If we flip the script of the other party flipping a seat it would be banner headlines.
On Tuesday there were some special elections taking place in California and Wisconsin to fill vacated positions for the US House of Representatives, but you may be hard-pressed to find those results if you were relying on outlets like CNN and MSNBC (but we’ve got them here). It was not until very late Wednesday afternoon that CNN was willing to post a result, and at MSNBC there was even less interest. This is in contrast to the pre-election coverage about both of the races and the uniqueness of the voting techniques employed during a coronavirus shutdown.
In California Mike Garcia defeated Christy Smith, and in Wisconsin Tom Tiffany came out ahead in a seat in which the incumbent Sean Duffy was stepping down to deal with some family health issues. It may feel a little easy to suggest that both candidates who won being Republican was a primary factor for the disinterest, but considering the interest and commentary ahead of both elections it would seem that some more coverage would be expected.
CNN was reticent to report the winner in the California race, even well into Wednesday morning, choosing to wait until Smith officially conceded late in the day. The impression is that the race was tight enough to hold off on declaring Garcia victorious — except the final tally had Garcia easily winning with a twelve percentage point margin, a margin that had held from the first report.
In Wisconsin Tiffany cruised to an even wider double-digit win. The lack of interest in the result is in direct contrast to the amount of previous attention being paid.
It was just last month, in April, during a statewide election, that a liberal justice, Jill Karofsky won a seat on that state’s Supreme Court. There was all manner of political interpretation as to what this meant in a swing state, how it was a sign of President Trump’s weakened influence, and insistence that the state itself on the course to alter its political hue. It was enough to have Joe Scarborough in a state of hysterics.
Today though, the Tiffany win is downplayed as the expected result in a heavily conservative district, and MSNBC sees no contradiction. In fact, it chooses to not see anything about the result.
The apathy in California is much more pronounced. There we had been given numerous stories about the reliance of mail-in voting during the pandemic quarantine. Donald Trump’s name was invoked constantly, and the L.A. Times backed Smith (even posting a last-minute second endorsement to drive turnout). This was a case of the seat being flipped to the GOP, something that itself would generate news stories normally, but then when you factor in why the seat was open for the special runoff it becomes even more noteworthy.
This was the seat formerly held by Katie Hill, the representative who stepped down after reports of professional violations were made by our own Jennifer Van Laar. Considering how the press worked diligently to avoid the facts of that story, smeared Jennifer, and attempted to discount this outlet as a result of our coverage then you can see their desire to simply walk away when the damaged goods of a Democrat were exposed and led to a GOP victory.
Last month there was no such hesitancy from these outlets to announce how Kweisi Mfume won the House seat that was opened following the passing of Elijah Cummings. If last night’s results weren’t a major story due to the makeup of the districts, then Mfume’s should not have even warranted a mention. A seat in a heavily black district long held by a civil rights figure and won by the former head of the NAACP was never in question. Yet his victory by a 3/1 margin earned far more print than a seat in California flipped to the GOP.
And the press wonders why their approval numbers are somewhere near the level populated by catfish.