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Your Super Tuesday hangover is starting to slowly wear off and as you rub your blood-shot eyes you read the headlines and face the realization that the Democrats' presidential contest is now a two-person race between an elderly, establishment figure who has been part of the Washington political swamp for decades and a fervent, Bolshevik-loving socialist. One of those two figures will face-off against Donald Trump.
You'd be forgiven if you rushed to your shower expecting to see Bobby Ewing toweling himself off.
After four years of hyperbolic cheerleading for all the "rising stars" of the Democratic Party representing every possible interest group that had to satisfy the political experts on every cable news panel, the voters have now had their say and they've brought us right back to where we were in 2016.
Think of all the glowing profiles and magazine covers extolling the virtues of "President Kamala" and "President Beto." How many times did we hear about Cory Booker or Julian Castro "checking a box" on the diversity scorecard as a pre-requisite to win the Democratic nomination?
Reflect on the "Town Hall Specials" with softball questions directed at the mainstream media's flavor of the month and the endless analysis by countless pundits assuring us that the Democrats had the deepest, strongest field of candidates in American history. The hype was so intense the media even inundated us with countdown clocks for each of these staged, made-for-TV reality shows. Who can forget the countdown for Julian Castro's town hall? "Only 12 more hours? I can't stand the suspense! I think I'll re-watch Beto's town hall on DVR to take the edge off," said nobody, ever.
This is not an indictment of the media for covering the race. This is an indictment of how they covered the race.
Every possible superlative was employed for Kamala Harris when she launched her candidacy. And then again when she re-launched her candidacy... both times she re-launched her candidacy. She represented our future, we were assured. She is the rising superstar of the party, we were promised. "She checks all the boxes," we were insultingly instructed.
She didn't make it to Iowa.
How many magazine covers were dominated by Beto O'Rourke's focus-group-tested visage? How many slobbered over Elizabeth Warren's "plan for everything" and how her mere presence in the race struck fear into the hearts of Trump and the Democratic establishment? How many cable news features were produced with an in-depth analysis of Mike Bloomberg's groundbreaking, history-making "new way" of electioneering that ended up winning him American Samoa and a lot of huge fans at advertising agencies and local TV sales offices and nothing else?
In the end, no matter how hard they tried and how loud they relentlessly lectured, the voters decided they'd go with the two guys whose names were most recognizable and who best represented the two major factions in the modern, Democratic Party. All the noise and analysis and "expertise" were ignored.
Ask yourself, of all the high-paid experts you've been watching for the past several years, which one ever said: "In the end, I think this will come down to a choice between Biden and Bernie"? Did any of them?
Nope. And why not? Because a race between Biden and Bernie is the last thing anyone in cable news ever wanted. That tells you everything. So much of the political "analysis" we get on these shows is really political wishful thinking. They tell us what they want to be true and, by extension, what they want you to do at the ballot box. But, that's not analysis or punditry, it's politicking.
This is the same trap the media found themselves in during the 2016 election. They had such a vested interest in opposing Trump and bolstering Hillary that they lost sight of what was developing right before their eyes. They were telling us to reject Trump and embrace Hillary and when we had our chance, we simply said "no."
Three years into a Trump presidency with the distractions of Comey and Russia and Mueller and the Steele Dossier and Ukraine and impeachment and well, all of it... and here we are right back where we were.
The media still gets it wrong. The voters still pretty much ignore them. The Democrats still have to reckon with their ongoing flirtation with full-blown socialism without ever granting Bernie a seat at the table while enjoying the energy and activism of his followers. Funny how the media hasn't really analyzed that political reality.
The media still has no idea why Trump has the support he has, and they have no real interest in finding out. They still don't get it. And they refuse to even try.
Go check the shower.
Larry O'Connor hosts two separate radio programs on WMAL in Washington DC and on KABC in Los Angeles. He has a daily, 30-minute podcast covering U.S. Politics and featuring interviews with newsmakers and pundits on the biggest stories of the day. Subscribe here.