Written By: Anton Sawyer
Mark Meadows' January 6th Texts Will Change Nothing In GOP-Land
Having worked as a telemarketing fundraiser under Reince Preibus for all of 2015 (quitting shortly before Trump threw his hat into the ring) the revelations brought about by the release of the January 6 texts between former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and his GOP cohorts isn't surprising at all. I made thousands upon thousands of calls to people across the fruited plain spinning their web of deception, and see it as all par for the course.
It's with this experience that I dive into the topic today: the psychology behind GOP deception and how it works exactly. Once all of this has been parsed, you will see why these texts (and commission inquiry in general) will ultimately change nothing.
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for all articles can be found in the bibliography linked here.
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It’s hard to enact change when you are an enabler looking to fleece money out of the unsuspecting. While I was working for the RNC, we wanted everyone we reached to, to retain that unsuspecting nature. The first rule was that we would never speak down to a potential donor, or try to make them feel that anything they thought or said was incorrect … no matter how outlandish (or racist). I would use various tactics like conflations, whataboutisms, and my favorite, making up any statistic I liked as long as I used the phrase “a recent study” though never citing where the study came from. In fact, if you've listened to any GOP political commentator or leader and they reference a “study” and don’t tell you where it’s from, 90% of the time it’s been made up.
It’s because of these deception tactics I learned while working for Preibus that every report or study that is referenced anywhere on this site will name the source specifically and immediately.
But even more than relaxing the donor and making them feel like you are both on the same side and that you “really understand” each other, the most important factor was to keep the person on the line as emotionally charged as possible through various scripted responses that management had us use. The more upset you got them, the more likely it was that they would donate larger sums. Management was right and it worked every time. There’s a very scientific reason for what causes this ability to so easily take money from conservatives who are upset, but hold on to that thought for just a minute—I promise it will come full circle.
Knowing that the average citizen GOP donors can be emotionally and psychologically manipulated in these ways, as I go through the facts and events surrounding the Liz Cheney-read texts from that fateful January day, along with other January 6 House committee findings, you’re going to see the puzzle pieces fall together fairly quickly.
House Committee's Revelations
In early December of 2021, the January 6 House Select Committee revealed a slew of text messages between Mark Meadows and various GOP pundits and leaders. Because of the number of texts and sporadic subject matter due to the ever-evolving nature of events that day, the ones that I’m looking at here all surround Meadows’ responses when he was asked to stop the insurrection, along with the deployment of National Guardsman by ex-President Trump.
When Cheney—a self-professed Republican—read many of the texts aloud, she made her feelings clear. "These non-privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes." She continued reading, "Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy," Fox News host Laura Ingraham texted Meadows. "He's got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough," Trump Jr. wrote. Meadows responded, "I'm pushing it hard. I agree."
Shortly after the texts were released to the general public, Don Jr. started falsely accusing members of the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection of “altering” a text message sent by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan to ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Don Jr. claimed, “... Schiff etc altering the text messages at his sham committee," in a tweet.
This is a great psychological tactic in deception. By pointing to the errors of someone other than himself, it allows Don Jr. to remove any possible accusation against him that this is personal and he was personally hurt. By also coming to the rescue of a Republican colleague, it gives him a moral boost in the minds of his supporters that he adopts the philosophy of "being thy brother's keeper." Above what Don Jr. did, there are other deceptions occurring that are far more dastardly than this tweet.
The National Guard
Outside of the horrific nature of the texts, the other major takeaway from the release of this information by the House committee is in the fact that Meadows sent an email saying the National Guard would be present to “protect pro-Trump people” in the lead up to the US Capitol insurrection. Committee chairman Bennie Thompson appeared to allude to this January 5th email about having the National Guard on standby in a letter to Meadows' attorney a week prior informing him that the panel would move forward with contempt proceedings. Thompson also referred to a November 7, 2020, email discussing the appointment of alternate slates of electors as part of a "direct and collateral attack" and a January 5th email that had a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled "Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN" to be provided "on the hill." Meadows knew it was going to be a disastrous nightmare. So much so that he offered National Guard protection to the insurrectionists. But, it gets worse.
For months, Fox pundits have latched onto this idea while trying to push a narrative that Donald Trump knew trouble was brewing and had pushed to have the National Guard present during the insurrection. Glenn Beck, Buck Sexton, and Sean Hannity have all been trying to drill this into the brains of anyone within earshot. With Hannity saying, as recently as December 13, 2021, “Don’t forget, President Trump requested increased National Guard support in the days leading up to January 6. The request was rejected—by Pelosi, by congressional leaders, including requests, by the way, from the Capitol Police chief.”
