For us longtime political junkies, the drama of this year’s election is unbeatable. Open intramural antagonism in both major parties, remarkable success of “extreme” candidates (the term meaning here ones that dare point out the utter disconnect between the pols and the populace), embarrassingly poor prediction success by the pundits, and so on. Makes for great theatre, if nothing else.
But I’m beginning to think that all that strife within and between parties is creating something of a vacuum into which the press is inserting itself in rather insidious ways. Take the current controversy regarding Trump and Judge Curiel. Putting aside the point that Trump ought to have enough sense to know that one doesn’t publicly criticize a judge under whom one has a case pending, why is the press making such a big deal over Trump’s suggestion that Curiel, a Latino, may be biased against Trump due to the latter’s remarks about illegal immigration from Mexico? Isn’t this the same press that has been constantly telling us that Latinos won’t vote for Trump, exactly for that reason? Which is it? The press can’t have it both ways.
Today NPR told us that something like 16% of the California primary ballots cast had no choice checked for president. This was supposed to indicate a “Pox on both your houses” attitude among voters. Well, maybe there is some of that, but another explanation is that independents were given ballots without choices available for president! Independent voters could ask for a provisional ballot so as to be able to vote for president, but it’s clear that many didn’t know this. And this worked against Bernie’s chances, as has happened before; why isn’t the press reporting it?
And speaking of Bernie (who, yes, I did vote for), why did the AP choose to poll the superdelegates right on the eve of the California primary, then declaring Hillary the victor, before the largest state in the nation had a chance to vote? And why aren’t they reporting the reason why the party has superdelegates in the first place, which is that the party doesn’t want the populace to have too much say in the election — ironically, exactly the kind of thing that Bernie has been running against?
Since I’m divulging my vote now that the primary is over, I might as well mention that I voted for Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the Democratic primary election for US Senate. Democratic state AG Kamala Harris won a plurality of the vote for that office, with about 40%, with Sanchez getting 18% in second place. Under California’s new system, the two top vote getters face off against each other in the general election, even if they are in the same party. Well, NPR wondered aloud today why Sanchez should even bother to run in November. Really? What about the Republican voters? Sure, some won’t vote for either, but Sanchez is a moderate, and has won twice in the quintessential Republican district, Orange County. Presumably many in the GOP will in fact vote for her. And if the press truly thinks ethnicity is so important to Latinos, won’t she get many of their votes too? Sanchez is currently not well known in northern California (the counties she won were all in the south), but once the general election campaign starts, that will change.
I’m usually not one to bash the press, but this year may be different, just like it is for everything else.