Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Seems Like Bringing Coals to Newcastle


Politico reports on an apparent "uptick in calls," of a negative variety, to Spanish-language talk radio shows in Florida on the topic of vice president Kamala Harris:

[A] Miami-based Democratic pollster took to social media to warn that he’s been hearing arguments against the vice president from talk-show callers that he felt appeared scripted. ... The on-air critiques, he and others said, range from claims that Harris is ineffective and ill-prepared to serve as president to outwardly sexist and racist suggestions, including that her own Jamaican and Indian heritage cause her to prioritize the issues of Black Americans over the concerns of Latinos.

Are these calls part of an "astroturf effort to diminish Harris'[s] standing among key Latino constituencies?"

Well, I suppose they could be. But I see three problems with the notion:

  1. Such an effort would be completely unnecessary. People don't like Kamala Harris anyway. Her miserable poll performance in her abortive 2020 presidential campaign established that. She probably cost Joe Biden a percent or two in the general election just by being on the Democratic ticket.
  2. She does a fine job of making herself look bad every time she opens her yap, which is why nobody likes her, and which explains why people would call in to talk radio shows to say so.
  3. "Astroturf" campaigns aren't really that necessary these days. The reason those "NPC" memes are so popular is that in the age of social media, particular phrases and talking points tend to go viral on their own without the need to set up and fund fake organizations to push them. A large number of individuals from any given political "base" tend to sound exactly like each other. They've all heard, and all adopt and repeat, the same bullet points, ultra-simplistic substitutes for arguments, and cutesy expressions.
Democrats are "sounding the alarm," and they should be. But the alarm should be about the fact that nobody likes Kamala Harris, not about some hypothetical campaign to get them to say so. In fact, such a campaign would be something for Democrats to celebrate, because it would mean Republicans were wasting time and money promoting something that doesn't need to be promoted, rather than putting that time and money into things that might actually make a difference.


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