[VIDEO] Rick Santorum: Senate Rules Apply to Elizabeth Warren Just Like They Did to Me 

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Donald Trump: World’s Greatest Troll

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Trolls operate on the principle that negative attention is better than none. In fact, the troll may feed off the negative attention, claiming it makes him a victim and proves that everyone is out to get him.

writes:

…There’s a notion that Donald Trump’s recent rise in Republican polls is a media-driven creation. That explanation isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s incomplete. It skims over the complex interactions between the media, the public and the candidates, which can produce booms and busts of attention. And it ignores how skilled trolls like Trump can exploit the process to their benefit.

Let’s look at some data. In the chart below, I’ve tracked how media coverage has been divided among the Republican candidates over roughly the past month (the data covers June 14 through July 12), according to article counts on Google News. In turn, I’ve shown the share of Google searches for each candidate over the same period. The data was provided to FiveThirtyEight by Google but should closely match what you’ll get by searching on Google Trends or Google News yourself.

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“Trump has taken trolling to the next level by being willing to offend members of his own party. Ordinarily, this would be a counterproductive strategy. In a 16-candidate field, however, you can be in first place with 15 or 20 percent of the vote — even if the other 80 or 85 percent of voters hate your guts.”

Even before his imbecilic comments about Sen. John McCain this weekend, which came too recently to be included in this data, Trump was receiving far more media attention than any other Republican. Based on Google News, 46 percent of the media coverage of the GOP campaign over the past month was directed toward Trump, more than for Jeb Bush (13 percent), Chris Christie (9 percent), Scott Walker (8 percent), Bobby Jindal (6 percent), Ted Cruz (4 percent) and Marco Rubio (4 percent) combined.

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“Trolls are skilled at taking advantage of this landscape and making the news cycle feed on its own tail, accelerating the feedback loop and producing particularly large bounces and busts in the polls.” 

And yet, the public is perhaps even more obsessed with Trump. Among the GOP candidates, he represented 62 percent of the Google search traffic over the past month, having been searched for more than six times as often as second-place Bush.

So if the press were going purely by public demand, there might be even more Trump coverage. Instead, the amount of press coverage that each candidate has received has been modulated by the media’s perception of how likely each is to win the nomination….(read more)

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“The public is perhaps even more obsessed with Trump. Among the GOP candidates, he represented 62 percent of the Google search traffic over the past month, having been searched for more than six times as often as second-place Bush.”

But a regression analysis — you can read the gory details in the footnotes3— suggests that press attention both leads and lags public attention to the candidates. This makes a lot of sense. The public can take cues from the media about which candidates to pay attention to. But the media also gets a lot of feedback from the public. Or to put it more cynically: If Trump-related stories are piling up lots of pageviews and Trump-related TV segments get good ratings, then guess what? You’re probably going to see more of them.4

This creates the possibility of a feedback loop….(read more)

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…So if these spikes are media-driven, they seem to be driven by some particularly modern features of the media landscape. Social media allows candidates to make news without the filter of the press. It may also encourage groupthink among and between reporters and readers, however. And access to real-time traffic statistics can mean that everyone is writing the same “takes” and chasing the same eyeballs at once. Is the tyranny of the Twitter mob better or worse than the “Boys on the Bus” model of a group of (mostly white, male, upper-middle-class, left-of-center) reporters deigning to determine what’s news and what isn’t? I don’t know, but it’s certainly different. And it seems to be producing a higher velocity of movement in the polls and in the tenor of media coverage. Read the rest of this entry »


Ted Cruz Is Just Getting Started

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Reviled by the Left, hated by the middle, disliked by his own party, the junior senator from Texas is exactly where he wants to be.

 writes: The Republican establishment despises Ted Cruz. And that’s great news for the senator from Texas: It’s the most prominent sign that he’s the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Now those same conservatives, the kind who control primaries in early voting states like Iowa and South Carolina, vow they won’t listen again in 2016. “We have a lot of people claiming to be conservatives who constantly score for the other team. And people are disgusted by it,” said Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa social-conservative power broker.

And that’s where Cruz comes in. The firebrand’s 21-hour faux-filibuster and no-surrender strategy during the government shutdown fight has endeared him to activists. The party establishment, meanwhile, is decrying a man they consider an ideologue unwilling to compromise even when the politics go south. Stay away from Ted Cruz, they say.

Sound familiar?

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ObamaCare: freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it

The Handbook of dirty tricks, Hijacked by the Right

The Left’s Sacred Handbook of dirty tricks, hijacked by the Right

John Hayward writes:  When I put together a roundup of ObamaCare horror stories on Friday, I concluded as follows:

I personally dislike the “human prop” strategy for making political arguments, but that’s how things work these days – political debates must be personalized to become effective. There’s no reason it should be an exclusively liberal strategy. Republicans need to get some of these folks on stage for press conferences and photo ops. The Left is all about abstract costs and humanized benefits – a lot of people get quietly rooked, while a few grateful beneficiaries are hauled onstage at political rallies. ObamaCare’s failure isn’t just about website errors. It has a very human face.

Over at Ace’s place, DrewM is thinking along the same lines, and gives the Republicans some absolutely perfect advice:

No Republican, from Boehner on down to the least likely to win next year challenger in a deep blue district, should appear anywhere across the country without someone who either tried and failed to sign up for ObamaCare or someone who tried and found out their premiums are skyrocketing and/or they can’t keep their doctor.

When these Republicans get asked, “What time is it?” They answer, “This is Mary. She signed up for ObamaCare and her premiums have increased by……”. When they get asked, “Aren’t you worried about defaulting” they answer, “This Jose. Jose tried to sign up but couldn’t because the system doesn’t work and now he’s going to face a penalty from the IRS because the government says he has to buy something but the government can’t sell it to him. And that’s why……”

That’s exactly what they should do.  Note to Republicans: when the reporter interviewing you rolls his or her eyes in exasperation at your latest “This is Mary…” talking point, you’re doing it right.

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