It’s March 27. The Democratic race is still stretching on, and apparently, no end is in sight. Every day, at nearly any given moment, the twenty-four hour news networks are covering and recovering the election. They are analyzing every detail of the campaign, ripping through the obfuscation to shed light on the inner thoughts, motivations, intentions and personalities of the candidates. Pundits can tell you why this candidate wore a red tie instead of a blue one. Seconds after the Obama speech dealing with race in America, a Fox news pundit turned to the camera and explained that the candidate was using a teleprompter, “and not very well,” he added. Through this and other similar, penetrating commentary, we can expect to be enlightened; to suddenly, with the help of acute television personalities, see through the façade of campaign politics and focus on the heart of the matter.
We are familiar enough with the following scenario. Two candidates stand (or sit) on a stage. Behind them is a radiant, three storied backdrop emanating red, white and blue, and a three or five letter acronym (CNN, MSNBC). In the studio, the networks are tracking public response in real-time. One candidate punches out a particularly catchy phrase and their ratings begin a rapid ascent, only to level off and fall when his or her opponent responds with an even wittier remark. Pundits wait in the wing, taking notes on the candidates’ postures, the tone of their voice. Did he get a little too angry with that last comment? Why does he keep blinking so much? They are listening closely, predicting with complete certainty that this line will go great with the Latino community, while that last one is really going to appeal to white single mothers.
The debate ends and the candidates shower each other with warm praises and smile for their photo-op; best friends even after two hours of vicious assaults. Coverage moves to the so called ‘spin room’ where each campaign knows for sure that their candidate, in fact, won the debate. There is not so much certainty back in the studio. A fresh debate emerges between warring factions of well groomed pundits, each of whom has detailed, factual reasons why they know who the real winner is. Polls flash onto the screen, showing that voters in this state are leaning towards one candidate, although their African American support could be greater. The moments deemed most significant are replayed, and panels begin anew, dissecting each syllable, each ebb and flow of diction and whether or not the crowd applauded vigorously enough.