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A rant on the state of modern-date political discourse

PoliSciPulse

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(Not sure if this is the right place for this...)

I had a conversation with my dad in which we were not on same page at all. He was too busy trying to convince me that Trump played Goebbel’s “playbook” with his divisive messaging against immigrants. I was too busy trying to convince him that Trump played Obama’s playbook to beat Hillary and that she learned nothing from 2008.
My dad was also too busy repeating what I call the “Big three” of MSNBC propaganda: The “Big Lie,” that Trump was a Nazi, and that Trump followed the Nazis’ playbook, ergo Trump is a Nazi.
The Republicans also repeat the “Big Three” of Fox News propaganda: Trump actually won, coronavirus is fake, and but but Hunter Biden (which is being played like “But but Benghazi”).
This does not mean the “Big three” of both sides of these propaganda wars can necessarily be wrong. However, constant and near identical repetition by memorization, of the exact words your favorite newscaster says means you’re not thinking; i
My dad disappointed me. First, I’m an Aspie (or formerly was on the spectrum). Politics is my passion -- I was even a political science and history double-major. For years, we’ve had fun discussions of ideas and analysis, instead of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” This was civil discussion and it helped me learn a lot and formulate the ideas that I have in my adult life. It disappoints me that he has given into the temptation to act just like talking heads do on television and, in the process, treat me like partisans treat “the enemy” on television. So, if I don’t say the exact words he says, he believes it is his “job” to get me to submit (for lack of a better word) to his viewpoint.

The fact of the matter is, in this particular discussion, it was possible for both of us to be equally right (or wrong). But he was too busy talking over me and refusing to hear what I am saying for him to actually understand this.

Perhaps “playbook” is not the correct term for either one of us to use. Before I begin with this opinion, I want to draw up the definitions I am using (and if anyone comes up with better words for these, please let me know — it may help me discuss things better in the future):

Goebbel’s anti-Jewish/Trump’s anti-immigrant/Obama’s anti-Republican messages are messaging. This is not the playbook. This is the pep talk you give to your team when you’re up (or down) in the fourth quarter. This is how you bring your team to the victory and incentivize voters to get out there and vote (if they like your messages). Note that I am not equating Trump to Obama, Trump to Hitler, or Obama to Hitler, I am simply using an example. LBJ’s ads against Goldwater was his messaging, for another example. Using these examples, I agree with my dad that Trump used messaging in the Nazi’s style, or any other politician ever who’s run with a divisive message against any groups (be they gay, what have you). In this sense, it is an -element- of the playbook, but it is not -the playbook-.

The playbook is -where- and -how- you campaign. This is the playbook that all coaches review with their players when they’re on the field. This is how you run the field. You calculate where you campaign and, combined with messaging, where you run ads. This is where I felt Trump played Obama’s 2008 playbook. Trump went into heavily Republican towns and cities and drummed up his support. The result was an outsized turnout of Republicans, some of who had never voted before, and catapulted himself to victory. It showed that Hillary had learned nothing from her campaigning into 2008.

Therefore, we both can be right. Trump can use Goebbel’s messaging AND use Obama’s playbook. But when you're too busy shouting down the other person and having cognitive dissonance, nobody wins.

It used to be funny watching this on TV, when both people were seeing past each other. But when it happens to you in real life, it is depressing and disappointing. I will not talk politics with him nearly as much as a result: he’s too busy trying to be proven right.

I’ll just sit in the corner and go take my political toys elsewhere. Or perhaps I'll just give up on it.
 

Nomad4Ever

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First off, kinda sounds like you should talk to your dad about this further.

I have two main criticisms of this take on things. You go to great lengths to not equivocate anything to anything else in this post. This gives the impression, intentional or not, that all these things are equal. You can take a hard stance about an action being 'bad' or 'good' without being a ideolog.

But mainly I don't understand why you seem to think messaging is just harmless or completely separate from "the playbook".
Goebbel’s anti-Jewish/Trump’s anti-immigrant/Obama’s anti-Republican messages are messaging. This is not the playbook. This is the pep talk you give to your team when you’re up (or down) in the fourth quarter.
It is painful to even have to type this out, but there is no similarity to draw between Geobbel's anti-Jewish messaging and Obama's anti-Republican messaging because they both involved words.
Therefore, we both can be right. Trump can use Goebbel’s messaging AND use Obama’s playbook.
Messaging matters. If you believe Trump is using Geobbel's messaging that's pretty condemnatory, but your commentary here seems to brush that off as just good political strategy. If you really believe that's the kind of messaging Trump is engaging in how can you not come down harder on that?
 

