Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

MANY LIBERALS, PROGRESSIVES, socialists and far-left Democrats are disingenuous, but also serious-minded and focused. When pushed to defend their failed policies, they are quite clever. They can make up seem like down and down seem like up. It’s almost as though they can put the masses into a hypnotic trance anytime they want in just three words: Uncle Tom for Black Americans and Trumpism for all Americans.

They bank on Americans being very trusting; they often rely on a cooperative mainstream media. They understand that attention spans are short, not because people are dim-witted, but because 24/7 politics is not what most people are about.

The problem with being too clever is that sometimes, it backfires on you. Trust, once lost, is hard to regain. Once you become suspicious of the narrative, you start to question everything. Irate political leaders then wonder why you refuse to accept the obvious. Lack of trust is the main reason more than half of the unvaccinated continue to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, despite the fact that it is free and readily available.

Division and deception are the two true weapons used by the radical far left. I saw it firsthand during my terms in Congress.

President Bill Clinton convinced the American people that an increase in Medicare spending was a cut in Medicare spending. With the help of the far-left media it worked. I spent hours, days, months refuting the twisted logic in my 1996 re-election attempt to no avail.

The Republican Party did not want to raise Medicare spending as high as Clinton proposed, so it was spun as a “cut.” For example, Republicans wanted to take it from $100 to $105, while the president wanted to take it from $100 to $110. Both, as you can see, are increases. The Republican Party was merely trying to slow the growth. On Election Day, we got crushed. I lost my bid for a fourth term. Clinton won the presidency handily, defeating Sen. Bob Dole.

That took a lot of work on the part of the far left. Eventually, they saw other ways to persuade voters to reject Republican ideas and leaders, often by using just two terms: Uncle Tom and Trumpism.

Call a Black Republican an Uncle Tom and the Black community goes into a hypnotic state. That person is dismissed regardless of the substance of his argument. Democrats need not offer ideas or produce solutions. They merely prevail because the other side is filled with Uncle Toms.

This derogatory term has a historical precedent. An Uncle Tom is defined as a Black person who works with white people to hurt Black people. Let us remember that the slave trade trafficking that originated in Africa was aided by Black people who helped capture unassuming Black people. This fact and the legendary House Negro term often hit a raw nerve in the Black community.

I have never heard a Black Democrat called an Uncle Tom. Even candidate Joe Biden said that if a Black voter even had to think about whether to vote for him, they ain’t Black.

These labels and others are the far left and socialist Black leaders’ Donald Trump card. Oh, that leads me to the second term that divides people and causes everyone to go into a hypnotic state: Trumpism.

Democrats want to label the vast majority of Trump supporters as misinformed and deplorable people. The problem is Trump received more votes (74 million) than any presidential loser in U.S. history. That’s where the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol comes into play. Some Democrats would like to divide the Republican Party or taint the entire Republican Party.

President Biden has his own problems. He repeatedly blames Trump for U.S. failures in Afghanistan, yet it was he who promised not to leave a single American behind, yet he did so. This failure of leadership is a “water in your face” wake-up call for unaffiliated voters that has even eroded support from moderate Democrats.

Consequently, Biden’s job approval rating is 43%, the lowest of his presidency. For the first time, 53% now disapprove of his job performance. Trump pulled in an average 41% approval rating while in the White House.

I believe that Biden, if he could, would blame his low numbers on, you guessed it, Trump.

Former Connecticut U.S. Rep. Gary Franks is a visiting professor/adjunct at Hampton and Georgetown universities, and the University of Virginia. He is a public policy consultant. Franks has written three books including “With God, For God and For Country,” and cohosts the “We Speak Frankly” podcast with his son.