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The president-elect chose his campaign boss from August, Stephen Bannon, as his chief strategist, sending a signal to the world “God knows what.” Bannon is a very controversial figure who operated “Breitbart News, a website popular among white nationalists” (USA Today 11/16). He became even more infamous when it was revealed that he wrote in 2014: “Let the grassroots turn on the hate … because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty” (NY Times 11/15). He certainly seems to have applied these demagogic strategies to win 2016 presidential election judging from D. Trump’s textbook case of demagogic behaviors.

Wikipedia lists 10 specific tactics demagogues use to gain power and influence the populace. Amazingly, Trump/ Trump campaign used all 10 of the following tactics to sway the populace to his side. Let me here cite “methods of demagogues” part of “Demagogue” from Wikipedia:

Methods of demagogues

Below are described a number of recurring techniques that are reported among demagogues from many different times and places. No one demagogue uses them all, and no two demagogues use exactly the same methods to gain popularity and loyalty…

Scapegoating

The most fundamental demagogic technique is scapegoating: blaming the in-group’s troubles on an out-group, usually of a different ethnicity, religion, or social class….

Fearmongering

Many demagogues have risen to power by evoking fear in their audiences, to stir them to action and prevent deliberation…

Lying

While any politician needs to point out dangers to the people and criticize opponents’ policies, demagogues choose their words for their effect on their audience’s emotions, usually without regard for factual truth or the real severity of the danger…

Emotional oratory and personal charisma

Accusing opponents of weakness and disloyalty

Promising the impossible

Another fundamental demagogic technique is making promises only for their emotional effect on audiences, without regard for how they might be accomplished or without intending to honor them once in office.

Violence and physical intimidation

Personal insults and ridicule

Vulgarity and outrageous behavior

Folksy posturing

Gross oversimplification

Attacking the news media

Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, seems to approve the appointment of Stephen Bannon as the White House chief strategist because he made Trump “win” the presidential election. It seems winning is everything for him and many others. And now media commentators and pundits appear to be normalizing Trump presidency and how he won the presidential election. Shockingly, they don’t seem to find what Trump did and said that problematical. After all the news media such as CNN is complicit in popularizing and normalizing Trump by showing his image constantly in their programs to attract high viewership. It is also possible that now they just want to save their skins at all costs: if you can’t beat them join them.

I wonder if we are supposed to expect most of the political movements in the United States from this time on to operate by these demagogue methods. What a distressing thought!

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