The Politician’s Handbook of Dirty, Underhanded Tricks and Deceptions
If you are running for office, don’t worry. If there are things in your past or present that you do not want do discuss (and aren’t there always!), you can avoid them by using a few tricks of the trade. And, in the worst circumstances, you can just lie. Today, it is easier than ever to rewrite your history and influence people.
In politics, people choose their candidates and demonstrate loyalty beyond reason. They ignore truth in favor of made up truths, are willing to accept political maneuvering over requiring proper responses to questions asked, and believe what they want to believe.
Many of the tactics politicians use to dodge and deceive the public are easy to spot if you look for them. Here are a few of the most commonly used ploys. A politician’s handbook, if you will.
The Flip Accusation
Accuse your opponent of the thing you are guilty of doing. This puts your opponent in a negative, defensive position, and also puts the other side’s credibility into question if your opponent’s side accuses you of the same thing.
The Double Standard
When accused of a thing, demonize your opponent of advocating the same or similar. It will shift the burden to your accuser and away from you.
The Double Down (Triple Down, Quadruple Down, etc.)
When caught in a lie, double down. Say the other side is lying and say it with conviction. Your faithful base will take your side because they want to believe you. Repetition wins over substance more often than you think.
The Half Truth
A partial lie does not equal a whole truth, but to your constituents, a partial truth will mean it is not a lie.
When lying, don’t forget to change your backstory. Those who want it to be true will believe it.
When you are cornered and caught, the best way out is to show that your opponent is doing the same, even just a little. If you are both doing it, then it makes it even and a moot point, eliminating much of your opponent’s leverage on an issue that would otherwise hurt you. False equivalence is the safe zone where 7 can equal 2.
When asked a question that you don’t know about or do not agree with, begin by briefly sounding like you agree, and then respond with your own opinion. Good ways to start your responses are, “You raise a good point…” and “I’m glad you brought that up…” and the follow-up with, “…and that is why…” By the time you are finished, you will have successfully put words in your questioner’s mouth. It also helps to nod your head in agreement as you are talking. This helps get people nodding in agreement with you, since you are such an agreeable person!
When asked a difficult question, choose part of the question, or something related to a part of the question, to answer instead of the actual question. It is amazing how often people will think you answered the question.
Answer the Question with a Question
When posed with a question that you do not want to answer, ask a question back and answer that question. Make sure your answer is long enough that people forget where the conversation started.
Change the Subject
When all else fails and you are not being asked the questions you like, or you are not able to get our your point, just change the subject. While this seems risky, and it is, it will be forgiven by your supporters and you get to make your point.
Justify Your Actions (quietly to yourself)
You are justified. You are righteous. You are only a participant in the process. Remember, this stuff only works because people let it work. Even if you are dishing it out, the public is consuming it and asking for more. This is a symbiotic relationship and you cannot be held liable when the public is openly participating with you. Think about it. If you take a moment, any apprehension or guilt should fade away.
For truth or for sport, watch for these tellable tactics. Even turn it into a drinking game at the next debate or political speech if you dare, taking a drink each time you spot one. More importantly, see which ones you are letting slide.
Hold your own candidate accountable if you are tired of being fooled, or just revel in happy, conformist bliss and enjoy the ride as you are manipulated to a very predictable end.