chapter  11
Caught between a Poll and a Hard Focus Group: The Loss of Political Ideas
Pages 18

Under the mind-numbing influence of the new campaign technologies and the Winner Take All media, electoral politics in the United States has become like cotton candy for the political faculties. As we have seen, Winner Take All provides incentives for candidates in close races to use “crafted talk” and “simulated responsiveness” in a bid to stay as close to the political center as possible (at least in rhetoric, if not in policy), to push personality and scandal above ideas or policy, to ignore whole swathes of voters who aren’t among the lucky few targeted as swing voters, and for the media to ignore independent and third-party candidates. An unwritten, cozy convergence has occurred between all the major players involvedthe party leaders, candidates, political consultants, the media bosses and reportersperpetuating this Winner Take All reality.