Hunch confirmed. Trump won the first debate. Reuter’s released its first poll since the Fox made for television, not-for-the-electorate-but-for-ratings-and-dollars, debate event.
Shun Early Returns
Early analysis of the debate zeroed in on Trump’s miscues. From his unwillingness to join all others in showing support for whomever won the GOP nomination to his tiff with Megyn Kelley to his surprisingly honest assessment of the power of money in our current political system, most believed they witnessed the end of The Donald.
Mistake. The rush to judgement turned to more shock and awe that Trump still leads in the recent Reuter’s poll, several online polls, and a couple of State polls – Iowa and New Hampshire. Sure he lost in terms of margin, but that he is still leading after the Main Event stirred more disbelief than I have seen in my FB Feed.
Yes, it is too soon, most believe, to take these early skirmishes seriously. But, if you are still thinking these made for television events are really about the election itself, you may need to get out more. Suggestion: Stay up late for the Perseid meteor shower this week. Take in a real show.
The early polls are telling: we still refuse to see how The Donald’s presidential run puts the whole Country on the couch.
The Language Game
Consider the way Fox framed the debate. The early debate was billed as the Undercard. Promoter’s language provided enough indication as to how the evening would progress. The Main Event carried the analogy into prime time.
Then there is the background to the fight that broke out. Consider this from Ezra Klein at Vox,
Until Thursday, Fox News had been one of Trump’s most important allies. The liberal media watchdog group Media Matters notes that between May 1 and July 31, 2015, Donald Trump was given, by far, the most airtime of any GOP presidential contender, with 31 appearances on the network; Jeb Bush, by contrast, only had seven.
And more than simple airtime, Fox News’s hosts defended Trump when the rest of the media was piling onto his more noxious comments.
Klein provides a sample of Trump’s defenders.
On the other side is the well noted response of the RNC to The Donald. After his remarks on immigration it appears there were efforts to rein in The Donald. Failed.
We like our politics embattled. So, what if Fox decided to take The Donald out during the debate, influence the polls by embarrassment? What should be troublesome is that The Donald seemed to be doing enough to embarrass himself. Why take the risk of self-exposure? Why let the electorate know that the media wants to choose the candidate?
One of my friends told me Sunday he did not see anything fair and balanced and, while he would not vote for Trump, believed the whole fiasco pulled back the curtain to reveal one more way media elites think the rank and file are fools. It does, however, seem they, the media, are getting mixed signals when most should see our way to whittle down the candidates without the need for a poll. This would mean Trump exit the arena.
But alas, he has not. Yet.
We Need Trump
That is we need The Donald until we recognize we have been put on the couch. And by couch, I mean the therapist’s couch. All of the intense emotions against Trump combined with the still unbelievable support reveal we still think a political candidate of any party affiliation will ride in to save the day.
We regularly tell ourselves the opposite. But, the amped up emotions that give rise to shouting our preferred political alignments at one another simply reveals these alignments themselves are empty. We have pinned our hopes for change on a slogan.
Our way off the couch is to realize there is no hero coming over the hill to save us from ourselves. No candidate of any persuasion that will fix immigration, point us toward racial reconciliation, balance the budget, provide universal healthcare, challenge the corpratocracy and more.
Instead the Trump surprise is that we must assume responsibility for the condition of our Country, our culture, and produce the will for the better. Until then, we will simply live off the emotion generated by our political alignments thinking we argue for what is important only to find that what is important to us is our alignment and not our Country.