Sunday, November 13, 2016

Media Motif As Usual

The voters are tired of politics as usual. The voters are tired of the same old politicians. The voters want to drain the swamp. The voters want change. These are some of the common tropes we are treated to by the news media following every election. It's a tired script but every 2-4 years it's pulled from the file of tired tropes and delivered to us as part of the same old media post election narrative. Media motif as usual.

Voters do say these things but for the most part they say these things because, like trained parrots, they have been conditioned over the years to say them. They are repeating the scripted lines they hear on TV or radio or read in dozens of newspaper columns and online postings. Or from politicians like Donald Trump.

How many same old politicians did the voters (tired of politics as usual) throw out of office in 2016? Not many.

Only two Republican US Senate incumbents (those who ran for re-election as opposed to retiring) were deposed. Mark Kirk (R) in Illinois, and Kelly Ayotte (R) in New Hampshire. Both were replaced by Tammy Duckworth (D) in Illinois and Maggie Hassan (D) in New Hampshire.

In the House of Representatives the Republicans lost six incumbent seats to Democrats and the Democrats lost one incumbent seat to a Republican and another to a fellow Democrat.

So, basically, out of 435 seats in the House only eight trouble makers were run outta town. So much for draining that bayou.

In the Senate (with 100 seats) only two incumbents (both Republicans) were heaved back into the wild.

The media wowsers might conclude from this that it was Democrats who did most of the work when it came to pruning the deadwood from the tree of liberty. And not so much the Trumpian revolutionaries who were too busy entertaining us with chants of "drain the swamp" and "Make America Great Again" and "Jew-S-A!, Jew S-A!" to go wading into the quagmire in search of drain holes.

Democrat Chuck Schumer (NY) won reelection easily and will become Minority Speaker in the US Senate replacing retiring Harry Reid. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will become Majority Speaker in the US Senate. +2 for "The Establishment".

In the House nothing changes. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will remain speaker for the foreseeable future and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will remain House Minority Leader if that's what she wants to do. Where are the smashed pumpkins in this picture? Score two more for "The Establishment".

Among the House rank and file only two Republicans that had been in office more than six years (one since 1992 and one since 2002) were defeated and only one Democrat who had been in office since 2000 was defeated.

So, I guess, if by stickin' it to the establishment you mean bumping off John Mica (R-Florida since 1992) and Mike Honda (D California since 2000) - whoever those guys are - is what you mean by blowing up the establishment count me not quite as impressed with the fireworks.

UPDATE: Trump chooses RNC chairman Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff. It doesn't get much more insider establishment than that. The Priebus is to Washington D.C. what a nutria is to a Louisiana wetland.

And lets not forget that Hillary Clinton, arguably the most establishment candidate in politics today, has so far received more votes for president than the guy who is going to get the job. As I write this she is predicted to get at least 1.8 million more votes than the guy who will get the job.

But a lot of this won't occur to most in the media (especially the cable news media) who will keep telling us that the average Trump voter was simply tired of politics as usual and decided to evacuate the premises by booting the loser establishment out the door.

Rather, it would appear, the Trump voter who, we are told, wants more infrastructure jobs (as Donald Trump has promised) decided to return to office the very politicians who have been, for the last eight years, refusing to provide the votes necessary to make those infrastructure jobs possible. How's that for politics as usual.

Finally: Dave Weigel's recent story in the Washington Post profiling some Trump voters in Wisconsin displays a sampling of the kind of bluster and backlash thinking that characterized Trump's march on Rome.

“I’m excited to see him blow the place up. He stands on his own, so he can throw the middle finger up.”


In interviews on Wednesday, again and again, voters in Kenosha said that they had gotten behind Donald Trump. Often, they had not cast a vote for a Republican presidential nominee before. More often, they said that the past eight years had gone well for them — although, tellingly, the city had been better in the times they dimly remembered.

Perhaps in dim remembrance of the Kenosha AMC auto plant that closed in 1988. And...:

“It was just that ‘Make America Great Again’ turned out to be genius,” said Karen Kempinen, 67, a retired teacher. “That resonated. They didn’t need to think any further than those words.”

Benito Mussolini had Italians convinced he was going to make Italy great again by restoring the nation to the glory days of the Roman Empire. He didn't.

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