Wendy Davis and the Rise of New Media

Those of you who consume conservative news media are likely aware that the Wendy Davis campaign is in trouble following revelations that her projected persona, while not a complete fabrication, leaves out components of her life that might harm her political agenda, not the least of which are the facts that she only lived in a trailer for the short time it took for her to find a man who would finance her way through law school, and that as soon as she graduated from law school she filed from divorce from the man who payed her way through, and coincidentally gave him full custody of her two children, one of which was from her previous marriage. Sordid and wicked come to mind.

More interesting to me however, is the escalating panic within her campaign as they attempt to spin these new discoveries and maintain control of the narrative. Unless it’s linked from a news source I follow, I do not consume anything broadcast by the legacy media, so I can’t be sure, but considering their historically biased coverage, I can’t imagine there is thorough if any mention of this conflict between the Wendy Davis that is and the Wendy Davis she wants you to think she is. So, if the legacy media isn’t covering it, why the panic to cover it up?

We’re told that our missives on the degrading status and stability of America are only heard in our little conservative circles, that we can scream and shout all we want, the people “out there” won’t do anything about it, they’ll just continue to watch “honey boo boo” and enjoy their hot dinner secured by the soldiers fighting in a land far, far away. I think the Wendy Davis breakdown signals different. I think the flood of new, unbiased, professional, thorough, new media outlets has more influence than we’re led to believe. I think there are more and a growing number of people like me who have shunned legacy media because of its bias and filled the void of news and information with that provided by new media sources. What I think is missing is the ability to judge the “temperature” and scope of those like me. The problem – the reason “new media consumers” cannot be easily assessed – is the same reason for new media’s success, independence.

The reason new media is able to escape the bonds of bias is because they are free to broadcast content without a central means to control that content. This is both a strength and a weakness. Freedom of speech is the strength, difficulty in measuring the impact of that speech is the weakness.

I don’t know the answer. I imagine some kind of emergent polling, petitioning, and aggregation technology might help. The idea should be to collect and distilll opinion as held by new media consumers and morph that into material and actionable political influence. But the answer isn’t the point of this commentary. My point is that we have undersold our influence. The Wendy Davis campaign reaction is proof of that. If new media was inconsequential, her campaign would need to do nothing. I believe the reaction of her campaign should be interpreted as a signal.

New media is rising. It is increasing in influence. To the point that a professional state political campaign must react. Take heart my friends. This is going to be interesting.

What Difference, At This Point, Does It Make?

I had dinner with a progressive last night. At least, I think I did, because she used the word “progressive” to describe countries that had elected a female president.

My first thought was that this was an effort to maneuver into a discussion about Hillary 2016. I assumed that the theme would be how America is second rate compared to those other countries that had already elected a woman as president.

My at-the-table response was to share my first hand experience in Brazil, describing the extreme division between the “haves” and “have nots,” which was quite shocking to personally witness.

After replaying the discussion in my head, I have developed a better response, and it is one that can be easily modified and reused for similar situations. Ironically, this improved response developed as I recalled the Benghazi hearing and Hillary’s disgusting attempt to belittle the effort to expose what happened.

When I am confronted in the future by a “progressive” talking point regarding the race, sex, or another superficial characteristic of an elected official, my response will essentially be, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

More specifically my response will be some variation of, “What difference does the sex of the President make? Don’t you want to vote for the most qualified candidate regardless of their sex? In today’s society why does sex matter?”

This forces the opposition to process the fact that their worldview is based on ideologies they claim to reject, that is sexism, racism, etc. It also forces the opposition into a choice: What is more important in an electoral contest, a superficial characteristic such as race or sex, or a fundamental characteristic such as training or experience.

The only counter argument I can anticipate is one regarding gender “inequality,” where the opposition claims that comparing candidates based on fundamental characteristics is not fair because the female candidate will always be at a disadvantage due to societal oppression. This is nonsense of course, but I think the better counter would be to acknowledge that this might be an issue, but enforce that it would be better addressed at the source, rather than allowing a lesser qualified candidate to hold an office (See: Barack Obama).

Even though this brief part of the dinner discussion was awkward, it gave me the chance to craft another counter position to the narrative that someone’s color or sex is important to their political aspirations, or their political value.