Clinton Has Already Won the Nomination (But the reason why isn't what you think.)
The democratic nominations are still a ways away, but the winner has already been decided: Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Warren isn't running and no one cares about Bernie Sanders. So it's going to be Clinton with the nomination.
This is the story countless news sources have been pushing ever since Hillary Clinton declared her presidential bid. Actually, people were predicting her victory even before that.
Most sources don't even offer much reason as to why she is going to win. She's going to win the nomination because she's going to win the nomination and that's that. But why? It's not because no one cares about Bernie Sanders because people absolutely do. And it's not solely pessimism over a candidate like Sanders winning over someone backed by large corporations. There's something much more prevalent, but harder to detect going on.
The reason Clinton is going to win is because countless media sources, as a collective whole, have decided she's going to win. Because of this, the general public has accepted this as fact, and so people who don't like Clinton will not vote at all, or people on the fence will vote for her because they figure she's going to win anyway, and there's no point in throwing a vote away on someone who has no chance. This is called the Third Person Effect.
First proposed by W. Phillips Davison in 1983, the Third Person Effect is a theory with two parts.
1) We believe that media influences others more than it influences ourselves. ("Others" being an unspecified third party.)
2) We are more likely to follow the crowd not because we are directly influenced by media, but because we think that everyone else is.
Let's break this down. The first part isn't saying that we, as individuals, do not believe we are above media influence: that it doesn't effect us at all. Rather we believe that others are influenced by media more than ourselves. How many times have you heard someone say that they believe media is influential, just not over them? Maybe you've even thought this about yourself. (Makes you wonder how much and in what way media is influential if it only seems to affect some unspecified group of people over there, out of sight, rather than you or me.)
The second part of the theory is a little more tricky, and I've found to be best explained by using lots of examples. Here's one:
Countless news sources are predicting a shortage in whatever food choice you want. (Let's say chocolate.) There is no shortage yet, but there might be. Maybe. Now everyone is sitting at home thinking to themselves, "Oh great, now all the crazies are going to raid the chocolate section of stores. I better grab some before they run out." Now everyone is running to the stores, knowing full well there will probably not be a shortage, but the "crazies" don't know. So now there is a shortage of chocolate because everyone had to buy some chocolate before the crazies got it all. But who are the crazies? Everyone else. Not me and surely not you. All these other people are crazy. Right?
No. Either everyone is crazy or no one is. There is no in-between in this situation. News sources reporting on a possible shortage indirectly created a shortage.
Now apply that line of thinking to the democratic primaries. Everywhere we look, people are announcing Hillary Clinton as the winner of an election that hasn't happened yet. There's no point in donating to a campaign that has no hope of beating Clinton, right? Surely voting for anyone besides her would be a waste because they aren't going to win anyway? Why even bother voting at all? The candidate I like has no chance.
And that's why Clinton is going to win the nomination. Countless media sources have decided she is going to win, and we believe it, but not because we think she's the best candidate or because we want her to win. We've accepted her victory as fact because we think everyone else is blinded by the media and so will vote for her, even though we might not want to. And there's no point in going against the tide: no point in supporting a candidate that stands no chance of winning.
Right? Hopefully, your answer to that question is "no." I know mine is.