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(14,543 posts)
14. Truman for me. I vaguely remember Ike.
Sat Oct 28, 2017, 08:11 AM
Oct 2017

The conversion of some 20-30% of our population to right-wing dogma and hate is complex and has taken over 40 years.

My recollection of Republicans in the early 60s is that they were made up almost entirely of the wealthy business owners and the political issue that drove them was taxes. At that time, our tax laws were much more progressive, so rich folks resented paying more. Republican politicians such as Bob Dole regularly railed against taxes and deficit spending on TV. The few Republicans I knew in my hometown in rural TN were nice, regular folks but of higher income levels such as doctors or small businessmen. I don't recall hateful rhetoric except for the systemic racism against blacks common to most all whites. We were never exposed to Hyspanics, homosexuals or foreigners. We thought people from Ohio and Florida were foreigners, LOL.

The first hateful right-wing speech I recall was from Spiro Agnew with his racist campaign in their Southern Strategy, which eventually converted much of the South (including my all Democratic area) to Republican voting. During that era, massive right-wing brainwashing had not taken off, so I think most of that could have been reversed under the right circumstances. However, the 60s brought about so much social upheaval that solidified resentment in many church-goers against progressive change, as well as hippies, rock music, etc. So, at that point, a large fraction of our populace was ripe for brainwashing. And, racism was still there but somewhat more covert.

Then, Reagan came along and had extremely high popular appeal with social conservatives and used all the right words to convert many people's thinking on social spending from good to bad, along with the familiar troupe against taxes and deficits. His time further solidified the Republican mindset in many former Democrats that were religious and social conservatives. Republican strategists such as Lee Atwater clearly saw this opportunity to permanently expand the Republican base and took the advantage. Billionaire eyes were glowing with joy.

They knew their support from this new base was shaky however, and began to do full-time maintenance on it through right-wing talk radio (mainly 70s to present) and more TV exposure from their Reagan-era elected pols. After that, aggressive talk radio characters such as Limbaugh came in to solidify the cult and in the mid-90s, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News came in to occupy much more air time but with video.

As you know, the GOP's history of success is fraught with lying, deception, racism, false use of religion, misogyny, emotional rage, instilling of unjustified fears, xenophobia, sensationalism and constant circulation of numerous conspiracy theories - in other words, appealing to human's most base instincts and our worst primitive attributes. Our populace will always harbor part or all of those characteristics to some extent, and we simply have to evolve out of those bad parts of our natures.

The other primary factors making people vulnerable to GOP dogma is poor or narrow education levels nation-wide and lack of broad social exposure in rural areas. Not much we can do about the rural limitations, but we sure as hell can work to improve our weak level of critical thinking skills by re-emphasizing the need for studies in science, math, and the arts. We also desperately need to bolster interest in American government, civics and world history. If we allow our public education system to be driven only by the needs of corporate America, we're screwed.

Enough of my rant - as you can seem I'm just as frustrated as you!

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