Victor Volsky penned an article at Americanthinker.com titled What's behind Putin's 86% Approval Rating in which he describes some of the old Soviet propaganda techniques that he believes Putin is using today to achieve his popularity.
Closer to home, when we look at how some political parties operate it becomes obvious that some of these techniques are in use by U.S. politicians, too.
Here's a short summary of the processes Mr. Volsky lays out and how some are used domestically.
1. Rotten fish -- This one involves a false accusation of some bad act. Some will believe it, and some will defend the accused. However, the "rotten fish" is smeared all over that person, and whenever his/her name arises so does the memory of the alleged crime. Harry Reid attempted this with his false accusations of tax impropriety against Mitt Romney in 2012.
2. 40-60 -- This was a Joseph Goebbels invention and involves a media outlet which pretends to be neutral by putting out information that favors the opposition to establish credibility. Once it gains trust, then 40% is used to spread disinformation. Distrust for the media is high in the U.S. already. But we would seem to be ripe for this technique as most people search for media producing content with which they agree.
3. Big Lie -- From Mr. Volsky: "The essence of the Big Lie is to propound, with the utmost degree of confidence, a lie so huge and terrible as to become believable – people simply refuse to believe that anyone can lie so blatantly. ... A case in point is the highlight of the Russian TV’s Big Lie hit parade: the “report” that the Ukrainians crucified a three-year-old child on the door of his house. The deep emotional wound inflicted by such a message renders the recipient impervious to any logical proof to the contrary." Maybe I'm naive, but I don't believe we've seen domestic politicians do that yet.
4. Absolute obviousness -- Here we have the band wagon effect of people wanting to be on the right side of an issue. The global warming movement has made good use of this with the false insistence that there is a consensus among scientists.
It pays to be paranoid.