Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Election 2012’

Here is a song that Eddie Vedder says “benefits from scenery passing by at 40-60 mph (on the way to a demonstration or voting booth!)” in the liner notes for Pearl Jam’s Riot Act. That sounds like a good plan for the morning.

Happy election day!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

One interesting aspect of the political spectacle surrounding this year’s presidential election is the percentage of whites, particularly white males, who prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama. Tom Scocca of Slate takes a look at the polling gap between whites and non-whites. He writes:

White men are supporting Mitt Romney to the exclusion of logic or common sense, in defiance of normal Americans. Without this narrow, tribal appeal, Romney’s candidacy would simply not be viable. Most kinds of Americans see no reason to vote for him.

This fact is obfuscated because white people control the political media. So we get the Washington Post reporting that the election is “more polarized along racial lines than any other contest since 1988”:

Obama has a deficit of 23 percentage points, trailing Republican Mitt Romney 60 percent to 37 percent among whites, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll. That presents a significant hurdle for the president—and suggests that he will need to achieve even larger margins of victory among women and minorities, two important parts of the Democratic base, to win reelection.

That’s not polarized. Polarization would mean that various races were mutually pulling apart, toward their favored candidates. “Minorities” is not a race (nor, you may have noticed, is “women”). Minorities and women are the people standing still, while white men run away from them.

Scott Lemieux, over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, points out that the media presents Obama’s support differently because of who does, and who does not, support him. While Politico claimed Obama does not have a broad mandate based on his supporters, Lemieux argues that “if Romney ekes out an electoral college and popular vote victory, we’re not going to be hearing about how Romney’s mandate is too narrow because it’s so dominated by white men.”

Of course, all of this would be moot if whites would just listen to Chris Rock’s assertion that Obama is white:

He makes some good points. Chris Rock is black, though, so I’m guessing that whites are unlikely to listen to him.

Read Full Post »

In his 1988 book Constructing the Political Spectacle, political scientist Murray Edelman argues that, because nonvoters are a larger political grouping in the US than any single political party, the media needs to use “much coercion, propaganda, and the portrayal of issues in terms that entertain, distort, and shock to extract a public response of any kind” (Edelman 1988:7). Further, he says that the media isn’t concerned with facts, but with perpetuating competing ideologies.  If the media was worried about facts, he says, “false meanings would be discredited in time and a consensus upon valid ones would emerge” (Edelman 1988:3).

I was reminded of Edelman’s work while reading a Deadspin post about critics of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. Discussing this criticism, David Roher states:

Scarborough’s comments illustrate the central and most pernicious bias in political media: not toward one candidate or another, but toward a toss-up. Forecasters like Silver and Wang strive for precision in addition to accuracy. If accuracy is how close the average dart is to the bullseye, precision is how close each dart was to the others. We don’t yet know whether they’ve been accurate, but we can already safely say that they’ve been precise, as their predictions heading into November are essentially the same as they were months ago.

The political media hate precision: No one tunes in to a boring horse race. The volatility of day-to-day polling allows them to explain how the contest (in which, till recently, no actual votes had yet been cast) has been lost and won and lost again with each news cycle—an endless series of decisive revelations and foundational truths about the candidates or the public. If the narrative had followed Silver’s and Wang’s graphs, there would have been little to no hubbub over Bain’s outsourcing, “You didn’t build that,” the 47 percent, or the first debate. And what fun would that be? Both the Romney and Obama camps are happy to play into the toss-up narrative, as Obama needs his presumed majority to actually go to the polls on election day, and Romney wants to give his base confidence and hope. It’s the rare thing that everyone can agree on this year.

In five days the election will be over but the debates over the same old political issues – tax cuts, abortion, military spending, health care, etc. – will undoubtedly continue, thanks in part to the political spectacle.

Read Full Post »