Evilroddy

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PoliSciPulse:

The nature of political debate in America has changed drastically since the late 1970's. No longer is it a discussion about the country, the states, where you are and where you're going. Now it is about fostering division in order to disable the body politic from being able to affect or have a meaningful effect on public policy. This new and very dangerous kind of political discourse is aimed at neutering democracy, not promoting it. It is intended to reduce voters into smaller and smaller political tribes through divisive culture wars, ideological polarisation, the fostering of extremism and the dismantling of the commonplaces and common experiences which Americans used to share. Now these political tribes are so antagonistic to each other that they can no longer unite to effect real political change through the ballot box at anything but the local level.

This planned and deliberate neutralisation of American representative democracy through the atomisation of the American body politic is a carefully crafted and delicately balanced programme run by public relation firms and political party leaderships designed to allow no party to win a clear political mandate to effect any real change on your republic and among your states. Without a clear political mandate, the ability to make political and policy changes has reverted to unofficial and unelected institutions of power like monied elites, networks of lobbyists, public relations firms, large-scale media and social media conglomerates, powerful corporations and courts/tribunals.

The inability of you and your father to talk politics in any meaningful way, as you did before, is in large part due to this intentional and deliberate programme of divisive political atomisation. The only way to break its grasp is to see it for what it is and then to talk about the politics of reconciliation and American unity in spite of the externally administered division. The message and the playbook have been converging over the last forty years and now can be summed up in one two-word phrase - "Fostering Division".

So go back to first principles with your dad, establish the baseline facts of American political history which you can both agree upon and then rebuild a framework upon which meaningful and civil political discussion can be had with your dad. Then do the same by spiraling out to wider groups of family, friends and community in order to reawaken civil and substantive political discussion and compromise in a widening body politic. In this case the problem is the solution. Talking in new ways to disable the societal toxins of division which are being pumped into your lives to hamstring you all through atomisation.

Cheers and be well.
Evilroddy.
 

PoliSciPulse

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Okay, to your first point:
I thought I made a caveat somewhere in the beginning (maybe it wasn't pronounced enough) that this was a rant on how we got crossed and how I am no longer "allowed" to do what I do best, which is analyze. In the context of those three, those are examples of different types of messages. They are just listed out. So not equal so much as "just listing examples that happen to occur to me" if that makes sense. The reason I took pain not to equivocate was because I'm trying to rehash a discussion I had and needed to rant about, not because I'm analyzing rightness/wrongness to Trump's messaging. That is a story for another day. If you want me to make an opinion, then yes, the messaging is incorrect for a number of reasons, most notably because it involves mainly innocent people, whereas Obama's attacks are on active participants. This was not the focus of this particular misunderstanding.

Which brings me into your second point. I was analyzing Trump's 2016 campaign. I stated "playbook," and he went off into messaging. He was so busy trying to prove that he was right about the "playbook" that he didn't bother to ask himself if we were talking about the same thing. Turns out, we were not using the same terminology and we talked past each other. That doesn't mean Trump was wrong to have used said messaging. It just means I was analyzing the election outcome and apparently can't analyze stuff any more without causing a rift between my dad and me. Call it a discussion of campaign mechanics instead of a moral argument.

It happened to mention messaging and the playbook, but I could have also said that he said "Trump said blue," and I could have said that "Biden said Red." Then he would have said, "no, Trump said Blue." It's entirely possible that Biden said Red and Trump said blue, just like it's possible that Trump borrowed messaging from one place and tithe playbook from somewhere else.

I don't know if this helps bring context into the rant here, but I often feel just disenfranchised by the whole political process for a number of reasons, the most important being that neither Republicans nor Democrats are talking about issues that matter specifically -to me- at the point of life I am at. I expect that to change as I get older, and maybe one day I'll actually feel like I have a voice.
 

PoliSciPulse

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PoliSciPulse:

The nature of political debate in America has changed drastically since the late 1970's. No longer is it a discussion about the country, the states, where you are and where you're going. Now it is about fostering division in order to disable the body politic from being able to affect or have a meaningful effect on public policy. This new and very dangerous kind of political discourse is aimed at neutering democracy, not promoting it. It is intended to reduce voters into smaller and smaller political tribes through divisive culture wars, ideological polarisation, the fostering of extremism and the dismantling of the commonplaces and common experiences which Americans used to share. Now these political tribes are so antagonistic to each other that they can no longer unite to effect real political change through the ballot box at anything but the local level.

This planned and deliberate neutralisation of American representative democracy through the atomisation of the American body politic is a carefully crafted and delicately balanced programme run by public relation firms and political party leaderships designed to allow no party to win a clear political mandate to effect any real change on your republic and among your states. Without a clear political mandate, the ability to make political and policy changes has reverted to unofficial and unelected institutions of power like monied elites, networks of lobbyists, public relations firms, large-scale media and social media conglomerates, powerful corporations and courts/tribunals.

The inability of you and your father to talk politics in any meaningful way, as you did before, is in large part due to this intentional and deliberate programme of divisive political atomisation. The only way to break its grasp is to see it for what it is and then to talk about the politics of reconciliation and American unity in spite of the externally administered division. The message and the playbook have been converging over the last forty years and now can be summed up in one two-word phrase - "Fostering Division".

