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Gordon Campbell on news from the US election eve

Gordon Campbell on news from the US election eve

First published on Werewolf

Source: FiveThirtyEight

Here’s a somewhat scary headline from October 30 on Nate Silver’s 538 site, which summed up the statistical factors in play at that point :

“The Cubs Have A Smaller Chance Of Winning Than Trump Does”

Yet as we now know…yesterday, the Chicago Cubs concluded their incredible World Series comeback run with an 8-7 victory in the extra (tenth) innings of the decisive rain-interrupted nailbiting final against the Cleveland Indians. As one commenter on the Chicago Tribune website said, if the World Series is this rough on the nerves, how am I ever gonna survive election night ? Especially when…. statistically, it is easier for Donald Trump to win on Tuesday (Wednesday our time) that it was for the Cubs.

Journalism, Trumped

And The Awl website has just published a terrific parody of how journalism has covered Trump and his zealous supporters out in Heartland USA. Here’s a sample :

…..What’s become painfully clear this election cycle is that there’s a fundamental disconnect between national journalists—most of them based in New York City or Washington D.C.—and the white working-class Americans who are Trump’s most ardent supporters. But, except for roughly 7,200 articles on the subject, there has been scant effort made by the mainstream media to understand the kind of voters who say Trump speaks for them….

Bleaksville, Kentucky (or maybe it’s in Ohio or West Virginia, I can’t remember) has seen better days. From the 1950s through the 1970s, it was home to two of the largest pillowcase factories in America, singlehandedly exporting 15% of high-quality American pillowcases all over the world. But beginning in the 1980s, many factory jobs began to be shipped abroad, mostly to China’s “Pillowcase Belt.” And when those silky ladders to the middle class vanished, so did the town’s social fabric….. Bleaksville’s Main Street was once a thriving hub of commerce; now it’s dotted with used-condom stores, with the husk of an old abandoned monorail looming in the background. There used to be fourteen bars along this stretch, where workers would congregate after a long day producing and assembling pillowcases. Now there’s only one, O’Briens, and it only sells opioids.

I spoke with Freddy O’Brien, a fifth-generation Bleaksviller who operates the bar. He told me he’d already talked about his support for Donald Trump to reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Daily Mail, The Hindustan Times, and Stormfront so far that day, but that he’d be willing to do one more interview ….I asked him why he disliked Hillary Clinton so much, given that her tax and health care policies would directly benefit his family, whereas Trump had personally pledged to take away his father’s oxygen tank and burn it for sport. “People around here are tired of getting spit on, and Trump gets that,” O’Brien said. “I’m angry. We’re all angry.”

“What are you angry about?” I asked. “Everything,” he replied. I couldn’t help but notice that people in Bleaksville are angry….

Etc etc. You can read the whole article here.

Swinging And Missing

On Tuesday morning, I’ll try to make sense of the final polling on the US election, but for now...the anxiety about Trump’s resurgence, which began before the FBI memo, shouldn’t be taken to mean all is lost. Yet. As this Slate article indicates, the Clinton firewall remains largely intact and Trump will have to win all – or virtually all – of those major state contests to get to the 270 Electoral College votes he needs for victory. Also keep in mind : Clinton has a better 'get out the vote' machine. Many people had voted before the latest Trump groundswell began. Also : the Trump resurgence should serve to dispel any over-confidence among Clinton supporters that seemed a threat a week ago, and will re-motivate them to vote. These ‘early ballot’ numbers from Nevada are also good news for Clinton even if these figures aren’t so good.

On these very early signs, Clinton is polling above expectations among Hispanics, and below previous Obama levels among black voters and young voters. More on that, come Tuesday. In the meantime, the teenager who was the target of Anthony Weiner’s sexting - and who then got swept up in the subsequent FBI re-investigation of the Clinton emails– has just written an angry open letter to FBI director James Comey. Sample extract :

……I thought your job as FBI Director was to protect me. I thought if I cooperated with your investigation, my identity as a minor would be kept secret. That is no longer the case. My family and I are barraged by reporters’ phone calls and emails. I have been even been blamed in a newspaper for causing Donald Trump to now be leading in some polls and costing Hillary the election.

Anthony Weiner is the abuser. Your letter helped that abuse to continue. How can I rebuild my life when you have made finding out my “story” the goal of every reporter?

The entire letter is available here.

At this stage…

In the light of the Clinton victory that’s still the most likely outcome on Wednesday (NZ time)....this number, by 1940s r&b singer and pianist, Cecil Gant seems appropriate :

© Scoop Media

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