Con artists rely on the tactic of misdirection. By getting the mark to focus on some sideshow activity, the con man is able to separate that mark from something valuable, usually money, usually keeping him unaware that it is even happening. Rarely, however, has this practice reached the level of national politics.
Consider the things that the Trumpists recently have offered up for their alarmist sideshow: scary brown people massing at the border in order to come get your job, your women, and your Jacuzzis; mob rule by Democratic voters; homosexuals and transgendered fellow humans, wimpy freeloading Europeans, Middle Eastern terrorists; and Canadians, yes, even Canadians. The boogeyman of the week list never ends and never will.
Gaslighting is another form of psychological manipulation now on the national stage. Gaslighting tries to get another person to doubt his or her memory, perceptions, or sanity. You know, kind of like voting 70 times in eight years to repeal the Affordable Care Act then trying to get voters to remember that it was Democrats who somehow caused millions of their fellow citizens to be denied healthcare coverage because of their preexisting conditions.