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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"Not Even People"

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the harsh rhetoric of the 2016 campaign, which sometimes verged on incitement to violence.

Mark Hensch reports at The Hill:
President Trump’s son Eric Trump on Tuesday said Democrats are “not even people” to him after their obstruction of his father’s agenda.
“I’ve never seen hatred like this,” he said on Fox News’s “Hannity” Tuesday night. “To me, they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad. Morality’s just gone, morals have flown out the window and we deserve so much better than this as a country.

“You see the Democratic Party, they’re imploding. They’re imploding. They became obstructionists because they have no message of their own.”

In The Art of Political Warfare (2001), I explain how political figures have borrowed ideas from the military.  I discuss the techniques that armed forces use to break down resistance against killing.
The key is to depict the enemy not as a fully rounded human being but as an evil force who deserves attack, or at least as a mere target whose fate is unimportant. Political figures rarely go that far in "dehumanizing" opponents, and they should not, lest they provoke actual violence.