Appeal To Fear

One of the typical gambits during an election year (or two) is the appeal to raw emotion. Politicians and those who resort to this tactic do not bother with logic or reason; they know the appeal to pride, hatred, or fear works like a charm. We have come to expect this from the Republicans, especially, but recently the Democrats have discovered that it might work to their advantage as well. I have been receiving daily fear-notices from the Democratic big-wigs shouting about the latest atrocity committed at the Republican Convention and warning me of the dire consequences that are certain to follow if Trump is elected president of these United States. I copied one of the latest, which I suspect you have also received:

Are you watching this?!

Mike Pence just officially accepted his nomination to be Vice President — and predicted a TRAGIC outcome:

PENCE: “I know we will elect Donald Trump to be the 45th president!”

We can’t let that happen! That’s why President Obama reached out for your help earlier.

“This convention should be a wake-up call for all of us.” – President Barack Obama

We CANNOT let Trump and Pence get to the White House.

That’s why a group of all-star Democrats has agreed to match every dollar if we get to $1,OOO,OOO by midnight tomorrow.

MILLION DOLLAR MATCH: PENDING

Suggested Support: $1

We have to hand the Republicans a crushing defeat.

Will you chip in $1 now?

They SAY they only want $1.00, but I strongly suspect they will accept more if I were so inclined. And by the way, the note loses something in the translation: in the original it appeared in bright colors amidst the capital letters. And it is just one of the many I have received in the last few  days. Honestly, people, do these folks really want to lower themselves to the level of their opponents? I would like to think that those who fear Donald can do so perfectly well on their own without bright messages shouting at them from their computers. I dare say there have been dozens of phone calls as well. I simply don’t answer the phone these days unless I know the caller.

It is apparent to anyone who has been following the Convention — even from afar, like myself — that there has been absolutely no attempt whatever to deal with the issues of the day. There has only been name-calling and hate-mongering — along with the usual nonsense designed to get Republicans fearful of Hillary Clinton, even to the point of calling for her death!

We can only hope the Democratic Convention will see that this is a terrible mistake and will address the issues that face us all in these Troubled Times — such things as global warming, the vanishing nature of the Middle Class, the growing numbers of poor and homeless, disproportionate taxes that allow the very rich to escape payment altogether, the atrocity that is Citizens United (which Hillary has pledged to help us rid ourselves of), and the like. Heaven knows there are plenty of issues out there that need to be addressed.

But above all else, the Democrats need to show some sense of unity and coherence while they rally behind the woman who can, in fact, get the job done and do it well, in order to lure the disillusioned followers of Bernie Sanders back into the fold and convince others that a vote for a third party candidate (like Jill Stein) — no matter how attractive she is and how she does indeed represent another way of going forward — is idealistic but hopeless, indeed it amounts to no less than a vote for Donald Trump.

When Bernie endorsed Hillary I suspect he saw the handwriting on the wall: she’s the only one that can beat Trump. But in taking him on, let us hope that the Democrats take the high road and not resort to wild emotional appeals.

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9 thoughts on “Appeal To Fear

  1. One of Trump’s biographers told a story with his first major building purchase in Manhattan. He said the vacated building had these beautiful carvings on them, so nice that a museum wanted them taken down and displayed. The impatient Trump decided that would take too long, so in the middle of the night, he had illegal workers strip the carvings off the building and destroyed them into dust. Problem solved. It was New York’s first exposure that Trump was destined to do it his way.

    This is a warning to the GOP – are you sure you got what you wanted?

    As for the Democrats, my hope is their convention will be one of truth telling with facts and showing hope for the future. Things are not dark in America, we actually are doing pretty good and our global reputation is better than it was in Obama took office. Of course, we have problems with our declining middle class which has been occurring over the last forty years and have made mistakes, but with the Middle East, even the experts are not sure what to do as it is a conundrum and we helped make it more so by invading and making it more unsettled.

    Clinton is far from perfect, but she would be a much more credible President than her opponent and would not make us routinely worry about what a thin-skinned, bombastic narcissist would do next if he were elected.

