Votes bought and sold: Are Americans beginning to see the consequences of the lies?

Votes bought and sold: Are Americans beginning to see the consequences of the lies?

Vance Packard writes in his book “The Hidden Persuaders” that “in early 1956 ‘Nation's Business,’ which is published by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, happily heralded the new, businessman's approach to politics. It proclaimed: ‘Both parties will merchandise their candidates and issues by the same methods that business has developed to sell goods. These include scientific selection of appeals; planned repetition. . . . Radio spot announcements and ads will repeat phrases with a planned intensity.’”

Have political propagandists taken lessons from Paul Joseph Goebbles, NAZI Reich Minister of Propaganda, who told us “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

The June 2017 special election for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District became “the most expensive House race in history, with candidates and outside groups spending roughly $55 million.” Roughly $30 million of that was spent on television ads alone, and NPR noted: “For context, that's more than a third of the roughly $75 million President Trump's campaign spent on ads during the nationwide general election.”


In the recent Ohio special Election, “Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor spent $2.4 million on the air, while Republican nominee Troy Balderson spent a bit less than $600,000,” according to David Weigel at The Washington Post. With overall spending in that election teetering at $8 million for a seat that will be recompeted in less than three months. The same seat commanded less than $2 million spent by both major candidates just two years ago. 


In the 2016 presidential contest, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGorsuch rejects Minnesota Republican's request to delay House race Biden leads Trump by 6 points in Nevada: poll The Memo: Women could cost Trump reelection MORE spent $969 million, Donald Trump spent $531 million, not counting PAC money, as reported by Bloomberg.  How much of that was spent on TV ads with a “planned repetition” to “repeat phrases with a planned intensity?”

Were “You like your doctor, you like your plan – you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan” and repeated promises to repeal ObamaCare political party lies to “merchandise their candidates” to the voters with “scientific selection of appeals; planned repetition” to “repeat phrases with a planned intensity?”

However, has the political propaganda in the media run its course?

Goebbles also warned “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” Are scalawag’s lies to the American people being exposed by their political, economic and social consequences?

John M. Barry adroitly observed in his book, “The Great Influenza,” the consequences of government backed by news media lies during the 1918 influenza epidemic:

  • “What officials and the press said bore no relationship to what people saw and touched and smelled and endured. People could not trust what they read.”
  • “…the more officials tried to control it with half truths and outright lies, the more the terror spread. The information …had to come up through the grapevine, verbally, from one person to the other.”
  • “Fear drove the people, and government and the press could not control it. They could not control it because every true report had been diluted with lies. And the more the officials and newspapers reassured …the more people believed themselves cast adrift, adrift with no one to trust, adrift on an ocean…”
  • “They failed because they lost trust. They lost trust because they lied.”

Does it take more funds for these TV ads to keep repeating the lies?

Repeating what “bore no relationship to what people saw and touched and smelled and endured;” such that “People could not trust what they read.”

Are the voters rejecting the contributions from carpetbaggers and outsiders to influence their votes?

The Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision was based on preserving free speech as defined under the First Amendment; however, are voters siding with Justice Steven’s dissenting opinion that the people “…believe laws are being bought and sold" through political campaign contributions to influence their votes?

John M. DeMaggio is a retired Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General. He is also a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy, where he served in Naval Intelligence. The above is the opinion of the author and is not meant to reflect the opinion of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.