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What I am doing here
And what I am not
I’ve noticed something in the five months (or so) that I have been writing this newsletter.
When I write something critical of Donald Trump, people eat it up — it drives comments, praise and, yes, subscriptions.
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When I write something critical about Joe Biden, the opposite happens — people seem offended that I am trying to “get” him, insisting that I look elsewhere for content to write about.
I think this points to a fundamental misunderstanding of a) who I am and b) what I am doing here.
Who I am is a journalist writing analysis off of the day’s news. That analysis could be critical or it could be praiseworthy. It could be good for Joe Biden or good for Donald Trump. Or even for Ron DeSantis!
But, that’s sort of besides the point. I am not going into each post thinking “How can I nail Biden” or “how can I make Trump look bad.” I am reading, thinking and talking about politics throughout the day and week — and, in so doing, developing analytical thoughts on the likes of Biden and Trump.
That fact plays into the larger point about what I am aiming to do with this newsletter.
If I wanted to rapidly build subscriptions, I would simply trash Trump every day. Or praise Biden every day. Those are tried and true ways to build up your subscriber base.
And, trust me, I want to build up my subscriber base! The newsletter has done just fine on that front but I would love for their to be 17,000 and 70,000 subscribers. Like, tomorrow.
But, what I won’t do is pander to you in order to get subscribers — or to win your praise in the comment section. Because it’s WAY more important to me to have credibility with you than it is to have a ton of subscribers who already know what they think and are just seeking out voices — on this platform and others — to affirm those beliefs.
This is not to say that I don’t have beliefs that inform what I think and write. Trump’s actions in and around the 2020 election were reckless and dangerous — and his continued insistence that the election was rigged (and that the 2024 one will be too) is a major threat to our democracy. Joe Biden, at 80, is pushing the outer limits of how old is too old to run for office.
But, it is to say that I am never going to just tell you what you want to hear for clicks or subscriptions. If I did, how would you ever know if what you were getting from me was my raw and honest analysis of a situation or a pie-in-the-sky read on a situation designed to keep you happy and coming back?
This approach may not be for everyone. I get that. And if this post is the one that makes you decide to look elsewhere for your political analysis, I genuinely wish you well.
But I am a BIG believer that I need to always be honest to what my political antennae are telling me. That means I don’t think whether this post will do well or poorly for me. Or will make the Biden people happy or the Trump people angry.
I hope there is an audience on Substack for that sort of journalism. It’s what I am committed to providing.