While the Boston Globe is reporting that “Hillary Clinton seeks to ride momentum after strong debate,” Breitbart tells us that having won a debate he didn’t win, Trump is enjoying a “post-debate surge.”
This is a myth propagated by Donald Trump himself, who started the “Trump Won” routine even before the debate ended, and eagerly embraced by Fox News. Yet Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer stepped outside of the Fox News bubble long enough to tell Bill O’Reilly – who was busily engaged in making an argument based on false premises – that Trump’s proof that he won, his collection of online polls, are “meaningless.”
O’Reilly was attempting to make the point about two of the polls, claiming that Time Magazine is liberal and WCBSTV is in anti-Trump Manhattan, and that these entities are somehow “precincts” and that it must therefore be meaningful that they “voted” Trump.
This is as ridiculous a conclusion as any found in any of O’Reilly’s “Killing History” novels. These are not precincts but online polls. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can vote. It isn’t as if these people have to walk down the street and line up to cast a vote.
Krauthammer failed to make this point, but he did scoff at the idea of online polls, and quickly killed O’Reilly’s buzz by pointing out, “the idea that you win because your supporters come out and click on the computer more than others tells you nothing.”
BILL O’REILLY: Now, before we get to the specifics of the debate with you. Were you surprised that the Time magazine snap poll and WCBSTV snap poll, which is a CBS flag ship here in New York, had Trump winning fairly substantially?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Of course not. Because they are totally meaningless. These are online polls. These are not random samples. The only thing that means anything and even the randomly sampled polls have their problems. But the idea that you win because your supporters come out and click on the computer more than others tells you nothing. I guarantee you that if you had a poll on who had the better hair, Trump would get the same 80 percent.
As CNN’s Brian Stelter explains, “Trump said on Fox that the survey results ‘mean a lot’ to him.” They mean a lot to Fox News too, obviously, as they’ve wholly embraced Trump’s alternate reality (it’s called the “Fox News bubble” for a reason).
What is important is that as Stelter goes on to say, Trump bragged “that hundreds of thousands of votes were cast on some of the web sites.” Stelter admits “that’s true, but since people can vote multiple times — and, with the right software, perhaps even more than that,” and here he agrees with Krauthammer, “it isn’t necessarily meaningful.”
We now know, of course, that it’s even worse than just a bunch of Trump supporters voting multiple times: A giant ring of Trump supporters rigged those online polls. Trump may or may not be aware of that fact but it is meaningless to speculate about what Trump might or might not know, since he’ll lie about it anyway.
As Stelter points out, “the surveys allow Trump and his aides to rail against media elite reactions to the debate and argue that voters are outsmarting pundits.” He makes the point also that,
“Trump simultaneously basks in his clout as a ratings draw, while inoculating himself from criticism by blaming any negative coverage on the ‘liberal media…'”
It is ironic that Trump claims he is beating the system, even as his supporters are gaming the system by rigging online polls in order to show he’s beating the system. They’re a chip off the old Donald.
Like Trump’s entire business career, and now his political campaign, it’s all a shell game, illusion and delusion on a grand scale. By pretending to win, Trump hopes to win, even though fake wins aren’t real wins.
Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald asked of the rigged polls, “Are these Trump fans really this delusional about how polls work? They played a video game and thought it was real.” Well, arguably, so did Donald Trump.
You can’t invent this stuff.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.