A while back, Donald Trump was declared the official presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Not because the people had voted. Not because the GOP National Convention had convened, voted, and declared him the nominee. Nope, it was because the Associated Press folks had gotten on the phone, polled a bunch of delegates, took the delegates at their word when they said they were supporting Trump, and when the count got to 1,237, AP declared Trump the winner.
And as if that weren’t bad enough, yesterday they repeated the process and declared Hillary Clinton the nominee of the Democratic Party. There are, mind you, six state primaries being held today: North and South Dakota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and the biggie, California.
How do you suppose those voters feel about the winner being declared before they’ve even selected their delegates? How many voters in those states might decide to stay home because, hey, what’s the use, Hillary’s already been chosen?
So do you think AP’s messing around and projecting winners might affect the outcome? Nah. Who listens to what AP says?
Only maybe half the world. And most of them probably just read the headlines. “AP declares Trump the winner.” “AP declares Clinton the winner.” So it must be so.
It was bad enough in past elections when cable’s talking heads did their East Coast exit polls and declared a national election winner while the voters on the West Coast were still voting. No one knows how those West Coast voters might have been affected by the news that apparently their votes didn’t matter; the die was cast, the winner had been declared. Forget voting. Let’s go have a beer.
Now we have the AP declaring the winners of our nominating processes before some states have even opened their polls to elect their delegates — delegates who won’t vote for a nominee until they get to their national conventions this summer.
Shame on AP. Shame on all the news media for turning our election into their circus, their ratings war. Shame on them for unfairly, unnecessarily influencing the democratic process — even though corporate dollars have pretty much made a hash of the whole thing already.
They have accomplished one thing, however. They’ve proven just how utterly irresponsible they can be. They’ve been increasingly unprofessional in reporting, misreporting, and exaggerating events that have already happened. Now they’re using that “expertise” to influence and foretell our election results.
Anger and disgust are the least of what voters should be feeling.