The MAGA Gallop

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One day in 1975, back when I was in college, our Comparative Religions professor surprised us with a special guest speaker. He was a famous Young Earth Creationist who gave a talk on “the impossibility of Darwinian evolution.” His name was Dr Duane Gish. He was a short man with a huge, brachycephalic head and the most bizarre toupee I’d ever seen. He was also quite persuasive, which was finally the point.

Gish had a debating style that eventually earned him immortality by giving the world the term “Gish Gallop.” A Gish gallop is a rhetorical technique in which a person in a debate attempts to overwhelm their opponent by providing an excessive number of arguments with no regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. Quantity is the order of the day, while quality is left to suffer. His “science” was bunkum, of course. But few noticed because he delivered it quickly and in a way that was highly entertaining.

These days there’s a new similar rhetorical device that I call “the MAGA gallop.” During a MAGA gallop, a debater confronts an opponent with a rapid series of specious arguments that are often irrelevant to the question or conversation. They use as many half-truths, misrepresentations and outright lies in as short a space of time as they can. They steamroller their interviewers, often talking over them and refusing to let them speak.The MAGA Gallop differs from the Gish Gallop in that it’s never entertaining. It is, in fact, highly obnoxious, disruptive and infuriating. That is finally the point, of course.

MAGA Gallopers employ their technique when being interviewed by the mainstream media. They use these interviews to quickly blurt out their propaganda in the hope of converting independent or politically naive MSM viewers to the MAGA philosophy. This is the only reason they agree to come on these shows in the first place, to enumerate their rhetorical Trojan horse talking points. It’s a dishonest trick and it’s used more and more by radical MAGA psychos and loonies. And the MSM keeps falling for it and letting them speak their lies.

A recent example of this trick was employed by Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt. When she was asked by CNN correspondent Casey Hunt to comment on the Trump campaign, Leavitt instead went into MAGA Gallop mode and began attacking Hunt’s colleague Jake Tapper for consistently comparing Trump to, ahem, “Adolf Hilter.” I’m sure she meant HITLER, not HILTER.

Anyway, you could tell Leavitt was in a hurry to cram as many words into as short a space of time as possible. She did it using what should by now be a characteristically familiar rapid-fire, robotic style. I’m sure she lost some points in the MAGA crowd for mispronouncing Der Führer’s name. But otherwise it was a vintage MAGA Gallop.

It’s used all the time by MAGA loonies being interviewed on CNN, MSNBC and other non-Fox News type platforms. The MAGA Gallop was used quite a bit by former Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway back when the now-convicted felon infested the White House.

This time around, however, Casey Hunt would have none of it. She returned Leavitt’s steamroller technique with a steamroller of her own, and finally threw her off the show. The outrage it provoked among the MAGA pod people was predictable. Convicted criminal and soon-to-be incarcerated Steve Bannon said Donald Trump should use it as an excuse to drop out of the debate unless and until CNN apologised to Leavitt. He can wait for that apology until hell freezes over. Hunt was right to throw Leavitt off the show. I hope more mainstream media hosts follow her example. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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