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The Right doesn’t have an empathy problem, they have a messaging problem

By Adam B. Coleman

In a recent conversation I hosted on my weekly Twitter Spaces, we stumbled upon the topic of empathy coming from the right side of the political aisle. To summarize, we all came to the same conclusion; the right doesn’t know how to use empathy to achieve their political needs. 

One reason this new ‘woke’ ideology is spreading somewhat successfully is because it layers itself as being empathetic to others. If you advocate for a particular policy, it’s for the betterment of said demographic. Their reasoning tends to come from an emotional place rather than a logical one. 

The left uses personal emotional triggers to gain advocacy for their particular political cause all the time. Using a phrase like “Don’t you want to help them?” is a brilliant setup because going against their cause, which they have framed as a human and emotional cause, will make you appear callous. 

For example, universal healthcare, from the left perspective, is about ensuring that everyone can get health coverage and people don’t die unnecessarily. I mean, you don’t want grandma to die because she can’t afford her medication, do you? 

This is all laid out as emotional advocacy and response to a human problem. Yes, some of their tactics are emotionally manipulative, but if the end goal, for them, is to have you go in their direction, so be it. I personally believe that suggestive marketing is fair game in the eyes of politics. 

The problem with the right is they’ve responded to the left’s empathy strategy by becoming “facts over feelings” people. Because of this, the right comes off as cold, callous, and impersonal. 

Why do you think the claims that right-wing people are racists stick? It’s because it’s easy to use the broad racist paintbrush on a blank personality canvas. 

When we talk about illegal immigration, the left has easily painted the right as racists because we’re highlighting an illegal immigration problem coming from the southern border. Of course, where most of the people coming through are Hispanic, or superficially described as ‘brown.’  

The left makes the immigration argument for letting people come through the southern border as humanitarian.  

The right, however, argues against illegal immigration from a primarily economic argument. While true that illegal immigration hurts American wages and job opportunities, it’s not a convincing enough argument for many people unless they or their community are directly economically affected by illegal immigration. 

Using the economic argument against a humanitarian argument has been the political ‘bringing a knife to a gunfight,’ hence why the right continually loses in their public perception and why it falls flat to convince independents and other persuadable people. The left can easily say you don’t care about unfortunate people or that you’re a racist because you’ve left a gaping hole in showing human emotion to a legit human issue. 

How do you convince people to be for stronger borders? You make the most obvious humanitarian argument, human and sex trafficking. You make the argument, which is true, that children and women alike sex trafficked into America. You emphasize children are trafficked into our country to be sold off and raped to satisfy immoral perverts. You highlight how these people are undocumented and untraceable, so we have no idea what danger they may be getting into. 

You point out that many are promised safe passage into America by coyotes but were instead kidnapped and sold into a trafficking situation within the Mexico border. 

When people say we should dismantle I.C.E., you hammer home how they’re the number one government agency fighting child sex trafficking in America. They make busts across this country and routinely save children from horrible situations. 

If the right made this argument consistently, it would be far more difficult to argue that they simply don’t want more brown people in the country. This is the humanitarian argument to a border crisis, and you can only make this argument if you embrace being outwardly empathetic first. 

I know plenty of people who are on the right or socially conservative. They are great people who care a lot about this country and the well-being of others. The right doesn’t have an empathy problem, they have a messaging problem. 

However, what has happened is that the most prominent people on the right and right-leaning media aren’t consistent with using empathy as a driving force for change. 

We’ve let too many conserve-nerds tell people to ignore their human emotions and embrace the numbers instead. When numbers replace people to make a political point, don’t be surprised when the left claims that we don’t care about people.

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Adam B. Coleman

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