So go back to first principles with your dad, establish the baseline facts of American political history which you can both agree upon and then rebuild a framework upon which meaningful and civil political discussion can be had with your dad. Then do the same by spiraling out to wider groups of family, friends and community in order to reawaken civil and substantive political discussion and compromise in a widening body politic. In this case the problem is the solution. Talking in new ways to disable the societal toxins of division which are being pumped into your lives to hamstring you all through atomisation.

Cheers and be well.
Evilroddy.
That was beautiful. Thank you. I might just print that out to remind myself :)

I often feel just so disaffected by political conversations nowadays and my dad used to be the only "safe" audience I had to just analyze the impact of things, not debate right or wrong -- the practical effect -- why person A, B, C would do this, how it appeals to D, E, F voters, and why G, H, I will result.

I'm fully aware I am "Not like most" people when it comes to politics. I've felt disenfranchised and like I haven't had a voice in politics for years. I would rather write full term papers chronicalling "political history" and recounting events as they unfold. I'm also not like most people in general. I could write out an entire list about how I've never felt like I belonged to a tribe in politics, even back when it was civil, or felt like I belonged to any other group of humans. I have a hard time even relating to my own generation.
 
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Gateman_Wen

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(Not sure if this is the right place for this...)

I had a conversation with my dad in which we were not on same page at all. He was too busy trying to convince me that Trump played Goebbel’s “playbook” with his divisive messaging against immigrants. I was too busy trying to convince him that Trump played Obama’s playbook to beat Hillary and that she learned nothing from 2008.
My dad was also too busy repeating what I call the “Big three” of MSNBC propaganda: The “Big Lie,” that Trump was a Nazi, and that Trump followed the Nazis’ playbook, ergo Trump is a Nazi.
The Republicans also repeat the “Big Three” of Fox News propaganda: Trump actually won, coronavirus is fake, and but but Hunter Biden (which is being played like “But but Benghazi”).
This does not mean the “Big three” of both sides of these propaganda wars can necessarily be wrong. However, constant and near identical repetition by memorization, of the exact words your favorite newscaster says means you’re not thinking; i
My dad disappointed me. First, I’m an Aspie (or formerly was on the spectrum). Politics is my passion -- I was even a political science and history double-major. For years, we’ve had fun discussions of ideas and analysis, instead of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” This was civil discussion and it helped me learn a lot and formulate the ideas that I have in my adult life. It disappoints me that he has given into the temptation to act just like talking heads do on television and, in the process, treat me like partisans treat “the enemy” on television. So, if I don’t say the exact words he says, he believes it is his “job” to get me to submit (for lack of a better word) to his viewpoint.

The fact of the matter is, in this particular discussion, it was possible for both of us to be equally right (or wrong). But he was too busy talking over me and refusing to hear what I am saying for him to actually understand this.

Perhaps “playbook” is not the correct term for either one of us to use. Before I begin with this opinion, I want to draw up the definitions I am using (and if anyone comes up with better words for these, please let me know — it may help me discuss things better in the future):

Goebbel’s anti-Jewish/Trump’s anti-immigrant/Obama’s anti-Republican messages are messaging. This is not the playbook. This is the pep talk you give to your team when you’re up (or down) in the fourth quarter. This is how you bring your team to the victory and incentivize voters to get out there and vote (if they like your messages). Note that I am not equating Trump to Obama, Trump to Hitler, or Obama to Hitler, I am simply using an example. LBJ’s ads against Goldwater was his messaging, for another example. Using these examples, I agree with my dad that Trump used messaging in the Nazi’s style, or any other politician ever who’s run with a divisive message against any groups (be they gay, what have you). In this sense, it is an -element- of the playbook, but it is not -the playbook-.

The playbook is -where- and -how- you campaign. This is the playbook that all coaches review with their players when they’re on the field. This is how you run the field. You calculate where you campaign and, combined with messaging, where you run ads. This is where I felt Trump played Obama’s 2008 playbook. Trump went into heavily Republican towns and cities and drummed up his support. The result was an outsized turnout of Republicans, some of who had never voted before, and catapulted himself to victory. It showed that Hillary had learned nothing from her campaigning into 2008.

Therefore, we both can be right. Trump can use Goebbel’s messaging AND use Obama’s playbook. But when you're too busy shouting down the other person and having cognitive dissonance, nobody wins.

It used to be funny watching this on TV, when both people were seeing past each other. But when it happens to you in real life, it is depressing and disappointing. I will not talk politics with him nearly as much as a result: he’s too busy trying to be proven right.

I’ll just sit in the corner and go take my political toys elsewhere. Or perhaps I'll just give up on it.
Sounds like, as usual, Father knows best.
 

PoliSciPulse

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Patched it up. Explained the situation. Seemed okay with it. Thank you to all :)
 
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