Journalisming in the Trump era is a study in confirmation bias. Journalists decided Trump was evil, and then went out looking for evidence to prove it. But when you start with a faulty premise (Orange Man Bad!) it affects how and where you look for evidence. By only looking for evidence that Trump is evil, they ignored or dismissed evidence to the contrary.
Meanwhile, from Ken Stern over at Vanity, Vanity, All Is Vanity Fair:
It was a brief, shining moment for congressional Democrats: As details of Trump’s Ukrainian phone call spilled out, and as House Democrats revved the impeachment engine, early polls evidenced strong support for removing Donald Trump from office. Though much of that support came from Democrats, critically, it also came from Independents: A late October Gallup poll put Independents in favor of removing Trump from office at 53% to 44%, and a Morning Consult poll in early November revealed an even greater gap, 49% to 34%, in favor of removal.
That early enthusiasm represented a potential bonanza for the Democrats, albeit a surprising one. Independents tend to be moderate and pay less attention to newsbreaks and politics, and are an unlikely group to suddenly surge in support of a precipitous step like impeachment. Independents are also one of the keys, if not the key, to the 2020 elections. According to Gallup, self-identified Independents make up roughly 40% of the electorate. Many of these voters are closet partisans, reliably voting for one party or another, but enough of them—call it somewhere between 10% or 20%—are true “persuadables” or “movables” whose votes are up for grabs. Even a modest shift in allegiance among this group could determine the outcome next November.
Alas, for the Democrats, the promising numbers of late October and early November rapidly dissipated, and polling numbers have reverted to a level more consistent with long-term opinions on President Trump. In the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll, released on November 19, Independents opposed impeachment and removal from office 46% to 39%, a number close to the rolling averages of the last few weeks. It is notable that the poll was fielded after the first public impeachment hearings. Even the compelling testimony of witnesses like Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, failed to move the needle on public opinion. That doesn’t mean further hearings won’t energize greater opposition to Trump, but it’s a little hard to imagine more effective testimony than that offered by Yovanovitch and some of her Foreign Service colleagues.
To understand the relative lack of enthusiasm among Independents for impeachment, I took a close look at data from the most recent Politico/Morning Consult tracking poll, a poll in which the Hive had the opportunity to propose questions focused on Independents and their views. The data, along with supplementary interviews, illustrates an electorate that believes the impeachment inquiry is connected to the priorities of politicians and the media—not of ordinary voters—and an electorate confused and dispirited by the nonstop parade of Washington scandals.
How many times in recent years have the Democrats come up with a witness or six that they say is credible and compelling, but when the witness is questioned by anyone except the friendliest of investigators they are nor compelling or credible?
The Democrats typically start these scandals with a full court press by the media. The initial narratives might seem compelling, but eventually the things the Left ignored or covered up begin to leak out.
Ask independents for their opinions when the Democrats are at their high-water mark on a story and you’ll get one answer. Come back to a couple weeks when the truth has begun to come out and you’ll get a different one.
Third, as other reporting has suggested, Independents suffer from scandal fatigue and overall confusion. They agreed with the statement “[It is] difficult to tell all the investigations in Washington apart” by a roughly two-to-one margin. (Even Democrats concur by a substantial, if somewhat smaller, margin). This no doubt reflects a successful Trump strategy to sow confusion and spread blame. By constantly charging others with acting badly and by creating such a long litany of disputable acts, Trump has in effect led many voters to dismiss the whole mess as the type of bad thing that all politicians do. Confusion has been aggravated by a rating-seeking media, whose credibility has been undermined by the fact that some cable hosts and their guests have consistently predicated, with astonishing stubbornness and inaccuracy, that the next scandal will be the one that topples Trump. It may be that the Democrats finally have the best facts against Trump, and the clearest story line of all. But they face a segment of the public that is jaundiced by what has gone on before.
All of these so-called Trump scandals have one thing in common, and that one thing is nothing.
As in, “The Democrats got nothing on Trump.” or “The investigation revealed nothing incriminating.” Or, my personal favorite: “Nothing can stop Trump in 2020.”