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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  • jonjstrine42

    Saw a great bumper sticker here in my hometown that pretty much says it all:
    “Vote Democrat. We’re not perfect, but they’re crazy!”

  • Jim Bean

    The biggest piece of Republican propaganda is the assertion that Republican party candidates generally get about 50% of the votes in elections by catering exclusively to one percent of the voters. Oh …..wait…….that’s a piece of the Democratic Party propaganda, isn’t it.

    • jonjstrine42

      The fact that the 1% of which you speak has a propaganda arm willing to convince people to vote against their own interests means that, yes, they will nearly reach 50% most of the time.
      No one said Republican voters were intelligent. And for good reason, Mr. Exhibit A (aka Jim Bean).

      • Jim Bean

        I’m not surprised that you believe people who don’t see things your way are less intelligent than you.

      • stinkingbadge

        It’s not that we don’t agree with you that causes us to question your IQ. It’s that you have no facts that support your opinion.

      • Jim Bean

        No. Actually, its the fact that you’ve grossly overestimated your own.

      • stinkingbadge

        More opinion? Please try to use some facts and stop the ad hominen attacks.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Give us some facts, then.

      • Pat

        Here is a quick fact- 60% of the working American public pay (democrats conservatives and independents alike) 115% of American taxes, that fund the ever growing rate of government bottom feeders that get free food, childcare (usually more than 3 kids too ie they can’t support themselves ya good call keep having kids) free phones, cars, Medicare, yes you freaken crazy progressivists please tell me how our government can support all of this without tax payers, or even no tax payers at all if we were to all be in the same boat like this bs progressive site and movement all think this country could be run. Guess what life is unfair go out and make something of yourselves and live the AMERICAN dream, instead of bitching and moaning about a party that’s not even in control, cause last I checked propaganda is run from the ruling power to their media outlets to keep moral up. Soooo this website just like many liberal media outlets continues to piss and moan about republicans yet they are not in power.. But you all seem so smart so if you want a taste of socialism at its finest step into North Korea, or a Chinese workshop . btw their millionaires are fleeing the country weekly due to monetary purges on the successful wealthy who deserve credit for their intellect, foresight and HARDWORK,

      • MrThoughtful

        1st off the Republicans are in power, they are keeping everything from moving forward in the house. If we can remove the scum that reside in there like Boehner and the other asshats, progress will be done. 2nd you are just ignorant of the facts and spew you lies so much until you being to believe them yourself. Sure there are some bottom feeders, as in any society, but to lump everyone in the same light is just wrong. Most of the people that get the “Free” food, childcare, phones, cars, Medicare, and whatever else you want to make up, need it. The “Fat cats” that run the companies that used to employ these people moved their business elsewhere so they could enjoy more of their tax free money. Seriously, did you just put free cars? Capitalism is a good thing if regulated, but the Bush’s and Reagan seen to deregulate everything, now it is way out of hand. Oversight is needed and welcomed. We should have a Social program to take care of our young and elderly, but also to help someone get back on their feet if needed. You need to return back to your “Conservative” web site and resume eating up the shit sandwich’s that the Koch brothers are force feeding you.

      • papayaman

        The American dream is extinct. It has been off-shored to India and China so top mgmt. can capture the $ that would have been paid to middle-class workers. Top mgmt. is the constituency repubs take seriously. The rest of us can go to hell, and be blamed for our jobs having been out-sourced, and then be belittled as whining elitist libtards, or whatever pejoratively ad hominem way conservatives would rationalize addressing this.

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        actually that’s grossly incorrect: most of our taxes pay( a) military budget (b) handouts for huge companies ( see: subsidies) so U lose here

      • papayaman

        Obviously, your mind is made up, and you won’t listen to anything that calls the veracity of your assertions into question. Authoritarianism and obscurantism are 2 more things typical of many repub’s thinking.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        we are not questioning your IQ— we are discovering your socio-economic myopia

      • jonjstrine42

        Not at all. I believe that people like you who spout bullshit on a regular basis are less intelligent than me (or even your average house cat, for that matter.)

