. It didn't spread among them, it wasn't promoted by them, it was debunked by them.

    Whereupon it was picked up by the likes of Trump: suddenly having been debunked was no reason to discard a good accusation, and being in conflict with fact and reason was no obstacle to getting traction and public amplification.
    Not at all. Why would you regard an effective and persuasive accusation like that as a sign of incompetence?
  22. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps, coming to the conclusion: :"Well, that lie didn't work...let's try another one" ain't quite ending it.
    Once that jinni was out of the bottle it took on a life of it's own.

    Disinformation quite often works that way. Once people have thought about it(seen it, digested it) for a while, disavowing it only makes it seem more plausible.

    What you gotta wonder is: Why in hell would someone come up with that lie in the first place? Were they just throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks?

    Is this campaign really any different?
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, it is. Especially as opposed to "Hey, this lie works like a charm, let's push it for all it's worth".
    Not by itself. By itself it died immediately upon encountering factual reality - that is, as soon as a liberal media journalist spent 45 minutes checking it out, found the birth certificate (the short one, that is the official record of birth used by al levels of US government for all identification purposes), and filed it under "debunked". Amongst the left, the liberal, and the Democratic, that was that. The issue was dead.

    Trump was instrumental, a major contributor, in raising it from the dead and setting it in motion as one of the dozen or so major zombie lies of the current rightwing Republican media. Trump built his political career on it, connected with the Republican base on it, kept it above the fold and mentioned continually on the TV machine, for years. Because shit like that works on those people - it does stick.
    In the first place - before anyone had bothered to look at the official records and so forth - it was plausible. Obama's mother really was peripatetic, out of the country at irregular intervals both before and after he was born. His father really was foreign born and foreign dwelling, a non-citizen who was not in the US when Obama was born. Obama was told as a child he was born in Hawaii, and like many Hawaiians and other Americans - especially liberal, lefty, educated ones - he knew that meant he was an American citizen by natural birth: but what if that was a family myth? Such benign myths are common in family stories told to children, and there were obvious motives for this one. The notion that this might be scrutinized as a consideration in the kid's qualifications to be President some day was probably not in the forefront of anyone's thinking at the time. So it was worth throwing out there - it might have been true.

    Another reason for a campaigner's thinking about it is the fact that technicalities of residence were issues that a couple of Republican candidates had simply blown off - dismissed carelessly, as if the laws did not apply to them.
    Different than what? The Republican candidate is an incompetent and amoral horrorshow who seems to want to open torture prisons and bully foreigners and close the country's borders and bully dark-skinned people and generally use the Constitution for asswipe and bully everyone - oh, and cut taxes for rich people. Don't forget that.

    The Democratic candidate is a standard issue post WWII moderate Republican, an ideological Eisenhower only a bit cozier with the banks and the MIC.

    So nothing we haven't seen before, nothing "really different" - especially psychologically: aside from some wine and cheese Republicans being a bit startled by Trump's direct manner of speech, and the news media having an uncomfortable time trying to hide their role in all this, the psychological issues are standard US Presidential campaign stuff.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016

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