CSotD: Politics washed, spun and hung out to dry

Kal Kallaugher offers an antidote of sorts to all the polling and panic, pointing out that party members barely make up half of voters. (Gallup says 27% Democrat, 25% Republican, 45% independent, presumably with some rounding.)

He emphasizes his point not just by having the fellow bang on the ceiling, but by referring to “the rest of us,” since it often seems from the coverage that “we” are one or the other, with Independents treated like outsiders.

Adam Zyglis finds another way to make roughly the same point, but based on recent results rather than self-reported loyalties. It’s important to note that Gallup asked people what they considered themselves rather than whether they were formally enrolled in a party.

And as Zyglis says, the media reported the Iowa Caucuses and NH Primary as if they were at least a preview, if not an absolute prediction, of November, despite the high likelihood of greater turnout, particularly of Independents, in the general election.

Trump backers complained that Haley came closer than polls predicted in New Hampshire because it’s an open primary and Independents, plus a few de-registered Democrats, voted for her because they don’t like Trump.

However, it ought to encourage both Haley and Biden to know that, if you ask everybody, you get a different answer than if you just ask the party faithful.

If that many people voted against Trump in a primary, even an open one, it doesn’t bode well for him once we get down to two choices.

Ward Sutton reminds us of how things have gone in recent times when there were more than two choices, and warns of the potential impact of spoiler candidates in the upcoming election.

For my part, I don’t think any of the present-day dreamers have the credibility of either Nader or Perot, which is setting a low bar, but their mere presence on the ballot has an impact on the percentages, and thus on the outcome, even if they only get a handful of votes.

Juxtaposition of the View from Abroad

Graeme Mackay (Canada)

Zapiro (South Africa)

Two cartoons don’t amount to a consensus, but, from a distance, it seems that MAGAt voters are as steadfast in their loyalties, as MacKay puts it, as voters in Russia, China and North Korea, which, by-the-by, are headed by men for whom our own Dear Leader has expressed admiration.

I particularly like the way Zapiro conflates the political race with entertainment, because I think he’s right and that the MAGAts in particular, if not Republicans as a whole, still look upon Trump as someone who is entertaining, as if he were a fictional character.

They don’t pay to see the next sequel in a slasher series expecting Oscar-worthy performances. Rather, they want thrills and chills, from a president they can take seriously, but not literally. Many of them also follow pro-wrestling, knowing it is literally fixed but not caring as long as there’s plenty of serious action.

The negative aspect of that last point comes when they believe that everything is fixed, from presidential elections to Kansas City Chiefs football games.

Ann Telnaes is appalled at the never-ending flood of exaggerations and outright lies that flows from Dear Leader, probably because she isn’t under the paranoid belief that everybody is always lying and that Dear Leader is lying on our behalf instead of lying on behalf of those rich folks in the house on the hill.

The MAGAts are perfectly willing, as Dave Whamond suggests, to believe Trump on Monday when he says snow is white and then again on Tuesday when he says snow is purple. Truth is whatever you want to hear, and that can change from day to day, especially if you aren’t taking things literally.

Orwell captured it well in Animal Farm, when the pigs repainted the barn wall so that it now read “Four legs good, two legs better.” A few animals were puzzled, seeming to remember it differently, but the sheep bleated along contentedly and after a while, even the doubters decided it was correct.

Not noticing, or caring, that the pigs had begun walking on two legs.

And, no, Dave, Animal Farm was not a funny book, and this is no longer funny either.

But let’s not forget those Independents who, as both the NH Primary and Jack Ohman (Tribune) point out, prefer a gentler approach, even in a conservative candidate.

Not only was Reagan out front with his intentions but eight years of governorship in California clearly spelled out his priorities.

Nikki Haley is more dedicated to democracy than Trump, but in other respects she’s no more liberal. What she is is more charming, which is why, in the general, she’d be a more formidable challenger than the grating blowhard.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Mike Luckovich

Jeff Stahler (AMS)

As Luckovich points out, the economy is bouncing back from the pandemic so well that even Fox has to scramble to try to find a way to make it sound like a negative, while Stahler says we can expect plenty of spin and perhaps a bit of prevaricating in the race to come.

The numbers certainly show an upward trend in a number of areas, though it’s always tricky to pin particular trends on a particular president, since not only do Congress and outside influences have plenty of impact on such things, but the economy doesn’t always flow at the same pace as politics, and a president’s numbers can be either stifled or boosted by his predecessor’s actions.

The standard wisecrack is that if you laid all the economists in a row, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion, but you can bet both Democrats and Republicans will reach two predictable, contrary results.

Guy Body notes that we’ll now have the rise of AI to help with political spin, though he suggests there remain some limits to what it can do.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to do things the good old fashioned way, with flunkeys (rhymes with monkeys).

Thus Elise Stefanik goes on TV to defend the Jan 6 Capitol tourists as pitiable hostages …

… then scurries home to expunge from her Twitter feed what she said about them at the time.

Elise never said “Four legs good, two legs bad.” She always said “Better.”

You misrememberated her.

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Politics washed, spun and hung out to dry

  1. The Ward Sutton cartoon hits home very well, and is something that needs to be hammered at a lot of progressives (of whom I have a lot of friends). Yes, you’re right that the current choices are hardly something to dream about, but until you change the current election system a third candidate is only going to hurt one of the two main candidates. And this year, they’re going to hurt the wrong one.

    Unfortunately, American politics has long gone past the point where you can plan for a better future. Right now, the best you can do is to make sure you don’t lose the next election.

  2. ‘Agent For HARM’ may be one of the cheesiest 60s spy movies to ever grace MST3K, but the film’s villain does make a rather profound statement: “People believe the lies they want to believe.”

    As for good old Fox News, you know what they say: “Every silver lining has a cloud.”

  3. “Many of them also follow pro-wrestling, knowing it is literally fixed but not caring as long as there’s plenty of serious action.”

    It may be worth noting that President Trump appeared at WrestleMania, and is in the WWE Hall of Fame.

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