Stop Blaming the Media, Start Blaming the People
Both left and right love to attribute Trump’s resilience to “them”
As we crawl in interminable slow motion toward the 2024 Republican primaries nine months from now, with former President Donald Trump just having been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil trial, I find myself increasingly fascinated and appalled by what’s unfolding, once again, before our eyes. That feeling inspires me to pause and reflect from time to time on the political horserace (as opposed to crafting a more ambitious think piece).
The latest occasion for such reflection is a new tracking poll from Morning Consult that has Trump at 60 percent support, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis doing a third as well at 19 percent, and the rest of the field languishing at 5 percent or worse. Especially noteworthy is that Vivek Ramaswamy, a 37-year-old entrepreneur no one had heard of three months ago, has managed to climb up to 5 percent (tying former Vice President Mike Pence and beating former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley by 2 points) with a campaign that consists entirely of obsequious praise for Trump, anti-woke red meat, Steve Bannon-style promises to “shut down the administrative state,” and frequent attacks on DeSantis. Everyone else contemplating a run for the White House is within the margin of error of zero.
Notes from the Middleground is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The enormous gap between Trump and DeSantis makes this poll an outlier, so maybe the reality is the top two contenders are somewhat closer than 40 points. But Morning Consult still nails the general shape of the race, which has been captured by all the recent polls: Trump is winning. By a lot. DeSantis is the one person with any shot at all to take the frontrunner down. But he’s already fading. And the anti-populist “lane” is more like a narrow shoulder on the side of a road to nowhere.
Looking at these numbers, I’m led to a single thought: More than half of Republican voters (still) want Trump to be president of the United States. That seems obvious, right?
But then why are do so many on both the left and right prefer to blame “the media” instead?
The Left’s Blame Game
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial