(This article was previously published on The Bern Report)
Opinion polls are the political equivalent of shiny objects in the distance. If you scour the internet long enough, you will find more than a few polls which aggravate you and a handful more which please you. A lesson one should extrapolate from recent political history at home and abroad is that while an opinion poll helps to take the “temperature” of the current political atmosphere, it is little more than an educated guess about what will happen when the only real poll which matters takes place at the time that we cast our ballots. The past few months since the announcements for President began have had many ups and downs for progressives in the polls, and the latest “bombshell” announcement with former Vice-President Joe Biden entering the race has only served to further rock the proverbial boat.
Let’s dispense for a moment with the assertions that one poll or another is “rigged” for or against any particular candidates. Forget the assessments of these polls by establishment poll-watchers like Nate Silver and even Steve Kornacki. The fact of the matter is that it is too early to get excited or infuriated about any polls. Voters won’t start making their final decisions in the primaries for another 8 months, so we have plenty of time to canvass, phone-bank, and otherwise spread the word on this second wind of OUR revolution. Besides, it is a waste of our precious time to sit and argue about corporate-funded and published opinion polls.
Think of opinion polls as an old window screen which is badly covered in muck collected from years of dust and other things blowing towards your house throughout the years. On the other side of that screen is the real world, but the screen is so old that it fails to let you see the full picture. Is that some stranger walking in your yard uninvited? Or is it a family member inspecting the grounds to pick up trash and toys before mowing? Do you make a decision about calling the police to deal with the suspected intruder based on the images obfuscated by your screen? Or, do you attempt to take a closer look so as to make a fully informed decision? I would like to think that we progressives prefer the latter approach.
Opinion polls serve no purpose other than to entertain us. They aid in the profit-seeking narratives of a media corrupted by the pursuit of the almighty dollar. After all, there is no “horse race” to talk about and captivate the audience without a degree of manufactured uncertainty. The media bosses are laughing all the way to the banks as we tear each other apart over our interpretation of the numbers they want us to see. Debating poll numbers is tantamount to arguing with a toddler about whether or not you saw them take the cookie out of the jar. It is a waste of time and a distraction from what really matters.
Do the revolution a favor and ignore the damn polls. Even when the primaries are upon us, these polls don’t matter. Regardless of whether the polls show us that Bernie is stomping his competition or getting trounced himself, we expend too much energy on this useless charade produced by the same wealthy interests we are attempting to topple. It is time to play the game of politics on our terms, not theirs. When we remember that the goal is to achieve meaningful change for all while recognizing the truth of that old expression, “the revolution will not be televised”, then we will see how easy it is to win.
Onward to victory!