In his Monday New York Times column, Paul Krugman illuminated the Republican Party’s long history of style over substance. Policy has generally taken a backseat to posturing in their rhetoric, which is finally coming back to bite them in the form of Donald Trump, who is only doing what they have always done better. There are numerous examples of this tactic coming into play, and it most recently worked in favor of President George W. Bush.
“George W. Bush was supposed to get your vote because he was someone you’d enjoy having a beer with, unlike that stiff, boring guy Al Gore with all his facts and figures.”
Krugman argues in his column that while it seems ridiculous in hindsight that the American public would choose a president who seems ‘approachable’ rather than one who seemed to know what they were talking about, Al Gore’s attempts to actually discuss policy differences worked against him.
When Gore met Bush’s ‘beer buddy’ appeal with facts during debates, Republicans complained about his “fuzzy math.” The media followed suit, which caused the opinion that Gore had lost the debates to spread.
Empowering the Ugliness https://t.co/B1mf7FHax3. KRUGMAN SPEAKS RE TRUMP
— Pam (@mortgageconsult) December 12, 2015
While he did not do so successfully, John McCain employed similar tactics in his campaign against Barack Obama. Why else would he have made the unqualified and unprepared Alaska governor Sarah Palin his running mate? Aside from being relatable and non-threatening, she was a complete liability. However, this is not a problem when your contingency has been groomed to prize appearances over everything else.
“Bluster and belligerence as substitutes for analysis, disdain for any kind of measured response, dismissal of inconvenient facts reported by the “liberal media” didn’t suddenly arrive on the Republican scene last summer. On the contrary, they have long been key elements of the party brand. So how are voters supposed to know where to draw the line?”
Donald Trump’s popularity is proof that some voters are at a loss when drawing that line, and that engineering ignorance on a mass scale has consequences.
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