The Democrats can’t win a majority based on a policy debate.

As a result, we can expect much of their 2024 campaigning in New Hampshire to rely upon the politics of denials, deflections, distortions, and simple dishonesty in a desperate effort to win. They will trot out Hillary Clinton’s politics of personal destruction. A well-documented example of the latter is former Democrat Sen. Jeanne Dietsch’s abuse of integrity using a progressive front organization, Granite State Matters.

Who is Granite State Matters? It’s an out-of-state funded progressive organization led by Sen. Dietsch. She is famously known in the legislature as the strongest recent advocate for a state income tax. She’s so extreme she was abandoned by her fellow Senate Democrats and lost her next election. Now she runs around the state, hawking her version of Mao’s “Little Red Book,” trying to scare people about “Free Staters.” Her version, much like the “Little Red Book,” is printed in small sizes that can be easily carried and are bound in bright covers. It carries the ominous title, “New Hampshire; Battleground in the Fight to Dismantle Democracy, a Wakeup Call for Granite Staters and the Nation.”

After starting in a vainglorious manner, accusing others of what she is doing, importing money and manpower from out of state to destroy New Hampshire. Sen. Dietsch lays her foundation of fear by referencing a 2001 academic piece which states, in part, that a “Free State Project” is a freedom-minded people pledge of like-minded people working “to reduce government to the minimal functions of life, liberty, and prosperity, establish residence in a small state and take over state government.” Her website adds other “threats”, Young Americans for Liberty and the American Legislative Exchange Council. It seems all it takes to earn disdain is a respect for individual freedom.

With her extreme perspective of the original Free State brain trust in place, she draws out a few examples of how a very small percentage of people acted on it. Examples include attempts to privatize Gunstock Ski away from county ownership and overstating a small group that advocated for the creation of a path to potential secession of New Hampshire. From that admitted extreme baseline, she casts a very wide net to include any Republican who believes in individual liberty, referring to them as scary “Free Staters.” Never mind that self-identified Free Staters are Democrats, too; they are ignored. Further, some Republicans are accused of being Free Staters despite being born and raised in New Hampshire. Truth does not matter. It’s the smear and public manipulation that matters in her dystopian version of the Granite State.

Sen. Dietsch is using a classic guilt-by-association effort, which has been used by despots throughout history. It’s a form of 1950s McCarthyism that has unleashed government and private damage toward individuals who didn’t subscribe to the central political plan. Ask a German Jew for their thoughts on the political use of guilt-by-association if you want a more visceral connection to the topic.

Why is Sen. Dietsch so upset? I think what bothered her was that the NHGOP stopped her. Her peers abandoned her tax and spending plans and her preference for government command and control. What aggravated her further was her own Democratic majority in the Senate, which withdrew their support from her due to her extremism, costing her reelection. Now, she lashes out.

Her organization produces progressive propaganda media hosted on YouTube. The core attack leans on the long-abused technique of guilt by association.” Former Sen. Dietsch wants a simple listener to judge an individual based on their loose affiliations with others without any specific description of personal wrongdoing. In what ways does guilt by association seek the successful destruction of dissenters?

Social Perception and Reputation: This relies on the human tendency to form opinions about others based on their associations. If someone is closely linked to a hated group, their reputation is meant to suffer, regardless of their personal actions.

Legal Implications: Guilt by association can impact a person’s legal standing. If someone is connected to reprobate activities, they might face legal consequences regardless of evidence or individual actions. Even the mere threat of legal prosecution can chill individual freedoms.

Historical Precedents: Guilt by association has been used to justify discrimination, persecution, and exclusion throughout time.

Knowing that progressives are trotting out old partisan techniques rather than actively engaging in policy discussions, it’s important to challenge ourselves. We ought to be cautious about assuming guilt solely based on associations. It’s essential to evaluate each person’s actions independently. Fundamental fairness demands that we avoid blanket judgments and consider context. Although associations may provide insights, they should not be the sole basis for judgment. Context matters, and we should strive for a balanced perspective.

Republicans may not earn your vote in November, but I hope the vote is cast based on a choice between policy differences and not tired, partisan attacks that sadly are sometimes somewhat effective for progressives.