Faux news is fake news that people want to believe. It isn’t just biased news, such as you see very commonly. Its falsehoods are not the result of reportorial laziness or editorial ham-handedness, but objective assessments of the audience’s gullibility.
Robert Kelley’s “The Cultural Pattern in American Politics: The First Century” isn’t an inviting title, exactly, but if you want to understand the shape of the electorate in this year’s election, this book, published in 1979, would be a great place to start.
If you had told a Democrat before this election that Hillary Clinton would turn Cobb, Gwinnett and Henry counties blue while improving on Barack Obama’s performance across the entire Metro Atlanta region, they would have gone to bed confident they were going to carry the state. Didn’t happen.
We Americans like to think we’re unique, and that our politics is unique, and to a certain extent that’s true. Look who we just elected. But a lot of the contest and reality shows we watch in the States originate in Europe, and so, sometimes, do our politics.
Our voting system isn’t rigged, it’s jerry-rigged. This election year, with its shadowy suggestions of Russian dirty tricks, its last-minute court rulings concerning ballot access in North Carolina, and those malfunctioning voting machines, has outlined what amounts to one of this country’s great infrastructural failures in this century.
If you removed every newspaper story or television broadcast that had a reference to Twitter, you’d have a hard time making sense from what was left what it was all about. It’s hard to think of another medium which has figured as prominently in a presidential election.
You could say that this long and unprecedented presidential campaign has been book-ended by debates handled by Fox News, and that’s fitting. This has been a convulsive period for the country, and more unexpectedly, for Fox News.
These were the body postures, not of a prize fight, but of a particularly edgy divorce negotiation. It seemed fitting in a way that the contestants couldn’t bring themselves to shake hands with each other until after the 90-plus minutes were over.
We’ve now had the first debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for president on the serious issues facing our country. So first, let’s talk about Gennifer Flowers.
She matters, because throughout his campaign for president, Donald Trump has in various ways tantalized audiences with the expectation that when he finally got on a debate stage with the woman some of his younger supporters have hated all their lives, he would “go there.” He didn’t.
As Donald Trump observed a dozen years ago, “It just seems the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.” There was fresh evidence last week, that this was not the Republican presidential nominee’s most outlandish statement on record.
It was inevitable that at some point in the nation’s history, there would be a presidential battle between a man and a woman. That it would turn out to be this particular man and this particular woman is something no one could have predicted.