SELF-RECOMMENDING!

Tuesday Shouldn’t Change The Narrative

538 predicts Hillary has a 65% chance of winning the election to Trump’s 35%. New York Times says it’s more like 84% Hillary and 16% Trump. Both sites agree both candidates will get somewhere between 40% and 50% of the popular vote, and that Hillary seems to lead Trump by 3%. The smart money is on Hillary, but at this point either major candidate could win.

Lots of things can happen tomorrow. Maybe it rains in Philadelphia, that city’s racially diverse and left-leaning voters stay home, and Pennsylvania goes for Trump, winning him the election. Maybe there’s a really good get-out-the-vote campaign among Hispanics, and Florida ends up being Trump 48 Hillary 52 instead of the projected Trump 52 Hillary 48. Maybe the Department of Agriculture announces that Hillary is under investigation for bringing exotic weevil species into the US, and the population turns against her en masse.

And someone is going to confuse this kind of stuff with deep insight into the state of the country.

In June 2016, Jon Wiener of The Nation wrote Relax, Donald Trump Can’t Win, about how the media is incentivized to make races look competitive but an understanding of political fundamentals proved that there was no way for Trump to actually make it.

On the other hand, a few days ago Scott Adams reiterated his long-standing prediction of a 98% chance Trump wins in a landslide.

I’m worried that one of these two things will happen on Wednesday:

Either Hillary wins, and everybody agrees that Jon Wiener and various other people like him were right, that the fundamentals made a Trump win impossible, that Trump was a random clown who never had a chance anyway, that the people who warned us to beware of Trump were crying wolf, that this proves that nationalism is a spent force in politics, et cetera.

Or Trump wins, and everybody agrees that Scott Adams was a genius, that Wiener was an idiot, that Trump is a brilliant “master persuader”, that this proves that the 21st century will be a century of renewed nationalist power, that the white working class is sexist, that elites need to realize the precariousness of their position within a democratic system, or whatever.

Imagine that the deciding factor really is a rainstorm in Philadelphia. There was a rainstorm in Philly, therefore nationalism is one of the great motivating forces in human affairs? It was a clear sunny day in Philly, therefore nationalism doesn’t matter anymore? The difference between nationalism being all-powerful and irrelevant is whether there was a cold front over the mid-Atlantic region?

But with a race this close, any deciding factor is going to be about as random as a rainstorm over Philadelphia. Maybe the pollsters made some kind of big mistake and missed shy Trump voters, and the vote goes Trump 47% Hillary 45% instead of the predicted Hillary 47% Trump 45%. So what? The difference between a proof of nationalism’s vigor versus proof its impotence is which candidate gets 47% vs. 45%? Really?

If a Trump victory tomorrow would convince you that X is true, I suggest that you believe X is true regardless of whether or not Trump wins, because Trump’s victory almost certainly will depend more on noise than on X. If a Hillary victory tomorrow would convince you that Y is true, I suggest that you believe Y is true regardless of whether or not Hillary wins, for the same reason. If there’s some Z that you will believe only if Trump wins but not if Hillary wins, then I suggest you seriously reconsider what thought process has led you to decide that you will flip your views on politics and society depending on whether or not there’s a rainstorm or a 2% polling error or whatever.

Instead, I suggest people precommit to their views on politics and society now. We live in a country and a world where Hillary can be at about 47% and Trump at about 45%. This is pretty much all you need to know. It suggests that a lot of people are willing to support a nationalist candidate, and a lot of other people really hate that candidate. It suggests that political fundamentals are totally compatible with a situation where either Trump or Hillary could win based on noise in the electoral process.

(unless the polls are totally wrong and one candidate somehow wins in a 20 percentage point landslide or something)

It also suggests that both Wiener and Adams were wrong to be so confident in their respective predictions. If either one is right, it will be mostly by luck. Wiener tells us to “relax” because Trump can never win, and maybe Trump doesn’t win, but the fact is that even if Trump loses we were one Hillary gaffe away from the opposite result and shouldn’t have relaxed at all. Adams says there’s been a 98% chance of a Trump win since last year, but the polls make it look a lot like Trump only has a chance at all because of the total coincidence of Hillary getting hit by a new FBI investigation two weeks before Election Day.

I already count both Wiener and Adams as having been proven wrong regardless of what happens tomorrow. Any further praise or condemnation launched at one or the other after the election is just interpreting noise, or at least a signal so subtle that it might as well be.

