By Bill Maher
You could blame a lot of things for Hillary losing the election – Russian bots, the Electoral College, Jill Stein siphoning away swing-state votes, Bernie Bros staying home to pout… But let’s not forget one other factor – the media.
They covered Trump wall-to-wall, 24/7 because he was a combination train wreck/three-ring circus/ratings boon. And the media could justify it as exposing this cartoon jackass for who and what he really was. But when Hillary got out to too big of a lead in the polls, they were losing their exciting horserace, so they put their thumb on the scale, playing up the ridiculous “emails” nothingburger. Trump had so many negatives to report, from disability mocking to pussy grabbing to out-and-out lying, that they felt the need to create a false equivalence by making a bigger deal out of the email story than was really warranted, all in the name of being “balanced.” And now my fear is that the media is about to do it again – swing the midterms with their irresponsible reporting.
The media narrative is that the election of Trump, his subsequent assault on healthcare, and his unconscionable tax cuts for the rich have awoken the sleeping donkey and Democrats are going to clean up in November with a plant-based, environmentally-friendly soap. In 2016, we got caught with our Dockers down, but we’re going to turn out en masse in 2018 and take our country back. I say not so fast.
True, most voters don’t actually like Trump, but I’m skeptical of predictions that the GOP will suffer the same sort of rout the Democrats went through in 2010. In that year, the economy was still a mess, unemployment was over 9 percent, Obamacare wasn’t thrilling even the staunchest Democrat, Obama promised to save people from losing their homes and then didn’t… contrast that to 2018, with unemployment at 4 percent and consumer confidence at an 18-year high.
Musa al-Gharbi, writing about the Texas primaries for the New York Times, says, “Democrats had near-record turnout, with more than one million voters over all taking part in their primaries. Sounds impressive, right? But Republicans had actual record-breaking turnout, exceeding their previous midterm high-water mark, which was set in 2010. All told, with more than 1.5 million votes cast, Republicans had nearly 50 percent more voters take part in their primary than the Democrats in theirs.”
If Democrats persist in running on a campaign of “We’re Not Trump,” they’re in for a bitter disappointment. And as far as the Senate goes, a recent Axios/Survey Monkey poll looked at ten races in states where the incumbent is a Democrat but Trump won in 2016 and found that in half of those states, the incumbent Democrat is trailing. In three others, the Democrat leads by less than five points. That’s eight out of ten states where the Democratic seat could flip. Forget taking the Senate – we could lose seats.
Trump’s approval rating is currently around 43 percent, which is one point below Gerald Ford’s rating 14 months into his presidency, and about 5 points below Obama’s. Let that sink in for a moment: After everything that’s happened in the last year – a new low reached weekly, a new scandal practically every day – Trump is just an eensy-weensy bit less popular than Obama. This is a further indication that Democrats who think the midterms are going to be some historic rejection of the GOP are deluded. Yes, the GOP will lose some seats, but the average Joe Sixpack isn’t losing any sleep over Trump.
So let me just say this now: Shut the hell up about your “blue wave.” Given the unreliability of polls, especially early polls, it could be argued that a responsible press shouldn’t even be speculating at this point about possible outcomes – let alone talking nonstop about this blue wave as if it’s inevitable. You’re just unduly energizing and mobilizing Republicans.
Conservatives are motivated by fear – fear of gays, fear of minorities, fear of Nancy Pelosi, fear of libtards – and if you keep terrifying them with your constant, overstated reports of an ominous “blue wave” coming to knock them off their feet and suck them out to sea, you’re just helping the red team.