Political Season for the Presidency has been in full swing for quite some time now. With the elections coming up soon, we, Americans, have been able to experience a vast amount of rhetoric. We have been able to see rhetoric used to gain attention, and to lose that attention. The rhetoric experienced has also been full of fallacies that some of us have chosen to ignore, and have chosen to focus on. The rhetoric and fallacies we can see can be demonstrated not from the candidate in first place in the republican party, but instead the one that has the most popularity: Donald Trump.
Wait a second… That was a little bit confusing saying not the person in first, but the person that has the most popularity in the polls. Isn’t that the same thing? Yes, actually, it is. What was just demonstrated right there should be the fallacy of phantom distinction. The demonstration tried to say that Donald Trump was not in first place, but was rather just the more popular pick for the Republican Party. There is no difference though. So why would someone try to use this fallacy? Couldn’t we as rhetoricians see right through that? Yes and no. It really depends on if someone was paying attention enough to see that fallacy in action. There are also plenty of reasons that a candidate for presidency or just a politician in general would use it. One of those being that they are trying to make something or someone seem not as good as it or they actually are along with another example being someone making something seem better than it actually is. A quick example could be Trump saying, “we aren’t going to talk about the Mexican people, but we need to have a discussion about the people who are illegally immigrating from Mexico.”
So this fallacy seems to be one that could be dangerous. A phantom distinction or a sham distinction. Sham. That’s all this fallacy is. It’s a sham, which means that it is false and a thing that is not what it is purported to be (Google.com definition). So being a sham, it is dangerous, especially in politics and being associated with the Leader of the Free World. As American people, we need to open our ears and actually listen to what these politicians are saying during these debates and speeches. We have to recognize when this fallacy is actually being used, and understand what exactly that politician is trying to deceive us with or hide away from us. I have picked on Trump a little through this, but the fallacy of phantom distinction is used with all of the candidates for presidency on both the Republican and Democratic side.
The fallacy of phantom of distinction can also be used with a slight tweak. Someone could use it with changing the second claim just a little so it seems like it is much different. Another Trump example is him speaking about the money he received from his father. He usually states, “No, I did not get money given to me from my father; he gave me a small loan of one-million dollars.” So a difference? A tiny bit, but in reality he was actually given money from his father, it just sounds so much better if it was referred to as a “loan” which gives the intention of paying that money back.
In the end, this fallacy is just a cruel ploy of making something seem different from another thing, when in reality they actually are the same thing. It’s a way for someone to make something or someone seem so much better or worse, than that thing or person actually is. The area where we can see it so easily is in politics, especially in the debates recently held for the position of the President of the United States. So as Americans and rhetoricians, let’s look through this fallacy and the other fallacies that these politicians have been using. Let’s look at the facts and the reality of what these politicians actually believe in and will be influencing our country to do, not get caught by the sham they may have been feeding us.