Ender Wiggin’s sister, Valentine plays the role of fictional Demosthenes online in several of the books by Orson Scott Card. She would play the role of an extremist to whip up the gullible Americans, while her power hungry psychopath brother Peter played the role of Locke would be the moderate.
In reading Ender in Exile, a speculative train of thoughts hit me. Successful politicians at the highest levels in this country are those who can take the center. Gingrich’s playing chicken with the government budget felt too extremist and solidified Clinton’s re-election. Gore and Kerry played too closely to the liberal base on Social Security, environment, and foreign relations ceding the center to Bush. McCain left the center to whip up the conservative base to give Obama the moderate position.
What would happen if a political party created a pseudo party to attack it and the real opponents from an extreme position, like the fictional Demosthenes? If the real party were distracted by the pseudo party, then the real party members appear more moderate and could take the center.
The fragments from page 31 in EiE which sparked this:
Demothenes was eloquent, but he always pushed a little too hard. Enough to energize the opposition, both inside and outside America. Discrediting his own side with every argument…. True believers in a cause often behaved in self-defeating ways because they expected others to see the rightness of their cause if they just sated it clearly enough.
Again, this was a speculative train of thought not based on any reality what-so-ever. I doubt any real political party has the acumen to pull this off in reality.