For months, we’ve heard large chunks of the media and pundit class insist that no matter how convincing or damning the January 6th Committee public hearings end up being, it won’t matter, because the public’s view of Trump isn’t going to change one way or the other at this late date.
But even as we keep hearing MSNBC talking heads and Twitter pundits insisting that “Everyone’s view of Trump is locked in and no one will ever change their minds,” new polling from ABC News reveals that eight percent of Americans have in fact changed their minds about Trump being prosecuted in the past week alone.
Eight percent may not sound like a lot, until you consider that every competitive election in modern American history has ended up being decided by less than eight points. It’s the difference between winning and losing. And if eight percent of Americans have changed their minds about Trump in the past week, how many of them will end up changing their minds about how they’re going to vote in November, given that Trump’s Republican Party is on the ballot?
The media and pundit class loves to pretend that the nation consists solely of the two bases. This is because it’s the two bases who spend every day tuning in to the media and pundit class, which loves to pander to its audience. But this ignores the fact that a couple hundred million Americans don’t really follow or care about day to day politics, and only occasionally take a side when things are made easy for them.
These January 6th public hearings have clearly been designed to speak to those in the middle who normally don’t care about politics. And all signs, from the huge TV audiences to the stark shift in polling, point to these hearings working. It’s the people who don’t normally care about politics who are persuadable when it comes to this sort of thing. These hearings were never, ever about either base.
This is why so much of the media and pundit commentary about these public hearings is coming off as out of touch gibberish. These hearings are aimed at reaching a group of non-political Americans who, according to the pundits, don’t even exist. Neither base is ever told that there’s a real world outside of the insulated bubble that is cable news and Twitter. Yet these hearings are reminding everyone in the bubble that it’s the people outside the bubble who are going to decide the midterms.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report