      • Jim Bean

        I don’t know, JonJ. Extolling the magnitude of Liberal wisdom at this point in time is dicey, at best. You all were absolutely certain Walker would be recalled, OWS would be the biggest civil rights movement since the civil war, logging was killing the spotted owls, 2010 would be cake-walk for the Dems, the video caused Benghazi, Obama would end up on Mount Rushmore, increased private gun ownership would cause gun-related crime to go up, Obamacare would cause everyone’s health insurance premiums to go down and the shut down sealed the fate of the Republican Party. Need I go on? Because I can.

      • jonjstrine42

        Point by point:
        I had no dog in the Walker fight. Not my state. Couldn’t care less.
        Please, name one person that thought OWS would be “the biggest civil rights movement since the civil war”. Nice strawman argument, but other than that, just your usual bullshit.
        I have no dog in the spotted owl fight either. I’m not exactly a tree-hugger.
        No one thought 2010 would be a cakewalk for the Democrats. The party in the White House always loses seats in the first mid-term election. And with the Tea Party (and their Koch brothers funding and Fox Propaganda supporting them), it was a given that the Democrats would lose seats.
        The CIA is the one that said the video was the impetus for the attack. Not Obama. That talking point has been debunked more than the Bigfoot myth.
        Obama on Mt. Rushmore? Please. That’s just idiotic… but from you, not entirely unexpected.
        I happen to have no problem with increased gun ownership. It’s automatic weapons that I have an issue with.
        No one said “everyone’s health insurance premiums” would go down. However, for the majority of Americans, they are.
        Has the shutdown sealed the fate of the GOP? Guess we’ll find out in November ’14.
        Want me to go one about the failed policies of the GOP? Because I can. I just don’t know if there’s enough space on the internet to list them all.

      • jonjstrine42

        Point by point:
        I had no dog in the Walker fight. Not my state. Couldn’t care less.
        Please, name one person that thought OWS would be “the biggest civil rights movement since the civil war”. Nice strawman argument, but other than that, just your usual bullshit.
        I have no dog in the spotted owl fight either. I’m not exactly a tree-hugger.
        No one thought 2010 would be a cakewalk for the Democrats. The party in the White House always loses seats in the first mid-term election. And with the Tea Party (and their Koch brothers funding and Fox Propaganda supporting them), it was a given that the Democrats would lose seats.
        The CIA is the one that said the video was the impetus for the attack. Not Obama. That talking point has been debunked more than the Bigfoot myth.
        Obama on Mt. Rushmore? Please. That’s just idiotic… but from you, not entirely unexpected.
        I happen to have no problem with increased gun ownership. It’s automatic weapons that I have an issue with.
        No one said “everyone’s health insurance premiums” would go down. However, for the majority of Americans, they are.
        Has the shutdown sealed the fate of the GOP? Guess we’ll find out in November ’14.
        Want me to go one about the failed policies of the GOP? Because I can. I just don’t know if there’s enough space on the internet to list them all.

      • papayaman

        Koch $ and misrepresentations had a lot to do with the failure of Walker’s recall.

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        yes jimbo– go on!!! start with any/all GOP legislation ( state and/or federal) in the past 8 years –or LONGER- enacted which helps ALL americans,,,,,,, we will wait

      • Jim Bean

        Does raising the debt ceiling over and over count?

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        technically; yes and no as -as we BOTH know– monies acquired are not spent wisely many times. now james: considering how the GOP held America hostage regarding raising a debt ceiling for MONEY ALREADY spent,,,,,,,,isn’t your above reply a wee bit disingenuous?

      • Jim Bean

        Not IMO. When you have a President that rejects the legislative the process – who rules as a dictator – and the only leverage the Congress has to make itself relevant, then its justified.

        Right now the ahole is gearing up to do an end run around Congress on gun control without putting in one once of effort into trying to get an accord with Congress. He is a narcissistic bastard.

