New GOP Tactic Dazzles Followers and Undermines Media Response
The Post-Trump Evolution of GOP Communication Strategy
After the riots on January 6, 2021, Representative Matt Gaetz (Big Trump R-FL, 1st), leading nextGen GOP strategist, said in his objection to the electoral votes for Mr. Biden that rioters in the mob were “in fact members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”
While politicians have never been known collectively as “straight shooters”, people who lead with facts, the new GOP tactic simply moves away from the old school method of bending the truth, swerving around the facts, sidestepping the question. While grand ole party members like McConnell may still cling to these outmoded tactics, new Trump-wingers find those methods a thing of the past.
Instead, those like Representative Matt Gaetz, known to the old guard in simply as “whipper-snapper,” have gone straight into truth-shedding to adhere to the new tactic “fact-reversal.” “It’s not lying,” Mr. Gaetz explained in a Foxy interview [warning: all quotes in this article are made up, in line with fake media objectives, though the tactics the real Rep. Gaetz employs and factiously describes herein are quite real]. “It is focusing on the facts first,” and not some meaning other want you to believe.
The new strategy looks at known facts and describes them in the opposite way of your opponents, framing them (the facts and your opponents) in an accusatory manner. To paraphrase further, fact-reversal is attributing the opposite characteristics to the facts as rival groups, like those factions that oppose Trump conservatism, such as the big media, Democrats, judges reviewing voter fraud cases, local or state officials who certify election results, scientists, doctors giving advice about how to protect from viruses, and of course the government and RINOs who voted against Trump, including Liz Cheney (small r, Senator, Wyoming) and Florida Senator Rubio (now apparently small r, Senator, Florida).
In one example, Mr. Gaetz recently noted that some protestors were antifa. He did it right after the invasion of the Capitol when returning to vote. Rhetorical opposition framing gives meaning to what was caught on camera, that some media or ‘authority’ already decided for people what they saw: Why does the media or FBI government hacks get to claim it was friendly conservatives? He essentially noted. Fact-reversal instantly seeks to separate the imposed meaning from the evidence so people can be freed from big media or government control. It creates instance dissonance. Mr. Gaetz doesn’t necessarily need to stick the version he proposes but shows open-mindedness to consider other options.
“Some had MAGA hats and shirts, but antifa is clever enough to wear them to throw the public off the trail,” he wanted to say. “They wore military outfits and helmets and silly costumes like 1776 protestors and Viking fur to fool big media. They could have got instructions from big media to wear it. They could have got instructions to attend the Trump rally and mix in with real patriots at Trump’s rally. They, they know how to cosplay. They buy kits of material at Michael’s,” he said, referring to the popular craft store. “Then they break off and ransack the Capitol. Why don’t you give them any credit for being intelligent? No one said antifa activists were stupid or couldn’t make such a simple plan on their own app or chat room. Who do think was buying all those illegal drugs on the encrypted Silk Road? These are people that will go to any length to discredit and destroy Trump.”
When asked why Trump said “It’s time to go home now…We love you. You’re very special,” Mr. Gaetz appeared slightly upset before appearing very upset. “Why can’t Trump try to calm tensions nicely? Trump loves every American, even violent antifa protestors. That’s the same thing he said to his kids every night when he tucked them in. He loves us like a father loves his children. Why do you Democrats and media always corrupt his words?”
Over 411,000 followers did agree — in reality — to this sentiment expressed in his actual outrage recorded on the Congressional record to his opposing electoral college vote against certification, according to media consulting company Zignal Labs. Trump followers seem to believe the media does not give enough credit to antifa resistance fighters for being smart enough to pull off “cosplay embedding,” the modern version of oppositional planting or “agent provocateur,” as it’s known by the FBI and certain French intellectuals.
Oppositional planting is globally recognized outside the USA as a standard tactic to disrupt peaceful protests against the government or a strong man ruler. Rival party or undercover agents dress as protestors then throw stones and incite violence during a peaceful protest, making the police react with violence. It stains the protestors’ message of change, turning them into a threatening lynch mob instead of the general ‘people’ seeking change. The strong man can brandish them now as “thugs,” “arsonists,” and “looters,” as Trump himself called BLM protestors. Many Americans for the first time wondered why a white man would disguise to damage a store while carrying an umbrella. Known in Minneapolis as “Umbrella man,” spray painted an Autozone store and smashed windows with a 4-pound sledgehammer, obviously prepared. The media called him a white supremist who was caught before in black neighbors.
The new fact-reversal technique is different from the previous “alternative fact” method employed by chief practitioner Kellyanne Conway. Kelly had to make up alternative facts first, point to a different set of facts, or pattern the facts differently. She would also minimize the facts by saying that whatever Trump said was miniscule compared to what he did, his policies helping Americans.
Although the “alternative fact” methodology required more mental skill and acuity for its practitioners, this new messaging technology is more simple, more elegant. And it takes power away from experience spokespeople like Kellyanne or Sara Huckabee and gives the power directly to the people.
Mr. Gaetz pointed to the use of Occam’s Razor. He freely noted that the Occam’s Razor is meant as a meta-device to provide more elegant, more simple solutions, to complex problems. Occam’s Razor was a technique his colleague Representative Greene (Big Trump R-GA, 14th) took from her online forums and was quite different than Harry’s Shaving club, of which he is a member. “The most elegant messaging solution puts the power directly in the hands of the people. Hey, this is a democracy. Let the people decide what the meaning is to what they see.”
