Despite the overexcited energy and hyperbole they are programmed to engender, there was a subdued tone to cable news tonight. Gone was the febrile, unhinged coverage that has marked this strange electoral season. Perhaps, and this is probably just my wishful thinking, they feel a degree of guilt over their – the media’s – role in the triumph of Trumpism, or perhaps they’re just pacing themselves, taking a quick pause, before conventions, or perhaps they simply couldn’t bring themselves to get at all excited about what Nebraska and West Virginia might be thinking on matters that are already settled.
This new world where Trumpism exists as an actual legitimate political force is proving personally fascinating for how it is shattering a lot of my long held opinions. For one, I’m finding myself impressed with politicians in the GOP I previously never had time for; those who are deciding to not just conveniently line up behind the party’s nominee, but are proving resistant to him. Today, I actually found myself thinking fondly of Paul Ryan. We are most certainly in a new paradigm.
Cable news was grateful for the Sanders win in West Virginia as it allowed them to try and incite another exciting narrative. Clinton won a symbolic primary in Nebraska, but receives no delegates because Sanders had won an earlier caucus in March featuring a far smaller number of people. So Sanders wins a state though Clinton won a vote featuring three times as many votes in the state as in the former contest. I have no idea as to why the Nebraska Democrats would have a caucus and then two months later a symbolic primary. It is, however, worth remembering next time a Sanders supporter tells you about how the political system is conspiring against their candidate.
Sanders spoke impassionedly to a crowd of cheering students in Oregon after the result of his win in West Virginia was announced. I always find watching a Bernie rally somewhat bizarre; it’s as if you’ve discovered your old, hectoring eleventh grade science teacher has managed to create a messianic cult around himself.