The media elite have a preeminent place in our politics, allegedly with the knowledge to declare what is politically feasible and what is not, including which candidates have a chance at winning and which do not. Before we head into a presidential primary season, it's time to insist that these "experts" don't know any better than the rest of us.
And sometimes their biases so heavily shade their predictions as to keep themselves in the dark about reality.
Take the elections in Israel in March. The manufactured conventional wisdom and polling predicted a tight race and rough sledding for conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When instead the conservative won easily, our media exploded in the usual sore-loser outbursts about how Mideast peace was dead. An Obama campaign stalwart (2012 field organizer Jeremy Bird) enriched himself but ended up on the losing side. This wasn't depicted as a bad sign for President Obama or his political team.
Now take the British elections on May 7. On "Meet the Press" on May 3, host Chuck Todd proclaimed the race between Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Party leftist Ed Miliband "too close to call." Naturally, Todd declared, "There's been commentary that if Cameron loses, the Republican Party ought to learn something from that."
On Thursday, as the Brits voted, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell brought on "senior political analyst" David Axelrod to make a fool of himself. "I think that the polls are accurate. This is a very, very close race, highly likely that this drama extends beyond tonight."
Incorrect on both counts. Cameron defied the "experts" and won a clear majority in Parliament.
Axelrod added: "One thing seems clear is that there's going to be a progressive majority in Britain after this election. Unless there's a huge surprise today, it's really hard to see how David Cameron puts together a majority." Axelrod was paid nearly a half-million dollars to advise Labour. Yet again, no one on television seemed saw this as a bad sign for Obama or the Democrats.
In fact, ABC never noticed the election results. They didn't involve royal babies. NBC gave it 42 words.
The print media also flunked at predictions. The Washington Post's top political correspondent Dan Balz warned on May 3 that Cameron was "buffeted by many of the same problems and pressures that afflict and divide the GOP in the United States." He quoted Peter Kellner from the polling firm YouGov, said of the Conservatives: "They have not shifted their brand from an out-of-touch party of the rich. The Tories have to persuade people they are determined to make the lives of ordinary people better ... not unlike the Republicans."
Just as the tea party "ruins" the GOP, Balz suggested the U.K. Independence Party and their "anti-immigration, anti-Europe message" moved Cameron's party to the right, alienating moderate and independent voters.
Balz concluded: "Almost any outcome would remind Conservatives, the most dominant political party in Britain over the last century, of how far short they have fallen over the past 18 years. Even if they win on Thursday, this would mark the fifth consecutive election in which they have failed to capture a majority of seats."
Balz is eating his crow well-done. Who exactly is the out-of-touch party?
These elections should be a clear warning to Republicans, and the American people as a whole headed into 2016: Don't let journalists tell you who can win and who doesn't stand a chance. Their feeling that conservatives should lose every race gets in the way.