The Answer Is Yes, It's Supposed To Be A Bad Thing

Of all the questions posed by White House correspondents to presidents, I never would have imagined the one NBC News' Shannon Pettypiece raised Wednesday when she asked the President if he was behind a conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon that he is "secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals."

Nor his answer: "Is that supposed to be a bad thing?"

People may debate whether he is serious, or just trolling us, but I have always believed the real answer is it's just part of his methodology. Like other con men, he uses double talk to confuse, distract and misdirect us from what he is actually doing. Unlike other con men who are just trying to separate us from our money, this one is trying to separate us from our democracy. And he's succeeding.

Whether it is socially conditioning America that QAnon conspiracists are just "people who love our country," or -- as he did with Marjorie Taylor Greene -- endorsed her as a "future Republican star." Or whether it was sowing enough doubt in absentee voting and the dependability of the U.S. mail during a pandemic to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election, he is winning the war of words.



"That’s his special gift. That’s his super power," Ipsos political polling expert Chris Jackson said during his regular monthly briefing on the 2020 Presidential election today, adding, "He has this ability to influence the news cycle more than any other President in history."

And whether the President is the one creating it or that he's just really good at leveraging it, Jackson described the current news cycle as "chaotic" and a "cacophony" that moves so fast that the single most important theme influencing the election changes almost daily (see Ipsos analysis below).

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a top concern among American voters for months, Jackson noted that the story du jour ebbs, flows and changes based on the President's daily misdirection. The President's and his postmaster henchman's attack on the postal service were enough, Jackson implied, to fundamentally undermine confidence in the integrity of the election.

According to the most recent Ipsos polling he released today, two-thirds of Americans are concerned about both "voter suppression" and "organized voter fraud." This is true, regardless of party, though for different reasons (see data below).

Despite his super powers, Jackson notes that the incumbent remains mired by a considerable gap (eight percentage points) vs. his rival Joe Biden in terms of approval, and that the race ultimately will come down to how effectively the President swings voter sentiment between now and Election Day in the key battleground states.

Jackson said the tide has been moving in Biden's direction, and that Biden actually leads the incumbent on two of the three top issues voters are concerned about: a plan for recovering from the pandemic; and his ability to restore trust in American government.

While the incumbent has a marginal advantage on the third key issue -- the economy -- Jackson said the physical reality of the pandemic, and its economic effects, would likely be the biggest factor driving that by Election Day.

In terms of the impact down ballot, Jackson continues to see Democrats retaining control of the House, but that the Senate could ultimately end up a 50/50 split with the next Vice President being the deciding vote on legislation.

During the Q&A at the end of Jackson's presentation, two interesting observations were made. One concerned the potential impact of Kanye West getting on the ballot. Jackson noted that West missed the deadline for most states, but that he'd likely draw 3% of the vote in states he manages to get on the ballot on, and that it would likely draw from Biden. Overall, he implied the impact would not be significant.

Lastly, he disclosed that Ipsos has surveyed Americans on who they believe is more "cognitively" fit.

"More Americans think Biden has the cognitive wherewithal to be President than Trump," he said, adding, "Take that for what it is."

Overall, Jackson says the President has been losing support from Republicans, especially "highly-educated" ones and those that live in more urban and suburban areas.

He did not offer any data on how the President is polling with QAnon supporters.

6 comments about "The Answer Is Yes, It's Supposed To Be A Bad Thing".
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  1. Judson Beck from Nexstar, August 21, 2020 at 10:04 a.m.

    Conman, henchman, Trump seperating us from our democracy.   Got it.  You are a bastion of unbiased and balanced viewpoints.  Thanks so much for your continued rants against all the things you hate.  Could you please stick to media?  I really do like your MEDIA POSTS.  I'm sick of your politics.   

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 21, 2020 at 10:09 a.m.


  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., August 21, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.

    @Judson Beck: In case it wasn't clear, "Red, White & Blog" is a blog reflecting my personal views -- and biases -- based on 40 years of covering political media and marketing. You are probably right that it often reads like a rant, and I apologize for not being a better writer.

    And even though it is 100% biased, I do try to provide some balance, which is why I attributed much of my POV to objective scientific tracking from Ipsos.

    Take it for what it's worth.

    It is what it is.


  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 21, 2020 at 10:13 a.m.

    "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we have been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We are no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply to painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charleton power over you, you almost never get it back.".....Carl Sagan

  5. PJ Lehrer from NYU, September 2, 2020 at 2:48 p.m.

    Tell a lie three times and people believe it's true.  This Trump understands...

  6. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., September 2, 2020 at 3:05 p.m.

    @PJ Lehrer: Good one! 

    If you tell a lie three times people will believe it's true.

    Humans aren't properly wired to deal with lies. From an evolutionary standpoint it wasn't necessary. Truth was based on our own experiences and actions. We knew what we heard, saw and did, because we experienced it ourselves.

    But now that our experiences have become mostly virtual we are reliant on what others tell us about events. And that's a problem because our brains mistake familiarity for truth. The more often we hear something the more likely we are to believe it's true.

    Research shows that after the third time we hear a lie we believe it's true, even if it contradicts a previously held belief. And even if it is labeled as false. (Fazio, Brashier, Payne & Marsh, 2015)

    It's no wonder then that once the polls showed Trump losing he doubled down on his criticism of mail-in voting despite the fact that he himself votes by mail. And, as his numbers have continued to sink he has upped the ante to claim that if he doesn't win the election it will be because of fraud.

    You can expect him to keep repeating that lie over and over again until November 3rd. Because he knows that if he does, some people will be fooled.

    Will you be one of them?

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