Yesterday, my sister sent me a story by James Fallows, who has been floating around the Fake News print universe since leaving the Carter White House in 1979. This particular story takes a critical look at how the liberal print media is constantly promoting narratives about politics based on rumors and predictions which turn out not to be true.
To quote Fallows, “what has happened [in the mid-terms] appears to be entirely at odds with what the political-reporter cadre — the people whose entire job is predicting and pre-explaining political trends — had been preparing the public for.” And he then goes on to say that the results were far less of a Democratic wipeout than what had been predicted by either side.
The bottom line, according to Fallows, is that the people making political predictions these days were so off-base that if they were weather forecasters predicting the weather, or business analysts predicting changes in the market, or epidemiologists predicting the next serious illness, we would tell them all to go out and look for other jobs.
What’s the cure for how often the political pundits seen to be missing the boat? Fallows say they should stop predicting and instead “invest more in looking into, sharing, and learning from what is actually going on.”
All of which sounds very nice, and intelligent, and perspicacious (read: insightful) except for one little thing, namely, how in the fu*k do you actually go about figuring out what will happen the day after tomorrow when what may happen in politics tomorrow could so quickly and decisively change?
I was Public Information Officer for the New York State Assembly from 1982 through 1984 – last year of Governor Carey, two years of Cuomo’s first term. One of the Democratic majority’s long-time caucus member from upstate who was considered to have a ‘safe seat’ was upset in the 1982 primary because his wife showed up one night in Albany, caught him in a motel with some bimbo, went back home and blabbed her head off to the local newspaper and that was the end of that. Or I should say, that was the end of him.
Remember how Liz Holtzman put the shneid to Emanuel Celler in 1972? Here was a guy who served two months short of fifty years in the House until Liz beat him in a primary by 220 votes out of 22,000 total votes cast. Celler didn’t even come back from D.C. to campaign in the primary. Shows what he knew.
Give you another one. This one’s from the other side. His name is Eric Cantor and he was the GOP House Majority Leader until he lost in a 2014 primary to a college professor, David Brat, who spent less than $200,000 on his campaign while Cantor spent over five million bucks.
Brat was something of a MAGA ideologue two years before MAGA came on the scene. In fact, he served only four years before getting swept away in the Democrat(ic) avalanche of 2018.
Until the Tea Party came alive in 2009, the whole primary thing was something that involved the Democrat(ic) Party but rarely, if ever, attracted attention within the GOP. The last time the Republican Party promoted voting was as an unintended result of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and therefore at least in theory extended the vote to several million new citizens of the Black race.
I can’t remember the last, or for that matter, the first time I ever saw the GOP run a ‘get out the vote (GOTV) campaign. And the so-called ‘army’ of 50,000 that Trump claimed he was going to deploy in 2020 to monitor voting turned out to be about as real as all the golf tournaments Trump has claimed to have won.
If James Fallows really believes that what we need to do about politics is learn from what is ‘actually going on,’ for some of us what happens to be going on is what we want to see going on.
The Democrats stole another one from the GOP, and as far as I’m concerned, we should keep stealing the election every two years.