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Politics forms the future of every world, and America is no different. Looking at the recent trends in election campaigns that eventually saw Mr. Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States of America, it is obvious that people in the political division are using a number of fallacies to win over voters and persuade supporters that they are the best for different positions. This article would concentrate on two fallacies against both Republicans and Democrats, examine the social origins of these fallacies, and eventually offer a way to help political culture take problems more critically. In psychology, Woods (pg. 5) describes fallacy as the construction of an argument using illogical way of thinking to convince people. The two types of fallacy discussed in this paper are “Ad Hominem” against Republicans and “the straw man argument” against the Democrats. As defined by Woods, Ad Hominem is an argument whereby an individual attacks a person or a party instead of handling their issues (7). The Republicans are notorious for using this argument. Trump, sometimes called as the Ad Hominem king, was heard on several occasions in his presidential campaigns last year attacking Hillary Clinton instead of addressing pertinent issues (Stack). During the debates Trump states that Bill Clinton, Hillary's husband, abused women in the past. Straw man argument, on the other hand, is whereby the position of the opponent is misrepresented to show negativity in the good of the society (Lindquist et al. 121). The Democrats used this in many instances: President Obama stated that individuals against the health care bill were propagators of status quo. Hillary Clinton in a different setup argued that Trump did not value diversity by promising to build a wall to avoid migrants from Mexico entering the country.
The psychological root of Ad Hominem argument is egocentrism whereby you believe you are better than the rest. Walton attributes this to cold factors like mere ignorance on the possible good sides in the opponent, hence blindly belief what is said of the opponent without researching (11). Straw man argument, on the other hand, is propagated by hot psyche factors, such as primal reactive emotions, whereby a person defends one’s belief and course of action and indicates the opponents to be the stubborn ones towards its success (Lindquist et al.125).
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Political fallacy should be outdated. The contemporary population needs to be more vigilant and informed about pertinent issues. With this they will easily dismiss politicians who dismiss their opponents based on character as well as point out misrepresentation. When that is done, the politicians are to embrace truth in their aspirations and avoid diverting the minds of their audiences by giving illogical reasoning.
Lindquist, Kristen A. et al. ”The Brain Basis of Emotion: A Meta-analytic Review” Behavioral and Brain Sciences no. 35(3), 2012, pp. 121-202. Accessed 24 May 2017.
Stack, Garrett “Trump: King of the Ad Hominem”. Blog post. The Silver Tongue, 14 March 2016. https://silvertonguetimes.com/2016/03/14/trump-king-of-the-ad-hominem/. Accessed 23 May 2017.
Walton, Douglas. “Ad Hominem Arguments”. N.p.: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
Woods, John. “The Death of Argument". Applied Logic Series no. 32, 2004, pp. 3-23. Accessed 23 May 2017.
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