The Power of Suggestion
Once upon a time there were two political consultants. Consultant number one, a lifelong Republican, Reagan Delegate to the Republican National Convention, worked exclusively for Republicans and had worked for Sussex County Republicans since 1993. This consultant partnered with a direct mail consultant who was so committed to the Sussex County GOP that he provided their candidates with interest-free credit for months and even years.
Consultant number two was in the direct mail business too. But he worked for Hudson County Democrats, and was himself a registered Democrat who was elected to local office in Sussex County as a Democrat, then switched to Republican, then switched back to Democrat in 2008 to vote in the Democrat Presidential Primary for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. After 2008, he switched to Republican again to pursue higher office.
This Democrat consultant was conversant with the methods of Marxist writer Saul Alinsky, whose 1971 book -- "Rules for Radicals" -- provided the exact prescription for attacking his Republican opponent: "Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It."
As the American Thinker noted in an April 24, 2009, article:
That's what Barack Obama taught his ACORN followers in all his Community Agitator classes in Chicago. That slogan defines mob scapegoating, of course. It is an exact prescription for whipping up mobs -- by race, by gender, by ethnicity, by religion. If you want to know how to whip a mob of Pakistani Taliban fascisti to whip a young girl for flirting with a young man in public, this is exactly what you do: Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It, and Polarize It.
And notice that "the target" is no longer a human being. It's an "It."
In his famous novel, "1984", George Orwell anticipated this Marxist method of scapegoating and called it the "two minutes of hate". Here it is portrayed in the 1984 movie of the same name, staring John Hurt and Richard Burton. Note the orgasmic release of the mob as they shout the hate object's name:
Of course this kind of manipulation doesn't work with people who have their heads screwed on straight. It takes an audience that is psychologically open to dehumanizing someone who they don't personally know. It also needs a leadership so unsure of itself that it is psychologically open to doubting trusted lieutenants of long-standing, even when those doubts are suggested by dubious sources. Rod Serling took a stab at describing the power of suggestion on such minds in this episode of the Twilight Zone from the 1960's: