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The NY Times Wants To Entertain You With Made Up Gubernatorial Drama This Morning

A More Honest Way To Cover US Elections: Pick The Lesser Evil

2 Republicans running for Oklahoma governor-- a MAGAt and a fake Dem

Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma and lived there for 2 decades before moving to Texas. She was a hardcore conservative Republican in Oklahoma and in Texas and says she started voting for Democrats when she was in her mid-40s. But when she switched parties, she really switched parties, giving top on conservatism and and embracing the Democrats’ progressive roots. There’s nothing about Joy Hofmeister that has anything to do with the Democratic Party except that she’s running as a “Democrat” for governor of red as hell Oklahoma. (The state’s PVI is R+20, far worse than Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky , Arkansas or any Confederate state. Only West Virginia and Wyoming are more politically backward. Neighboring Texas has a PVI of R+5. In 2020, Trump won every single county in the state and won statewide 1,020,280 (65.4%) to 503,890 (32.3%). Both senators and all 5 congressmen are Republicans and the state legislature has a state Senate with 39 Republicans and 9 Democrats and a state House with 82 Republicans and 19 Dems.

In 2014 Republican Joy Hofmeister defeated Democrat John Cox, to become State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She beat Cox again in 2018. In 2021 she switched her party affiliation with the express purpose of challenging MAGA-goon Kevin Stitt in the gubernatorial election. That makes her the first “Democrat” to serve statewide since 2011. She calls herself a “centrist” and she’s an example of what I mean when I take about the “moderate mush-in-the-middle” that is rising in American politics. (She beat progressive former state Senator Connie Johnson, the real Democrat in the primary, 60.7% to 39.3%. In 2016, when Bernie when 75 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties and beat Hillary by over 10 points, Johnson was the only super delegate from from the state to support him.)

In their entertainment coverage of the 2022 gubernatorial election today, the NY Times noted that “Deep-red Oklahoma is in play for the Democrats” right below the headline. The next mention of Hofmeister is over two dozen paragraphs down at the very end of the article: “Perhaps no Democratic nominee has put up as surprising a performance as Joy Hofmeister in Oklahoma. Hofmeister, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, had a viral debate moment this month when she correctly noted that Oklahoma’s violent crime rate under Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, was higher than the rates in California and New York. Stitt protested that it wasn’t true. ‘Oklahomans, do you believe we have higher crime than New York or California?’ he said. ‘That’s what she just said.’ In an interview on Thursday, Hofmeister credited her strength in Oklahoma, where Trump won 65 percent of the vote in 2020, to focusing on local issues even as Stitt tries to nationalize the race by tying her to Biden. ‘He is reading from a national script,’ she said. ‘It has absolutely nothing to do with reality. It’s this formula that he thinks somehow is going to work.’”

538’s forecast has her losing to Stitt by over 10 points, 53.3% to 42.9%, even though 4 of the last 5 polls show her winning.

You would never imagine that Hofmeister is a Republican who has placed a “D” next to her name for the sake of her short-term career strategy. But that wasn’t the narrative that Reid Epstein was trying to create. His narrative was that the gubernatorial races are scrambled, surprising, wild and whacky. A Republican could win in New York— although he doesn’t mention that the accidental incumbent governor, Kathy Hochul, isn’t much more of a Democrat than Hofmeister… again, mush-in-the-middle. Does this sound like a Democrat to you? I would never vote for this:

  • She’s always been endorsed by New York’s Conservative party

  • She used to boast about voting “many times” with the GOP to repeal Obamacare

  • She bragged that she “led” the fight against giving “illegal immigrants” drivers licenses

  • She backed the Keystone Pipeline

  • She touted the endorsement she got from the NRA

Epstein forgot to mention who and what she is, just that she’s a Democrat in trouble. He wrote that “Some Democratic candidates… have gone so far as to claim they are fighting an uphill battle— even in New York, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by two to one. ‘I’ve always said I was an underdog,’ Gov. Kathy Hochul said in Queens on Friday, a day before her Republican opponent, Representative Lee Zeldin, was set to appear with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. ‘There’s circumstances sometimes you can’t control. You don’t know what’s happening nationally. There’s national waves. There’s a lot of forces out there.’”

Is she really in trouble, though, the way Epstein tried to insinuate for the sake of his narrative? Not according to 538’s prediction model. They’re forecasting an even bigger margin for her than Stit’s is in Oklahoma— 56.0% to 44.0%.

This is what happens when reporters are encouraged to create drama and excitement about electoral outcomes where there isn’t much of either.

“In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has centered her campaign on her effort to maintain abortion rights,” wrote Epstein, “is confronting a narrowing race against her Republican challenger, Tudor Dixon, though she still holds polling and financial edges. Obama will hold a rally for Whitmer in Detroit on Saturday. In an interview on Friday, Dixon, who opposes abortion rights, said she had ‘been on television and radio as much as possible’ to make up for Whitmer’s cash advantage. Since the beginning of September, the governor and Democrats have spent four times as much on television ads as Dixon and Republican groups have. Asked if she would welcome a final-week visit by Trump, who last held a rally in the state on Oct. 1, Dixon mentioned a different surrogate— one who three years ago was running for president as a Democrat. ‘We’ve already had President Trump here,’ she said. ‘We have other great people. Tulsi Gabbard is coming in this weekend.’”

538’s forecast is Whitmer 51.8% to 44.8% for Dixon— 7 points, a lot bigger than the 2.8 point win Biden had over Trump in 2020.

How to create a dramatic narrative about this!

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