by Max Brantley
...the American conservative movement has become more and more amenable to get-rich-quick schemes, snake-oil salesmen, and confidence men. Direct-mail barons like Richard Viguerie began raking in the dough in the 1960s by stirring up ideological hysteria and convincing an audience of senior citizens that only their small-dollar donation could fend off union bosses, abortionists, and gays. Of course, most of the money ended up with the fundraisers.The anti-illectualism among followers makes them easy marks, the article says.
After all, if you are taught to believe that the reigning scientific consensuses on evolution and climate change are lies, then you will lack the elementary logical skills that will set your alarm bells ringing when you hear a flim-flam artist like Trump. The Republican “war on science” is also a war on the intellectual habits needed to detect lies.Mike Huckabee has used his mailing list for a variety of some times dubious products, from investments to health cures, as reported in a 2014 article in The New Republic.
It was only natural that politicians themselves would want to get in on these scams. Writing in the New Republic in 2014, the journalist Ben Adler documented how an entire class of Republican politicians, including Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee, used mailing lists built up in their presidential campaigns to sell dubious products afterward.
These scams, risible as they seem, bring in serious money. By Adler’s calculations, Cain and Huckabee made small fortunes from selling their email lists to advertisers: “At $36 per thousand list members for an ad filling an entire e-mail, and no fewer than 33 such ads sent last year, Cain made more than $420,000 from e-mail ads in 2013—minus Newsmax’s cut and the costs of maintaining his list. For Huckabee, whose list is nearly twice as long as Cain’s and commands a rate of $43.25 per thousand, the rough haul is north of $900,000.”