      • JOHN McCARTHY NUDE ARREST

        and yes james: that’s why the GOP was deathly afraid of OBAMS election. he is a constitutional expert; now with the powers to do exactly that– sidestep a do nothing GOP who remains stapled to the NRAs pocket(book) ,,,,, I do enjoy useless losers such as U calling him a tyrant. enjoy his reign of terror as he attempts to continue the PROGRESS towards equality for ALL americans in his final year. >>hows that trump/cruz candidacy doing for ya??? you guys really pick presidential “caliber” creeps

      • Jim Bean

        If I recall, the constitutional lawyer ran afoul of the constitution a time or two during his tyranny. Maybe that’s why he’d never let anybody see his transcripts?

        He’s afoul this time too. His executive authorities don’t permit him enact a law that was before, and rejected by, Congress three times. If they had never considered it, maybe, but not after they considered and rejected.

      • white trash religious scum

        nice try at strawman jimbo. please name his so-called LEGITIMATE ‘runs afoul’ of the constitution. provide FACTS; not opinions.

      • Jim Bean

        I don’t know, JonJ. Extolling the magnitude of Liberal wisdom at this point in time is dicey, at best. You all were absolutely certain Walker would be recalled, OWS would be the biggest civil rights movement since the civil war, logging was killing the spotted owls, 2010 would be cake-walk for the Dems, the video caused Benghazi, Obama would end up on Mount Rushmore, increased private gun ownership would cause gun-related crime to go up, Obamacare would cause everyone’s health insurance premiums to go down and the shut down sealed the fate of the Republican Party. Need I go on? Because I can.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        You pretty much proved jonjsgtrin42’s point.

      • papayaman

        Speak for yourself, dude. Hypocrisy is another thing that characterizes many repubs.

      • jim

        Because the Democrats don’t have a propaganda arm? If you think politicians are different you’re delusional.
        In fact, you probably couldn’t find for me a single politician who wouldn’t switch sides and ideologies if his party dropped him and the opposite party was the only way to keep running for office.
        Grow up.

      • papayaman

        Both parties are less than totally innocent, but I fear the repubs are the more likely party to bring us a repressive authoritarian dictatorship. They already have one candidate for POTUS who shall go unmentioned beyond being one of the Koch’s chosen few for fear if this guy becomes POTUS, based on his past history, I will have 3 big guys with handcuffs, leg shackles, and duct tape knocking on my door at 3 AM for having posted this.,

    • Jerry Allbright

      Actually, those Republicans get voted into office by running in gerrymandered districts which eliminate the actual political makeup of the nation. Furthermore it’s not just the 1% who vote Republican but also a great many voters who are misled and misinformed by Republican rhetoric which is based on fear and ignorance. Educated people do NOT vote for them which is why they want to constantly cut education.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Yeah, like really STUPID people who are dirt poor, hate government but still take their welfare checks and Medicaid.

      • papayaman

        Repubs are great at enlisting 1 issue voters to vote against their personal interests on behalf of the robber-baron plutocrats.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      Hardly. Why is it Obama won the second time around with 5 million more votes? I voted for the guy and he doesn’t cater to me.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        jim beam is a regressive white trash “in the closet” racist,,,,,,, who tithes at his local sunday house of voodoo and superstition ( SEE: church)

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        jim beam is a regressive white trash “in the closet” racist,,,,,,, who tithes at his local sunday house of voodoo and superstition ( SEE: church)

  • Progress

    Jim, explain to me how Trickle-Down economics work. When we have proof it doesn’t. Infact tell me how any current republican idealigies are good for this country? If you can do that in a way that makes a reasonable logical argument then I will think that republican voters are not all easily led ignorant fools. Till then I will continue to think that voting for regressive ideals instead of progressive ones is foolish and idiotic.

