How the Democrats & the Media
Get it Wrong!
The overcrowded Democratic field of candidates for President expanded this week with Mike Bloomberg throwing his hat into the ring. His polling “people” have apparently found that none of the current candidates can beat Trump in the crucial swing states necessary to wrest the Presidency from the current Felon-in-Chief. That may be the case --- we know how well polling served us in the 2016 election (I know, I know, if you “dug into” the polls you would have seen Clinton’s vulnerability and Trump’s possibilities). The Democrats are having trouble winnowing their field and no one has captured the imagination of the voters. What we are already being bombarded with, from all the media outlets, are polls from IOWA and NEW HAMPSHIRE --- the sites of the first two Democratic primaries/caucuses. Those results are generally followed by the prospects candidates have in SOUTH CAROLINA. Bloomberg, no fool he, is sinking his considerable re$ource$ into Super Tuesday ---March 3, 2020 --- when 14 states (and two other “jurisdictions”) will vote for the Democrat they want to run in the November election. I am not a fan of Mike Bloomberg (all the years I worked as an NYC teacher, while he was Mayor, he refused to even negotiate with our Union to settle a contract and, as a result, our pay was frozen for SIX YEARS --- while rents and cost of living continued to escalate. But that’s just one thing I don’t like about the guy . . . there’s also his “temporary” restructuring of the city charter so he could serve a third term). My focus here is on the media’s frenzy about the first three primaries/caucuses (the Nevada caucuses, which occur between New Hampshire & South Carolina are given short shrift, for some reason) and how that not only distracts voters but actually fails to allow candidates who might be more suitable to win a national election to build momentum.
The media places far too much emphasis on Iowa and New Hampshire simply because they are the first two caucuses/primaries. Currently, Pete Buttigieg is leading in Iowa (he’s almost a neighbor, coming from Indiana) and, as a result, has gained traction in New Hampshire, where the Senators from neighboring states (Vermont and Massachusetts) are leading. While all this might make for eyeball grabbing tv news --- and we will only hear more and more about these two caucuses/primaries from now until February --- which is, I believe, a genuine problem. Let’s look at the statistics to see why.
Iowa is a state with a total population of a little over 3 million people. That’s less than half the size of New York City. 91% of those people are white (Donald Trump won 51 % of the vote --- 800,000 people --- in 2016). New Hampshire’s total population is 1.3 million people and 1.2 million are white (Clinton edged out Trump 46.98% to 46.61% in 2016). Together these two states are about half the population of New York City and, unlike the Big Apple, they are about 95% white! Why, then, does the media insist upon proclaiming these so important, other than they are the first two “elections” for the Democrats? They provide potential momentum for a candidate who may not be a viable candidate nationally. The media’s next obsession, of course, is South Carolina, with its overwhelming number of African-American voters registered as Democrats. Certainly that’s an important factor for any Democrat who hopes to win the 2020 election but let’s take note of the following. The total population of South Carolina is a little over 4 million people (Iowa and New Hampshire, combined) and only 37% are registered Democrats. That means there are about 1.5 million registered Democrats in the state. According to scvotes.org, there are 992,000 registered “nonwhite” voters in the state. Even if they are all registered as Democrats, should that primary propel someone to the Democratic nomination?
As we watch the impeachment proceedings unfold (Why didn’t the Democrats challenge Trump’s obstruction --- not letting members of the executive branch testify based on his claim of Presidential immunity/power --- right after the Mueller report? If they had, the ruling that, in fact, members of the Executive branch must obey a legal subpoena, would already have cleared appeals!) and the nominating process begin in earnest we have to wonder if there is any strategy coming from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Tom Perez is cheerleading the process but does not seem to have a clear idea of where the party should go regarding consolidation of issues (wouldn’t it be nice if the candidates all focused on several key issues --- health care, climate change, corruption, for example?). As I noted in an earlier BLAST, it looks more like a circular firing squad, improving Trump’s chances for re-election. Maybe a dark horse will emerge as the primaries/caucuses proceed (Gavin Newsome? Michelle Obama?) and the Democrats will build momentum as they head to their convention and challenge the most corrupt and self-dealing President in the history of the U.S.
We have to hope that will be the case or we may well be seeing the demise of the oldest Constitutional democracy in history. The Republican Party has already surrendered to Trumpism and is totally willing to look the other way regarding the rule of law, the sanctity of alliances, and the kleptocratic impulses of their cult leader. If he wins another election, how far will the corruption extend? Does the Constitution (a document he clearly has not read and does not respect or understand) stand a chance? He pardons war criminals, clearly attempts to fix an election, and continues to profit from his Presidency. Are there no Republicans with a sense of history? Are there no Democrats with a clear message for the American people?
The media, as I have noted before, is deeply complicit in all this --- not calling out the Liar-in-Chief for all his “many people are saying,” and “we’ve heard” bullshit. They refuse to stand up to this autocrat the way a free press needs to --- while he uses Fox News and his Russian accomplices to spread disinformation freely. (A recent example is Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana telling Fox News he believed Ukraine was involved in the 2016 interference and then walking it back on CNN the next day! Those Fox News viewers will never know he walked it back. Clever manipulation of disinformation by the useful idiots in the Republican Party and at Fox News.) We know this is just the beginning. As we get closer to November not only Fox News but Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will become hotbeds for Republican and Russian disinformation and, as a result, we may well be in for 4 more years and the sunset of democratic republicanism that began over 240 years ago.