Why Fear Will Defeat Trump

Fearmongering has become a Republican staple for motivating voters, but the strategy is backfiring

Paul Thomas Zenki
Thinkpiece Magazine

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Graffiti mural depicting Donald Trump as the Devil
Image via Pixabay (Creative Commons)

It slipped by virtually unnoticed — the most important poll no one talks about.

In March of 2024, an AP-NORC poll revealed that Democrats are much more afraid of a second Trump administration than Republicans are of a second Biden administration. When I saw that, I heaved a heavy sigh of relief.

I’ve worked on several campaigns in my time, even helped flip a couple of state seats, and although party affiliation is the number one predictor of voter behavior (by far) it is also true — and not only in political marketing — that people will spend more time, energy, and money protecting what they fear to lose than they will seeking something they might gain, a well documented phenomenon called loss aversion. I will never work a campaign for a candidate who is reluctant to openly play that card.

So, let’s look at the Republicans — 49% are “extremely” fearful of Biden taking the win in November, and another 18% are “somewhat” afraid. Bad news for Biden, right?

Well, looking at the Democrats, a whopping 66% are extremely afraid of Trump returning to the Oval Office, while an additional 11% are somewhat fearful. But it gets even worse for the…

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Paul Thomas Zenki
Thinkpiece Magazine

Ghost writer, essayist, marketer, Zen Buddhist, academic refugee, living in Athens GA, blogging at A Quiet Normal Life: https://www.quietnormal.com/