A day after the first Hillary and Donnie Show, a friend passed along an article from The Onion dated June 2, 2004. The headline read:
Poll: Many Americans Still Unsure Whom to Vote Against
The Onion, for the uninitiated, is a satirical newspaper that turns conventional reporting upside down or inside out. And its irreverence focuses on the absurdity of living life too seriously—which we as citizens, and citizens as candidates, tend to do in campaigns.
The Onion told us in 2004 that a Gallup Poll showed six percent of Americans were not sure whether to vote against Bush or to vote against Kerry.
According to the poll, 46 percent of the registered voters surveyed would vote against Bush if the election were held tomorrow, while 45 percent said they were ready to vote against Kerry. Factoring in the 2 percent margin of error, the two candidates are essentially deadlocked in the race to determine which candidate American doesn’t support.
The article’s deadpan approach also turned the scenario this way:
“The two major parties face a tough struggle,” Harmon said. “As the election approaches, both must convince undecided voters that the opposing party’s candidate is worse than their own. As both parties take more moderate positions in an election year, it’s getting harder to convince citizens that there’s a reason to get out there and vote against anyone.
The traditional press would have told readers and listeners that the survey showed Bush and Kerry locked in a statistical dead heat with six percent undecided. Real serious, sober reporting.
We looked to see what The Onion had to say after Monday night’s debate. Here’s its take:
…A Gallup report released this morning revealed that hopeless resignation has received a substantial bump in the polls. “Our real-time polling data from last night’s presidential debate showed a clear trend, with hopeless resignation charting higher and higher as the evening progressed—it really seemed to resonate with viewers,” said Gallup spokesperson Sarah Langley, who noted that hopeless resignation’s current surge far surpassed the boost it experienced following the conventions, spiking to the highest level of the election cycle. “Last night was easily the biggest moment of the campaign season for hopeless resignation, and I think most Americans recognized that. Clearly, many voters who were on the fence were convinced by what they saw in the debate.” Langley added that if current trends continue, hopeless resignation is likely to reach a historic high in the polls by Election Day.
It’s funny because it’s true, isn’t it? As the Wall Street Journal “Best of the Web” column puts it, “Life Imitates Onion.”
Relax folks. Laughing at ourselves a little bit will help as we plummet toward election day in November.