Don’t Get Played by the Ugly DNC Game
I watched DNC Chairman Tom Perez in an interview the evening after the Mueller hearing and I got pretty angry.
He did a shell game “switch” while talking to Martha MacCallum — and it is a game that his party has been playing for several years now. The game traditionally would start with #1, and then proceed in order.
- There were loud accusations of collusion by Trump and his campaign with Russian operatives to try to sway the election in 2016.
- There were loud accusations of obstruction of the DOJ investigation into possibilities of “collusion.” (They got louder once it became evident that #1 did not work.)
- There is loud trumpeting about actual attempts by the Russian government to influence the U.S. election of 2016. The goal of the trumpeting is to alarm and legitimately alert the public. (It is rarely mentioned that this has been going on for decades, and that the U.S. has itself worked to influence elections in other countries at times.)
- There is a lot of drum-beating about the U.S. president’s responsibility to protect America from Russian interference in the election of 2016 and beyond.
- The switch: Blame is heavily laid on President Trump because he (obviously!?!) does not protect us.
Does this progression sound logical to you? Does it seem factual?
Now let’s take a look at how Tom Perez pursued this line of thinking — or played “The Game.”
But before we get into that, please note this point: Perez began his part of the discussion by stating that he had been a federal prosecutor and he had “learned early on you gather the facts.” He worked to establish his credibility. He framed his presentation as logical and factual, like a prosecutor would.
Here’s how he went through the steps:
Step #1: He said nothing about this. In fact no one said anything about #1 all day during the hearing. Remember how #1 was the big reason that many called for Trump to be put in jail as a traitor? Well, no one mentions #1 anymore — ever since the Mueller report was issued three months ago. The report found no evidence of collusion, even after over two years of the idea being washed into our nation’s collective brain.
Step #2: Naturally, Perez said a lot about “obstruction.” This is the pony the Democrats have been riding hard ever since pony #1 died in the desert. Mueller did nothing to help them in the report — or during the hearing. Nevertheless, it is now the Democrats’ Holy Grail and it appears they plan to keep pursuing it.
Martha MacCallum did a good job of countering Perez’s play of #2, by pointing out how much the obstruction allegations had already been investigated, along with “collusion.” With no proof.
At this point Perez craftily let go of step #2 and switched gears.
He moved to step #3 and came down heavily on what the Mueller report did “prove.” He argued that, since the Russians tried to influence our election in general ways, we should feel very threatened, be very afraid, angry, and blame someone. And we should do it right now.
But here is the really sinister part: He has now moved the game from a factual presentation to an emotional argument. He now builds his case on the emotional ideas of threat, fear, insecurity, protection and responsibility. Simply put, he has pushed his listeners into survival mode.
This is a trick used by both jurists and marketers. It is called “Moving the case to the reptilian brain.” It involves getting people to go to their most primitive style of thinking, not the logical front brain, but the part of the brain that is reactionary and centered around self-protection. It rarely deals with facts, but mostly reacts to perceived threats and self-survival.
Once a group of people begin thinking that way, they are easier to sway. They are also less likely to detect logical fallacies, which often follow.
Then, Perez slyly switched over to step #4. Building his case, he ranted on how it is the president’s job to protect us from these vicious threats. Can you feel your blood pressure rise to the fight or flight level? (I’ll fight! Won’t you?)
Then he moved to step # 5: It is president Trump’s fault! “It is the responsibility of our government to protect our nation against things like the Russians did!!!” (This part was beyond the section on the video clip, but in the interview).
At this point I turned to my wife and said: “Did you see the little shell game switcheroo there? Who was President in 2016 anyway??”
I.e., who was this chief executive of the U.S. who failed to protect our nation from this overt interference in that crucial election back then? (Sounds like a logical question, right?)
Now, to be sure, Perez did a quick gloss-over in his transition to Trump. He had to move things to 2019 and he knew it. But he did that fast. Listen carefully to the clip from 2:45 to the end. “Director Mueller said the Russians interfered with our 2016 election — the interference is continuing today. …” “This president [Trump] has been abjectly ineffective at combatting that.” On the path to that point he again brings up “…what troubles me more than anything, in addition to all the allegations of potential obstruction is the fact that we know that our fiercest adversary is poised to do it again. …”
What Just Happened?
Now, after we have taken two steps back and calmed down — what just happened here?
Well, I am sure our “fact-based” former prosecutor knows well who was president in 2016. It was one President Barack Obama. And Obama had been warned and briefed by our intel community about Russian election hacking efforts in 2016. Then he inexplicably directed U.S. cybersecurity forces to “Stand Down.” See my Stream article of a year ago on that very mysterious event, barely reported in the mainstream media.
Did Perez mention that? Of course not. He gathered all the storm clouds of anger and disgust he could about Russian interference and the U.S. refusal to stop it. Then he passed right over the Obama administration, which “stood down” and dumped it on the Trump administration.
As the kids say: “Swift!”
Does that follow, logically? Of course not. Interestingly, many journalists report that the Trump administration is doing much more than previous administrations to counter the threat in 2020.
But logic does not matter at this point of the game. There has been so much emotion ginned up from going through steps #1, #2 and #3 — even #4, that it has to be used by the Democrats somewhere and so they play it on Trump in step #5, although there is no logical connection.
Don’t Buy It
It is a game. It is similar to a shell game switcheroo. Or the old “bait and switch” technique used by disreputable hawkers of whatever goods they want to push at you. It is like a magic trick, using sleight of hand. It is like the lawyers going after the “reptilian” part of the brain in an unwary jury. It is like the original “reptile” deception in Eden.
Some people buy it.
I sincerely hope that you do not and that you do not get “played.”
Alan Eason is a writer and digital media and marketing analyst. He served as webmaster and as Inspiration editor for The Stream for its first two years.