All day Sunday, the blue bubble fixated on the president’s alleged disappointment. (Trump has said nothing on the record, but nobody likes empty seats when they have been promised an overflow crowd.) There was a frenzy of so-called dunking on the president and his campaign team. A peculiar evolution of talking-head cable news in the Trump era is that almost everyone tries to speak to either the president (a widespread conceit) or their Twitter followers (a real effect and not a good one) through the sound bites they are allotted, and not to average viewers. It isn’t about the “news” anymore. The cable shows are infotainment for the already decided and will have zero impact on the electorate.
Why? Because the 10 to 20 percent of Americans who haven’t already decided whether to vote to reelect Trump do not watch cable. The cable-news audience on an average night is around 7 million. Nearly 130 million Americans voted in the 2016 election. See the gap? Cable news is not the political landscape. Nor are national polls. Tell me what is happening in Pennsylvania, and I’ll give you my guess who will win in 2020. Right now, it’s nearly a statistical dead heat.