This slanted information comes from when one month after the insurrection, Meadows appeared on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” and made this claim: “As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of defense. That was a direct order from President Trump.” Later that month, Trump made the facts clear. “I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen and [said] I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready,” Trump stated. He continued, “They took that number. From what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi. And I heard they rejected it because they didn’t think it would look good.”
It's behind the scenes to this lie that shows you how the germ of an idea for a great fib can grow into something accepted by the masses as truth.
During a meeting on Iran in 2021, acting defense secretary Christopher Miller stated, "[Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people. No, I’m not talking bullshit.'" Reporter, Adam Ciralsky, asked Miller why Trump threw out such a big number? “The president’s sometimes hyperbolic, as you’ve noticed. There were gonna be a million people in the street, I think was his expectation.” The reality is that the attendance only peaked in the thousands.
It's important to remember that the statement did not come as part of a meeting to discuss how to handle the event. Instead, it appears to have been an offhand remark. That’s not the same thing as a “request," and Trump knew full-well how to deploy the National Guard by this point. In fact, when you dig even deeper, you find that the Defense Department never acted on Trump’s remarks as department officials did not regard the offhand comment to be a “direct order,” as Meadows claimed. And the official Defense Department planning and execution memo on the January 6 events also makes no mention of any such discussion. Instead, it notes the possible activation of 340 National Guard troops to assist the D.C. government with traffic control—a move that came about after a Dec. 31 request by Democratic Mayor Muriel E. Bowser.
An offhand comment made by a man who has a history of vastly overvaluing himself became the impetus for what would later become a lie that a big portion of their defense is hinging on. And because it has been morphed enough, been repeated enough, and been able to permeate the emotional center of the GOP’s followers enough, that’s everything that is needed for it to become fact.
It would be difficult for most to just read that last paragraph and think that any member of an intelligent species could fall for such a thing as being impossible. But it is not only possible, it is the reality of the situation.
You may be asking yourself, how can this be?
As much as I want to use the words "stupid," "idiotic," or the ever-popular "imbecilic" when it comes to the GOP reaction to the release of the damming texts sent from Mark Meadows to his Republican contemporaries and the spin involving the deployment of the National Guard, I won't. I have a thesaurus for such things. But even beyond that fact, those words and phrases are inaccurate. And with humanity living in the digital age, where information has never been easier to obtain, “ignorant” isn’t exactly right either.
As I’ve mentioned before, the two major parts of the brain that are involved in decision-making are the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex (PFC). The amygdala is the part of the brain that houses human emotion, and the PFC is where logic and reason reside. Because of our evolution as a species, the amygdala became much more evolved much more quickly, as we were not at the top of the food chain per se and there were many wild animals that would eat us. It was the beginning of “fight or flight.”
As technology and education advanced, so did our reasoning. Because of this evolution, most people have an emotional reaction to a situation before anything else, but can usually control their emotions to where they don’t hurt anyone or themselves. The PFC kicks in and prevents the recipient of the bad news from having a bad outward response and making the situation worse. Of course, evolution can be wily and will oftentimes keep some of the worst of the worst around when it comes to human foibles. The prevalence of emotional arousal and emotional reasoning in those who are conservative are just such an example, and that’s also the reason why the deceptions used by both myself and the GOP leadership are so easily welcomed with open arms by their followers.
A study published in 2011 in the “Current Biology Journal” by neuroscientists Ryota Kanai, Geraint Rees, and co-written with Colin Firth and Tom Feilden, showed results when they performed studies on how the brain reacts to certain stimuli and how it pertains to political affiliation.
The experiment went as such:
They would hook the subject up to an MRI to monitor their brain activity.
They would show the subject images of many different things which would trigger responses and see which part of the brain had the most activity during each picture.
When they cross-referenced those results with the political ideologies of the subject, the results were pretty clear: people whose amygdala dictated their responses were more conservative, and people whose pre-frontal cortex dictated their responses were more liberal.
What this means is that no matter what facts or evidence you may have to present to someone who is a conservative that disagrees with you, unless you are able to get them to make an emotional connection to the facts, their brains will not allow it as reality.
As we’ve seen, the emotionally driven part of the brain is incredibly susceptible to manipulation. Given the right set of circumstances, the ability to have someone emotionally attach themselves to information (no matter its accuracy) is something that should never be underestimated. Trust me, as someone who used those same GOP tried-and-true tactics repeatedly (and to great effect), I can tell you that no matter what information comes out during the January 6 House committee meetings, it’s not going to make a bit of difference.
Also, given the current state of our criminal justice system, I doubt Trump will ever be found accountable for anything. But that’s another topic for another time …
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