    • Jim Bean

      Republican ideology is that a strong work ethic is, in the long turn, more beneficial to society than a strong sense of entitlement because the latter drains the product and incentive of the former. Two examples of catastrophic Democratic ideologies are subprime mortgages and affirmative action. (Yes, I already you know your are going to say those failures were someone else’s fault.)

      • Paul Stuko

        A strong work ethic!? I personally know microbiologists who are forced to work at Hobby Lobby in order to keep the bills paid. I know people with Ph.Ds who work at the local grocery store so they don’t go bankrupt. While a strong work ethic IS greatly appreciated, your Republican ideology also obstructs the expansion of the jobs these people should be getting. A strong safety net (screw your “entitlements” moniker, it’s grossly stupid and insulting) is also needed for when people you vote into office block the expansion of many high-paying jobs and hoard the money for themselves.

      • Jim Bean

        Those underemployed microbiologists and Ph.Ds are the product of the liberal-filled, hallowed halls of academia who sold way more higher educations than there was a market demand for because ‘it was the right thing to do.’

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Right…and what have conservatives ever done to help the common folk? Nada. You one of those people who think anyone with intelligence is a “liberal elite?” Those academics contribute far more to society than your sorry ass ever will.

      • papayaman

        That’s because their jobs have been off-shored, and the increased corporate profits resulting therefrom go into the pockets of top mgmt. The market demand collapsed because the corps. wanted to increase their profit margins by paying Chinese and Indians a pittance compared to what such positions (used to) pay in the US. So the US is left with min wage food service, retail, janitor, and home health aide jobs to employ our college grads. The repubs want to eliminate the min wage for even these jobs. The US is in decline, and this is one of the major causes.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        republican ideology: screw women who want a CONSTITUTIONALLY legal abortion: start BS wars unfunded,,,,,,,,,,, bitch about TARP programs yet demand the money for THEIR state FROm that tarp…… lower tax rates on uber wealthy and tell us they create JOBS ( see: bush job creation),,,,,, vote AGAINST a non violence against women act:……. VOTE AGAINST equal pay for women,,,,,,passing house bills “repealing” the ACA KNOWING it wont pass senate; thus squandering American cash,,,,,,shutting down GOVT which also wastes huge amounts of taxpayer cash–for NO tangible reason—- shall I continue???????????????

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        I think you covered it quite nicely.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        thank U O kind sir—- sadly: regressives in the tea bag party are immune to this

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        thank U O kind sir—- sadly: regressives in the tea bag party are immune to this

      • papayaman

        Off-shoring, that the repubs are so big into on behalf of their constituency, top mgmt., creates lots of jobs. In China and India. Guess in this ironic way, the wealthy are the “job creators”. Just not so much in the US.

      • Jerry Allbright

        The problem with your premise is that it isn’t those of us with strong work ethics who are reaping the rewards of our work. Instead, CEO’s (who do practically nothing) and others who produce nothing (Bankers, Lawyers, Brokers, etc.) are raking in millions of dollars and paying little to no tax on their earnings. Meanwhile, jobs are being outsourced overseas and minimum wage is lagging far behind costs of living which puts the entire burden of support on the shoulders of those who already have less than they should.

      • Jim Bean

        To think CEO’s ‘practically do nothing’ is exceeding naïve.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        They do practically nothing. Their workers are responsible for how that corporation works. Unless there is ONE guy making millions single-handedly with ABSOLUTELY no help from ANYONE, CEOs are pretty much useless.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        as are pastors and priests and “prophets” ( NEE: profits) in churches

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        as are pastors and priests and “prophets” ( NEE: profits) in churches

      • Jerry Allbright

        To think they do ANYTHING which makes them worth millions is what is truly naive

      • Jim Bean

        I’m inclined to agree. But heartthrob liberal entertainers and athletes make just as much and strangely, you never hear a peep out of them about that.

      • Jerry Allbright

        Point granted. The difference is that those entertainers and athletes generally use their wealth and influence to support causes worthy of our society’s values such as world hunger, human rights violations and disaster relief. How many conservatives are actually out there helping people? The “heartthrob” conservatives seem to be only about taking more away from people who already have too little.

