The Wisconsin Spin

By | 4/05/2016 Leave a Comment
Sanders, Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Clinton

When the results come in for the Wisconsin primary races tonight the mainstream media will be filling cyberspace and the airwaves with all manner of punditry about what it all means, frequently at the expense of objective, reasoned analysis. 

So here are some unbiased (as far as possible) observations about what the results are likely to mean in contrast to what they’re likely to be interpreted as: 

The Democratic Primary 

If Bernie Sanders Wins:

The Mainstream Media: While a win would initially garner Sanders a healthy amount of positive “winning” headlines, the same narrative that has been used against him for months now is likely continue to accompany those captions – namely that it’s still virtually impossible for him to catch up to Clinton’s lead in the delegate count and while his wins are impressive they really don’t mean a whole lot.

Charlie: This would be his sixth win of the last seven races. While a narrow or even comfortable win wouldn’t dramatically alter the pledged delegate math, it would provide valuable momentum to his campaign as the fight moves to more liberal Northeastern states where his progressive message is likely to play well. Crucially, it will give him a headwind as they move to the New York primary on April 19th, where an upset win there could finally make a substantial number of so-called Superdelegates sit up and take notice. 

If Hillary Clinton Wins:

The Mainstream Media: An upset win for Clinton here would validate the media’s longstanding dismissiveness of Sanders’ viability and cement her sense of inevitability in the headlines still further. The Sanders campaign would once again be written off and calls for him to quit the race would be popping up like daisies. 

Charlie: If the many polls that have been released of late are to be believed, this is an unlikely outcome. However, should she somehow emerge the victor, it would give her some much needed relief after a succession of stinging losses to her opponent and reassure the DNC and her donors that she’s still the presumptive nominee. Whether it would be enough to quash Sanders’ chances in New York is highly debatable, since voter excitement would still be firmly in the Vermont Senator’s corner. 

The Republican Primary:

If Ted Cruz Wins: 

The Mainstream Media: If recent polls bear out, this is the most likely outcome on the Republican side. Expect banner headlines touting a breakthrough victory for the Stop Trump movement and a renewed sense of legitimacy given to the prospect of a brokered convention in Cleveland. Also expect many obituaries for the Trump campaign claiming that his recent missteps have finally caused a bursting of the bubble.

Charlie: In truth, polls in Wisconsin have shown Trump to be scoring relatively poorly for months now, so a loss here shouldn’t really come as a shock. It’s also worth noting that in several polls taken since Trump’s disastrous week he’s actually been making up some ground on Cruz. And with the race about to head to territory very favorable to Trump and very unfavorable to Cruz, a setback here won’t really alter the delegate hunt by any significant margin, especially if Trump performs well enough to peel away a few of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates for himself and deny Cruz a clean sweep.

If Donald Trump Wins:

The Mainstream Media: Were that to happen, the shock of such an unexpected outcome would send the media into dizzying fits of bewilderment and have them dipping back into their “Teflon Don” and “Unstoppable Trump Train” grab bag of headline titles. Also expect a large number of obituaries for the Stop Trump movement and its most stalwart proponents. 

Charlie: Improbable but not impossible, and should Trump squeak ahead in the final tally, it would be a stunning reversal of fortune for a candidate so recently mired in setbacks and campaign gaffes. It would be all the more astonishing due to the Cruz campaign having been essentially camped out in the state for weeks now, aided and abetted by its popular governor and his formidable election apparatus, not to mention the full-throated support of its right-wing talk radio hosts. A win, however narrow, under those circumstances would indeed be something to talk about.

If John Kasich Wins:

The Mainstream Media: If he were to, expect to see media websites crashing across the globe, unable to cope with the sudden overload of interest, along with printing presses moving at warp speed to keep up with demand…oh, and probably a few flying pigs. 

Charlie: That won’t happen under any circumstances. If he’s really fortunate he could scrape past Trump for the second place slot and continue to justify his continued presence in the race – from his perspective, at least. But even then the calls from his opponents for him to quit would only continue to intensify, probably to earsplitting levels.

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