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“All Politicians Are the Same”: Motivating/Demotivating the Voters

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As noted in the previous essay, the use of the false equivalence is a common tactic in politics. This essay will illustrate some of the ways it can be used to influence voters and I will provide some methods of defense. While this method can be employed across the political spectrum, in the United States it tends to be heavily favored by the right. One use of the false equivalence is to make voters feel somewhat better voting for a politician who has what they think are serious flaws. Such voters would not vote for the other politician, but their enthusiasm could be damped by their negative view of their own politician. This might even cause them to skip voting, should obstacles such as bad weather, long lines or COVID-19 interfere. The use of a false equivalence can make such voters feel that since the other candidate is just as bad in the specified ways, they should not feel any concerns about supporting their politician. While this is inferior to making the voters feel that their politician is great, it can be effective in getting people to vote. A second use of the false equivalence is to win over voters who are concerned about the serious flaws of a candidate but would vote for them if they were assuaged. The problem is that the opposing politician is less flawed and thus might be able to win over these voters. The tactic here is to draw a false equivalence between the two candidates to convince the voters that both candidates are equally bad. This would allow the deceived voters to feel better about voting for the flawed candidate—they can tell themselves that both are equally bad, so they should vote for the one they prefer more in some way—such as their professed views. This method can be effective as well and has the advantage of gaining a vote while taking a vote from the opponent. A third use is against voters who are unlikely to vote for one politician but might vote for another politician—if they were to vote. The goal of the false equivalence in such. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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