Written By: - Date published: 12:52 pm, November 5th, 2018 - 48 comments
Categories: elections, International, internet, journalism, Left, liberalism, Media, political parties, Politics, us politics - Tags: democrats, mid tersm, populists, progressives, Republicans
The US mid term elections are about to take place. All of the seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs and 1/3rd of the seats in the Senate (mostly Democrat ones) are also being put to the vote.
Cenk Uygur has offered some possibly insightful commentary on the state of play. You can listen/watch his full breakdown in the video. Mainstream news outlets are suggesting that The Democratic Party will probably win just enough votes to take the House (around the bare minimum of 24 gains) and may squeak the Senate. Cenk is picking a gain of between 38 and 50 seats for the Democrats in the House.
And what he’s saying makes sense once you allow for the blind spot that afflicts mainstream media (and polling methods) when it comes to figuring the likely impact of Progressive candidates/policies.
If Cenk is right (and I don’t think he’s wrong), then in a few days time pundits will be scratching their heads yet again, trying to figure why respected polling was so wrong while they celebrate a Democratic wave that they didn’t see coming. But here’s a thing…
When they celebrate a Democratic wave, they’ll likely be missing the point that it has happened in spite of the established Democratic Party, and because of the Progressive candidates (and not so progressive but populist candidates like Richard Ojeda) whose prospects they themselves keep underplaying and dismissing in their commentary.
I suspect there will be some interesting and fraught commentary around US politics in coming weeks and months…which is another upcoming dynamic that Cenk Uygur has picked.
Assuming a Democratic wave in the House (and it is just an assumption being made for the sake of argument at this point), then…well as Cenk Uygur again, this time as a guest the National Press Club in Washington “laying it on the line” for his fellow journalists says – there’s going to be “a war” between old media and new media.
For my part, I’d view what Cenk is referring to in terms of what has happened in the UK, where old media continues to fight a rearguard action against the politics and popularity of UK Labour being led by Corbyn and new media in the UK like The Canary routinely calling out old media and the centrist politics and strategies it promotes.
In NZ, I don’t think we have a population base that would support any substantive new media. So what NZ has is a lop sided media landscape that people seem to be generally turning away from. Who watches the TV news these days? Newspaper readership is going down. But apart from blogs, there is little or no opportunity to create an Intercept, or a Young Turks or a Canary for countervailing views to be expressed here.
That as it may be, the world is changing. There are powerful vested or institutional interests that will serve to protect or promote the status quo because “their interests” (it’s not a conspiracy) and ever growing numbers of people who are done with it. It’s not sustainable.
And as the centre collapses we get both good and bad alternatives thrown up. Sadly, it would seem that those gathered around the status quo are locked into a pattern whereby they help promote bad options by presenting them as a fearful spectre that people should run from – but people vote for them anyway – while dismissing or squelching alternatives coming in from a left or progressive perspective.
Interesting times straight ahead.