Bumper Sticker Politics: How Republicans Manipulate the Ignorant

republican-stickersI don’t often give Republicans credit for much, but I do give them credit for being masters at rhetoric and propaganda.  Part of me thinks they hold some kind of secret meeting once a week to incessantly go over which talking points they’re going to use that week.

You can bet if one leading Republican says something, every other Republican and the right-wing media will be parroting that very same thing very soon.

They’re really great at formulating a simple, “jingle-like” message, which panders to those who just want to hear what sounds right instead of what is right.

I’ve always said Republicans follow “bumper sticker politics.”  Basically, if you can’t fit it on a bumper sticker, it’s too complex for Republicans to support.  Doubt me?  Take a look at some of their key talking points:

  • Job creators
  • Obamacare
  • Drill baby drill
  • Redistribution of wealth
  • Socialism/Communism/Fascism
  • Pro-life
  • Foreign-born Muslim
  • The liberal media
  • Lamestream media
  • Liberally biased
  • Tax cuts create jobs
  • Deficits hurting our grandchildren
  • Climate change is a hoax
  • Evolution is a lie
  • Lazy welfare moochers
  • I’m not paying for your health care

I’ll stop there, but I could have easily added many others.

My point is, they keep their message simple — even when it doesn’t make any sense.  Liberal ideas tend to be more complex because liberals tend to be more complex.  It’s a little difficult to fit on a bumper sticker, “Since the dawn of trickle-down economics, income inequality has rapidly grown and the rich have become richer than ever.”

Liberals just don’t have the catchy phrases Republicans have.  And before you get on my case about “Yes We Can!” — yes, I know.  The difference is, then-candidate Obama had actual ideas he was talking about which people believed in, thus the phrase came about through those ideas.  Sure, some liberals just like a “catchy phrase” as well, but I honestly think they’re the exception rather than the rule.  Liberal voters tend to be a bit more substantive and ask more questions in search of answers that actually make sense, rather than answers that just tell us what we “want to hear.”

Sure, Republicans act like they’re “anti-establishment” antagonists — but that’s only when it comes to liberals.  When it comes to their own party, unless a conservative seems “too liberal” for them, they generally just repeat whatever they’ve been told to believe by the right-wing media.

This is how you end up with people on welfare, voting for politicians who cut welfare programs.  People who heavily rely on government programs like Medicare or Social Security, voting for politicians who believe the programs are unconstitutional. It’s how you get teachers who complain about their ever increasing workload while being drastically underpaid, turning around and voting for the politicians who continue to push for cuts to education while insinuating that teachers are overpaid public workers.  It makes absolutely no sense.

Republicans rely heavily on voters who don’t think for themselves and are easily manipulated by “bumper sticker politics.”

Something like “Drill baby drill!” sounds great — if you don’t understand how oil is bought and sold on the global market.

It’s basically an entire party that has taken the phrase, “Keep it simple, stupid” and turned it into, “Keep it simple for the stupid.”

And unfortunately it’s worked on far too many people thus far.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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