Wednesday, March 16, 2016


You remember the old conventional wisdom: Sure, Republicans are on the verge of choosing Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, which suggests that they've gone completely crazy -- but plenty of Democrats also back a guy with a thick New York accent and an agenda of angry, outside-the-mainstream populism. So pay no attention to the racism, the gutter-level insults, and the endorsement of war crimes on the GOP side. Pay no attention to the political ignorance of the GOP front-runner. Trump = Sanders! Both sides do it!

But after last night, it's clear that, while Bernie Sanders is popular among Democrats, he's not popular enough to win the nomination. Nominating Sanders actually wouldn't be burning the entire Democratic Party to the ground, but Democrats don't seem willing to go even that far. By contrast, on the Republican side, Donald Trump seems close to unstoppable.

Old conventional wisdom out! New conventional wisdom needed -- stat!

So here's Michael Barbaro in The New York Times:
The victories were lopsided. The celebrations were effusive. The delegates were piling up by the hundreds.

But Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton’s resounding triumphs on Tuesday masked a profound, historic and unusual reality: Most Americans still don’t like him. Or her.

... Mr. Trump has unnerved many Americans with his inflammatory oratory and radical-sounding proposals. And Mrs. Clinton, while viewed as a more seasoned and serious political figure, has struggled in her campaign to win the trust of the American electorate.

... America has lived with Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, in a remarkably intimate fashion, for decades, processing their controversies, achievements and setbacks, from impeachment to marital breakdowns, Senate victories to flashy skyscraper openings. Voters’ impressions of them, with few exceptions, are largely formed and fixed. According to Gallup, 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton and 63 percent have such a view of Mr. Trump.

... Aides to both predict that a Clinton-Trump contest would be an ugly and unrelenting slugfest, as she pounces on his business practices and personal integrity, portraying him as unscrupulous robber baron, and he lacerates her over ethical lapses and sudden riches, painting her as a conniving abuser of power certain to be indicted in a federal investigation.

There is, both sides concede, plenty of material to mine, stretching back to 1980s Arkansas (for her) and 1970s New York (for him).
So the old CW was that Trump Republicans are crazy rage monsters -- but hey, so are Sanders Democrats. Now that it's clear that the Trump Republicans are doing much better than the Sanders Democrats, the CW is that Clinton is Trump's twin. Both sides are nominating sleazy old-school New Yorkers!

Never mind the fact that Clinton is a New York transplant via D.C., Arkansas, and the Chicago suburbs, or that she's being chosen in large part for her political experience and mastery of issues rather than for the lack thereof, or that her voters think pragmatism is a virtue and Trump's voters want to burn everything down. They're two peas in a pod. Both sides re the same. There'll always be something in the Democratic Party that's the exact analogue to Trumpism, according to the punditocracy.


Victor said...

Both-siderism is the "journalist's" and pundit's lifeline.

When in doubt, don't research, don't interview, don't put things in context, just find some vague similarity, and provide a heaping helping of "both sides do it" and "he-said/she-said."

Go get a drink with the other "news" boyz & galz, go home to drink some more, and pass out and dream that you're a real investigative reporter.

AllieG said...

I believe that a secret ballot of the elite (in their own minds, not reality) Washington media would show a big majority actually prefer a President Trump to Clinton. They hate her that much. It all stems from the Lewinsky deal, when she stuck with her husband. They blame her for not being able to drive Bill from office and revealing their essential powerlessness.

Luigi said...

Never mind the fact that her approval soars the second she gets in office and starts doing the job she was elected to do.

Ten Bears said...

Of course her approvals soared, she voted for more War. Did she "do" anything else, aside from biding time till it's her turn to run for president, while in the Senate?

retiredeng said...

Just to give a perspective to how TV news is potentially influencing voter opinion these days, I did a very rough back of the envelope calculation. The number of total voters in the 2012 general election was 130 million. With a not too wild assumption that there are two voters per household that's 65 million. Network news ratings for 2010 was 6 million households and that rate has been flat for some time. Cable news ratings for the largest share is under 2 million households so let's use 2 million rounded up. That's 9% of households for network and 3% for cable. How does that affect election outcomes?

Unknown said...

"Transplant" is the new "carpetbagger", I take it.