By Paul Krugman – New York Times.
Every time we have a presidential election, I (and many others) find ourselves marveling at the way much of the news media settles on a narrative, and holds to that narrative no matter how much evidence accumulates that it’s wrong. In this campaign so far, the settled narrative is (1) American public full of rage at established figures (2) Hillary in trouble. Initially, actually, this was “public fed up with Bush and Clinton dynasties”, but had to be modified once it turned out that younger, fresher GOP establishment faces were equally hapless.
But what if none of this is true?
If Americans in general are full of rage, why does President Obama have a better approval rating than Ronald Reagan at this stage? This is actually amazing given the “negative partisanship” that ensures that Republicans will never express approval for a Democratic president.
As for Clinton, if you read the papers or, worse yet, watch cable, you’ve seen her doomed at least three times — last fall, before the Benghazi hearings, after the NH primary, and during the Sanders string of caucus victories before the New York primary. Strange to say, however, she’s about to win the nomination — and if the demographics-based projections are right, which they have consistently been, she’ll end up with about four times the delegate lead Obama had in 2008 and with a 4 million popular vote lead (as compared with the 2008 tie).
So how about a “counterintuitive” take — we’re supposed to love those, right? (I know, but not if they favor a Clinton.) Maybe a majority of Americans, while not full of joy about the aftermath of financial crisis, think pretty well of Obama, and are reasonably willing to support a continuation of his policies. Maybe the Trump phenomenon is about the rage of angry white Republican men, a rage not shared by voters at large. Maybe Clinton is a much better candidate than she’s given credit for — her main problem is not lack of “authenticity” or whatever, but the unremitting hostility of the media, which have given her far more negative coverage than they’re given anyone else.
There’s still the question of what Bernie Sanders and his diehard supporters may do. But assuming that they don’t decide to go full Nader, this year is likely to be a big victory for continuation of Obama policies, in the person of Hillary Clinton. Of course, I look forward to a day or two after the election, when we begin reading stories about how the Clinton administration is in freefall.