Monday, October 14, 2013

How To Negotiate Your Party Into Extremism, In Three Easy Steps

1) Congressional Republicans threaten to do something extreme in negotiations with Democrats. For example, "We're not going to raise the debt ceiling unless you accept the repeal of Obamacare." It's just a negotiating ploy -- they really think the debt ceiling should be raised, but they're trying to extract concessions by making threats.

2) So that they don't look like hostage-takers, they want to seem like they're making principled demands rather extreme threats. So they argue that the threatened scenarios really fit their principles. For example, "Not raising the debt ceiling is necessary to keep us from going broke."

3) The Republican base believes them. After all, the opposing views are coming from Democrats and the mainstream media, whom they don't trust. So many Republicans think not raising the debt ceiling is necessary to keep America from going broke -- even though it triggers debt default, which actually constitutes going broke!

Do this over and over again, and people in your party start to have views on major issues that weren't even believed by the people who initially expressed them. I don't know whether Ted Yoho is a cruder example of the politicians in (2) or one of the base voters in (3) who managed to win a primary. Probably he's an amalgam of both. 

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