Headlines as Wish Fulfillment

It’s a small thing, perhaps, but it’s been bugging me that the headline writers for the Providence Journal gave the title “Election shows Obama needs to shore up his base” when the paper published this article on November 14:

Two years before voters render judgment on his tenure, Obama’s most critical task may be winning back those who aren’t affiliated with a party but who hold enormous sway in close contests. National exit polls from the midterm elections show these voters broke heavily for Republicans after helping elect Obama and Democrats in the two previous elections.

Either the headline writer doesn’t know what a political “base” is, or he/she so wants the president to move farther left that political analysis has been entirely subsumed by ideology.

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