Republicans Have Mastered of the Art of False Equivalency
Even so-called 'sensible Republicans' use both-sides-ism to misinform their base. And most of the time, the media goes along.
A few years before the Trump era, I found myself drinking a beer and watching television with an older male relative who happens to be white. Everyone else was gone shopping, so it was just the two of us. We’ve always had a cordial relationship, so we engaged in the usual small talk as we watched cable news.
At some point, a news story popped up that mentioned the southern border and immigration. As soon as I heard it, I tensed up. I had a pretty strong suspicion my television companion was a Republican. I noticed his reaction to the story and could tell he had something to say. After a few seconds, he could no longer hold his thoughts.
“I just don’t want them coming here voting illegally,” he said to no one in particular.
When I saw the immigration story on television, I mentally began the ‘what if’ scenarios common in family settings when politics or religion arises. In this case, I decided it was safe to respond. “How would they be able to come here and vote?” I asked, trying to make my comment as non-threatening as possible. As he thought about my question, I decided to continue.
“What I mean is, they’d have to register to vote and to do that, they’d need a fake birth certificate and maybe a fake social security card. Why would somebody that is here illegally want to do all that?” My relative pondered for a few seconds before saying, “Huh. I guess I hadn’t thought of that.”
I think the story illustrates the way folks with conservative leanings buy into misleading narratives.