The Phony Campaign

2016-03-06 Update

The PredictWise punters had all but written off Kasich and Cruz, but they're back again this week, baby! With 3% and 5% probabilities, respectively, so don't break out the party hats and confetti quite yet. Still.

In our standings, the Donald ramps up his yuuuge lead:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2016-02-28
"Donald Trump" phony 2,090,000 +1,687,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 693,000 +477,000
"John Kasich" phony 568,000 ---
"Ted Cruz" phony 458,000 ---
"Marco Rubio" phony 380,000 +243,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 299,000 +118,000

So what's going on, phonies?

  • Obviously, Mitt Romney drove Trump's hit counts through the roof with his massively-hyped speech. For example:

    Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.

    Not bad, coming from a guy who always seems to be saying (in Jonah Goldberg's memorable characterization): What do I have to do to put you in this BMW today?

    But in Mitt's defense, the vibe I get from Trump is much more downscale: he's the guy at the weed-infested used car lot trying to push me into a Ford Fiesta with 100K miles on it.

  • Hillary won most Super Tuesday primary states, usually acknowledged to be driven by her African-American supporters. Her clever soundbite: voter anti-fraud measures being "a blast from the Jim Crow past."

    Cornel West, for one, ain't buying it:

    West said that Hillary’s references to Jim Crow policies are “her attempt to be fake and phony, and try to mobilize people who want her to vote.”

    West is a Sanders supporter, but he's right about this anyway.

  • Everyone "knows" that the mood of the American voter is alienated and irritated. But that seems to have been accompanied by extreme gullibility:

    An imitation New York Times article is making the rounds on social media, duping readers into believing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has backed Bernie Sanders’s Democratic presidential campaign ahead of Super Tuesday.

    With respect to gullibility: "As of late Monday evening, the imitation story had 50,000 shares, 15,000 of them on Facebook, the Times added." Hypothesis: We're experiencing a secular version of the maxim Chesterton (never quite) said: "A man who won’t believe in God will believe in anything."

    The article was apparently constructed via Clone Zone, a site that "lets you create your own version of popular websites", mimicking their look-n-feel, while dropping in your own content. Invaluable for spoofs! (Also, criminal fraud! But I digress.)