With the President’s victory, I, nor the rest of the world, were surprised with the result. We were relieved, but not surprised. Everyone knew Obama was likely to win, we were just concerned that the right’s barely concealed voter suppression efforts would work. But the right was shocked and horrified. Karl Rove made an ass of himself on national TV by demanding that it wasn’t over when Ohio clearly went for Obama.
But why the big surprise? Sure, the national polls showed a “razor tight” race (the proper term is razor thin, btw) but the electoral college map never, not once, showed a Romney win. Ever. But, still with the shock! It’s almost like the right-wing is living in a bubble where they are only getting information they want to hear.
Oh, right. They are. From Conor Friedersdorf:
In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue, Clint Eastwood’s convention speech was a brilliant triumph, and Obama’s America is a place where black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Most conservative pundits know better than this nonsense — not that they speak up against it. They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty. I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there’s no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it’s often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption.
On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while the New York Times got it right. Hint: The Times hired the most rigorous forecaster it could find.
Conor’s read on this phenomena is perfect. I encourage you to read the whole thing.
Now, it’s possible that this will burst the bubble. Millions of conservative viewers just found out that they were lied to. A lot. Conor believes it won’t because the right so distrusts the rest of the media that even such a glaring discrepancy will be viewed with mistrust. I have a darker take on it.
The conservative base will do everything in its power to ignore that discrepancy. My prediction is that, in the coming weeks, there will be an endless stream of conspiracy theories about how Obama stole the election, especially in Ohio. It won’t matter that the GOP controls the state AND the voting machines; Obama pull a magic lever somewhere and flipped the vote. The New Black Panthers were intimidating voters! By holding the door open so people could go in and vote. Florida’s STILL hasn’t declared! Why not? What those darn liberals up to? There’s a rumor that former ACORN workers were spotted in swing states! Etc., etc., etc.
Why will the conservative base need to do this? Because they have built their entire worldview on a VERY shaky foundation of lies. These lies must constantly be reinforced by Fox and AM hate radio. The sense of victim-hood and being under siege must be maintained at all times. In this sense, the conservative movement is very much like a cult: isolation and lies breed a kind paranoia that maintains itself. If any part of the narrative is exposed, that calls into question other parts and then the entire endeavor unravels. This is why the right wing media’s absolute failure will be brushed under the rug and ignored. If the base acknowledges they were lied to, they’ll be forced to deal with the other lies they were told and that is unthinkable. That worldview is all they have to hold on to. Everyone wants to be the hero of their own story. Who wants to find out that they’re actually greedy, selfish and petty?
Certainly not Fox’s audience.