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Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in 2014 Elections, Featured, Law, Politics | 13 comments

Republican Tactics Of Fear And Voter Suppression

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Republicans, lacking a real agenda or any solutions to problems, are basing their campaign this year on a combination of fear and voter suppression. They are even trying to politicize Ebola with threats that it will cross our borders (along with people of other colors) and even mutate to become airborne to attack us. (Does their belief that Ebola will change into an airborne infection suggest a new found belief in evolution for some?) First Read writes:

…these advertisements we’re seeing (here, here, and here) go well beyond faith in institutions or government competence. They’re about fear. And frankly, they come when there’s no evidence of ISIS coming across the border and when (remarkably) there’s still been just one confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. Now we understand why Republicans are picking up this theme — they want to nationalize the election, and they have every incentive to. (The more they get voters going into the voting booth upset at Washington, the more likely they are to get Republicans defeating Democratic incumbents in Senate races.) But some of these candidates are walking a fine line; there is a Chicken Little aspect here regarding Ebola and it can border on the irresponsible.

The New York Times reports:

Playing off feelings of anxiety is a powerful strategy for motivating the Republican base. And few issues have proven as potent when linked together as border security and the fear of terrorism. Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, said this week on Fox News that border agents had told him they apprehended 10 Islamic State fighters in Texas. The Department of Homeland Security said his statement was “categorically false.”

Fear has always been a centerpiece of Republican strategy. They scare poorly educated white males into fearing that minorities and women will take their money. They scare Republican voters into believing that Democrats will take away their guns and their bibles. More recently they have been concentrating on fear of Obamacare, even if every single one of their predictions of dire consequences has failed to come about.

Republicans rely upon fear to get their supporters to turn out to vote, and resort to voter suppression to try to keep Democrats from voting. As the GAO reported, Republican-supported voter ID laws aimed at voter suppression result in fewer minorities and young people voting. Fortunately the Supreme Court has thrown out voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas, but they have also allowed a law to stand in North Carolina. Unfortunately Democrats might also help the Republicans by simply failing to show up to vote.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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  • To see this in action try a little experiment. Watch Fox News for a few minutes with the sound turned off. Just take in the visuals: lots of bright reds, electric blues, the eye candy hosts of both genders. Notice how much visual stimulation there is. In addition to the colors and sex appeal of the hosts, there is always content (suitably biased despite being called “Fox Facts”) crawling across the bottom of the screen and in both upper corners.

    Then turn up the sound and notice verbal content. Most of it appeals to the sense of fear and outrage in the audience. Put it all together and watching Fox News is a very visceral experience for its audience. Their is a reliable adrenaline dump for regular watchers. Fox wants its audience riled up rather than thinking too deeply or critically. They have been at this for a long time and are very good at it.

  • sorry–“there” instead of “their.”

  • JSpencer

    Looks like you are describing flashy and colorful fishing lures. Yup, they’ve got it down alright..

  • dduck

    Ah, but the juicier fish watch MSNBC with its muted graphics soothing music and subliminal “Reps are all evil” message. 🙂

  • The difference is that MSNBC presents facts about the evil things done by Republicans while Fox makes a lot of things up.

  • dduck

    Wow, No _____.

  • slamfu

    I gotta say at this point I’m just at a loss for words on the stunts the GOP has been pulling on cutting people off from voting. Voter ID laws, cutting back on early voting, attempting to invalidate registration drives in Democrat areas, its just nuts and has been shockingly brazen. I mean, what does that say when someone is actively trying to reduce people’s ability to vote in such a widespread manner? Not that I was planning on voting for any Republicans anyway, but thanks for giving me another concrete reason not to.

  • The_Ohioan

    As far as voter suppression (my biggest bugaboo 🙂 – maybe we should have an article listing each of ours) here is an article about a federal judge who sounds very interesting:

    As it happens, the Supreme Court has stepped in and suspended the Wisconsin law, probably invalidating it for the upcoming polls. But Posner’s 30-page dissent, laid out in his typical lucid and direct manner, is as exacting an examination as you’re likely to find of why voter ID laws are corrupt and iniquitous, and why their usual rationale — to combat voter fraud — is a lie.

    Before walking through Posner’s opinion, a few words about why he’s important. Posner, 75, is no wooly-headed liberal, but a card-carrying conservative who was appointed to the circuit bench by Ronald Reagan in 1981. He’s widely regarded as the smartest jurist in the federal judiciary, and was identified in 2000 by Fred Shapiro of Yale Law School as the most-cited legal scholar of all time.

    And the judge’s opinion:

  • Despite being a conservative and Reagan appointee, I have read things by Posner in the past which have been quite reasonable. Comparing him to leaders of the conservative movement today shows how much more extreme and anti-intellectual they have become.

  • dduck

    Come on guys, you are ruining the Reps reputation. I have read on this very blog that all Reps are unreasonable and worse. Hmmmm. 🙂

  • dduck,

    Do you have a link for that (all Reps..)? The prevailing attitude seems to be more that most Republicans have become extreme and unreasonable in recent years–an important qualification.

  • slamfu

    Not all the Reps Duck, just the ones steering the SS GOP.

  • sheknows

    If a young person between the ages of say 18 and 20 had NEVER been adulterated by family and friends as far as a political persuasion, and was just now looking at our parties to express their personal views, how many would choose to be a Republican?? Zero is my guess/
    Same is true for immigrants. Most all that come to America knowingly choose the Democrat party because it represents the values most people want in a homeland.

    I think the only reason we still have Republicans is because of tribal ritual and family influence. Really, they are of no value to the nation and just impede it’s progress and have no ideology that benefits anyone but themselves.

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