When it comes to Republican voters, one thing that baffles many people on the left is why millions of Americans vote for a party that clearly doesn’t represent and/or fight for their own best interests. Election after election, poor and middle class Republican voters from all over the country proudly cast their votes for GOP candidates — members of a party that spends the vast majority of its time pushing for legislation that benefits the rich at the expense of those same poor and middle class Republican voters.
The cons Republicans use to manipulate people into essentially screwing themselves over are actually fairly obvious and, unfortunately, extremely effective.
To help people more easily identify some of these tactics, I thought I’d list the top five cons (though there are definitely more than five) I feel Republicans use to dupe people into supporting a party that’s clearly not working for them or the vast majority of Americans.
1. Religion: I think the most obvious one. History has proven that possibly the easiest way to manipulate large groups of people into acting against their own best interests is to use their religion. For many conservative voters, their Christian faith and support for the Republican party go hand-in-hand. In fact, I’ve called the mixture of their faith and religion “Republicanity.” As someone who’s lived in Texas my entire life, trust me when I say that, for many, turning on the GOP would be tantamount to denouncing their faith in God. While I know that sounds silly to some, as I just mentioned, history has shown us that targeting religion is one of the most effective tools corrupt people in positions of power have used to convince people to act irrationally, sometimes even in horrific ways (such as how ISIS and other terrorists manipulate and twist the teachings of Islam).
2. Pushing fear/anger/hate/paranoia: Let’s be honest, it’s much easier to sell fear, anger, hate, and paranoia than it is hope. Most human beings naturally resist change, so it’s much easier for Republicans to push fear about something new than it is for Democrats to sell hope about the benefits of embracing progress. It’s why a large part of the GOP’s rhetoric centers around “taking your country back,” an “attack on our values,” or vilifying groups of people who aren’t like them — aka anyone who isn’t straight, white and Christian. As I’ve pointed out in past articles, it’s not a coincidence that most of the same states that comprised the Confederacy are also the same ones that have stood in the way of progress at nearly every pivotal moment in our country’s history — and each and every time they’ve been on the wrong side of it.
3. Promote nationalism: There’s a common misconception among many conservatives that Democrats, and liberals, in general, are anti-American. They honestly think that those of us on the left simply don’t like this country, and that we’re a bunch of “flag-burning anti-Americans.” That’s all complete nonsense, but it’s truly what many on the right actually believe. Most Republicans I meet consider themselves and others like them the only “real patriots.” That’s rather interesting considering they’re currently the party that supports a “president” who’s:
- Refused to say anything negative about a Russian tyrant who ordered an attack against us, often actually praising him instead.
- Mocked POWs, attacked Gold Star parents, and just signed a ban on transgender Americans being allowed to defend their country; a ban that not only prevents proud patriots who want to fight for their country from being able to join (something he never had the courage to do), but could also lead to the removal of thousands of transgender troops currently serving to be kicked out of the military.
- Has repeatedly criticized and tried to undermine the credibility of U.S. intelligence agencies after they publicly revealed that Russia was behind the cyber attack against last year’s election.
- Had no problem talking poorly about past U.S. presidents, while still refusing to say anything negative about a Russian president who ordered an attack against the United States.
- Compared the values of the United States with that of Vladimir Putin, a serial-killing tyrant who’s had political rivals and journalists killed.
In other words, despite his “America first” propaganda, Trump’s possibly the most anti-American “president” we’ve ever had.
Furthermore, much like religion, history shows us that one of the most effective tactics used by brutal tyrants and dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, Kim Jong-Un, and Mussolini is to push an over-the-top sense of nationalism to make people feel as if supporting them is the only way they can be “true and loyal to their country” — while anyone who opposes them is “the enemy.”
4. Discredit those who tell the truth and expose their lies: There’s a reason why you won’t find “freedom of the press” in a dictatorship — because a dictator cannot stay in power if the media is allowed to expose exactly how terrible they are.
From dictators, to cult leaders, to conspiracy theorists, there’s one trait they all share: discredit facts, reality, and truth as some sort of “conspiracy by those out to get them.”
Republicans often attack the media as “liberally biased” because facts, reality, history, and even basic common sense usually don’t support the cons they’re trying to convince millions of people to believe. The truth is, the media isn’t “liberally biased” — the facts are.
One rule I’ll always tell people to stick to is if someone’s telling you that they’re the only ones you can trust, then they’re probably the person you should trust the least.
5. They sell “outliers” as the majority: When credible polls are conducted, “outliers” aren’t included because they’re exceptions to the rule that skew the data.
Well, Republicans sell those outliers as the truth.
When they talk about socialized health care, they always ignore the fact that nearly every major country on Earth has some form of single-payer health care system. Instead, they’ll sift through the data showing that socialized health care is much better than the for-profit system we have now to find the “horror stories” where someone having a baby couldn’t get into a hospital or someone died waiting for a surgery. While no system is perfect, Republicans disingenuously push “outliers” as the majority, convincing their voters that these exceptions to the rule are, in fact, the rule.
Look at how Trump reacted when CNN was forced to retract a story about one of his associates. For days, Trump sold that retraction as “proof” that CNN was “fake news.” Yet Trump didn’t say a word when there were fake news stories which his favorite network, Fox News, has had to retract. One of which was linked to one of his biggest cheerleaders, Sean Hannity, who spent some time a few weeks ago pushing the Seth Rich conspiracy. They were also forced to retract claims made by judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano who’s the “source” Trump used for the wiretapping accusation he made against Barack Obama — an unfounded conspiracy the Department of Justice just confirmed never happened. Of course, those are on top of the numerous fake news stories they’ve pushed over the years which they’ve never issued a retraction for, many of which I documented in an extensive article a few weeks back.
Trump’s never spent days calling Fox News “fake” — yet that’s exactly what he did when CNN was forced to retract one story.
They do this with most major issues. From guns, to terrorism, to illegal immigration, they massively oversell the outliers, conning millions of their voters into believing that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” that most Muslims are terrorist, and most illegal immigrants are “rapists and criminals” even though literally none of that’s true — yet millions of conservative voters believe that it is.
Again, there are several others I could have listed here, but I think these are the five main ways Republicans con their voters into voting against their own best interests.