Of Pundits and Voters

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I did not watch the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday. There are two primary reasons for this: I am not a masochist, and the New York Mets were playing in the National League Division Series.* Either one of those reasons would have been sufficient to avoid this debacle, and the two in combination  made it a slam dunk decision.

*One may be tempted to sneer that the fact that I am a Mets fan negates my denial of being a masochist, to which I reply . . . Ummm, I’ll get back to you when I have a good retort.

The almost unanimous verdict among pundits all along the political spectrum was that Hillary Clinton was the winner, and it was not particularly close. Clinton was a giant among midgets dwarves little people Democrats. For two shining hours she even seemed almost, dare it be said, human? Perhaps her crack team of engineers, scientists, data programmers, and other smart people finally managed to work together to develop a chip that imparted something close to a personality. She was in command of the issues, managed to approximate the sound of laughter when appropriate without creeping everyone out, and avoided shrieking at decibels that would have had all neighborhood dogs howling in agony. This miracle of modern technology, working in conjunction with the pathetic opposition she faced*, enabled Clinton to get away with the most brutal assault since Chase Utley was allowed to break the existing rules of baseball in order to break a defenseless Ruben Tejada’s legs.

*By way of comparison, imagine a Republican debate in which Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and John Kasich all had to skip, and we were left with Donald Trump, Jed Bush, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. That is essentially what the Democratic field has been reduced to. 

So we had every pundit alive tripping over himself (or herself, or xerself, or ximself, or whatever pronoun you’re comfortable with) to declare Hillary the winner. So why is it that every focus group and online poll known to man indicated that Bernie Sanders won, and it wasn’t particularly close? I’ll be the first to admit that online polls are as useful as Joe Torre – just ask President Ron Paul – but almost every sample of actual real live voters who may theoretically vote in the Democrat primary, assuming of course evil Rethuglicans don’t deny them their right by forcing them to show personal identification at the polling place, indicates that Sanders was the real winner. What gives?

This is where I’m supposed to snarkily dismiss the punditocracy of being out of touch establishment shills who are merely zealously working overtime to ensure that Madame Hillary is coronated with minimal effort, and that most of them have their heads shoved so far up their collective posteriors that they have completely lost touch with the common man. And I suppose I’m supposed to make some crack about cocktail parties, and maybe another something or other about shills and the establishment, yada yada.

Well that’s partially right. But let me offer up a slightly less cynical take, or at least one that is cynical in the other direction. The problem with pundits, and I guess I’ll include yours truly in that category, is that we judge these things by completely different criteria than the people these debates are meant to persuade. We’re largely looking for substantive answers delivered in a convincing style. We’re looking for a certain adeptness at thinking on one’s feet, hopefully packaged in a way that is folksy without being condescending.

Now is that what the undecided voter is looking for? Do you think said undecided voter, who is probably that person you wind up in line behind at McDonald’s who spends ten minutes trying to decipher the oh-so-complicated menu before settling on the Big Mac, is carefully scrutinizing the pitch at which a candidate’s prepackaged lies responses are delivered? Is the type of voter who is reasonably persuaded that it is actually possible to deliver on the magical list of free stuff the Democrats have been promising all night such a reasoned, informed individual that he will deduct points from Bernie Sanders from sounding like an escapee from Bellevue? When Sanders guffaws on stage and says “G-damn” during a presidential debate, do you think that voter is clutching his pearls and tut-tutting the his lack of social etiquette?

I have some bad news for the pundits, and frankly for most of the American public for that matter. There’s really no way to put this delicately, so I’m just going to say it: these debates are principally aimed at the dumbest segment of the American electorate. Oh sure there are at least  still some reasonably educated people who may not have settled on a candidate yet, so the undecided segment of the audience for a primary debate might be a little bit better informed than that of a general election one. By and large, though, it is not unfair to wager that most of people who haven’t made up their minds and who are actually trying to gauge their vote on these “debates” are not the sorts of people who as zealously and closely follow politics as the people writing about the debates. Which is to say that the pundit interpretation of what happened on stage during the debate is worth almost nothing if one actually wants to know who really won the debate.

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30 Comments

  1. Does the dumbest segment of the electorate even watch debates? What’s the overlap between the idiocracy and the mediacracy anyways?

