What Effect Will Terrorism Have on the 2016 Presidential Election?

The attack on Paris and the heightened threat of more terrorism could very well change the narrative of the 2016 election. Up until the recent tragedy in Paris anger was the primary force shaping the 2016 presidential race. Fear has now reared its ugly head in competing with anger as the main force dominating the 2016 election.

The major factor in determining if fear over takes anger as the dominant force depends on whether the majority of voters allow legitimate fears of ISIS to turn into rampant paranoia. Not surprisingly, a number of Republican presidential candidates are relentlessly attempting to push these fears into the paranoia zone. In his typical outrageous rhetoric, Trump is now calling for a total ban on all Muslims entering the US. Another example of fear being used as a manipulative tool is the methods Bush used to get reelected.

Before 9/11 Bush was no shoe-in to win his second term. He used fear of terrorism and the LGBT community to leverage a win in 2004. Flash forward eleven years to 2015 and the majority of Americans no longer fear the LGBT community. Without the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent disposal of Saddam Hussein, the existence ISIS would not have occurred.

When we allow delusions to become a part of our perceptions, it enables delusion to infect any and all of our perceptions. Delusions are like a cancer that infects the mind. It has the capacity to destroy our ability to think and react with clarity about anything. So the tipping point of the 2016 election could come down to whether the majority of Americans are clear-minded enough to discriminate between legitimate concerns about terrorism or being seduced by delusional fears of all Muslims. Anger has been in the top spot for awhile because voter anger was juiced up by the double whammy of extreme income inequality in combination with the effects of Citizens United on the body politic. It is abundantly clear to everyone that what donor billionaires want far exceeds the needs of the middle-class let alone any consideration of the working class voters. This has particularly infuriated Republican voters. Even to the point that most of them have convinced themselves outsider candidates like Trump are their best chance to get what they need from the government. Supporting that anger is dominating voter’s minds is an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey taken in late September 2015. It showed that 44% of voters were angry about the rigged political system. 28% were angry about their income and the economy and 8% were angry about both. That adds up to 80% of voters identifying anger as best describing their mood. These days it’s hard to get 80% of voters to agree on anything.

Self-interest has and will always play a fundamental role in elections. However, greed is self-interest taken to abusive and unnecessary extremes. Greed can be easily manipulated by politicians as it is another form of delusion that creeps into the hearts and minds of voters.

Greed and fear are the main tools many politicians use to manipulate voters. Anger is typically used as fuel to feed these fires. However, when anger truly dominates the minds of voters their decisions can get particularly impulsive and self-destructive. The fact that an obvious egotistic liar like Trump still tops the latest Republican polls is strong evidence how extreme anger can be destructive in our society.

In recognizing all this, the latest group of Republican presidential candidates have abandoned appealing to voters rational side and are all about extreme irrational rhetoric. This tactic may help them gain power but is not good for the rest of us. Fear and anger have been pushed to the forefront of this upcoming election with greed lurking close nearby. Mix in a heavy does of delusion along with the above and the odds of many voters making a good decision diminish considerably. When deciding whom to vote for in this extremely important election. Americans need to dig deep and become self-aware about what is truly shaping their decision. They need be strong and stop from being swayed by their most vulnerable emotions. The American voter must recognize which candidates are treating them with respect and which are playing them by pandering to their darkest emotions.