One of the most effective medicines commonly prescribed by doctors is the placebo. It's just a pill filled with chalk and medicinal flavoring or something, but the psychosomatic response of the patient is usually very powerful and effective. It's one of the most proven treatments in the field of medicine.
Another analogy which lends insight to the incredible powers of suggestion is called the "Pepsi Paradox", and it goes something like this: The Pepsi Paradox is a classic experiment in the field of marketing. It's a simple taste test between Coke and Pepsi. Under every scenario, many people will prefer the taste of Pepsi and many others will prefer the taste of Coke. But, given a large enough sample size, Pepsi will always always win the majority of votes in a blind taste test. It has a little less carbonation and it's sweeter. However, when you leave the sodas in their branded cans and the testers sip them right out of the cans (being fully aware of which one is which), it isn't Pepsi but Coke that always always wins the majority vote.
Coke has a larger marketing budget and more commercials featuring polar bears and catchy songs about world peace and more signs displayed at sporting events and so on. But, it goes farther than that. It isn't just a simple question of familiarity or a situation where the test subjects are front runners or have a herd mentality and are subconsiously swayed toward the most popular answer. The lifetime of marketing that they have been exposed to and the happy times that they associate with Coke actually changes the experience of drinking the Coke. It alters and amplifies the taste bud to brain relationship. In simple terms, for most people, the marketing actually makes the Coke taste better.
It's these types of simple analogies which demonstrate the difficulties of changing the political landscape. Politics is primarily about marketing. And we are at the threshold of a new kind of scientific marketing called 'neuromarketing' where high tech is used "to measure activity in specific regional spectra of the brain response, and/or sensors to measure changes in one's physiological state, also known as biometrics, including (heart rate and respiratory rate, galvanic skin response) to learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it." -wiki
Running parallel to this new science of neuromarketing is the science of data mining. Every electronic transaction is tracked and every phone call is recorded and millions of people are defining themselves on social media. What do people like or dislike, and when? Which buzzwords and soundbites are the most effective? How do we sell the next celebrity president or the next 'humanitarian' war? To the State, these questions are becoming less and less a matter of creative solutions to inspire people or awesome demonstrations of force. Now, with these tools, the State has the data and the science to maximize the power of suggestion.
It's like in Orwell's 1984, where Winston Smith wasn't completely fooled during most of the book. He pretended to go along in order to get along. He knew that 2+2=4, but if the government wanted him to say "5", well, he said "5". But eventually, after the government worked on him for a while, in the mind of Winston Smith, 2+2=5 just as surely as any other 'fact'.