NRL News

Cognitive Dissonance and the upcoming presidential election

by | Sep 23, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Donald Trump and HIllary Clinton

Donald Trump and HIllary Clinton

We’ve reached the end of the week and I want to thank our readers for the kind words they have sent me and those who have forwarded the current digital edition of National Right to Life News to their pro-life contacts. THAT is how the word gets out.

We’re reposting a piece today that appeared in Secular Pro-Life on the question of cognitive dissonance [CD], specifically how that is so often misunderstood. CD is not simply holding contradictory beliefs. All of us (for a boatload of reasons) do that all the time.

Rather (to quote Clinton Wilcox) CD

is the psychological stress one feels at realizing that two views they hold, or new information presented to them, are contradictory and cannot both be true. This can result in different outcomes, such as: selectively exposing themselves to information that only favors their view, selectively retaining information that pertains to their view and losing information that conflicts with it, devaluing the new information and keeping their old view, or devaluing the old information and changing their views (which is the desired outcome, if you’re attempting to persuade someone).

(The underline is mine.)

We may feel a tug when we hold contradictory beliefs but it is not until it moves from the back of our mind to the front that it qualifies as CD. Why? Because we know the competing beliefs cannot both be true.

For example, Donald Trump has pledged to nominate pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and defund Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocate their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.

Hillary Clinton is committed with every fiber in her body to spreading the abortion plague worldwide. Her big abortion “initiative” this campaign, which her party adopted as part of its platform, is to open the federal spigot (by derailing the Hyde Amendment) and make you and me pay for abortions.

Please remember before the Hyde Amendment was enacted and upheld by the Supreme Court, the federal Medicaid program was paying for about 300,000 elective abortions annually, and the number was increasing rapidly. At least a million people (probably a lot more) are alive today who wouldn’t be, had the Hyde Amendment not taken force.


Even if Hillary Clinton were only a one-term president, if she and her pro-abortion friends could waylay the Hyde Amendment (which is an provision attached to the annual appropriations bill that covers many federal health programs, including Medicaid), hundreds and hundreds of thousands of additional babies will die.

But if you say you want to defeat Hillary Clinton with all your might–she just can’t be President–but, for whatever set of reasons, you feel you can’t vote for Donald Trump, you are holding contradictory beliefs. Each person who fails to vote for Trump is detracting from his vote total–which increases the chances that Clinton is elected, the very outcome you oppose with all your might.

We are three days away from the first presidential debate and 6 and ½ weeks away from the election.

Categories: Politics