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Does Election “News” Contain Much Information?

by Stephen Kaye
Wed Jul 27th, 2016

The news is all about elections. There is too much of it and it’s not news anyway.  It’s a form of entertainment unique to America.  We tried a movie actor for president and he did a pretty good job in the role.  He looked and sounded like a movie actor playing president and it worked.  People believed him.  He had a good supporting actress, and a cast of stock characters from central casting, most of whom had names we have forgotten. The Republicans loved him because he said things about taxes they liked and he otherwise followed the script they provided.


The Republicans now have another actor type although he never got into Actor’s Equity, preferring his own home-made kind of amateurism.  He doesn’t follow any script, preferring his own brand of stand-up improv.  Even the Wall Street Journal, normally a booster of Republicans, stands off, unconvinced and concerned that unconventionality is being taken too far off-script for comfort. 


Accepted opinion posits that the Republican candidate plays to a particular segment of the voting population: those who are angry, unhappy, uneducated, and underemployed.  The left-behinds one might call them.  They cross party lines, they are retrograde, loudly patriotic, nationalistic and anti a whole lot of things.  Mostly they are anti “liberal,” anti-establishment, anti-immigrant, and can get steamed up about being anti-Hillary. 


They remain a difficult population to measure because they seem not to have been thought of as a measurable group, so we have no statistics.  They seem to be mostly male, mostly over a certain age, mostly white television viewers. They probably don’t tweet or twitter or have much of a presence on Facebook.  They are unlikely to be reading this paragraph.  Are they a majority of voters?  One would hope not, but they are the voters who, in England, selected Brexit as their preference.  They demand some level of respect by Democrats.


In our heavily contested Congressional race between John Faso (Rep) and Zeyphr Teachout (Dem), Zephyr is winning the number of emails sent and the number of times her pictures are in the press.  Faso’s campaign calls Teachout a “leftist elitist,” while Teachout charges Faso as selling out to big money interests. Faso has a formidable war chest and is yet to unleash what is expected to be a barrage of TV advertising and a blitz storm of glossy post cards.