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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Other Demagogue

We're past the point of wallowing in our collective ability to expose Donald Trump's demagoguery. Now it's time to acknowledge the other demagogue in the primary campaigns.

Check out this Rachel Maddow segment.  First, she shows us how Bernie is pumping up extremely large crowds with hope that he is going to win NY, despite the fact that his performance in polls is consistently at least ten points behind Clinton. Maddow raises a good question: If you know the odds are stacked against you, why raise unrealistic expectations? Why set your supporters up for disappointment? Maddow offers an answer: It creates drama leading up to the NY primary.

I think there's a better answer. If Bernie loses NY, a significant portion of his voters will say it is because the system is rigged. They will not say Bernie was wrong. They will say he was cheated. By raising expectations, he is not setting up his supporters for disappointment. He is setting them up for outrage, a tactic which has obvious goals. One is to increase hostility towards your opposition. Another is to increase devotion to yourself.

This is not honest campaigning, but it is nothing new for the Sanders campaign. It's the same reason why he's floating false accusations about Hillary's campaign financing (which is also covered in the Maddow segment). He doesn't care if it's an obvious lie. The more people report that his accusations are false, the more his most fervent supporters will believe him. That's because anyone who is against Sanders is part of the establishment, and that means they cannot be trusted.

This is demagoguery. There is no better word for it.