The 2016 election season continues to heat up with most of the action on the Republican side of the field. The GOP Clown Car is filling up with with two new entries, Rick Santorum and George Pataki, bringing the official count to eight. It will be closer to fifteen before they are done.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate that the press takes seriously. Never mind that Bernie Sanders is stirring up the passion of the party base and that Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb all have more experience that most of the GOP aspirants.
It is, therefore, interesting to see how the media is handling their coverage of Clinton. For the past several weeks they have said very little other than to hype false allegations about the Clinton Foundation raised in a book that is notable primarily for its abundance of errors. They also filled time with wild speculation about her emails, despite having no evidence of any wrongdoing. And when they weren’t mining those dry holes they were complaining about her preference for talking to voters over reporters. Can anyone blame her?
Today the media again displayed an uncontrollable compulsion to avoid any discourse of substance. A new poll was released by Quinnipiac that showed Clinton beating every Republican she was matched against. The margin of victory spread from four points (vs. Rand Paul) to eighteen points (vs. Donald Trump). All of these Clinton leads exceeded the poll’s margin of error.
Clinton’s domination of the entire GOP field, however, was not particularly newsworthy to most of the media. Instead, they reported on the horse race between the Republicans that had five of them bunched up at the top with no clear leader. Somehow, that bit of vaguery was deemed a more important news item than Clinton’s clear cut clean sweep.
The Washington Post’s answer to this poll came in an editorial by conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin. Her article on Clinton’s polling success carried the headline “Hillary’s strategy isn’t working.” Of course, because besting every one of your challengers is a sure sign of a failing strategy to wingnuts like Rubin.
Instead of the candidate match-ups, Rubin focused on two other questions in the poll. First was Clinton’s favorability which registered only 45%. What Rubin left out is that Hillary’s 45% was higher than any of the Republicans. Secondly, Rubin brought up the question of trustworthiness, wherein the poll’s respondents gave Hillary a low 39%. Once again, Rubin neglected to mention that all but two Republicans (Huckabee and Paul) registered even lower. And for the record, Clinton also rated higher than any of the Republican on leadership and caring about people.
With the election over eighteen months away, there will be plenty of time for the press to hurl questions at Clinton. The problem is whether they will come up with any inquiries that have relevance to the country or will they keep embarrassing themselves with trivialities and spin? For example, yesterday Clinton made public statements in South Carolina that addressed serious issues like pay equality and helping the middle class. But all the media saw fit to report was their impression that she spoke with a southern accent [Note: She lived in Arkansas for more than fifteen years. Y’all think that doesn’t make a dent in yer speakin’ voice?]
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In the meantime, we can expect the press to continue to fish up sparkly nonsense in an attempt to turn the election into a tabloid melodrama that dispenses with any of those serious matters that only make people depressed and force them to think. And Clinton’s campaign strategy will fail her straight up into the White House while the media is still trying to parse an old sentence fragment into something scandalous.