US politics – when the spin stops and the penny drops

US politics never fails to entertain. US President Barak Obama’s comprehensive win in the recent election generated massive media commentary about a surprise blow-out of what was touted as a very close contest.

Not only was it not close but the result was known by  mid- evening, thus making a whole lot of pundits change gear from commenting on ‘what’s happening ‘ to ‘what the f@*&% just happened?’

What happened was that democracy (as in the actual voting public) and the facts won.

Despite the incessant media carpet bombing of the electorate with interminable musings and postulations  from all sides, the voting public made up their own mind and, it appears, had done so well before the polls opened.

Much has been said about poll aggregator Nate Silver’s “magic touch” in accurately predicting the outcome in all 50 states but less has been said about the source polls Silver used, many of which were predicting the exact outcome nine months before counting started.

It is worth remembering that before the illusory and largely partisan boost Romney received in the first debate he was considered, by all and sundry including the majority of Republicans,  an also-ran.

As the right-wing media machine turned a solid performance into “a stunning upset with the prospect of securing the presidency” they convinced themselves and the republican campaign that Romney could win. Anything that did not fit their narrative was labelled biased left-wing propaganda.  Unaware irony is the best kind.

The facts were there all along for anyone who cared to look but why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

None of this is to take anything away from the outstanding, data-driven,  effort of the Obama campaign to get out the democrat vote, let alone to exploit many of Romney’s obvious weaknesses.

Even so the lesson is very clear; if you believe your own propaganda you are doomed. Of course it is essential to have a competitive message but you need a full and frank assessment of the facts if you are to devise a plan that has any chance of success

An echo chamber of yes –men and supplicants (aided and abetted by media relishing a close contest to their own ratings) will send you marching confidently into the teeth of defeat, and skulking back with a look of total shock and disbelief, each time.

In the absence of anything more concrete it is probably best, in any contest, to go with the facts and make your plans accordingly.


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