Through no fault of his own, America is pretty much tired of Ken Bone. Bone is the red-sweatered Hercule Poirot look-alike whose question at the second presidential debate set off a flurry of excitement, not because of the question (which was about the Sun or something) but because his last name is Bone. Imagine that, a guy whose last name is a goofy four-letter noun starting with the letter B! What a life he must live.
Anyway, the statute of limitations on Bone jokes expired about 45 minutes after the end of the debate -- or, perhaps, about 10 minutes after the most recent article about him was published at The Washington Post. At that point, it was sort of played out. Guy's been on Kimmel. It's done; shut off the lights.
Except: Twitter's Nu Wexler tweeted this, and he's got a point.
Let’s take a step back from KBone-mania and think about how unusual it is that a white male coal plant operator is still uncommitted in Oct.
— Ken Bone Fan (@wexler) October 11, 2016
There are a lot of ways in which Bone mirrors a key part of the most supportive segment of Donald Trumps' base.
We walked through the demographics at the center of Trump's support on Monday. In short, the most supportive demographic for Trump is people who are white (check), male (check) and who don't have a college degree.
Here's the point at which we first realize that Bone lurks a weird, not-easy-to-pigeonhole political space. Bone's Facebook page indicates that he studied at ITT Tech, but not that he graduated from there. Based on the available information, I'd slot him in the category of "some college," in pollster parlance. White men with some college back Trump by 39 points. White men with degrees? By 15.
Another example: The debate was held in Missouri, which was once a swing state but is now a solidly red one. Trump! But Bone lives and works in Illinois, one of the bluest states in the country. So: Clinton? But he works in southwest Illinois, so: Trump?
Wexler points out that Bone works at a "coal plant," suggesting that perhaps he's friendly to Trump's pro-coal positions. The facility where Bone works is the Prairie State Generating Company, which includes a coal mine and coal-burning power plant. Opened in 2012, it's one of the newest coal-burning facilities in America. Coal country was one of Trump's most supportive regions in the primaries.
But Bone is also young. He's 34 years old, making him a Dreaded Millennial™. Millennial voters tend to lean toward Clinton. We've pointed out before, though, that young white voters vote a lot more like white voters overall than young voters. White men under the age of 50 back Trump by a 25-point margin (compared to 43 points for those 50 and older).
I hate to say it but, it's almost as though ... you can't automatically assume that you can predict an individual voter's behavior from his or her demographics? Is that right? Could that be right? That can't be right.
The easy answer is: When Ken Bone is in Missouri, he's a white man who works in the coal industry and backs Trump. When he's in Illinois, he's a millennial with some college education who's planning on voting for Clinton. When he's picked to be an undecided voter for the purposes of a political debate, he is precisely that.
And with that -- at long last -- there is nothing more to say about Mr. Bone. Except to hope that he can soon get back to his once-normal life without everyone asking him about his sweater.