  2. Probably a better (and more charitable) way for me to put it would have been that of those who are watching and undecided, they are likely to be the least politically engaged.

  3. That is essentially correct.

    I glanced at the GOP debates (morbid curiosity, really) and didn’t watch the Dem debate.

    I remain interested in Webb, Cruz, Carson, and Jindal and the debates are only tangentially related to that choice. (I had been a Walker supporter but that didn’t work out.)

  4. I’d schedule a root canal in order to not watch a dem debate.
    .
    They somehow should bottle the Dem debate and use it as the cure for insomnia.
    .
    There is only about 4% of the electorate up for grabs. Hillary, Biden, or Sanders could go on live TV and push a hundred little puppy dogs through a wood chipper and 48% (47% government dependents and 1% rich libs) of voters would still vote for the demagogue. Sanders is a socialist lunatic. Biden is a clown. Hillary is a psychopathic liar, which wouldn’t be a disqualifier, except like Obama, everything she ever tried to do came to worse than naught.

  5. Demon-craps are murderers of unborn babies, selling their organs to the highest bidder, and sanctifiers of sterile sexual perversion. They as evil as their National Socialist forebearers. Therefore, in the interests of preventing overstressing my heart in which are installed too many arterial stents, I refused to watch or listen to the debate of Demon-crap politicians. It is a sin to hate, and I am a sinner. 🙁
    .
    PS, T Shaw is correct again.

  6. Probably a better (and more charitable) way for me to put it would have been that of those who are watching and undecided, they are likely to be the least politically engaged.

    Not true. The least politically engaged to not vote. The marginally engaged only vote during presidential contests. People who will reliably cast a ballot in a general election amount to about 37% of the eligible population and those who appear for presidential primary elections amount to about 25% of the whole when you’ve got competitive contests in both parties. Those are the people who read newspapers a generation ago (though half of them do not remember much of what they read).

    People who appear at Mickey D’s for breakfast know what they want.

    I’m not seeing any conventional polls conducted on the question (which, in any case, are not reliable any more). If the Sanders aficionados in my family are any guide, Sanders’ appeal is that he’s basically straight up. The good thing about the Sanders campaign is that its an indication that there are people in the Democratic Party fed up with the criminal element therein, at least the gross manifestation of it in the Clintons. I’d be pleased if there were Democrats fed up with the Wisconsin deep state and everyone in the chain of command from Barack Obama to Lois Lerner, but we’ve yet to see that. Also, Sanders is a manifestation of the Democratic Party id, but he’s a manifestation of the less ugly aspect of that id. The really gruesome characters run from Dan Savage to the Black Lives Matter grifters.

  7. My guess is that debates, like opinion polls, are about generating chatter for the chatterati to chatter about.

  8. Winners in the debate?

    Here’s my humble take.
    J. Christopher Stevens
    Sean Smith
    Tyrone Woods
    Glen Doherty.

    They lost their lives for God’s sake.
    They we’re ripped apart.
    They had zero help.
    They we’re abandoned.

    The Democratic debate? To hell with them.
    May the democrats debate the levels of hell they will call home when they die. May Hillary have the lowest.

  9. The Democrat Party has never been a bunch of angels, but the depths that they have fallen to is past nauseating.

    I have not watched any political debates for years. From what I have read about them, the moderators are usually selected to favor a certain point of view or candidate. As for the Democrats, the 1960s moonbat Left and their successors has taken them over completely.

  10. “My guess is that debates, like opinion polls, are about generating chatter for the chatterati to chatter about.”

    These debates are all about pushing the party establishment and liberals (but I repeat myself) agendas on the populace–as well as lifting up the establishment candidates and tearing down the candidates whom the establishment cannot control.

  11. I did not watch the debate, either, but for a much different, more Charitable reason: it’s not my Party, so it’s not my place to mess with their internal politics.

  12. Didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t watch it. The Democrat party is all about corruption and corrupting. It is the party of the devil: murderous, salacious, mendacious, larcenous, etc.
    The leading candidate should be in jail and the runner-up institutionalized. And any Catholic who votes for them should be excommunicated. Are you getting my drift Alfy?

