Nancy Pelosi. Leftist. Obama. Liberal. Fake News.
President Trump has said or tweeted these words thousands of times. He has repeated them so many times that the zeitgeist has accepted and embraced them into common dialect. Almost every Republican and even most Democrats use some form of these words when they are in front of a camera or on the record. This is even more prevalent when you are talking to the far-right portion of the Republican party. The House Freedom Caucus is a collection of the most conservative members of Congress, socially and fiscally. Local candidate Dave Brat is one of the Freedom Caucus members that tends to follow the lead of the President when dealing with the media.
There is a reason that the Trump method has been successful in changing the direction of the national conversation. George Lakoff, a graduate professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California – Berkeley, says that the brain is made of interconnected neurons that form circuits, which carry out every word or thought we have. When circuits are activated by words or sights, they become stronger, and if repeatedly activated, can become permanent. Put simply, if someone repeats something, a person can be trained to think a certain way.
Brat debated with his Democratic opponent Abigail Spanberger tonight and hit all of Trump’s talking points hard. The two candidates met in Culpeper for the one-and-only debate before the November 6th election. Brat would only agree to this one debate according to multiple reports. The Brat campaign would never reply when we would ask them about the debates.
The night began with Brat saying that a vote for Spanberger would be a vote for Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda. I don’t have an official count, but it felt like Brat said the word “Pelosi” at least 45-50 times throughout the hour-and-a-half debate. (The actual number was 25)
These are some other words from the Trump echo-chamber that Brat used tonight:
- Open Borders
- Nancy Pelosi
- Chuck Schumer
- Nancy Pelosi
- Abolish ICE
“This is something taught in every marketing class,” he said. “He knows how to use your brain for his advantage… Trump is always selling. He’s selling himself.” said LaKoff.
Brat tried to shortcut being prepared for the debate by following the lead of his party leader and sell himself, instead of the ideology. Will that Work? It depends on who you are, and what you believe. The vibe of tonight’s debate didn’t feel any different than the vibe of the zeitgeist the past 2 years. The divisiveness didn’t happen because of Trump. Trump is a product of the divide that has been growing in our country for years. Tensions have been high for so many reasons across the political spectrum, and each party is trying to use the tension and fear to gain more power. It even continued after the debate when the Brat campaign issued a statement; “Tonight’s debate left voters with one question: do Virginians want proven results or radical resistance?”
The Republicans were successful in 2016 and continue to find ways to win in 2018. They haven’t been perfect; they tried to dismantle the healthcare system but they weren’t able to agree on how to do that – but, they were successful in getting the tax cuts pushed through, and getting conservative judges onto the courts. The Republicans appear to have mastered the art of using fear in persuading voters. At a certain point however, you can only beat a dead horse but so much.
The true test to see if American’s approve of the direction the Republican’s have taken the country will be this November in the midterms. Brat is a Representative of the wing of the Republican Party that is loyal to the President on almost every talking point. He is using the same media methods that the President uses, just with less of a fluidity and swagger. 2018 will be the first real gauge that the world has on the 2020 election. Midterms have been historically hard on Presidents, and this time around will be no exception. November 6th – that’s the day.
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