[This post late, it was lost to and retrieved from the “cloud”. Also, were we at cyberwar on Friday? WTF?!?]
I recently drove from nowhere to nowhere in a “blue state”. Well; that’s not entirely true because there are no “blue states”. There are only “blue cities”. When, as is common, blue cities steamroll the red remainder of the state we call it a “blue state”.
My itinerary would take me from what I like to call “free territory” (a comfortable rural redoubt), through what I think of as “occupied territory” (an urban area sufficiently large that I’d fuel up and get the hell out pronto lest I get trapped in traffic or be forced to listen to rap), to a final destination that was “suburban” (infested with malls, trendy people, and tight parking).
To pass the time I started counting Trump and Hillary signs. What would the ratio of the two be? Based on polling it should be close to 50/50 with a slight edge to Hillary. Math failed me because there were no Hillary signs. You can’t divide by zero. I wish I’d grabbed a paper and pen to count the Trump signs. I lost count of the Trump signs after a few dozen. By that time, I was maybe 40 miles into my trip. I guessed from 1 – 3 Trump signs per mile in fairly uninhabited nowhere.
As often happens, the radio had nothing but crap. The scan feature headed for the strongest signal and I was delivered to the clutches of America’s Pravda (NPR). Is there anywhere in America left without a strong Federal propaganda FM broadcast?
“Trump is toast! Thirty years ago he said some stupid shit. It’s unacceptable.” The announcers (whom we would formerly call journalists) were engaged in a round-robin discussion. Each was eager to prove they were the most convinced of Trump’s doom in the group.
I was aware there was some sort of kerfuffle but hadn’t paid attention. It seemed minor to me. A billionaire can get laid without “dating”, “courting”, or even “civility”? No shit. It seems a main perk to being filthy rich. Does it surprise you? That Trump bragged about it is believable. When is Trump not bragging? That he was crude? Um… I’m running out of ways to say ‘not surprised’. Meanwhile the party that created “getting a Monica” as a euphemism was play acting their temporary role as preening moralizers. Raise your hand if you haven’t seen that show before. Provided it isn’t a Clinton or a Kennedy they’ll act shocked that tawdry sex exists. When it’s Clinton or a Kennedy it’s a private matter between the man and an intern or Marilyn Monroe. What’s new? Plus, NPR has been predicting Trump’s demise daily for a year so maybe they do it reflexively? Then again Scott Adams seems to have thrown in the towel. Adams seems to know which way the wind is blowing and I wouldn’t know the zeitgeist if it bit me on the ass.
But what gives with the absence of signs?
While the radio babbled, I passed another bevy of Trump signs. The Trump count was somewhere around four or five dozen. I hadn’t seen a single Hillary sign.
Finally, 65 miles into my trip, I passed the first Hillary sign! I jotted a note of this remarkable observation on an old gas receipt.
What does it mean when I can drive 65 miles to see the first Hillary sign? What does it mean that I passed enough Trump signs that I lost count? What does it mean when Trump signs are outnumbering Hillary maybe 40 or 50 to 1? How does that comport with NPR congratulating itself over its most recent prediction of Trump’s demise? The most charitable explanation I conjured is that rural areas are politically irrelevant?
I kept driving. At 100 miles into my trip I’d witnessed only that one single Hillary sign. Baffling! This close to an election I ought to see signs for everyone from both parties and half-dozen bumper stickers supporting lunatics like Sasquatch or Bern (even if he isn’t in the race anymore).
Maybe I’d misheard NPR? I clicked on the radio it and was immediately assaulted:
“New polls show that Trump is utterly doomed. There is no reason to have a vote. All hail Hillary!”
I clicked off the radio and kept driving. When I’d driven 175 miles I still had only seen the one Hillary sign but I was approaching an urban area; Hillary’s natural habitat.
If there was any sort of rationality in the world I would see dozens and dozens (perhaps thousands) of Hillary signs in the land of her true faithful supporters. It was getting dark but I peered into the gloom. I was desperate to see something that would reconcile the propaganda on my radio with the real world where I was driving. I passed a plain blue billboard that supported the Democratic Party (no sign of Hillary). Was that it? Later I passed a Trump billboard, no sign of his party affiliation. The Hillary edge that would reconcile the polls remained invisible.
With my transition from rural to urban the steady stream of Trump signs petered out but there was no countervailing growth in Hillary’s count of… one. I formulated a new theory. Maybe rural folks will stand and be counted while urban folks can’t or won’t publicly declare their affiliation?
(In the interest of full disclosure I have only one political sign on my yard, an American Flag. That’s the only sign I need. A politician who wants advertising space on my yard can either rake my leaves in payment or kiss my ass and take their sign down the road.)
Another theory; perhaps urban people are so highly regulated they cannot put up a yard sign. Maybe homeowners associations are that brutal? A logical stretch that could make NPR’s poll data match my observation would be many millions of Hillary voters who live with a HOA that’ll firebomb you if you put up a yard sign
Seriously folks, I’m not sure what’s up and am open to ideas. I was in a state that will likely go to Hillary and would have maybe gone to Bernie Sanders and might possibly vote for Trotsky if you exhumed the body and had a couple of college professors wheel it around. If the urban/state vote is sure to be hers why am I not seeing evidence of it?
I drove straight through the heart of a very large city and there was no indication an election was afoot. I crossed a state line; theoretically moving from a “blue state” to an “even bluer state”. In suburbs six miles over the state line I saw my second Hillary sign. Plus, the usual herd of Trump signs. I had now traveled 285 miles and counted two Hillary signs. At 325 miles, I counted the third Hillary sign.
It was a 400 mile trip, there were scads of Trump signs most of the way and I had seen three Hillary signs total. During 8 hours on the road no FM station mentioned the election except NPR. I checked them every half hour and roughly 50% of the time they were announcing Hillary’s coronation. (The other 50% was a smattering of concepts; how awesome it is to be gay, the story of some dude’s script writing, an interview with a young woman in Syria, and something vague about religious comic books. Jesus in a comic book? I must have missed something.)
I’ve grown used to the press telling me things that are contrary to what I observe. Within reason, I chalk it up to living in the hinterland. If everyone in my county all died in a meteor strike statistically it wouldn’t matter. Conversely, just because I don’t care who uses which shitter at Target doesn’t mean RuPaul’s urinal options isn’t riveting to folks from Chicago or Miami or whatever.)
But surely a 400 mile transect should unearth some level of objective truth? I just drove 400 miles and saw only three signs for the Democratic candidate who, we are told, is polling well. What gives?