The danger of using rallies to gauge support

One of the things that candidates for office have to be cautious of is thinking that the enthusiastic response they get at large rallies is a sign of widespread overwhelming support for them and their policies. The people who attend rallies tend to be the die-hard fans and not representative of the population at large. And yet, it must be exhilarating to have large numbers of people cheer you on and the temptation can be irresistible to say things that make them respond even more enthusiastically.
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Triumph at the RNC

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog attended the Republican National Convention and spoke to media and delegates in his own inimitable style.

Triumph is funny. I find it interesting psychologically that when a puppet says something it is funnier than if the comedian operating the puppet (Robert Smigel) were to have said the same things himself. Perhaps the fun is in having people look at and respond to the puppet when the actual person speaking is right there next to it.
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‘alt-right’ goes mainstream

It is interesting how catchwords suddenly go mainstream. I had heard the word ‘alt-right’ on rare occasions before but it was just earlier this week that I noticed that NPR correspondents suddenly using the term repeatedly in describing the extreme right wing sphere. According to this article:

Alternative Right was the name of a website set up by “identitarian” Richard Spencer in 2010. The term has been embraced by those opposed to immigration, multiculturalism and globalism.

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French High Court overturns burkini ban

The French government has come under widespread ridicule for its burkini ban and commenter deepak shetty added a link to the various reactions around the globe. Meanwhile According to Newsweek:

France’s highest court has suspended a ban on the “burkini” in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, in a decision likely to lead to the overturn of 30 more such bans in towns across France.

The Council of State judgment said that the ban had breached “fundamental freedoms.”

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The Clinton Foundation’s shady dealings

We are now at the stage in US presidential politics where partisanship kicks into high gear. People choose sides and which candidate they want to win and work towards that end. That is fine. The only problem is that once that decision is made, many people start to defend acts by their own candidate that they would condemn if done by the opponent. At that point, principled politics goes out the window as people start to defend the indefensible simply because their own person does it.
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It is possible for Trump to lose supporters

One of the thing that have had political observers marveling is the remarkable loyalty of Donald Trump’s supporters who have stood by him through a campaign that has been, to put it kindly, a mess. While the reason for this has been ascribed to Trump’s ability to tap into populist instincts to fire up his base, my earlier post suggests that the reason has less to do with him and more to do with the fact that media culture has changed in such a way that the voting public has simply become more shielded from contrary views and thus more immune to being persuaded to change their minds.
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What makes for the most persuasive advertisements

I rarely watch commercial radio or TV because the frequent interruption by ads annoy me, but it is impossible to avoid advertisements these days since they are all over the internet, including this blog. I like to think that I am too sophisticated to be taken in by these pitches but it may be that advertisers are smarter than we are. For example, take a look at this ad.


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