While social media has engaged and mobilized a new generation of voters, the technology has also become the biggest platform for election-time bullying that any generation has seen. With an open platform for political discussion comes an even bigger opportunity for political discourse. This election cycle manifested the worst of both parties.
The term “useful idiot” refers to someone who is pawned by a superior power with no knowledge of the end goal of the party. While this term was coined by Marx and Lenin, its relevance in today’s political discussions on American politics on social media platforms could not be more pertinent. The polarization of the major party candidates in this year’s election cycle truly heightened the fears of members of both parties and created resentment towards our friends on the other side of the isle, and in our attempts to be more appealing through abrasive discussion we have become nothing more than useful idiots.
The stories are universal: someone posts a political article, you take to the comments section to defend your candidate or party’s position and suddenly- boom- you’re a sexist, racist, xenophobic, bigot. Your civil political discussion abruptly turns into the name game, nothing but ad hominem attacks. While the left maybe screaming these names and pointing the finger, perhaps it is because they do not know any better. The inability of the useful idiots on both sides of the isle to read between the lines of what the media and political parties are feeding the public has lead to an outright disillusion in political debates.
We’ve heard it time and time again: “politics and difference in opinion are nothing to lose friends over”. Despite this perpetual message, many voters who were brave enough to voice their opinions saw the number of their Facebook friends decline and even lost life-long friends, all over the perceived notion that if you’re voting for a particular candidate that you are a direct reflection of that candidate. While being called a racist, sexist, xenophobe, or bigot is nothing new to Republicans, the left’s voter shaming reached all time lows in this election cycle.
The left claims to be the party of tolerance, all the while shaming anyone who is perceived to fall out of line with their socially constructed norms. Reports of gays, minorities and women being shamed by the left for supporting Trump are far too many to count. The left shames these groups because of their perceived notions of what Donald Trump stands for and how that could not possibly be reflective of what these groups want. It’s not easy to forget when Madeleine Albright told women voters of his country that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”, implying that women were obligated to vote for Hillary because of their gender. The left would have gays, minorities and women believe that to vote for anybody on the Republican ticket, especially Donald Trump, was equivalent of betraying the people you represent.
The message and branding of perceived self-suppression that the Republican Party inflicts is the left’s way to pander to voters whom they would consider special interest groups- the gays, the minorities and the women of this country. Luckily, there are groups such as BlakPac which helps mobilize and educate minority groups and fosters the ideas of conservatism. BlakPac knows that it is not about color, it’s about character. BlakPac’s movement to expand the party to all Americans- to people of color and other minority groups such as women is a grassroots movement that fosters the election of minority candidates to once and for all prove that the Republican Party and our ideals know no race, sexuality, or gender. The Republican Party is one that manifests diversity and provides a platform built upon limited government, personal responsibility and free markets, a platform that benefits all Americans.
In today’s society it is hard to live by the old adage that you don’t talk about money, religion or politics publicly. With the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter we’re are all very publicly becoming a new wave of political activists. It is now our job, as Republicans, to advocate for our ideals and reach out to those who have fallen to the surge of useful idiots. Politics is a grassroots game, and you may lose a friend or two on the way, but for every one you lose you’re guaranteed to replace them with two.