  2. I watched much of the convention and there was plenty of fear-mongering, and plenty of frightening stuff, too. Fortunately, however, almost 30 years in newspapers taught me to to immediately trash any and all mailings from politicians, PACs, political parties without opening the envelope. And I’ve long set my e-mails to shove all those things to spam. One of the adjustments I had to make, though, when we moved to Iowa was to realize that about 40 percent of the telephone calls we were getting at primary season and the general election (when they seem the resurrect their primary-season databases) were from fund-raisers, get-out-the-vote groups, and robocalls. Now, I screen my calls.

    As an editor, I was often amused, though, by the reactions of politicians or their flunkies when they would be on a campaign swing and ask me or one of my reporters if we’d read their mailing. We’d say no, and they responded with such surprise, as if our entire workweek was spent waiting for their next announcement, accusation, complaint, or fear-mongering hype Sorry, but no. We cover thirty, sixty, eighty candidates (legislative, congressional, Senate, etc).I wanted to say to them: If all your candidates are that afraid, bordering on the hysterics you quote above, Hugh, or, conversely, have the perfect solution for fixing all that bedevils us, either go find a shrink or get yourself anointed king or queen. I’ve got work to do. They could never understand why we didn’t think their news releases, fund-raising events, etc. were a big deal. I could never understand why they didn’t realize what they said or did was not a novelty — not in their current campaign, not over the history of campaigns.

    But this is maybe a more dangerous time than some of those previous campaigns. The electorate, while maddeningly active in some ways, is so ill-informed, journalism (especially broadcast) is thinner on resources and priority so less of a buffer and corrective, and both parties have some legitimately scary events to hype the fear around. The sky isn’t falling. But in these conditions, there are enough idiots in the mix right now that they could pull part of it down.

  3. I am a disillusioned Bernie Sanders follower, but part of my disillusionment is Hillary Clinton. From my first introduction to her as First Lady, I have been distrustful of her. She seems to believe she is above the law because she thinks the end justifies the means.I think she exhibits a lack of compassion and care for the People, and an overabundance of personal ambition — she seems simply to want to be in charge, not make the world a better place, and she’ll say whatever she feels she needs to in order to get where she want’s to be, but she won’t honor any of it afterward.

    I would feel the same way about a narcissistic male Democratic candidate, as well.

    Please don’t misunderstand me, I want to see a woman POTUS. But not Clinton. I would be happy to vote for Elizabeth Warren. I would have been thrilled to vote for Diane Feinstein. The only way I would willingly vote for Hillary Clinton is if she took Sanders on as her running mate, and still I would worry for the middle class. And women. And the world.

    But having Trump in the White House would be both an embarrassment and a travesty. And quite possibly dangerous. Excellent fodder for stand-up comedians, but a cruel joke on the world.

    I understand the too often self-defeating consequence of voting for a third party candidate. It can divide your own party and hand the win to the opposition. So my option right now is to hope for the unexpected at the Democratic National Convention. But what I really want is a do-over on this entire political campaign season.

    • Very good comment. I sympathize with you. I have been doing some reading about Hillary of late and I honestly believe she has been sullied by the opposition to the point that we really don’t have any sense of who this woman is. I don’t think she’s half as bad as she is made out to be. I can live with her, even though I am strongly drawn to the Green Party candidate: I align myself with their ideals to a remarkable extent. I do believe that the most important thing is to make sure Trump doesn’t make his way into the White House. That would be disaster for this country. A vote for the third party candidate, as you suggest, is a vote for Trump. Jill Stein can no more win the white House than Bernie Sanders could win the Democratic nomination. I just won’t happen. So I will vote for Hillary and I do believe she will make a commendable president.

      • I’m grateful for your understanding. I don’t place much credence in media portrayals or commentary. I believe I’m intelligent enough and discerning enough to judge the candidates’ presentations of themselves accurately. It’s Ms. Clinton herself who makes me see her as I do. Ah well, let’s see what the next four months bring.

      • I posted a blog this morning that is taken from a long essay by Michael Arnowitz that gives a different slant on Hillary. You might want to check it out, either on my site or on Arnowitz’s Facebook page.

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