I have a love hate relationship with Salon. I love it because they publish Amanda Marcotte. I hate it because they publish Chauncey DeVega and a bunch of other nitwits. Anyway, Amanda’s column today gets at something that has been bothering a lot of us- why is Trump winning in the polls:
Why voters aren't more worried about Trump's return: It sure doesn't look like he's running
One reason voters may not be alarmed by Trump's return? They've been fooled into thinking Nikki Haley is winning
Nikki Haley? Why would anyone think that?
Most people's understanding of the news is cursory and impressionistic, cobbled together by half-read headlines, glanced-at images on the news, and vaguely sourced assertions on social media. For those folks who are mostly checked out and satisfy themselves with occasionally looking up at the TV news while getting dressed in the morning, the landscape of information is very different than that of those who are paying attention. For one thing, the blissfully ignorant probably think former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is winning the Republican primary.
Just flip on cable news today and watch it on mute. Odds are you'll see lots of images of last night's Republican debate, with lots of chyrons hyping Haley for her allegedly sober-minded performance. Or, if you glance across political headlines, you'll see photos of the four debaters, which include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy along with Haley and DeSantis. If you bother to listen or read a little, which is more than most people do, you'll see the surge in stories highlighting how big money interests are backing Haley. Most people believe money controls politics, even more than it actually does, so this may sound like she's got it in the bag.
This is something a lot of us don’t appreciate. We actually tune in to the news. But a lot of people regard politics like I regard golf- something I am not interested in but I somehow absorb some information about. Just by osmosis. That’s how a lot of people approach politics.
But before we get all self-righteous, let’s try to understand this from their perspective:
It's tempting to lay the blame entirely at the feet of ordinary voters for not paying attention. And yes, there's some blame here, because people really could siphon a half-hour out of their day away from watching reality TV garbage to be a little better informed about politics. But the truth is that politics is boring and hard for most people, and most people are under enough stress as it is, so of course they tune out more than they should.
When we were in school we all had our areas of study that we were good at and subjects we weren’t. I HATED math. I found it tedious and boring. Now imagine the fate of the country involved all of us learning and understanding calculus. Sure, some of us would do it. But me? Fuck no! Sorry, not happening. Politics is to most people what calculus is to me- inscrutable, a pain in the ass, off-putting. And if you ask me about it I’ll probably get defensive because I know I should be able to understand it but I don’t.
And besides, a lot of us here at DKos don’t even understand politics that well. We’re on an activist Democratic party favoring site and many of us don’t know the details of things we’re arguing about. It’s complicated stuff!
And it doesn’t help that even the liberal media is foisting stupid article after stupid article that muddies the water. Look at this stupid fucking shit
Jon Stewart for president? Last-ditch campaign hopes to escape Biden-Trump nightmare
Progressive activists and bad polls haven't convinced Joe Biden to stand down — now it's time for the Hail Mary
Jon Stewart? is it 2005? Fuck you Andrew O’Hehir. Our democracy is at stake and you’re just fucking around printing bad jokes like these. Go get a real job dumbass.
Anyway, read Amanda’s article (read her daily, she’s great!) and let’s just let shit play out for a bit longer before we freak out. When Trump is so obviously the nominee that even the people who find politics too confusing will know, things will change. Until then, enjoy the shitshow.