Republicans are doubling down on bigotry and demonization as a strategy

The anti-muslim bigotry on display here is really impressive.

Republicans in tight re-election fights have also begun slamming their opponents as terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. In California, Rep. Duncan Hunter has accused Democratic opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar as being a “security risk,” attempting to tie him to “Islamists” and “radical Muslims trying to infiltrate the U.S. government.” This is false, but Hunter—under federal investigation for misuse of campaign funds—is vulnerable and has made anti-Muslim bigotry a key part of his campaign.

In Virginia, where Republican Rep. Dave Brat faces Democrat Abigail Spanberger in a closely watched race for the state’s 7th District, a GOP super PAC aligned with Paul Ryan has run ads attacking Spanberger for her ties to a Muslim high school in Northern Virginia where she briefly taught English. In 2005, a graduate of that high school was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted terrorism. There’s no substance to the attack: It’s guilt by association that, like Hunter’s charge, leans on anti-Muslim prejudice.

And of course, demonization also comes in the more vanilla flavor of “they’re a mob”:

Trump, of course, is leading the charge. “If Democrats are willing to cause such destruction in the pursuit of power, just imagine the devastation they would cause if they obtained the power they so desperately want,” he said last week at a rally in Kansas, attacking Americans who gathered at the U.S. Supreme Court building to protest the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. “You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t hand power to an angry, left-wing mob, and that’s what they have become.”

It is all about fear. All about painting democrats as the enemy, as dangerous to the country. Because what else do they have to run on?

This is why you need to go out and vote. This kind of shit cannot be allowed to win.

Wow, sad. Thanks for the heads-up.

The first part of it is anti-Muslim bigotry, sure.

But as for the second part - *“It is all about fear. All about painting democrats as the enemy, as dangerous to the country” - *isn’t that the essential cornerstone of politics? It’s become more extreme these days, yes - but fundamentally the essence of political campaigning is, “My side is good for the country, my opponents are bad for the country.” That hasn’t changed in centuries; only has changed in its intensity or how it is expressed.

For decades, Democrats have been running on a platform of “Conservatives would repeal Roe, damage the environment, worsen our education, keep the poor poor and the rich rich, allow gun violence to continue and suppress gays and lesbians.” What do you call that, if not “painting Republicans as the enemy, as dangerous to the country?”

“Accurate” springs to mind.

Trump has been compared to a range of political egotists from Silvio Berlusconi to Adolf Hitler; but I keep being reminded of Hugo Chavez. The boy wants to be Kim Il-sung so bad, but has to rail against everybody in his own country who says he’s an idiot. Oh, well, at least there are Republicans who will commit election fraud for their own reasons, and he may be able to ride that a little while.

Velocity, I grew up a Republican. Overturning Roe, gutting the EPA (or as they say, “regulations”), and getting rid of licensing requirements for firearms are things they run on. In some places, there is a desire to push gays out of their communities entirely. And you better believe I was taught to despise public schools and labor unions by the media I was consuming. Calling them out for stuff they themselves call for isn’t unfair.

Pretending that those of us who want to restore a responsible regulatory state are the lawless mob is not only slander but kind of backwards.

Exactly what I thought when I saw that post.

When my side does it, it’s different.



Glad to see you acknowledging this. Republicans scare voters by telling them lies. Democrats scare voters by telling them the truth.

Look at the list Velocity wrote. Which of those items would you dispute is part of the conservative agenda?

Every time I see a Republican attack ad, my response is “Boo! Did we scare you?” Fear is all they have to campaign with, since they haven’t actually done anything worth campaigning on. Health care seems to be a big one. OMG the Pelosi - Clinton - (insert candidate name here) health care plan is going to take away your Medicare and double your taxes! As if Republicans have done anything to fix health care in the last ten years.

I think the biggest bit of brainwashing the GOP has pulled off is getting people to believe that the democrats are both going to create Socialized Medicine, and take away Medicare.

I find myself wanting to paraphrase Charles Babbage “I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”


It’s kinda like here in Elections and GD, it’s fair game to attack what the other person says, but not to attack the other person.

There’s a big gulf between saying the other party’s policy choices are wrong for the country, and saying the people on the other side are evil.

(There does come a time when that’s appropriate to say - like when the people on the other side take small children away from their parents and lock them up in cages - but those are (or at least fucking should be) exceptional situations.)

I call that “attacking the other side’s policy choices.”