  13. T. Shaw is correct. I have asked Hillary supporters what it would take before they would finally say enough. Their response, silence. I truly believe you could release a video showing her roasting and eating a small child and the spin machine would start humming and every pundit would once again do their best impression of a Brooklyn cop, “Nothing to see here, move along.”

  14. Fr.of seven.

    It’s demonic.
    The admiration for the bride of Lucifer.
    They are the zombies that walk and vote.
    Add to this the allurement of “voting in the first female pres.”
    Cult move.
    Sickening.
    Perverse.
    Hill…Hellery.

  15. For a classic piece of demagoguery, check out Hillary’s “La Hillary Estoy Contigo” Spanish poster. She sheds forty years and morphs into Evita Peron. Good Grief! Next she’ll sing.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/15/448968801/new-clinton-spanish-posters-hillary-or-evita?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20151015&utm_campaign=npr_email_a_friend&utm_term=storyshare

    The link is only for those in robust good health.

  16. Fascinating to see the left up in arms as they squabble about the left media raising the hand of … meanwhile the social crowd feels disenfranchised by the same media they usually are hugging, given their social groups feel the Bern KO’d H.

  17. Here is a short story which I hope Paul W. P. will enjoy. About twenty years ago, an old friend and I were sitting on the porch and our conversation turned to the “Clintons”. I said, that did not hate the Clintons but merely found them to be despicable, which I considered a malice-free evaluation. To which my friend added, “And a fine Jesuitical distinction”. 😉

  18. Hillary as Evita – Pretty funny!

    Maybe funny, but the analogy is strange. Eva Peron was a bastard child who grew up in poverty in the countryside around Buenos Aires. Hillary Rodham grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, well-to-do as the daughter of a (nasty and disagreeable) self-made man. Eva Peron had a junior grade charisma that was crucial to the construction of the Peron machine. Hillary has been, if anything, an impediment to her husband’s career and has leeched off it. What she did do for him was act as the primary earner in the family for 12 years, bear a prop child in the middle of a difficult re-election campaign, and, of course, launder the bribes.

  19. Even though Argentina is a silly country at the ends of the Earth, Evita Peron is an enduring icon, rather like Marilyn Monroe. Diana, Princess of Wales, to take one example, is not. Hillary is not and will never be an icon.

  20. Whenever I see a picture of Hilary smiling, she looks like the Joker. When she’s unhappy, she looks like Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy.

  21. Has anyone seriously considered that Hillary could be possessed by the devil. Sure giveaway: her disembodied cackle.

  22. Michael Dowd asks if anyone has seriously considered that Hillary might be possessed by the devil? Hell YES, considered and daily confirmation given to us via media outlets.
    Listening to her lie through her ugly teeth is like watching the young Linda Blair rotate her head 360° and spew pea-soup eighteen feet.
    Is Hillary possessed?
    The evil one has taken ownership and resides gleefully in her soul.

  23. Art Deco, Well said. Their backgrounds aren’t the same except for being female and former First Ladies and that’s why the poster is humorous and shameless at the same time. Knowing that she is polarizing and unlikable in many quarters, Hillary is reinventing herself continuously with new hairstyles, plastic surgery, wardrobe and mannerisms to become an icon. I’d guess that she is watching old newsreels of Evita to copy her style of public speaking. One is either born with charisma or not. My favorite is the change in accent depending on which section of the country she’s in. The good ole girl I’m just one of you all is my favorite. If Hillary is elected president she’ll have more in common with Isabela Peron, Juan Peron’s 3rd wife. My hope is that there is true justice and Hillary will be tried based on her personal email account. With no VPN she was as much giving away secrets.

  24. I cannot understand the absence of suitable outrage over such blatant disregard for the “Loose Lips Sink Ships” caveat. So few have served but don’t they at least watch old war movies? And More???????

  25. Hilary is talentless, charisma-less, charm-less, irritating, screeching, annoying, a liar (but I repeat myself) who, besides being elected in New York State as a liberal, has accomplished nothing of note.

    Except for the feminist Democrat base, nobody likes her.

  26. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and all of the comments. Made me forget for a moment how horrible our situation in this gulag really is. I hope and pray to write this well.

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