      • Jim Bean

        Google ‘catholic charities.’ Tell me how many hits you get.

      • Karen Novotny

        I have felt for a long time that there are only 3 types of CEO’s: the innovators (who create companies), caretakers (who understand the concept of the company and nurturer it) and the undertakers (who don’t understand or care about the company or it’s employees and bleed it to death). There are too many greedy undertakers in American business.

      • MichaelCMTX

        Well, what they do is DELEGATE, but I wouldn’t say that skill set justifies the exponential expansion in CEO pay over the last few decades.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Subprime mortgages were due to Wall Street’s pursuit of profit in the midst of record-low interest rates. Even the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blamed Wall Street, so there is strike one. Affirmative action got a lot of QUALIFIED black folk opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise, so strike two. A strong work ethic is a great attribute but not when the top 1% has rigged the game so all of the income gains of the past 30 years have gone to them while the middle class has been left fighting over smaller and smaller pieces of the pie, so strike three.

        But I’m betting you’re one of those idiots who believes, “If I’m not rich, it’s because I didn’t work hard enough.”

      • Jim Bean

        Actually, I’m one of those idiots who isn’t caught up in all the left-wing envy of those who have more than they do.

      • papayaman

        What did Upton Sinclair aver? It is hard to explain something to someone whose source of wealth depends on their not understanding it. Or something to that effect. Mr Bean, glad you’ve got yours, but that doesn’t excuse blaming the victim. Besides, methinks you overgeneralize too much.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      That stuff trickling down is a yellow stream.

  • surfjac

    Deficits hurting our grandchildren
    Hmm, are deficits hurting us now? Until we figure out that “tax cuts don’t create jobs, demand does” and raising minimum wage would be good for the economy, how about the people who got money to create jobs pay a little more to eliminate the deficits until we can close obsolete military bases and take away subsidies from corporations making billions in profit that pay no taxes. Of course if the problem isn’t so GREAT that we can’t do these things now to deal with it, why should we worry about our grandchildren having to deal with it? After all, they can pass it along to their grandchildren too.

    • moe/larry & curly keys

      so,,,,,,by extrapolation- REAGAN and the BUSH family policies of HUGE deficits didn’t hurt GRANDKIDS at all; then a martian black radical Christian muslim Kenyan anti American liberal democrat is in office and VOILA!!!! regressive white trash scumbags on republican platform are SOOOOOOO respectful of generations upcoming? awwwww— will someone change the tea party’s diapers??

  • Denny W Powers

    here’s an easy one Ditch Mitch and Flush Rush

    • Jeff

      Here’s a good one I saw:

      “I’ll embrace your elephant as soon as you kiss my ass!”

  • suburbancuurmudgeon

    So why is it the knuckle-draggers don’t have a problem with income being redistributed upward?

    • Curtis Scarbrough

      Simple, it’s because OH MY GOD LOOK BEHIND YOU OBAMA IS TAKIN’ YER GUNS!!!

  • Mr Smith

    The right keeps comparing Mr. Obama to people like Hitler but they seem to be the ones following the teaching of people like Hitler, for example.

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Sound familiar?

    • papayaman

      Another thing repubs do prolifically is accuse those to whom they are opposed of being/doing that which they themselves ascribe to.

  • FD Brian

    I think it’s funny when a conservative teacher rails against liberals and accuses them of being in bed with unions and the teacher BELONGS to the union. HYPOCRITE.

  • David Ish

    I have a bumper sticker that reads:” Jesus was Liberal”

  • Guin

    “they generally just repeat whatever they’ve been told to believe by the right-wing media.”

    Yep, and when you try to argue with them, they tell you that you’ve been told the wrong thing to believe. The concept that you could have come to a conclusion on your own is just foreign.

  • Gregg Davis

    You left out heavy military support for Republicans, who only “care” about the troops when they’re off fighting, but cut their benefits and medical care and vote down job bills for vets when they’re back home.