The Party of Fear

by Christopher Arend

This mid-term election year is upon us, and the prospects for Republican success are good.  We Republicans see the important issues confronting this country: the economy, jobs, national defense, a failed foreign policy, adapting Social Security and Medicare so that they can survive and, of course, saving our health care system from Obamacare.  Those are home turf Republican issues.  How can we possibly lose in 2014?

Conservative euphoria, however, is tempered by the sobering fact that the Democrats have the mainstream media in their pocket and can control the message.  We may bemoan the fact that the Democrats control the mainstream media, but this will not change until conservative investors can buy mainstream media outlets, something that will not happen in the next few years, if ever.  Although Republican issues rank at the top of in the polls,  the mainstream media can be expected, as usual, to draw the debate to the Democratic Party’s presumed strong points.  So get ready for more of the “War on Women”, climate change,  class warfare and that all-time favorite, the race card.

Our candidates, of course, must be excellent advocates who can eloquently and skilfully represent the conservative position on Republican issues such as the economy and jobs.  However, our candidates must also be able to quickly and competently address the Democratic diversionary tactic of baiting us with their issues.  Unfortunately, many otherwise good conservative candidates are suckered into going off message, getting defensive and finally stumbling over themselves.  Todd Aiken in Missouri and Richard Murdoch in Indiana were well on their way to victory in their 2012 campaigns for the U.S. Senate until they tripped over the abortion issue and fell flat on their faces, also harming Romney’s campaign in the process.  Rick Santorum also reacted poorly with his comments on contraception in general.  Rush Limbaugh’s failed attempt at humor with his “slut” comments about Sandra Fluke aggravated the situation, providing great grist for the mainstream media mill!  The Democrats subsequently scored a clear victory with their “War on Women”.

In order to win in 2014 and especially in 2016, we must first understand the Democratic strategy, a strategy that has enabled the Democratic Party to win countless elections in a supposedly “center right” country.  In order to understand and counter the Democratic strategy we must identify where our Grand Old Party is genuinely different from the Democratic Party.  The advertising industry uses the term “point of difference” or “POD”.

Our fundamental principles, standard fare in Republican speeches, do not differentiate the Republican Party from the Democratic Party.  Ask any American about common Republican themes:  “Do you support the Constitution?”  “Do you favor limited government?”  “Are you against excess regulation?”  “Do you support individual liberty?”  “Do you support a strong defense?”  Virtually every American will emphatically answer “Yes!”  I defy you to name any Democratic candidate who expressly says, “I am in favor of excess regulation and against individual liberty.”

The situation is the same if you ask any American questions about how they stand on common Democratic issues:  “Do you favor supporting those Americans who cannot support themselves?”  “Do you support protecting the environment?”  “Are you against discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual preference?”  “Are you concerned about income inequality?”  Again, virtually every American will answer these questions with a strong, “Yes!”

If the basic principles of both political parties are not “points of difference”, what is the fundamental appeal of the Democrats?  It can’t be their actual policies, for the Democrats have demonstrated an astonishing level of incompetence in virtually every area.  Since the Democrats cannot rely on an objective analysis of their policies, the Democrats necessarily rely on emotion.

The main weapon in the Democratic Party arsenal is the emotion of fear.  Simply the word “war” in the phrase “War on Women” is intended to trigger a sense of fear in women.  The race card is another blatant ploy to convince ethnic minorities to place themselves under the protective hand of the Democratic Party.  Of course, the Democratic Party can always rely on its standard fare of class warfare against the middle class, a tactic they used very successfully in the last presidential election, especially after Mitt Romney’s unfortunate 47% comment.  The Democrats also appeal to the primordial fear that not only our lives are in danger, but that all humanity is at risk due to “climate change”, as “global warming” is now called.

In each instance, the Democratic Party paints a vivid picture of the presumed threat and then says that they are the only ones who can save the American people if we just give them enough power and money.  This tactic, of course, is not new to the Democratic Party and is instead a common tool employed by virtually every demagogue throughout human history.  The tactic is quite simple.  Draw the people’s attention to a threat, regardless of whether real or imaginary, use propaganda to make the people shake in fear at the supposed threat and then convince them that only you can defeat the threat and save them.

Fear is one of the strongest human emotions, for it has its source in the survival instinct.  Fear can be justified and rational, such as when we hear a warning on the car radio while driving on the freeway that another driver is headed the wrong way.  When a fear is justified and rational, for example, after the USA was attacked on 9/11, the American people also display a great deal of unity.  Fear is often, however, irrational such as when a small child is afraid of monsters in the closet.  As we saw with the “War on Women”, the Democrats are experts at exploiting irrational fear.

How do we defend against the Democratic strategy of fear?  Just as we ease the child’s fear by turning on the light and showing the child that there are no monsters in the closet, we must counter the Democratic Party’s use of fear by showing that there is no rational basis for the fear.  Indeed, the weapon of fear can even be turned against the Democratic Party if the electorate realizes that the Democrats are knowingly engaged in deception.  Nobody likes to be played for a fool, and nobody likes to appear cowardly.

There is no shortage of candidates who can spew platitudes on either side of an issue.  The Democrats can win elections with ranting fools such as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee because they rely on an emotional appeal.  The game is much more difficult for conservatives because showing that there is no rational basis for fear requires an excellent understanding of the relevant facts and arguments, and that requires substantial study and analysis.

This article is the first in a series that will address the irrational fear cultivated by the Democrats on various issues and show how conservatives can allay the fear with knowledge about the facts and the right arguments.  The next article will look at the “War on Women” and especially the issue of abortion.  The series will then continue with climate change.  In the meantime, I suggest that you keep the fear tactic in mind as you follow the Democratic efforts, especially in the mainstream media.  You might also evaluate Republican candidates in the primary not so much on how well they can spew fiery conservative rhetoric and instead on their ability to handle especially the awkward issues.


1- This article is based on several speeches the author made to Republican organizations on the Central Coast in the fall of 2013.

2 – The author, born and raised in California, is a lawyer admitted in California (inactive status) and Germany who practiced international corporate and finance law in Germany before moving to the Central Coast at the end of 2004.  He is a director in the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County and also a member of the Central Committee of the Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County.

3 – Results of a PEW poll in January 2014 showing priorities assigned to issues at .

4 – The Democrats held an all-nighter about climate change in the Senate on 10 March.

5 – Obama got 56 % of the female vote in 2012 compared to 44 % for Romney ( ).

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