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Political strategy deals with politics from a strategic perspective. Basically, it is the study of how politics are invented, and used to obtain some given objective.
This article covers some of these techniques as seen in history and the present day. Politics and the related tactics can be found in nearly every corner of our civilization.
Two groups may compromise with each other to each attain partial success.
Voters will make decisions partially based on how they view the proponents and opponents of an issue. By discrediting the proponents of an issue, the issue can be defeated, despite sufficient support for the issue itself.
Similarly, but to a lesser extent, an unpopular issue can be given a boost by discrediting the opponents of the issue. Also known as an ad hominem argument.
Just as products can be sold with celebrities, politics can be maneuvered with ideals and celebrities. One motivation to use such a tactic is the sheer success rate, and this tactic is common to both sides of many contests.
Another motivation, is that success is based on the merits of the ideal, or the celebrity, not upon the issue. Hence, obscure and even unpopular objectives can thus be achieved.
Historical examples include the Divine Right of Kings, used in the early modern era as a means of reinforcing allegiance to the monarch; the establishment of the Church of England by King Henry VIII in order to be able to divorce his wife and produce a male heir; the support given by some lords to the Protestant Reformation for the purpose of obtaining independence from the Holy Roman Empire; and the formation of government-run churches by Nazi Germany and Communist China in an attempt to control religious adherents. Such examples illustrate the use of religion for the advancement of political objectives.
Telling people they're smart, or beautiful, or that they are absolutely right has been a mainstay of marketing and politics since ancient times. Telling people otherwise is often the fastest, surest way of alienating them or even turning them hostile toward the speaker. On the other hand, placating people is one of the fastest, surest ways of selling ideas or positions, as the merit of the idea or position will be far less important than if the position were to be presented in a more rational fashion. This technique is often combined with discrediting in a push-pull arrangement:
- Placate the target audience
- Paint the competitions words or actions as an implication that the target audience is not smart, beautiful, etcetera
This creates instant allegiance to the speaker, while creating hostility toward the speaker's opponent.
Other political tactics include: