Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Politics and Propaganda

Propaganda has always been commonly used for political gains. In the time of war, we see it commonly used to insight fear in Americans for what our future could hold. During a political election, we see propaganda used to praise, blame and power. The propaganda used in politics is very different from persuasion. Propaganda can often lose focus on reason, and rather focuses on the emotion the audience is already experiencing.

There are many techniques that are central to propaganda that we're seen in the recent election. One of those techniques is using fear, or nostalgia for a past time. Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," is just that. Although what he preached may not exactly protrude to a "greater America," his slogan gives his audience the nostalgia of this past time when America was once a great nation. Many critiques of his slogan argue whether or not America was ever really that great, but with his constant repetition and countless merchandise blasting the slogan for all to see, it slowly became a constant propaganda in Americans lives.

Hilary Clinton's campaign slogan, "I'm With Her" is also propaganda in the sense that her slogan and campaign, although not preached directly by Clinton, invoked fear for many women. It brought light to the lack of equality and rights women have as compared to men and everything we have to lose from Trump's victory. As for those who didn't support Clinton, not being "With Her" created the fear that you weren't for equality for all. It meant you didn't support women. It meant you didn't support a future for your daughters. Being a woman and not being "With Her" was scary for some, which is why many conservative women didn't speak out against her in fear of retaliation.

Another technique found in propaganda is praising or blaming things to the max. This one is constantly seen from both parties. Republicans blaming Democrats for the supposedly poor health care system. Democrats blaming Republicans for holding back rights and equality for LGBT. When arguments like these are constantly heard and repeated from both sides, the American voters start to believe it for their respected sides.

The final technique I want to talk about is totalizing situations, which is used to provoke the message of getting rid of what is harming us. For the Trump campaign it was "build the wall" and "make Mexico pay for it." There is little to no logos in this argument because there is no logical way to build the wall Trump envisions and Mexico will surely not be paying for it. His constant repetition of this idea of a wall on the border evoked fear in Americans that illegal immigrants are our biggest problem and they must be stopped first. When you think about that logically, there are so many other issues that could have been centered in any campaign, which is why this is also propaganda and not persuasion. There's just no logos to it. "Build the wall" also creates an in group vs. an out group. Legal American citizens vs. illegal immigrants.

Through these three techniques you can see propaganda used in politics in the modern day but also in the past. These techniques ignore the logos and hold onto the emotions already felt by many Americans today, which is why these are not merely persuasive arguments but a way to evoke fear, create a nostalgia and put the blame on a certain group of people or event.

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