Politics and the New Machine

Polling may never have been less reliable, or more influential, than it is now. Credit Illustration by Matt Chase “I am who I am,” Donald J. Trump said in August, on the eve of this season’s first G.O.P. Presidential debate, and what he meant by that was this: “I don’t have a pollster.” The word “pollster,” when it was coined, was meant as a slur, like “huckster.” That’s the way Trump uses it. Other candidates have pollsters: “They pay these guys two hundred thousand dollars a month to tell them, ‘Don’t say this, don’t say that.’ ” Trump has none: “No one tells me what to say.” Every election is a morality play. The Candidate tries to speak to the People but is thwarted by Negative Campaigning, vilified by a Biased…

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