Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Chattering Class and Those Who Listen to Them

"What is this? A fucking children's crusade? This is a primary. Pri-mar-ry. We're talking about political obsessives. Medicators. Nothing to doers. Geriatrics. Who the fuck else cares about primaries?"
Governor Mac Cullen - Boss, Season 1

It's been less than a week since the infamous Romney fundraiser video surfaced. And it has sent the political world into a frenzy. And, for the briefest of moments, I was actually worried about the impact that the video would have on his electoral chances. The polls came out and the numbers haven't budged. If anything, they showed President Obama's convention bump fading. There was no signal. All noise. So much for that.

And then it reinforced my view that Americans aren't plugged in to this. The average American, were he/she forced to read this blog, they'd be snoozing within a minute because this stuff just doesn't interest them. Elections aren't about choosing political ideologies. And they aren't about voting for the best interests of the country. That stuff only matters to the people cited above.

The cold hard truth is that, as inelegantly as Mitt Romney put it, each side has about 45-47% of the vote essentially locked up, no matter what. And it's the 6-10% who are possibly undecided, who probably really make up their mind the day or the week they cast their vote, who determines which party will occupy the White House come January.

And the vast majority of the country isn't going to follow the daily horse race journalism. The 24/7 news cycle made it impossible for politicians to hide things. But it seems that unless it's a truly Big Deal (sex scandal) type affair, the news cycle is so ADHD that a serious gaffe (god, I hate that word) can erupt and blow over within the space of half a week.

The general public doesn't know about Politico, RCP, Intrade, TPM, or any of those sites that do nothing but cover the horse race. Each political convention will garner the ratings of a typical Monday Night Football game. The 3 debates will be watched by a total viewership that's 33% smaller than the Super Bowl. And half of the eligible population (about 33% bigger than the Super Bowl audience) will cast their vote on Election Day.

When things like weather, sports team records, ballot ordering can swing an election one way or the other, somehow I question why people like me spend an inordinate amount of time wondering how things will play out in the media.

That being said, I don't plan on making another (solely) political post until after the first debate. I'll stick to economic musings and Real Time counterpoints blog posts until then.

1 comment:

  1. Elections aren't about choosing political ideologies. And they aren't about voting for the best interests of the country.

    I couldn't agree more. It seems like anymore, people should just see who their Facebook friends are voting for, then decide which ones they want to be associated with. Or just not vote for the guy you want to blame for the next four years.