Off Key

| December 1, 2016

By Bob Frederickson

From Trump’s Key Sweep to Media’s Big Sleep

Majority of Island Voters Supported Trump

Although there is an assumption by many in-landers that folks here do at least lean a bit to the left of center in their politics, voters on Siesta Key supported president elect Trump by essentially the same margin as those voting throughout the rest of Sarasota County. So this notion just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny…at least not in terms of recent elections.

Precinct 401 on the north end of the island gave Trump a 52.4 percent to 41.9 majority over Clinton. To the west from the village east to the bay, precinct 403 had Trump at 50.9 percent and Clinton at 46.7. This was the former secretary of state’s best showing on the key. The island’s largest precinct, 411, had Trump’s biggest margin of victory at 55.2 to Clinton’s 40.7. South of Stickney Point, precinct 421 had Trump at 52.1 percent with 42.3 percent preferring Clinton.

Adding up the results for the four precincts, the total for the Key was 53.6 percent Trump, 42.4 percent Clinton, nearly identical to the countywide margin of 53.7 percent Trump, 42.3 percent Clinton.

Interestingly, despite her loss, Clinton actually outperformed President Obama’s showing four years ago when the current president garnered just 38.5 percent of the vote on the key in his race against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Unfortunately for her campaign, that was not the case in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio, where Trump flipped the vote this time around.

From Hot Pursuit to Salvation in the Blink of an Eye

A Pasco county man decided to make a run for it after getting pulled over by the cops one moonless night recently. After coming to a rolling stop, he ran into some nearby woods, not knowing there was a canal just beyond. Unable to swim, this story was mere moments from a bad ending when his pursuers caught up with him, heard him thrashing about, jumped in and rescued him just before he was about to go under for the third time.

So why did he run? Outstanding warrants? Contraband in his vehicle? Nope. He told his saviors it was because he didn’t have his license with him.

Say it Ain’t So, Joe…

Disney Company stock has been under pressure most of this year, even as the overall market has reached new all-time highs. Part of the reason was revealed recently when Nielsen Ratings reported that Disney’s ESPN cable sports network lost 621,000 cable subscribers last month alone, its worst performance ever. ESPN disputed the results and Nielsen temporarily retracted them while it conducted a review. On November 5th they reported that their initial findings were in fact correct and that the company would in fact stand by them.

Changing viewer trends have certainly contributed to subscriber flight, but so too has the network’s shifting coverage, which has increasingly come to emphasize not events on the field of play but instead broader off-field social issues like SF 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernik’s decision to sit out performances of the national anthem before games, or Bucs’ receiver Mike Evans’ similar ploy – on Military Appreciation Day no less – to protest Trump’s election, despite, media reports he didn’t even bother to vote. (Way to go Mike, that’s a real good look. Though to his credit he apologized to fans a few days later after reconsidering his short-lived protest).

NFL viewership is down as well this season, likely for similar reasons. You’d think those involved in broadcasting and covering sports would realize that much of the attraction they offer is as an escape from the problems that can’t be avoided in our daily, public lives. When sports as a sanctuary is undermined by being opened up to the same political and social divides we face everywhere else these days, fans understandably lose interest and sadly, the country loses one of the few public pursuits that has historically united us: rooting together for the home team.

The Real Big Loser in this Election…

The goat in this election cycle was the media with its clear – and incredibly – ‘admitted’ – lack of candor in trying to shape the outcome of the race. In the minds of a majority of voters, this ‘finger-on-the-scale’ approach to journalism proved to be an unintended (and ultimately ironic) validation of the very candidate these geniuses in the media were trying to defeat.

Successful societies depend on fairness to flourish; as social beings we are hard-wired to recognize situations where such fairness is lacking. It is nothing less than a survival instinct that has been refined over 200,000 years of human evolution.

So it is not unlikely that many of those who voted for Trump did so at least in part in response to the media’s one-sided coverage. It reminds me of a football anecdote related to the longtime football rivalry between The University of Kansas Jayhawks and The Missouri Tigers, a rivalry that didn’t even start on the football field, but instead dates back to pre-Civil War days when Kansas was a free territory and Missouri was a slave state. Even the mascots of the two programs harken back to those days and the animosity of the border wars: ‘Jayhawkers’ were bands of anti-slave Kansans who would carry out raids against pro-slavery landowners across the border; and Missouri ‘Tigers’ were members of a home guard that would reply in kind with forays into Kansas to exact retribution.

Those scars run deep. Describing the modern football rivalry, one Missouri woman told a reporter on one crisp fall afternoon when the two teams were playing different opponents, “I’d rather see them lose than us win.”

That sentiment probably describes the reaction of many Trump voters toward the media. 

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