The emotional wedge technique consists, approximately, of the following:
- Find a half-truth that polarizes people based on how well they understand an issue
- Ideally, you want something which an informed person would understand to be very harmful but which a less-informed person can be led to believe will prevent great harm (or vice-versa, and sometimes both at once).
- Emphasize to those on your side how evil the other side is, to minimize the possibility of any dialogue between sides.
- Lack of dialogue makes it less likely that your side will acquire an increased understanding of the issue, which would cause many of them to stop supporting you.
- This creates rage on the other side as well, as they will (not unreasonably) believe that you are incredibly evil and that your followers are being evil by repeating the ignorant half-truths you've fed them.
It is a technique for acquiring popular support and power (powermongery) when you really have nothing of substance to offer.