The historical record is clear when it comes to PAP electioneering.

In particular, the party has reliably resorted to character assassinations, logical & rhetorical fallacies, & McCarthyite accusations. Shanmugam's double-down attests to this tradition.

A brief thread:
Shanmugam, the man behind POFMA & our internal security forces, is predictably disturbing, nonsensical, & fragile.

He gaslights & strawmans. He also defends Tan Wu Meng by claiming PAP politicians as victims of society, despite their institutional powers & media protection.
Yet, it's this bit—"in Mandarin and in English”—that likely reveals the target audience of Tan's smear (on an Indian opposition leader & a Malay playwright).

And that is the PAP's primary vote-bank: the Chinese-majority.
Since the 1970s, the PAP has known that the anti-establishment vote is typically strong among racial minorities.

However, in GE91 & GE97, the Malay community & the Chinese-educated inadvertently combined to knock down the PAP's vote-share to 61% & 65% respectively.
For minorities (excl. their clowns), the PAP's courtship of Chinese support is unsurprising.

However, the Chinese vote itself is diverse. Tan's hit-piece could function to appeal to the reactionary segments of that base. The same logic explains the PAP's bias for a Chinese PM.
If the PAP, via Tan’s & Shan’s antics, hopes to entice the Chinese, then it also seeks to incapacitate anti-establishment voices.

Sure, Alfian Sa'at doesn't post much on FB. But his average content arguably gains more organic reach than most PAP politicians & surrogates.
Historically, in S’pore, the internet has been both a stronghold & a shelter for anti-authoritarian & conscience-stricken voices. The PAP knows & fears this.

Since #GE2020 will be a so-called internet election, we can expect more PAP scat-flinging.
Interestingly, when the PAP engages in gutter politics, it often projects its own internal anxieties.

We know that the party is concerned about the questionable competence of its new 4G leadership, in which the coronavirus has further exposed.
Thus, it’s not accidental that the PAP is attacking Pritam Singh, WP’s new chief, by comparing him to Low Thia Khiang, his predecessor.

But to do this, the PAP now claims Low as a man of integrity, even though the party has long vilified his leadership & politics.
Now, the PAP usually profits from its racial & gutter politics. It won't matter if such methods emboldens online racism, or pollutes public discourse.

However, the internet is as much emancipatory as it is repressive, and folks can now interrogate PAP politics like never before.
Sidebar: It'd be fascinating to see how new PAP voters will negotiate their party's overriding malice.

To an extent, the cultists are honest to own & endorse such mudslinging. But among moderates, many will struggle to reconcile their fictions of the PAP & its actual history.
In 1945, Jean-Paul Satre published "Anti-Semite and Jew", in response to Nazi fascism. An excerpt continues to resonate, thanks to the global surge in right-wing, authoritarian partisanship & discourse.

Remember this the next time the PAP snipes at its opponents & constituents.
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