No matter what the dictionary tells you, politics – at least as it exists in 2015 – is nothing more than the marketing of fear. Politicians may dress it up in the vocabulary of competition, but their core message is pretty simple: “The other rich guys wearing suits are trying to make your life worse. You don't want your life to be worse, do you?”
As someone who is socially liberal, and thus tends to vote Democrat, one thing I've always admired about the Republican Party is that they're amazing at selling fear. The rise of Donald Trump is really the rise of a man willing to vocalize the fears, no matter how racist or bigoted, of the segment of the American populace that has looked at the changing face of our country and thought, “This is too much for me. Institutional racism and inequality make me feel much safer, thank you very much.”
Now, Democrats will try to scare you too, but they're really just not that good at it. Do you remember Hillary's 3 a.m. ad? Not only did it not help her beat Obama, but someone in a suit somewhere has probably already repurposed it with the word Benghazi thrown in to hit her where it hurts when it comes time for the general election.
When it comes to Democrats flailing their arms trying to convince you the sky is falling, I get the most enjoyment from their fundraising emails. The ones I get from the DCCC in particular are uniformly terrible. They are pathetic in their message and depressing in their scope. They are the opposite of inspiring, and I managed to get four of them on Cyber Monday.
It started at 10:54 a.m. with a message entitled “We’re begging you:”
“Have you seen the latest poll out of Iowa?
Trump 25, Cruz 23, Carson 18, Rubio 13 (Quinnipiac 11/24)
Frankly, if we get outraised before tonight’s crucial deadline, one of these extremists could be our next President — with a Republican Congress to help ram through his agenda. This is NOT an exaggeration or hyperbole.”
Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand – after all, I'm not a rich person in a fancy suit asking someone with less money than me to give me $5 to spend on advertising for another rich person in a fancy suit – but I just find it hard to believe that a missed fundraising goal in November 2015 is going to be the domino that ruins the Democrats' chance in 2016. That seems like just a tiny bit of an exaggeration (one might even say "exaggeration or hyperbole"), random Democrat copywriter.
At 11:48 a.m., I got an email from “Nancy Pelosi” informing me that the Republicans are attacking the President's record and that my money would be really helpful. You know, I've gotten that email roughly a 1,000 times since 2009, and I can only assume that people have donated but Republicans keep attacking the President's record, so I'm not sure that my $5 is really going to change things this time.
At 5:47 p.m. things got serious:
“Cory — we hate to come to you and beg and plead again. But this is Paul Ryan’s first month as speaker, and we’re still DANGEROUSLY behind on our goal.”
No word on what dangerously means, but I like that they put it in all caps. That's the fear-mongering spirit!
To their credit, they saved their best email for last. In an email titled (this is not a joke) “Obama’s legacy DESTROYED”:
“To be blunt about it: If we fall behind now, we might as well throw in the towel on protecting President Obama’s legacy.”
You heard it here first folks: Obama's legacy is so shallow it can be decimated by one month of Republican fundraising. If that's the case, I don't know why we should try and protect it at all.
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Week in and week out I get these emails, and the question I always arrive at is the same: why would I donate to these clowns exactly?
Understand: I voted for Obama twice. I'm sympathetic to the cause. I understand that political campaigns take a lot of money to run.
But I see these emails and I can understand how people end up apathetic to politics. That Democrats would willingly put themselves in a situation to look needy at best just kind of blows the mind. Donald Trump, love him or hate him, is never going to beg you for anything. The optics of that just aren't good. But as it becomes increasingly likely that the Republicans are going to run someone pretending to be insane for president, I get how voting for a party of wimps isn't exactly appealing.
In the end, the only thing I really fear is a world where those are our only options.