Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Don't watch the news

I never watch TV news. We don't have a tv, for one thing, but I don't stream tv news either.
It may be that not watching tv news gives one a different take on politics, beyond ideology. I have my take cause I have certain lefty ideas. But I also have my take because my filter for the news is delayed, and in print.
My impression from everything I have read about the news media is this: that it is dominated by rich white men. They are the decision makers, they edit and report the news, and the picture they make pretty much reflects the world of rich white men. It is also the case that the demographic that goes most strongly for Republicans consists of rich white men.
Perhaps this explains a curious phenomenon among my liberal friends: an exaggerated sense of Trump's political popularity. I ran into this a lot at Christmas dinner this year. Although the last two years have been the worst for the GOP since 2006, the persistant belief is Trump ueber alles.
Obama, it must be said, was terrible for Democrats, and good for himself - thus, during his administration, the Dems lost something like a thousand seats on the state and national level. Trump has had a similar effect on the GOP. When the GOP can't even win the governorships of KY and LA, you know Trump's pull is limited. However, in contrast with Obama, who won quite handily in 2008, Trump won the electoral college by the merest hair in 2016. In the three key states, MI, PA AND WI, he won over HRC by something like 120,000 votes. What that means is that he starts out from an extraordinarily weak position. Still, to credit the big Orange idiot, he also spent half of what HRC spent on the election.
He definitely will outspend the Dems this time. But the configuration is really against him. He hasn't expanded his base. Not an iota. Those who voted for him last time will vote for him this time. If the Dems pursue the illusion they are going to lure Trump voters back, they are going to be in trouble.
But the Dem base is larger. And the potential for getting votes for those who stayed home in 2016 is enormous. Why, then, is this confidence not shared among the Dem elite and my liberal friends?
Frankly, most of my liberal friends are white. And many of them do watch the tv news. Their filter for what is happening is through Trump's most ardent demographic. More, I feel like the division between working class culture and upper middle class culture, which has become enormous under neoliberalism, works to make it the case that few upper class liberals that I know really know any working class people, white or black.
Trump is in it for the excitement. Thus, he allowed Pompeo to put him in an incredibly stupid position. But he also has a very injured sense of being pushed - which is why he got rid of Bolton. I have no idea what will come next, but I am still betting against a war with Iran and that Trump will run within his bubble. I argued against the war with Iran business in 2007, and I still think the argument holds today. Also, I don't think Trump wants to borrow the 400 billion dollars he would need to do this. He wants to run on a great economy.
And racism and misogyny, of course.
In any case, remember: old white guys are grossly overrepresented in the media machine that "reports" on the U.S. Never let that fact fade from your watching life. My two cents for the day.

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