If you feel that it constitutes a vicious attack for the other side to list your policy choices, then you might want to rethink your policy choices! :smiley:

One thing to keep in mind is that should the GOP suffer a major (or even minor) setback in the upcoming elections, they are likely to triple down or even quadruple down on the aforementioned strategies. Because in the worldview of a great many Republicans, anything other than a victory for their side is an affront against nature which must be vigorously countered. And these strategies, which were once the province of a lunatic / conspiracy theorist fringe, now appear to be the default strategies of the party.

So make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened, and do not fall out of the tram without coming to a full and complete stop.

Fear mongering in politics is as old as the hills, after all. The real question is - how effective is it in winning?

We all know that their base is their base and will vote for them no matter what, so these types of tactics just act as red meat to get them all frothy.

As for the rest of the voters:
The next group is the lazy/maybe voters in their column already that they want to get excited enough to get out and vote.

After that is the thin group of “undecideds” (ugh). They want to try and motivate however many of those that they can to vote for them with this nonsense.

And finally, demotivate the opposition from voting for their opponent. There is always a narrow piece of the pie who start to buy into the negatives about their own candidate (cough, Hillary) and stay home.

So, does this get them to their goal? If Trump’s success is any indication, they have every reason to continue using these tactics.

I emphasized that because it is so very significant: the GOP has owned two (and arguably three) branches of our government for nearly two years, and yet has accomplished only a) further enriching the rich, and b) putting into place judges who will prioritize further enriching the rich.

They have literally done nothing to help the ‘average Trump voter,’ let alone the average American.

As for the demonization/dehumanization of Democrats: one purpose this may be serving is to help Republican election officials, nation-wide, rationalize doing things that will keep Republicans in power–illegal things. Because if you’re fighting actual demons, what use are laws?

Not that I believe Trump has reasoned this out–but others in the party will have done so.

So the American economy isn’t booming at 4.2% with unemployment decreasing, now down to a near 49-year low 3.7%, the lowest since 1969?

It is a fundamental error of the Democrats IMO to fixate on the rich getting richer. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: they need to concentrate on helping the poor out of poverty. A poor person doesn’t worry about Bill Gates being worth $100 Billion; a poor person worries about the next rent cheque. And more jobs means that a poor person is likely to be earning - and earning more - and thus have to worry less about that rent cheque.

I am, of course, well aware that this is actually Obama’s legacy, but Trump has yet to do anything to impinge on it - though his trade tariffs may bite soon. The economic success is coming under Trump’s watch so he gets the plaudits.

No matter how low republicans sink, they get 60 million votes. Its depressing.

At least you’re honest enough to admit that it is just Obama’s work and Trump is taking credit for it.

However wages have stagnated. Unemployment keeps dropping but wages and benefits aren’t rising because of it. It doesn’t matter which party is in control, wage stagnation is a problem.

All economic growth goes to the wealthy while everyone else treads water. Neither party makes the issue better either.

Two years ago I would not have believed that this is the reason for that, but now I do: it’s racism. Anti-immigrant, anti-‘wrong skin color’ racism. Racism that’s been sold to low-information voters as the ‘reason’ for everything about their lives that they don’t like. Racism that’s being used to manipulate these low-information voters.

And yes: it’s depressing.

Yes. A fundamental error and/or deliberate tactic by those on the right to pretend that what progressives are saying is ‘gee it’s bad that rich people are rich.’ Of course that is not the case.

Part of what we are saying is, certainly, that a society made up of armed compounds surrounded by miserably poor people living in cardboard boxes is NOT ideal in many respects. That society will not innovate and it will not have a vibrant, growing economy.

But this sort of observation gets translated by right-wingers arguing in bad faith as ‘oh you just hate rich people.’ And that’s bullshit.

I think this is true, and that “class warfare” type rhetoric doesn’t really work in America. The lower classes look up to the upper classes, they want to be them, they’re not in the main jealous of them for having more money than they “need”. They don’t look at billionaires and think, “god dammit, they’re hoarding all the wealth”, they think “that’s badass.” Similarly, most people don’t actually give a fuck that Trump cheated on his taxes. Everyone hates taxes. People don’t look at taxes as a necessary evil, they just look at them as an evil, and admire anyone who can cheat the system.

I’ve often wondered: if you took a full Marxist-style class-warfare-type rant against the rich — one railing against the parasites preying on the working class — then just how little would you have to change for an American audience to default to replying, “what, another tirade about the sponging-off-taxpayer-dollars poor?”