Staggering levels of bullshit

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In case you missed this, a new poll was released this week. Here are the results:

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Now, I’m calling bullshit. And I’m not calling bullshit because the “poll” favors Hans Keirstead, the candidate who doesn’t quite inspire my sensibilities. Hell, if the general election pits Hans against Dana Rohrabacher, I’ll happily (and eagerly) back his bid.

Nope. I’m calling bullshit because, well, it’s bullshit. Let’s count the ways …

• 1. 314 Action Fund, in and of itself, sounds good enough, right? I mean, there are a gazillion places that do polling, most with boring names along the lines of “314 Action Fund.” Upon closer inspection, though, the group—by its own words—was “founded by members of the STEM community, grassroots supporters and political activists who believe in science. We are committed to electing more STEM candidates to office, advocating for evidence-based policy solutions to issues like climate change, and fighting the Trump administration’s attacks on science.”

Hell, here’s an offering from 314’s Twitter feed …

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Oh, and here’s another one …

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So, just to be perfectly clear: 314 Action Fund releases the details of a poll that shows Hans Keirstead kicking ass—without saying (literally, anywhere) that the group endorses Hans’ candidacy!? Seriously?

• 2. The man quoted in the poll is Theodore Bordelon, the impressive-sounding director of communications for 314. And his words are very authoritative. “It’s clear from this poll,” he tells us, “that Harley Rouda is going to be the spoiler candidate.” Wow, that’s pretty rough. I mean, certainly Bordelon is an expert, because he says, “it’s clear.”

So, um, who is Theodore Bordelon? Well, he goes by Ted. He lives in Philadelphia. He has 78 Twitter followers. His profile photo is him with a dog.

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Yeah.

Oh, and here’s what’s even more wacky. Of those 78 Twitter followers, one is (gasp!) Kyle Quinn-Quesada, Hans’ campaign manager. Eight hours ago Kyle Tweeted out the results of the poll, which were then re-Tweeted by Hans.

See, that’s how this shit works in the Donald Trump age. Something exists, and it might be legitimate and it might be illegitimate. If it’s repeated enough times, however, it becomes legit—whether it’s real or sorta kinda fake.

That’s what’s clearly happening here. A poll is commissioned specifically to make the candidate of choice look good. It (amazingly) makes the candidate of choice look good. Then the guy with the dog Tweets it out. Then the mediocre hot-headed campaign manager Tweets it out. Then the candidate Tweets it out. In the blink of an eye, fiction becomes fact, fact becomes fiction and people start saying, “Did you hear about that new poll?”

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• 3. I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer since 1994. I think I have a pretty good understanding of language’s nuances. And this “poll,” well, it ain’t nuanced. Writes someone from 314: “This poll shows voters have serious concerns with Harley Rouda’s past business practices, from profiting from predatory and unscrupulous real estate deals with Wells Fargo to firing an employee with cancer to save health care costs.”

OK, I’m once again calling bullshit. I live in this district. I know this district. And the vaaaaaast majority of people living here (like, 99.9 percent) have no clue about any of this. Maybe they know Harley’s name, and maybe they know Hans’ name. But have they read about the stuff mentioned above? Almost certainly not.

See, what “polls” like these do is this: They call 500 people and someone asks, “If you found out one of the candidates fired an employee with cancer to save health care costs, would you have (a) no reservations; (b) reservations; (c) serious reservations?” And, of course, if it’s put that way, Bob and Susan—electorally uninformed save the info you just provided—would have serious reservations.  Because, hey, who wouldn’t? And that’s exactly what the Hans Campaign is counting upon.

• 4. A whopping 590 people were polled. That’s not a poll—that’s a crowded McDonald’s.

•••

Look, this is politics. It’s dirty and gross, and campaigns will do anything and everything to sway your opinions. No one walks away unscathed—and that includes Hans, Harley, Dana, Scott Baugh. It sucks, but you just can’t run for high-level office and stay entirely clean.

That being said, I’m fed up. From the early stages of this race, we’ve been told—repeatedly—that Hans is the best candidate. The party has pushed him. Nonsense polling has pushed him. But, to steal from the ol’ Chris Rock line (“Vanilla Ice sold 10 million albums—and I don’t know one person who owns a copy”), for a guy who’s so popular and so charismatic and so inevitable … why is it so difficult to track down slews of die-hard Hans backers?

I hear all the voices saying he’s the one.

Only, is someone the one if the one is the only one who thinks he’s the one?

Maybe we can take a poll.

PS: An important point to make: Hans boasts a long, impressive, distinguished history in both science and academia. Were he conducting research, and he found out the data being received had been compiled by an outfit with a vested interest in the results, he would—I 100 percent assure you—never use it. Never, ever, ever. I think those are good standards, and they should apply to politics, too.

PPS: Why is the Costa Mesa Democratic Club Tweeting this out as real? Seriously, can we all stop falling for nonsense? A Google search is a terrible thing to waste.

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