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Republicans Resort to Familiar Attacks, Labeling Democrats as ‘Marxists’ and ‘Communists’

by Madison Thomas
1 comment
Republican Misinformation

In the aftermath of his arraignment on federal charges, Donald Trump unleashed his criticism against President Joe Biden and Democrats, employing language reminiscent of a bygone era. He claimed to be persecuted by “Marxists” and “communists.”

While Trump has long employed these labels since his entry into the political arena, they have recently become a common attack line used by other Republicans as well. This rhetoric is not only inaccurate but also potentially dangerous, as it seeks to demonize an entire political party using terms historically associated with America’s adversaries.

Experts who study political messaging emphasize that associating Democrats with Marxism only serves to deepen the country’s polarization. Furthermore, it is factually incorrect—Biden has championed capitalism, and Democratic lawmakers are not advocating for the transformation of American democracy into a communist system.

However, Trump and his Republican counterparts have persistently used exaggerated references to these political ideologies to instill fear about Democrats and the alleged threats they pose.

Following his not guilty plea in federal court, Trump addressed a gathering of his supporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. He accused Biden and his allies of attempting to dismantle American democracy, referring to them as a group of “thugs, misfits, and Marxists.” He warned, “If the communists get away with this, it won’t stop with me.”

Days later, during a telephone rally with Iowa voters, he reiterated the Marxist theme. Over the past few months, Trump has employed campaign emails and social media posts to claim that America under Biden could transform into a “third world Marxist regime” or a “tyrannical Marxist nation.”

Other Republicans have joined in with similar messaging. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene took to Twitter to condemn the “CORRUPT AND WEAPONIZED COMMUNISTS DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED DOJ.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s main rival for the GOP presidential nomination, has warned of the dangers of “woke” ideology, which he defines as a form of “cultural Marxism.”

Political history in the United States reveals a longstanding tradition of politicians labeling their opponents as Marxists or communists without evidence, most notably demonstrated by the late Senator Joseph McCarthy’s efforts to blacklist alleged communists in the 1950s.

Tanner Mirrlees, an associate professor at Ontario Tech University in Canada who studies political discourse surrounding “cultural Marxism,” points out that in a country that historically positioned itself against Marxism, “red-baiting is as American as apple pie in political communications.”

These attacks are carefully crafted to elicit an emotional response from voters, according to Steve Israel, a former U.S. congressman from New York who has extensively studied political messaging. He explains that Democrats tend to appeal to reason and empirical evidence, while Republicans focus on stirring emotions.

For some Hispanic Trump supporters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Miami, where the former president was arraigned, the charges brought back memories of political persecution their families had previously fled. Madelin Munilla, who came to Miami as a child after her parents escaped Fidel Castro’s Cuba, said, “This is what they do in Latin America.” She carried a poster featuring a photo of Biden alongside Castro, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega—leftist leaders whose suppression of opponents has driven immigration to South Florida for decades.

However, it is important to distinguish between opposing an actual regime that curtails individual freedoms and rejects a free market economy and the way many Republicans currently use these terms to falsely claim that Marxists are the ruling class in American society.

Tanner Mirrlees asserts that the Republican claim that Marxists control major American institutions lacks empirical evidence. Other Republicans

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Political polarization

What labels are Republicans using to attack Democrats?

Republicans are using the labels “Marxists” and “communists” to attack Democrats.

Are these labels accurate descriptions of the Democratic Party?

No, these labels are inaccurate. President Joe Biden has promoted capitalism, and Democratic lawmakers are not advocating for a communist system.

Why do Republicans use these labels?

Republicans use these labels to instill fear and spark concerns about Democrats and the perceived dangers they pose.

Does associating Democrats with Marxism further polarize the country?

Yes, experts who study political messaging argue that associating Democrats with Marxism deepens the country’s political polarization.

Is there historical precedent for labeling opponents as Marxists or communists in American politics?

Yes, there is a history of U.S. politicians using these labels without evidence, notably seen during the efforts of Senator Joseph McCarthy to blacklist alleged communists in the 1950s.

Do these labels have a negative impact on moderate and independent voters?

These labels may not be as effective with moderate and independent voters who do not see evidence linking Democrats to Marxism, as they are more focused on evidence-based reasoning rather than emotional appeals.

Are these labels supported by empirical evidence?

No, experts argue that there is no empirical evidence to support the Republican claim that Marxists control major American institutions.

Is there a risk of demonization and misrepresentation through these labels?

Yes, using labels such as “Marxists” and “communists” can lead to demonization and misrepresentation of the Democratic Party, creating a distorted perception of their values and intentions.

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1 comment

BookLover27 June 19, 2023 - 11:47 pm

LOL, d repubs think usin labels lik “marxists” & “communists” will scare ppl! but dat’s jus misleadin & false! let’s focus on facts, not fear tactics!

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