Yesterday morning, the Washington Post political blog The Fix ran another empty bullshit political analysis. And in other news, the sun came up.
This piece, written by Aaron Blake, heir apparent to the recently departed spineless bullshit artist Chris Cillizza, cherrypicks polling data to justify the clickbait headline Trump voters don’t have buyer’s remorse, but some Clinton voters do”. The analysis that follows is disingenuous, hypothetical, counterfactual bullshit. It’s dishonest, misleading, and, frankly, cowardly. And I wouldn’t care if it weren’t for the fact that The Fix is complicit in pushing the most dangerous political narrative: Maybe Trump’s critics are out of touch with the truth.
The truth about this poll, and every Trump poll, is that Trump voters, just like Trump, only care about themselves, about being right. Winning validates their worldview. This poll is in effect asking Trump voters if they think they’re right.
The only reason I think The Fix is even worth writing about (it’s certainly not worth reading) is because the otherwise respectable Post runs this garbage blog right underneath its leading political stories, above the fold, in your face, every single day. There are more than a few problems with this.
1. The impression is that the otherwise reputable paper endorses The Fix as its own, official interpretation of its objective reporting.
2. The headlines are overhyped clickbait.
3. The analysis is almost always incomplete.
4. The analysis is purposefully misleading.
5. The analysis is intellectually dishonest.
6. The analysis is slanted in the name of objectivity.
7. The writers are cowards.
8. The writers diminish one of the most respected papers in the world.
Basically, The Fix is fixed. Its faux-clear-eyed reporting, exemplified perfectly in today’s article, masquerades as balanced and surprising by omitting inconvenient facts that would “unbalance” it and make Trump supporters seem delusional, which Trump and Trump supporters, and probably a lot of independent voters, and presumably a lot of Post readers, understandably don’t like. This tricks readers into thinking they’re giving the other side a fair shake. This is purely ass-kissing. Someone at the Post needs to fact-check these bootlicking political panderers.
The article in question pretends it’s not making an argument. It’s just citing some poll numbers that might surprise you:
...The Pew Research Center released a poll showing very little buyer’s remorse among Trump voters. The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent—five times as many—say he has performed better.
The writer, Blake, goes on to point out the “buyer’s remorse” split between Clinton and Trump to support his clickbait headline:
...just 4 percent of Trump’s supporters say they would back someone else if there was a redo of the election, fully 15 percent of Clinton supporters say they would ditch her. Trump leads in a re-do of the 2016 election 43 percent to 40 percent after losing the popular vote 46-44.
It also claims that these polls show Trump would win the popular vote if we had the election again today.
Again, Blake isn’t saying anything false here. He’s just omitting several facts that explain these “surprising,” seemingly counterintuitive numbers. Maybe we’ve got it all wrong again! After all, everyone thought Clinton would win, and we were wrong about that!
First, the polls are totally hypothetical. The answers have no consequences, so yeah, if Hillary lost why not say, “Sure, I’d vote for another candidate. My vote didn’t matter last time. She’s a proven loser. Why double down on that?”
The writer, to his credit, mentions a few of these caveats. But he omits the biggest one: Why are these numbers surprising and counterintuitive in the first place? Perhaps it’s because, week in and week out, Trump has racked up the lowest approval rating in the history of polling of any president at this point in his term. The Fix doesn’t mention that one. Why? That makes polls more complicated and difficult to explain than The Fix wants to admit.
But also, look at what happened in Kansas and Georgia. Democrats turned up bigly in those two districts. Voters who stayed home in November would turn out to vote Trump down.
More importantly, if Blake admitted the truth about these numbers it means he’d have to say something untoward about those Trump maniacs who think their guy is doing even better than they thought he would. He can’t make this most damning critique empirically, so he refuses to, because numbers probably can’t show it. But the reason Trump defenders still defend Trump is evident and simple: They just don’t care what Trump does. They won the election. That’s the most important thing. They want their white nationalist revival movement to win again, and they don’t give a shit about anything else in government than not losing to Hillary Clinton.
How can you deny this?
Trump has acted against his base’s interest in almost every way possible. In fact, he hasn’t accomplished nearly anything he promised them: repeal the ACA; get affordable health care for everyone; build the wall; make Mexico pay for it; keep the Muslims out; drain the swamp; investigate Hillary Clinton; call China out as cheaters; implement tax reform (“tax cuts for everyone!”); distance ourselves from “obsolete” NATO; come up with a plan to bring back coal power; tax companies that send jobs overseas; buy American/hire American (use only U.S. steel for pipelines, etc); not take his salary; disclose his tax returns; separate himself from his business interest; not go on vacation; not play a single round of golf; help fight the opiate epidemic; get our military out of Syria; work with Russia and Assad to defeat ISIS; rip up the Iranian nuclear deal; rip up NAFTA; make friends with Russia…
The self-declared dealmaker couldn’t strike a healthcare deal with his own party. He might shut down the government if the Democrats don’t agree to pay for the wall he promised everyone that Mexico would pay for. And everything he’s done or tried to do as far as economics go (taxes, healthcare, corporations, banks, etc.) has, or had he succeeded, would have hurt his voter base. Hard. The hardest, actually.
And the jobs he’s claimed credit for? Most of them he had nothing to do with. The military savings? Not him.
Trump has actually done the opposite of many of these things. Plus he’s under FBI investigation for treason. How the fuck is he doing better than his supporters thought?
What he’s done: He’s rounded up a bunch of immigrants & nominally pulled out of TTP (which he’s going to work around soon). And he nominated a Supreme Court justice that the Senate had to take the most extreme measures in history to confirm.
So why are these numbers so high, Aaron Blake? Gee, looks like I’m just another blind Democrat, delusional and out of touch. No. The main reason Trump defenders say he’s doing better than they thought is precisely because he’s doing such a shitty job. It’s not about Trump and it’s never been. It’s about them. To Trump supporters, this poll is asking them what they think of themselves.
Trump says, and his defenders truly believe, that Democrats, and especially the “fake news” press, have attacked him viciously and unfairly and made things up about him. Trump defenders have handcuffed their sense of self-worth to the self-worth of Donald Trump. And just like Trump, they only care about winning, because it’s the only thing they can point to that he’s actually done successfully. Never mind that he committed treason by weaponizing their grief and most sacred democratic power to cheat.
Of course they’re doubling down on the decision. I mean, 60%-ish of Republicans believe Trump won the popular vote and that millions of people voted illegally. These people are flat-out delusional, and numbers can’t say that. Well, maybe the fact that Trump’s approval rating has soared with his base but plummeted among literally every other demographic actually says that quite well.
It’s articles like Blake’s, though, that perpetuate uncertainty and perpetuate the myth that Clinton, who won the popular vote by three million and lost election by 114,000, was the worst candidate in history. She wasn’t perfect, clearly, but come the fuck on. This is Donald Fucking Trump. This counterfactual analysis that re-litigates the election does nothing more, and is intended to do nothing more, than handcuff Democrats to Clinton, even though she lost, making Democrats seem out of touch and like they’d repeat their mistakes.
Clinton counterfactuals, hypotheticals, and dishonesty… I’ve had enough of that stuff. You can stop reading The Fix, and you should, but, sadly, this stuff isn’t going away. Donald Trump is already the worst President in history, and no one in their right minds should for one second think otherwise. If the fact that Trump supporters like him a lot means something to you, or if some hypothetical scenario that can’t and won’t ever happen and can’t possibly reflect reality, and doesn’t make any difference anyway, changes your mind about anything, then I suppose I’ll always have the leader that you deserve.