By: Frank Salvato
Few people understand how President Barack Obama has succeeded in pushing through initiatives, programs and legislation that are distinctly unpopular with the total of the American population. To that end, few people understand how such a divisive incumbent president achieved re-election. Common sense would have that if a majority of people stood against a program, initiative or legislation – or a candidate for that matter – that success in achieving a positive result would be scant, if not impossible. But, as we have come to understand – almost seven years after the fact, Barack Obama and the Progressive machine do not play by a traditional set of rules. Instead, they play by a set of rules that are foreign and unintelligible to mainstream America and, especially, the tone-deaf Republican establishment.
Progressives have long understood the importance of not only the potency of “the message” but the need to control the message. They have become masters at crafting and controlling the framing of issues, and advancing talking points sympathetic to their cause. For many decades this consisted of touching Mr. and Ms. America in one of two vulnerable places, or both: the heart and/or the wallet. If a Progressive candidate, spin doctor or political operative could use a narrative to touch the voters’ hearts, making them sympathetic and/or angry to the allegory then they had succeeded – most of the time – in their call to action, in the political sense, to vote. Likewise, if they could demonstrate, via rhetorical example, how an opponent’s policy, legislation or platform would adversely affect their individual wallets the outcome was almost always in their favor. The truth seldom mattered. The end justified the means.
Today, Progressives have upped the ante to such a level that opponents – Republicans, Independents and Libertarians – stand nary a chance in the political areana if they continue to operate their campaign and political outreach structures in the manner of politics past. Progressives have combined the core strength of their “crusade culture” with cutting edge 21st Century technology, to create a campaign apparatus so potent that even today’s popular anti-politician anger might not be enough to defeat it.
On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, the President Obama signed an Executive Order that constitutes the most frightening political move since President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court. Outside of the sphere of government, Mr. Obama and his Progressive machine have authorized the government to conduct behavioral science experiments on the American people for purely political purposes.
Chuck Ross from TheDailyCaller.com reports:
“President Obama announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on US citizens in order to advance government initiatives.
“‘A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights – research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them – can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people,’ reads the executive order, released on Tuesday…
“The initiative draws on research from University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard law school professor Cass Sunstein, who was also dubbed Obama’s regulatory czar. The two behavioral scientists argued in their 2008 book ‘Nudge’ that government policies can be designed in a way that ‘nudges’ citizens towards certain behaviors and choices.”
As brazen and jaw-dropping as that sounds, this is simply an overt continuation of what was developed at the Analyst Institute in the run-up to the 2012 election; an organization quietly formed in 2007 by AFL-CIO officials and Progressive allies, which sought to establish a set of “best practices” for interacting with voters. Their creation: the Catalyst.
As Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab, integral in the creation of the catalyst, described in 2010:
“Before the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial primary, three political scientists isolated a group of voters and mailed them copies of their voting histories, listing the elections in which they participated and those they missed. Included were their neighbors’ voting histories, too, along with a warning: after the polls closed, everyone would get an updated set.
“After the primary, the academics examined the voter rolls and were startled by the potency of peer pressure as a motivational tool. The mailer was 10 times better at turning nonvoters into voters than the typical piece of pre-election mail whose effectiveness has ever been measured…”
The application of this technology-based strategy is a matter for the history books. The Obama campaign used it in 2012 and defied the odds in achieving Mr. Obama’s re-election despite a dedicated opposition and myriad policy failures that would have seen any other candidate defeated.
In the FOX News investigative series Prying Eyes, Peter Boyer explains:
“To nearly half of America…election night came as a shock. With a terrible economy at home and new dangers abroad, President Obama seemed so beatable. But Romney didn’t know what Obama knew. Obama’s team had used the advantages of incumbency, time and money, to create something new in politics…
“Sasha Issenberg literally wrote to book on this new science of campaigning that Obama mastered. By harnessing data – like your TV viewing habits, your social media network, your voting history – the Obama campaign made a virtual profile of every single persuadable voter in the country. Then, with experiments borrowed from behavioral psychology, they targeted people with personalized messages and coaxed them to the polls.”
And we know it worked.
Now Mr. Obama has delivered the Progressive psychological stratagem of “nudge” from the shadows, and, with the power of an Executive Order, has overtly sanctioned its application by government onto the electorate for what he describes as designing “government policies to better serve the American people.” The problem with this is this. Progressives have already demonstrated they cannot be trusted to use this technology for the purposes of serving the country. In fact, because they have already used this technology to coerce people into supporting the initiatives and candidates that they want; that they believe are good for the country, they have proven to be nefarious in their intent.
Imagine using behavioral psychology coupled with the Catalyst to individually target people; to individually pressure people into accepting Progressive policies, initiatives and programs, like amnesty for illegal immigrants, or support for Planned Parenthood, Obamacare or the Iran nuclear agreement. Imagine them using this technology to coerce people into supporting Common Core or the acceptance of another trillion-dollar “stimulus.” The examples of how this stratagem can be misused and abused are myriad. And Mr, Obama and his Progressive Machine have already proved they will use it to advance their line of thinking…exclusively.
Meanwhile, Republican leadership – still self-important in believing themselves intellectually superior to the Progressive political machine – advance their campaigns and candidates; champion their causes still worried about whether or not they have enough yard signs and generic mail-outs, tone-deaf to the fact that their campaign apparatus has been laid to waste by a technological advancement straight out of Orwell’s 1984.
In 1984, Orwell wrote of “doublespeak,” a language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words, making the truth sound more palatable. Mr. Obama’s government sanctioned unleashing of the Progressive psychological stratagem of “nudge” – the marriage of behavioral psychology and the Catalyst initiative – onto the American people will make the diabolical nature of “doublespeak” the thing of parlor games. Progressive oligarchic elites will decide what is best for the people; for the nation, and “nudge” those reluctant to automatically acquiesce into compliance.
And everyone in the New United States will comply.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director of BasicsProject.org a grassroots, non-partisan, research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy, and internal and external threats facing Western Civilization. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His opinion and analysis have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, The Jewish World Review, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, Townhall.com and are syndicated nationally. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is the author of six books examining Islamofascism and Progressivism, including “Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”. Mr. Salvato’s personal writing can be found at FrankJSalvato.com.