Friday, November 04, 2016

Unpacking distraction

Matthew Yglesias in Vox today regarding the ostensibly outsized role of the Clinton e-mails in the presidential campaign --

To spend so much time on such a trivial matter would be absurd in a city council race, much less a presidential election. To do so in circumstances when it advances the electoral prospects of a rival who has shattered all precedents in terms of lacking transparency or basic honesty is infinitely more scandalous than anything related to the server itself.

The same writer, 9 years ago --

The nature of two-party democracy is that elections are decided by the small minority of the public too confused or too ill-informed to realize that there are persistent, substantial differences between the two federal political parties. As a result, the issues (or, more likely, pseudo-issues) that are most important in deciding elections tend to be the issues that are least important in substantive terms.

It's a similar story, but there's a question: is Trump really a new phenomenon or predictable from the conduct of previous presidential campaigns and the role of the mass media therein? Follow up question: is it the same small minority distracted by earlier imbroglios like earth tones which is now being distracted from the awfulness of Trump?

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