On one level, Democrats trying to paint Republicans as enemies of modernity and autocrats from the 19th century is familiar to all of us. Deriding GOP candidates as part of a “Christian Nationalist Army” ready to behead those from some other religion is only the latest manifestation of the grossly exaggerated campaign rhetoric used by Democrats to scare their voters into going to the polls.
But what if the Democrats “changed the narrative”? And the way the narrative was presented to the voter?
Over the top? Not hardly.
Wide Angle Research, a nonprofit focused on moving politically-conflicted audiences, isn’t forsaking the hard-hitting tactics that have become a trademark of the campaign season’s close. Instead, the operatives pushed even further with online spots meant to mine some Americans’ darkest fears.
In one of the ads, a 10-year-old girl is sedated in a hospital after being raped. A doctor tells her parents she’ll have to return for a pregnancy test as part of a new government mandate. The narrator in the ad says states are passing abortion bans with no exceptions, adding that “a rapist can force himself on a child. But it takes Republican rule to force her to have his baby.”
It’s a lie, of course, but some voters who don’t know any better might not understand that even in states where there is a “no exception” to abortion, children and their parents have the option of aborting a pregnancy because of rape or incest.
Or how about the totally misunderstood law of punishing parents who want to give their children puberty blockers?
The style and format of the ad campaign, produced with help from the firm 76 Words, is built off of more than 18 months of unorthodox research, including studies that delved deep into the psyche of voters. Operatives at Wide Angle Research believe it represents a new frontier in digital campaigning.
The only difference between these ads and ads Democrats have been running for years is that these are animated. The Nazis discovered that even adults responded to animated propaganda because “values were very easy to reinforce and that the Nazis could rely on entertainment value to carry their messages, compared to the more aggressive nature of the propaganda made by the Soviets.” People viewing the “Age 10” ad believe they’re being entertained when in fact, they’re being brainwashed.
Note in “Removal” the uniforms of the “police.” Do they look like American police to you? More imagery of painting Republicans as “the Other” to dehumanize them.
We shouldn’t expect any outcry in the media on this use of Nazi propaganda technique, even though the technique was used to engender the hate that led to the deaths of six million people.