And it is true. The new tactic doesn’t deny or side-step, like Mitch McConnell or Nacy Pelosi frequently do. Instead, it looks at the same facts clearly on display all over social media and from multiple camera angles as they occur, then shows that they can be interpreted a different way. Some critics and even internal opponents of his jockeying for power have noted that it is akin to the “Don’t believe what you see” method.
But the 38-year-old Gaetz was quick to point out in the fake interview that most octogenarian political strategists and politicians don’t own a cell phone or use it only text their grandchildren while ducking into a closet to escape rioters. “You have to empower the people,” he told them. “My strategy derives out of core Republican beliefs. Republicans don’t like handouts, like government COVID checks and welfare Obamacare. They are American do-it-yourselfers. They don’t want elites making up interpretations they are forced to believe. So, I’m in line with their philosophy anyway.” It’s an organic tactic, occurring naturally, which may be why Viking Man demanded organic food in his jail cell.
He noted that everyone can look at the social media pictures and videos in real time. They have direct contact what’s happening, and they’re “not stupid. Don’t tell them what to think. Suggest some of your own interpretations, sure. Just like you can’t believe what Big Tech and Big Media tell you, you can’t believe what they show you either.”
Mr. Gaetz’s self-empowered method, one professor noted, was actually steeped in the deconstructionist philosophy of Jacques Derrida, who frequently lectured in the US. Jacque admitted openly stealing from Nietzsche, a German philosopher who wrote about the Genealogy of Morals and Longing for Origins. Mr. Nietzsche was greatly misinterpreted, Mr. Gaetz learned in school when his high school debate team took a bus trip up from Florida to attend the Falwell Lecture Series at Liberty University in South Carolina, which houses of the nation’s largest collectors of Derrida’s texts.
“Nietzsche believed people clung to the ideas of the past and superimposed the perceived political meaning over the patterns of the present, giving politicians control of their followers’ minds by manipulating that meaning interpreted from the past. The masses — not just the mob but people at any socio-economic level — always felt the need to fix reality to a safe back point back in time where all ‘god-like’ power came from. A sort of Ursprung,” Mr. Gaetz noted. “It gave them a deep feeling of belonging they craved. He pointed out that Nietzsche’s criticism cut the cord from the Ursprung, or god-source of meaning, and left people adrift in the modernist world, giving rise to Sartre’s existentialism where people must find their own meaning and relationship to truth. “And that relationship starts with confronting naked facts in their raw form. That why some of Trump’s real followers live streamed. But yes, some of the core protesters there with the cosplay antifas. Not Trumpers.”
Instead, Mr. Gaetz noted with Nietzsche the truth lies in the individual’s ability to throw off the power structure and face the facts on an individual basis without using the politician’s or media’s answers they were told. “That is the basis for democracy. Analyzing your truth.”
He noted that the real Superman, or Ubermensch, was not a mythical strongman like in the comics, or even a Strong Man leader, but simply a modern any-man able to cast aside all optical structures and imposed ways of seeing to confront the truth directly. “The naked facts can never be known in and of themselves,” he went on, as Kant noted, who was a type of precursor to Nietzsche’s philosophy. But they must be faced bravely and strongly with no institutional oversight. “Hence, I am empowering my followers.”
While several philosophy professors applauded his near accurate interpretation of Nietzsche by giving thumbs up to his Facebook postings, many noted (too-cleverly) that his over reliance on connecting it to Kant displays the type of search for longing that Nietzsche said should be overthrown.
“The facts are what they are. Look, I know my colleagues on the other side of the aisle appropriated that saying from Trump. They think they’re being suave. But really, they are just adhering to our group’s tactics of parroting the media instead confronting the facts head on. That’s what this saying means. The facts are what they are. It may be Trump’s strongest saying. In a way, it’s actually kind of flattering, even if they don’t really the philosophy behind it. But everyone feels it in their guts,” Mr. Gaetz noted in another fictitious interview after voting against impeachment.
The F.B.I. said there is no evidence antifa participated in storming the Capitol. To this, Mr. Gaetz replied, “How many times have the authorities mislead the public throughout history. Really? Did they present concrete evidence? Why does media just quote the FBI as like they had already launched a full investigation?”
Assistant FBI Director Steven D’Antuono told reports that they found, “no indication” in a phone call of antifa, and reporters were quick to pick up his quote and repeat it until it warmly blanketed the internet. A quick Google and Duck-Duck-Goose search indeed found this exact quote cut and paste over many reporters’ webpages. But no investigation papers were seen or referred to.
Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, was also quick to share reports that antifa was involved. President Trump acknowledged that the people who supported him were storming the Capitol — not just liberal activists.
“A lot of them went there, sure. But it’s like rubbernecking. The real violence was done by a small, coordinated group of antifa. Everybody rubbernecks. No crime there. You can see in the pictures most of the people were just wandering aimlessly around, snapping selfies. Walking calmly between the velvet ropes in the Rotunda. Just caught up in the moment, man!” Trump did recognize some of his followers got caught up in the fever pitch and headed to the Capitol, though “that doesn’t mean antifa didn’t plan and execute violence.”
The future of the GOP power struggle seems to be up in the air. But telling people what to think or sounding like an authority figure like Liz Cheney or McConnell, only riles up the Trump-base. They are ready to make their own interpretations, and the new “fact-reversal” strategy may find Matt’s post-Trump wing winning over Rubio in the next run for president or Senator of Florida. Alternative fact messaging might lose. Gaetz was seen the day after the impeachment vote with a complimentary pass to Mar-a-Lago to tee-up with Trump on Martin Luther King Day, stuffing a well-worn Thus Spoke Zarathustra book signed by Falwell himself into his golf bag.