Friday, November 13, 2020


Insulting its readers would seem to be an odd business strategy for a news organization, but here's The New York Times doing just that in a smug article about the political giving patterns of liberal New Yorkers.
On Saturday afternoon, as the champagne virtually uncorked itself in New York City in celebration of what looked like the end of Trumpism, an alternate history was unfolding in the southern stretches of Brooklyn. A Republican named Mark Szuszkiewicz was leading in a race against an incumbent for a State Assembly seat in and around Coney Island that had been held by a Democrat for decades.

The current representative, a Haitian-American named Mathylde Frontus, had run a social-services agency she founded, fighting for the poor and disabled. Mr. Szuszkiewicz ... seemed to be a QAnon follower....

Presented with a contest between an incumbent holding four graduate degrees — including a doctorate from Columbia — and a candidate sympathetic to a fantasy alleging world domination by a chain of Satanist pedophiles extending from Georgetown to Santa Monica, you would think that New Yorkers beyond the district might have opened their checkbooks in the name of proven competence and clarity.

But their attention was focused elsewhere. They were long into a delirious bender pouring piles of money into high-profile Senate races around the country, some of them predictably unwinnable.
So who were the candidates these frivolous well-off New Yorkers were supporting when they could have been supporting Frontus?
... three ZIP codes on the Upper West Side sent more than $1.5 million in single, itemized donations to the doomed Democratic Senate campaigns of Amy McGrath in Kentucky, who was a long shot to defeat Mitch McConnell, and Jaime Harrison, who was unlikely to overtake Lindsey Graham in South Carolina....

Ads for Sara Gideon, who challenged the Republican incumbent Susan Collins for a Senate seat in Maine and lost, ran on television, Facebook, streaming services, everywhere. She managed to raise more than $100,000 from a single nine-block radius on the east side of Midtown.
I'm from the Upper West Side, and I gave to Gideon and Harrison. I never gave to McGrath -- I would have been delighted to see her win, but a defeat of Mitch McConnell never seemed likely. And no, I never gave to Mathylde Frontus.

Why did I give to candidates who were destined to fail? Maybe because media outlets -- particularly The New York Times -- told me they could win.

A New York Times/Siena poll of the Maine Senate race released September 18 showed Gideon beating Collins by 5 points. (I shouldn't single that poll out. Every poll of this race listed at Real Clear Politics showed Gideon leading.)

Here's how the Times portrayed the race in July:
... the senior senator from Maine ... stares down the toughest re-election race of her career — and one that could determine whether Republicans retain control of the Senate in November. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has rated the race a tossup, and with President Trump’s decline in national polls dragging down Senate Republicans around the country, Ms. Collins, 67, is facing ample headwinds.

She is toiling to find a way to defy those trends....
What naive liberal fools we must have been to think this was a race worth a donation!

Jaime Harrison probably never had a shot in South Carolina, but you wouldn't know that from reading the Times. In mid-October, the Times told us:
Could South Carolina really send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate? If Jaime Harrison beats the Republican incumbent, Lindsey Graham, in November, he’d be the first Democratic challenger to win a Senate seat in the state since the 1960s.

But polls in recent weeks have shown Harrison neck-and-neck with Graham, and yesterday his campaign made a jaw-dropping announcement: It raised upward of $57 million in the third quarter of this year, breaking the record previously set by Beto O’Rourke in Texas.

Actually, not breaking. Smashing. Harrison’s haul exceeded O’Rourke’s previous quarterly record — set amid his unsuccessful 2018 campaign to oust Senator Ted Cruz — by nearly $20 million.
The giving for which we're now being chided by the Times was seen by the paper a month ago as the reason Harrison could succeed.

Now, what we did learn about the Frontus-Szuszkiewicz race from the Times? Nothing. A search of the candidates' names shows that neither Frontus nor Szuszkiewicz was ever mentioned in the paper during the campaign.

Republicans gave millions of dollars to their share of sure losers -- the racist crackpot Laura Loomer and the Trump-endorsed Ana Paulina Luna both outraised their opponents, and lost their Florida congressional races decisively.

And then there's Trump himself. Why the hell did so many people give him money? Over two years he raised $1.6 billion. Wasn't that "a delirious bender pouring piles of money" into a race that was "predictably unwinnable"?

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