“I explain the essentials of propaganda to the press conference yet again. Fritzsche is often too literary for my taste. He fails to properly understand the value of repetition in propaganda. One must constantly be repeating the same thing in different forms. The public… must be thoroughly saturated with our views by constant repetition. Until the message sticks.”

– Goebbels Diaries. Feb. 3, 1940

Paul Josef Goebbels served as Hitler’s Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. This entry explains a cardinal rule of effective propaganda from its master. (Fritzsche handled print propaganda.)

I have several dozen large mailer “cards” nearby as I type. Nearly all repeat the same things from either the Republican or Democratic side. None attempt to deliver an intelligent or “literary” message. All follow Goebbels’ basic rules. People tell me they are sick and tired of the campaign propaganda they see and hear. Editorialists and pundits regularly condemn the flow of negative campaign materials. Still the flow in a steady stream.

That’s no surprise given the millions of dollars flowing into Maine for to the senatorial race. Getting rid of Susan Collins is critical to liberal hopes for securing majority control of the Senate, and control of the Senate could mean a lock on the US Supreme Court. It seems that the Gideon campaign will end up with forty million dollars in donations. It has to spend that boodle somehow. Political pundits and academics mostly agree that negative tactics are deplorable but effective. Some may believe that there’s no way to wage an intelligent political campaign in the US.

Collins and Gideon both deplore the flow of money “from away” and both spend every cent. They know those pests from away have their eye on the national, picture. Few among them have any interest in Maine.

Some of this senatorial cash flow has spilled over into the second district House campaign. I’ve received a couple of mailers that depict Dale Crafts, the GOP candidate as a dangerous puppet of the insurance companies. It appears that he’s dedicated to helping them profit while afflicting people suffering from asthma, high blood pressure, COVID-19, pregnancy, and anxiety. One card has photos of the various victims, all looking glum and anxious. Dale’s master plan, we read, is to gut, GUT, healthcare for over 500,000 Mainers. Why does he want to do this? In the absence of an explanation we must assume sheer, unprovoked malice.

Maine Republicans have no kind words for Sara Gideon. They claims she is determined to tax people using oil. Her motive needs no explanation. We all know that liberal Democrats wince every time a dollar escapes the tax collector. Republicans also attack poor Sara as a hypocrite because she defended a Democrat colleague accused of sexual misconduct, criticized the Paycheck Protection Program that brought $2 million to her husband’s law firm, and lied about Susan Collins.

Another GOP card tells us “Gideon is dangerous for Maine. She doesn’t share our values.” “Gideon is as radical as they come” is the message on a third card. The Collins campaign has not gone so far as to condemn Gideon as an interloper from Rogue Island, but its constant themes “Susan Collins. Our Senator,” and “Sara Gideon. Expensive and Untrustworthy” along with “Our Maine Values are under Attack” all kind of hint in that direction.

The “Maine values” card is illustrated with pictures linking Nancy Pelosi, whom nobody really likes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who most people recognize as a childish radical, and Sara Gideon.. All add up to an exercise in guilt by association directed at Sara who few people seriously dislike.

Speaking of guilt by association, Maine’s Democrats sent this: “Donald Trump is on the ballot and “SO ARE HIS JUDICIAL PICKS.” Max Linn is shown with an X marking him as a faithful supporter of Trump’s choices. Susan Collins gets a ? because she didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 and won’t say who she’s voting for now. She will not, however, vote for Amy Coney Barrett before the election. Then we see an attractive picture of Sara with a check mark and the message “Only Sara Gideon opposes the Trump agenda.”

Two Trump cards are positive. One reads “President Trump is leading the Great American Comeback,” Another tells us “Together We Made America Great Again,” Neither of them attacks. They are all about boasting. Two other cards are devoted to demolition. One warns us the Democrats Want to Destroy the Fabric of America.” The other warns us “Don’t let the Godless Democrats Destroy American Values.”

John Frary of Farmington, the GOP candidate for U.S. Congress in 2008, is a retired history professor, an emeritus Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizen’s Coalition Board member, and publisher of FraryHomeCompanion.com. He can be reached at [email protected]

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