To the rational person watching the political scene, it makes no sense how people vote, or who they support. Someone claims to believe in such-and-such political view, but supports a candidate who doesn’t hold that view. Or they criticize politician who says something and then praise another for saying, in essence, the same thing.
A lot of grief can be avoided if you understand that for most voters, for most people, personality sells more than politics. Rhetoric matters more than substance. One thing you will notice about demagogues, for example, is they are not boring. They are not tedious. They are not forgettable. Whatever they say, you remember it because their personality, their demeanor, their presentation, is distinct and fascinating.
I joke to friends that I could easily amass a huge base of support on rhetoric alone. I know what phrases and sayings trigger patriotic, nostalgic emotion within people. I know what they are looking for. I know what they are waiting to hear. They don’t want policy or politics so much as they want someone to say certain things. And biggest of all, they’re looking for the right person to say it.
So it didn’t shock me too much that Trump was able to call Dubya a liar concerning the rationales for the War in Iraq and still not tank in the polls for South Carolina – remember, he is accusing the last GOP president of lying as to the reasons for the biggest U.S. war since Vietnam while seeking the GOP presidential nomination. And what’s more, he is the current frontrunner.
When was the last time that ever happened?
It might bewilder those who recall that in 2007 Ron Paul got hissed and booed at just for suggesting that U.S. foreign policy might not be a beloved one all around the world and that toppling governments and placing troops in people’s countries might cause them to bring violence to the homeland.
It bewilders unless you understand that it’s all about who the messenger is. People respond not to words necessarily, but to what they see. They want the right messenger more than the right message.
Something for libertarians to keep in mind. Do not argument or debate meekly. Be bold. Be direct. Display strength and confidence in your views. Never, ever apologize for them. Always maintain frame. Be amused, never outraged.
People base the validity of information they receive off of the messenger; this is an instinctive psychological response. So be the right kind of messenger for libertarianism that will win converts, not the kind that will make people suspicious or affirm misconceptions.
You will also be able to get people to listen to you while the other libertarians get dismissed or booed.