Two of the most powerful rhetorical tools are exclusion and shaming.
These tools are related, but distinct:
- Shame- “People like this are terrible, just terrible. Nobody should be like this.” Stated as a fact, this may or may not be true. But stated as rhetoric, the idea is to get those who agree to distance themselves from those who disagree and to get those who disagree to feel bad enough to change their minds.
- Exclusion- “As a civilization we’re past ideas like this. For instance we have science, but these people still believe in a creator god.” This is designed not merely to get the audience to distance themselves from the bad people, but to make them feel like outsiders to the party of fun and brightness that they are missing.
Perhaps the riskiest rhetorical moves being made right now on either side of the political divide are being made by the people mocking supporters of various republican and democratic candidates. The potential pay-off is, I suppose, discouraging them from voting or shaming them into changing. The downside is that calling somebody stupid, small-minded, or imbecilic for supporting your opponent will not endear them to you on the average.