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Beware smear tactics in the midterm election

September 30, 2022

I am concerned over the smear tactics and big lies used in the last Republican Primary — and concerned that we might see a repeat in the upcoming midterm election. For instance, Jim Woodward has been our State Senator in Boise for the last two terms, doing an outstanding job representing Boundary County and part of Bonner County as Idaho Senator, Legislative District One. But I was dismayed to see such an excellent Senator defeated in the recent Republican Primary by what I considered a smear campaign by his opponent, Scott Herndon.

I have known Jim Woodward for many years and closely followed his four years in the Senate in Boise. I realized that the 18 or so slick, cartoon-type postcards sent out by his opponent were untruths and gross exaggerations of things that Jim had never done or said. But I did not realize the big impact this propaganda was having until after the election, when Jim lost. Then I started talking to people and discovered that their almost-universal explanations of why they had voted against Jim. They ran something like this:

“I used to think Jim Woodward was a great guy ... it seemed like he was doing a good job in Boise. But when we repeatedly saw the big list of what his opponent accused Jim of doing and saying---well, even if only a few of those accusations are true, I just couldn't vote for Woodward. I never thought he would go downhill so fast.”

I was so sad because I knew they had been fooled by propaganda. I would have been fooled, too, because it looked so believable. If I had not known Jim and talked to him frequently about these issues in which he was wrongly accused.

I finally understood the psychology behind this big lie tactic, why telling big lies is so much more effective in deceiving people than small white lies. Then someone pointed out a paragraph from Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.

“In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility," Hitler wrote, "because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victim to the big lie more than the the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters, but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

In short, Hitler was saying that the big lie is so effective because most of us are too trusting and good-hearted to imagine that anyone would tell such a colossal untruth.

I think this technique is what knocked Woodward off the Republican slate during the recent primary election.

Jim fought back, specifically sending one extra-big postcard to voters, politely explaining the falsehoods in all eight of the most fraudulent claims made against him.

But people were already deceived and convinced.

Will similar smear tactics be used again in the upcoming midterm election? Be on guard if you get postcards with pictures of a candidate with a balloon-type “quote” of something you think he would probably never say ... or if the card resorts to belittling and name-calling. Beware, and talk to the candidate personally, or talk to someone who knows his actual positions on the topics in question.

I hope you will join me in writing in the name Steve Johnson on the blank line below Scott Herndon's name on the ballot for Legislative District One --State Senator –and filling in the oval to the left of Steve's name.

I have spoken in person with Steve Johnson and I am convinced he is the best candidate for this important Idaho State Senate seat.
Jo Len Everhart
Bonners Ferry Republican

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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