The above image is the actual beginning to an email sent out by the Republican Party on Thursday, October 9, with the subject line, "IF we don't win..." It hasn't been photoshopped or manipulated in any way. This is exactly the message that both major parties try to sell to voters before any major election: if you vote for the opposing party, the apocalypse is nigh.
On Wednesday, IVN published an article titled, "Even in Death, Major Parties Will Continue to Beg You For Money." The article discusses not only how easy it is for the major parties to get a person's information without them even signing up for a newsletter, but how difficult it is to get off these email lists. Simply hitting "unsubscribe" won't be enough. Trust me, I have tried... many times.
The next question one may ask is, "aren't there laws to protect people from such harassment?" With any other company that calls or spams people's inboxes soliciting them for something, yes, but the major parties made sure they were exempt from these laws or that there are loopholes in place they can exploit.
Up until pretty much Election Day, voters' spam boxes will be flooded with emails that read similar to the GOP email that was sent on Thursday. It is commonly known as "doomsday politics" -- convince voters that the sky is falling to scare them into not only voting for the party's candidates, but to open their wallets as well.The email starts off with a reminder of how close we are to Election Day... typically underlined and/or typed in bold font. In this case, the email reminded voters that the election is less than 30 days away. Then comes the foreboding apocalyptic prediction that if the party sending the email doesn't win, it will be "DOOMSDAY."
Then, the email just throws words at people: "REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH," "GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED HEALTHCARE,"VIOLATED PERSONAL FREEDOMS," "STAGNANT WAGES," "EXPLODING DEBT." All in caps and all in Heading 4 bold font. It is everything that people need to fear from two more years of an "unbalanced and unchecked Obama presidency."
The email then shows a picture of an angry Obama with a quote that is either not an actual quote from the president at all or is missing a word or two or three so that it can be used out of context, followed by "PREVENT A DOOMSDAY, donate RIGHT now."
The quick donate links then show some seemingly random numbers: "Quick donate $18," "quick donate $29," "quick donate $52," quick donate $148." The point is, donate and donate quickly before America crumbles completely.
To be clear, just because I am using a GOP email as an example, doesn't mean I am saying only Republicans send these kind of emails. Voters who receive emails from the Democratic Party or the DNC or other Democratic groups receive similar fundraising emails as well. The purpose is to invoke a sense of urgency and even fear.
What these emails fail to mention, however, is that whatever they say people need to fear in bold, capitalized letters from the other side winning elections is what has happened under the watch of both parties. And these things have worsened in a hyper-partisan environment where nothing gets done in Congress and when new laws are proposed, it is not for the betterment of the country, but to score political points for an election.
If the Democrats maintain control of the Senate, Obama will not be able to "force through every last item on his liberal agenda" because there is no chance that the Republicans will lose control of the House, a point that is overlooked in the doomsday email. In fact, regardless of who wins in November, the culture and environment in Washington is not likely to change very much -- because we have an election system that has produced the extreme polarization we see today.