DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
(BTW, if you just want to feel better right away you can go to the bottom and then come back to this)
Press: “OMG, can you believe Donald Trump is winning. OMG he’s like, such a dick (but we love it). Let’s broadcast every fucking thing he does.”
Press: “OMG, can you believe Donald Trump won the nomination for the GOP. OMG! WAIT, this is terrible, why are we celebrating. Everybody: PANIC!”
Media bosses: “Damnit, you fools, you’ve gone too far–now we’ll never get any advertising money–what have we got on Hillary? Oh, that’s right, the FBI’s investigating her for using a private server and deleting some emails, which nearly everyone in the Bush Administration did but no one gave a shit about before because they’re Republicans. People still care about that? OK, then, roll it out!”
Press: “OMG, can you believe how bad Donald Trump’s Republican Convention was? I feel unclean. OMG, can you believe how hopeful and good Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Convention was–so many stars, and her policies are actually really good things that most Americans agree with.”
Media bosses: “Look, now you idiots have done it again–and he isn’t helping himself by having a twitter war with that Gold Star father! She’s up by double digits and it’s fucking AUGUST! We’ll never get any ad money out of them now: Trump’s fucking hopeless. What have we got on Hillary? FBI didn’t charge her on the email thing… hey, I know, what if we make it look like the Clinton Foundation traded money for favors and bring up the fact that they dealt with some shady people. Yes, they’ve spend hundreds of millions of dollars helping work to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change, but no one needs to know about that shit. Just make them look as shady as possible.”
Media bosses: “OMG that debate performance was awful. Did he really interrupt her that much? Is it possible to come off as more of an asshole? Fuck my life it was so close! Those ad dollars were just pouring in.”
Press: “OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! He said he grabs women by the P!!! OMG! This is fucking awful. I mean, the racist stuff and crazy lies were pretty insufferable, but we’re talking about well-to-do white women! OMG OMG OMG!”
Media bosses: “Motherfucker.”
Press: “Uh, woman after woman after woman is now coming out saying Trump sexually assaulted them. Should we say anything?”
Media bosses: “You have to report it, but we’ll hide it on the back pages and find something else to focus on. Anyway you can spin this second debate to say he won?”
Press: “Not honestly. But we can have some of the worst humans and liars on as pundits to say he did–OMG–and they can shout down his accusers too! OMG!”
Media bosses: “Do it.”
Media bosses: “Yes, what the fuck is it now?”
Press: “Ahhh… she won. Again. And this time it wasn’t close. She kicked his ass and he looked like a maniac.”
Media bosses: “You don’t think I know that! Damnit! This guy’s the absolute fucking worst. And we’re still three weeks out. Think of all those ad dollars being left on the table, all the mudslinging that won’t be done. FUCK! OK, OK, here’s what we do: no negative press on Donald. Just don’t report anything other than that he’s having rallies and he says crazy shit. And for God’s sake, stop debunking his lies. If he’s going to lie, just let him do it for Christ’s sake. Just don’t cover him–and especially don’t remind people of Trump University, or the rape trial, or the grabbing women by the–you know. Get me?!”
Press: “Yes sir.”
Media bosses: “Fucking F-B-I! We were so fucked and then they saved the day! Thank God for your partisan hackery James Comey–I knew you were a fucking rat-ass, corrupt Republican like the rest of them! You just needed some time. And you let an entire nest of crazy anti-Hillary hacks in New York fester under your watch and leak shit to the Trump Campaign and House Republicans? Phenomenal! This is our chance everyone! Run this story ragged: emails, emails, emails! I want it on all day every day and don’t squash the rumors or conspiracy theories!”
Press: “Yes sir. But?”
Media bosses: But what?”
Press: “What if he actually wins?”
Media bosses: “Are you kidding me–that would be unbelievably good news! That’s a ratings gold mine waiting to happen. If you want to get rich, you’ll wish for that. But unfortunately, she’ll probably still win–despite our best efforts. I mean, come on–Trump is fucking awful. There aren’t that many Americans willing to overlook such a racist, sexist, unqualified buffoon of a man… are there?”
On Tuesday we’ll find out.
IT’S DAMN GOOD FOR CBS–AND EVERYONE ELSE TOO
So I know that sounds super conspiratorial and evil, but let’s not be naive. Something to this effect happened in the media this election–Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, said it himself: Donald Trump “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
As always, follow the money. Media companies make a ton more in profits during election years, and this year’s been especially good for everyone from CNN to Fox to MSNBC. We’re talking billions. Unprecedented levels of profit. Election year spending is rolling in and the media’s glorified–but only if we keep watching, clicking, and gawking at the spectacle they’re making of it.
Even 538 is suspect, proudly promoting the tightening of the race for the past week and dropping Clinton’s chances from near 85% to less than 65%. I’m not saying they’re lying necessarily, but I do think they’re doing everything possible to make people believe Trump has a chance. Everyone in the media is, and why wouldn’t they? Trump fans flock to hope they’ve got a chance, and everyone sane flocks to see if we’re really going to elect someone with the moral equivalency of Hannibal Lecter to be in charge of the most powerful military on the planet. And in the meantime, the media cleans up on the high ratings, allowing it to charge more for the normal corporate advertising while raking in the additional pot of dough politicians, SuperPacs, and pro/con ballot campaigns pay to put their ads up everywhere.
We’re getting played.
So let me balance things out a bit and interject some reality into this election, instead of hyperbole, conjecture, and twitter hashtag bullshit.
FIVE TRUTHS ABOUT THE 2016 ELECTION
- Polls under-represent young people and people of color, both of whom support Clinton by massive margins. The same was true for Obama in 2012, and if you look at the polls in early November of that year, you’ll find the race in a virtual dead heat, many with Romney up by a point or two. Obama went on to win by four points, crushing Romney in the electoral college.
- The only demographic Trump wins consistently are uneducated white men. Every other demographic is either very close or swings toward Clinton, bigly. And you can bet that women, Hispanics, and educated whites have a huge incentive to show up to the polls and vote, given that a Trump victory represents a horrific blow to their freedom and safety. African Americans do as well, although they aren’t showing up in as great of numbers as they did for Obama, but perhaps that is to be expected.
- This will be a high turnout election. High turnout elections favor Democrats, and that’s especially true in this one, because there are only so many uneducated white men. Furthermore, Clinton has a huge advantage in the get out the vote ground game in almost every state, especially in crucial swing states.
- Clinton is still winning in most of the fucking polls! Go look ’em up. And if we’re comparing 2016 to 2012, the polling average has Clinton up by almost two points, whereas Obama was up by less than one.
- Finally, I expect a reverse Trump effect at the polls–as in, “I’ve said I’m a supporter, I’ve gotten caught up in the politics of it, I normally vote Republican… but man this guy’s a fucking nutter, and at the end of the day I know I’ll survive four years of a Hillary Clinton Presidency, but I can’t say the same for Trump.” Actually filling in the bubble or pulling the lever is a gut check, and that’s not going to work in Donald’s favor.
To be perfectly honest, at worst I expect Clinton to win the popular vote by three points with at least 300 electoral votes. I also think it’s possible it could be a massive blowout, with Clinton winning something like 340 electoral votes at a six or seven point margin. Because the fact of the matter is, there are too many precedents that would have to break pro-Trump, and he’s essentially badmouthed and/or alienated the people who’d have to swing in his favor.
Who knows, maybe something crazy happens and Trump wins, but if that happens, take it for a sign of the apocalypse and run for the fucking hills.
As for me, I’m not betting on it.
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