Category Archives: Media Watch

The Republicans’ basic electoral problem

2012 electoral map

2012 electoral map

From the beginning of this election cycle, we have focused on cold hard math, because that’s how you know who is winning and who is likely to prevail. In a presidential election, the cold hard math is the state count of electoral votes. With just one day left before the 2016 elections, and after all the controversies, conspiracies and insults, plus widespread early voting, most of the electoral vote models show Hillary Clinton winning decisively over Donald Trump. These models include the Los Angeles Times with a whopping 352 electoral votes for Clinton, Real Clear Politics with 301 EVs for Clinton when “toss-up” states are assigned, and virtually every other scientific prediction showing Clinton well ahead even before assigning the toss-ups.

The oft-neglected fact about this election is that, since electoral votes are based on state population, the Republicans have a basic electoral problem: they are more popular in states with fewer people and thus fewer electoral votes. In essence, the GOP had a steep uphill climb before this campaign even began.

Donald Trump’s dangerous endgame

Anti-Trump protesters in Dallas, Texas

Anti-Trump protesters in Dallas, Texas

Not long ago, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had a well-organized, unifying end to their Democratic Party primary battle. Both sides acted like adults, sat down and negotiated over the party platform and the Democratic National Convention. The result was a hugely successful convention and a more unified Democratic Party, after which Clinton took the general election lead from Donald Trump. As new revelations about Trump’s sexually predatory behavior pile up, Clinton’s lead has extended to the point where nearly no one, including Republicans, says that Trump can win. The question now becomes, how will Trump lose, and what will he do afterward? Unfortunately, the signs thus far point to an ugly and dangerous electoral withdrawal from Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in the debate and the expectations game

"If you could vote for anyone" Clinton vs. Trump

“If you could vote for anyone” Clinton vs. Trump

In their first presidential debate last night, expectations were set unfairly high for Hillary Clinton and unfairly low for Donald Trump. Surprisingly, however, Clinton exceeded and Trump fell short of such expectations. In terms of substance, style and presidential temperament, the contrast between the two candidates was stark, and Clinton walked away with a decisive win. 

U.S. political media on life support after NBC Matt Lauer forum

NBC's Matt Lauer with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

NBC’s Matt Lauer with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Wednesday night’s NBC News “Commander-in-Chief Forum” has been roundly criticized. In particular, moderator Matt Lauer is taking the heat for his biased, amateurish performance. However, the NBC forum is just one of many examples of the U.S. Beltway media tipping the scales against Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump in this election, and failing to do their job. One Twitter user even started the hashtag “#LaueringTheBar” to describe this trend. With the first presidential debate just days away, time is quickly running out to cure the problem.

News media recycle Clinton/Sanders playbook in Clinton/Trump race

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at unity rally in July 2016.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at unity rally in July 2016.

Hillary Clinton is in trouble.” “The race is close.” Those are the types of statements we heard from the news media during the Democratic Party primaries between Clinton and Bernie Sanders earlier this year. In truth, the Democratic primary race wasn’t that close. Clinton won by hundreds of delegates and millions of votes, and her victory arguably came as early as the New York primary on April 19, followed the next week by the Connecticut/Pennsylvania/Maryland/Delaware/Rhode Island primaries, when Sanders lost by many delegates, which he failed to gain back thereafter.

Yet the mainstream corporate media did everything they could to create an artificially close horse race between Clinton and Sanders. One key tactic the media employed was to play up phony scandals against Clinton, play down similar stories against Sanders (his illegitimate son, he and his wife’s possible financial shenanigans, his failure to show his tax returns as his campaign had repeatedly promised, etc). Now that Clinton is battling Donald Trump in the general election, the national press are doing the same thing to make for a phony horse race between them.

Playing the Clinton vs. Trump debate expectations game

Donald Trump debates Donald Trump

Donald Trump debates Donald Trump

We’re in the post-convention phase of the 2016 elections, where the next big events planned are the presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Assuming that Trump agrees to have the debates, many Democrats assume that Clinton is going to wipe the floor with Trump, and that he is simply going to embarrass himself. Such an assumption is a mistake. Instead, it’s important to recognize, and play, the debate expectations game.

Trump’s treasonous troubles

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump is not having a good week. Trump managed to cast himself as both unpatriotic and treasonous within the space of a few days. First, Trump invited Russia to commit cyber espionage against the U.S. in order to influence the upcoming presidential election in Trump’s favor, which many have called possibly treasonous or at least a violation of the Logan Act. Then Trump attacked the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan, a U.S. soldier of Muslim faith who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while protecting his troops. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton‘s lead against Donald Trump is now growing.

Democrats take patriotism back from the Republicans

Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Beginning in 1980 and throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan appropriated the idea of patriotism and America and planted it firmly with the Republican Party. This week, however, at their national convention and with a big boost from Donald Trump, the Democratic Party and their presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took patriotism back.

Raucous unity at the Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at recent unity event in New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at recent unity event in New Hampshire

The diverse, outspoken and sometimes raucous Democratic Party was on full display on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday. This is the party whose unity is likened to “herding cats.” On the other hand, the outbursts from some delegates at the convention hardly spelled doom and gloom, as some chattering heads on the cable TV news networks intimated. Rather, if you caught the unfiltered convention proceedings via live stream or C-SPAN, you saw a political party reach a noisy state of unity, as only the Democrats can do.

Welcome to the Trump Republican National Convention train wreck

Ill-fated Trump/Pence "TP" logo.

Ill-fated Trump/Pence “TP” logo.

On Monday, several of Donald Trump‘s campaign staffers were involved in a minor car accident in New York City. That was nothing compared to the train wreck that is the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, and the events of the previous days. Here are some of the many things that have gone wrong for the Trump campaign and the Republican Party in just the past week: