James Fallows has a long article in the upcoming Atlantic attempting to answer this question:
The most famous story about modern presidential campaigning now has a quaint old-world tone. It’s about the showdown between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in the first debate of their 1960 campaign, which was also the very first nationally televised general-election debate in the United States.
The story is that Kennedy looked great, which is true, and Nixon looked terrible, which is also true—and that this visual difference had an unexpected electoral effect. As Theodore H. White described it in his hugely influential book The Making of the President 1960, which has set the model for campaign coverage ever since, “sample surveys” after the debate found that people who had only heardKennedy and Nixon talking, over the radio, thought that the debate had been a tie. But those who saw the two men on television were much more likely to think that Kennedy—handsome, tanned, non-sweaty, poised—had won.
Historians who have followed up on this story haven’t found data to back up White’s sight-versus-sound discovery. But from a modern perspective, the only surprising thing about his findings is that they came as a surprise. Today’s electorate has decades of televised politics behind it, from which one assumption is that of course images, and their emotional power, usually matter more than words and whatever logic they might try to convey.
Never has the dominance of the image over the word seemed more significant than this year, as the parties and the public prepare for the three general-election debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that are scheduled to begin September 26 (as it happens, the anniversary of that first Kennedy-Nixon debate) and the one vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, scheduled for October 4.
The whole thing is worth a read. I'm frustrated that I'll be in a rehearsal during the first debate, but I may stay up late after watching it.
So far today, the following have crossed my browser:
Back to the mines...
It's fascinating how working from home doesn't seem to give me more time to, you know, work. So these have backed up on me, and I hope to read them...someday:
OK, so, that's going to take a few minutes...
I'll have more Schadenfreude after November 8th (assuming things go as the polls suggest), but right now I'll just pass on NBC's analysis of what might happen to the Republican Party over the next four years:
Whether or not Trump prevails in November, the GOP is set for a rebuilding process like none in recent memory. If he wins, he’ll face a Congress whose leaders have largely distanced themselves from his brand and who oppose much of his agenda. If he loses, his one-of-a-kind candidacy offers each faction of the party a credible argument that its approach would have carried the election instead.
How to achieve that ideal was another story. Participants disagreed sharply on the policies that constitute true conservatism, the changes needed to secure its political future, and, above all, what Trump’s emergence meant to them. Was he a malevolent force that needed to be purged? A prophet heralding necessary changes? A freak occurrence with no greater meaning at all? Or some mix of all of the above?
In the course of these conversations, four broad paths emerged, each pointing to different agendas, different messages, different coalitions of voters and a different conception of what it means to be a Republican.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the Minnesota Republican Party failed to get any Republican candidates on the state-wide ballot because they missed the filing deadline. As James Fallows said, "Managerial excellence is of course central to Donald Trump’s promises of what he would do in office. What he’s managing now is his campaign."
Some articles to read:
That's all for now. More conference calls...
Day two of Certified Scrum Master training starts in just a few minutes (more on that later), so I've queued up a bunch of articles to read this weekend:
Training begins again...
Sometimes, when I'm really busy, I click on articles I want to read. Right now I have a lot tabs open:
So, altogether, not entirely about the election.
We had nearly-perfect weather this past weekend, so I'm just dumping a bunch of links right now while I catch up with work:
Back to the mines.
Voters in Kansas yesterday called borderline-crazy Tea Partier Tim Huelskamp home from the U.S. House:
Frustrated voters in a sprawling Kansas congressional district sent a blunt message on Tuesday that might yet break through the din of this election: At some point the government needs to do something for them.
That sentiment was delivered in the harshest possible terms to Representative Tim Huelskamp, a firebrand Tea Party conservative who lost in a primary landslide after spending most of his six years in Washington feuding with his own leaders. He was so difficult to work with and troublesome that he was kicked off the Agriculture Committee.
The loss of that crucial legislative post, and his vote against a long-term farm bill, did not endear him to the powerful farming interests in a state that likes its federal agricultural aid.
Farm groups joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and another deep-pocketed advocacy group to get behind Roger Marshall, a political novice who promised to work on behalf of Kansas rather than rabble rouse.
In other words, he got fired for lack of job performance. Good riddance. And a dozen other races in Kansas went to moderates, smacking ideologue governor Sam Brownback over the nose with a newspaper.
Could this be the beginning of the end of the crazy?