I thought of this immediately when I heard she planned this line of attack, but I didn’t post it because you never know who might be listening. I didn’t want her to pull back.
In cognitive neuroscience, you can make one idea more acceptable to individuals, by priming them with more extreme ideas. So if you ask somebody to buy a $5 candy bar, they may say it is too pricey and demure. But show them $10 and $15 dollar candy bars all day, and suddenly that $5 one looks much more acceptable by the end of the day. Within public discourse, the idea is often encapsulated in the concept of the Overton Window.
If Donald is a five dollar candy bar, then by discussing the Alt-Right, Hillary has just shown the nation a series of $100 and $200 dollar candy bars.
What Hillary has done is expose the entire nation to a set of ideas that is considerably more right-wing than that which the debate has been limited to, to date. In the old range of ideas the media gave voice to, which basically was ultra-left to moderate-left, Donald’s public advocacy was considerably to the right of that range of media-approved ideas. Much of his press has arisen because he gave voice to ideas that were previously verboten in public discourse within the media.
The mushy, clueless parts of the public which only get their limited data from the media, (which probably unduly fill the ranks of the moderates and independents who decide elections), only hearing the old range of ideas, would perceive Donald as somewhat outside that range of ideas, and thus extremist. That probably cost him support there.
Now, as the media lays out this whole new range of ideas to the public and explains them, Donald suddenly appears far more moderate by comparison. In fact, there is a whole range of far more “extreme” ideas out there that are to the right of Donald. Donald just became a moderate, and Hillary did it for him.
Hillary meanwhile, who had previously been ensconced well within the middle of the range of left-wing media-approved ideas, now seems considerably out toward the outer edge of the left-wing within this new Overton Window Hillary has created. She simultaneously moderated the views of Donald, and made herself seem extreme, and neither candidate even had to change their views.
I have to confess, I am stunned Hillary went through with this. All day yesterday I was sure Cialdini, the “Godfather Of Influence” was going to get on the horn and tell her to pull back. It was just too stupid. It is possibly among the most stupid moves anyone has made since Dukakis decided to drive around in that tank. It calls into question the entire competency of her campaign.
What I think we will begin to see now is a lot of unforced errors being made by the left. As the nation polarizes and turns K-selected/rightward in response to all the shortage and threat, the response of leftists is to shut out everything they don’t want to hear. This isolates them from the reality of the increasingly right-wing political situation on the ground. The echo chamber it creates reinforces a leftist mindset which is inherently unable to perceive how the normal, increasingly K-ified, right-leaning population will respond. Even worse, the more society ignores them, the more the left panics and isolates itself, and the worse their future decisions will be.
I suspect within Hillary’s camp, this was seen as a brilliant play. All of the rabbits agreed, all she had to do was point at the Alt-Right and shriek, and the whole nation would immediately begin pointing and shrieking with her. That is the extent of their delusional state.
But out in the real world, where the K-selected Strategy is ascendant, all that happened was a whole lot of people suddenly said, “Oh wow! Are we now allowed to say those things in public? I’ve been thinking exactly that all along!” Meanwhile the people who didn’t say that said, to themselves, “I need to check out this new Alt-Right thing, if everybody is talking about it.”
And just like that, Hilary swung open the Overton Window, made Donald a moderate, and made the left into an extremist ideology at the outer edge of the left side of the political spectrum.