If both Wiener’s extreme pro-Hillary prediction and Adams’ extreme pro-Trump prediction are bad, what would a good prediction look like? In January of this year, I predicted that, conditional on Trump winning the Republican primary, he would have a 20% chance of winning the election. Well, Trump won the Republican primary. And today, the day before the election, the prediction markets give Trump’s chance of winning as 17.9%.

If Trump wins anyway, I’ll have egg on my face and it’ll look bad when I grade my prediction accuracy next year. But I don’t think I would fundamentally update the way I think about America or the way I make predictions. No prediction can account for every rainstorm. I think I got the fundamentals right, and if I end up losing on noise I can at least take solace in knowing that is soon to be the least of our problems.

[EDIT: I agree the election results can obviously change the future! Maybe if Trump wins he’ll enact nationalistic policy that will make people more nationalist. But the results shouldn’t change our interpretation of existing trends.]

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

953 Responses to Tuesday Shouldn’t Change The Narrative

  1. Dr Dealgood says:

    I’m a bit late to the party here, but I think that this approach to forecasting is extremely flawed because it misses the purpose of forecasting.

    If I printed up a citywide almanac with weather forecasts, and I put down “66% chance of No Rain” on every single day I’d be right a little more than two-thirds of the time and reasonably well-calibrated. And the very first time people following my forecasts got caught out in a thunderstorm they’d throw it right into the trash where it belongs.

    Nobody cares if someone can very reliably predict business-as-usual, because it’s totally unnecessary. The point of a forecast is to give you a heads-up on potential upsets: when will I get soaked down to the bone, when will the bookies lose their shirts, when will the bombs start falling? We’re already prepared for the typical, that’s what we deal with every day, but getting blindsided by unforeseen rare events is really really bad news.

    TL;DR: Mistaking Knightian uncertainty for risk means your goose is cooked once the “long odds” inevitably come up.

  2. You should probably update the way you make political predictions: for obvious reasons, as long as you have a two party system, each party will win approximately 50% of the elections.

    This is completely necessary, because e.g. if it went to 60/40, the one at 60 would start adopting more extreme positions until it went back down to 50, and the one at 40 would start adopting positions closer to the other side until it went up to 50.

    So there will never be a winning “side of history” in this sense. Obvious historical change can trend in a certain direction, but it will not do that by having one party win all the elections. That will never happen, so stop expecting it.

  3. johnjohn says:

    Regarding FiveThirtyEight and the efficacy of their model.
    If you, on the 7th, where 538 were giving trump a 33% chance to win, had gone to betting markets and put in money on both candidates based on the 538 prediction. You would have made solid profits. Betfair was giving 5.5 to 1 odds on Trump and Predictit 5 to 1.
    Doesn’t that indicate that I should update my priors on how strong the 538 model is positively and not negatively?

    • andrewflicker says:

      Absolutely correct.

    • Iain says:

      Yes. I am kind of baffled by the criticism of 538 that I’ve been seeing here. Nate Silver got a lot of flack about giving Trump any chance at all, stuck to his guns, and was vindicated. He wrote multiple articles in the weeks leading up to the election about how Trump could still win, and what that scenario would look like, and he came closer than anybody else to describing the actual result.

    • onyomi says:

      Yes, Silver’s reputation should be enhanced, not diminished, by this outcome, because his statistical model better accommodated the possibility of Trump victory, and he stuck to his guns on that when others were rating Trump victory at 2-10%.

      If we want to update in response to Trump victory, I think it should probably be with respect to how polls are conducted (maybe should ask the LA Times how they were doing it?), and in how we consider other, non-statistical, psychological factors and/or broader historical trends, like how this guy’s model predicted Trump.

      Silver didn’t conduct any of his own polls, so far as I know, nor did he claim to factor in big, historical trends or possible psychological theories not based on polls. I think he just claims to aggregate, contextualize, and interpret polls, and, at that, he did much better than most people. Maybe he puts too much faith in polls alone as a general predictor, but that would be a failing of his overall worldview, not of his method for doing the job he claims to do.

      *Edit to add: This article by Silver basically argues Scott’s point, pointing out how a relatively small change could have us all saying things like “Republicans simply can’t appeal to enough voters to have a credible chance at the Electoral College. While states like Ohio and Iowa might be slipping away from Democrats, they’ll be more than made up for by the shift of Arizona, North Carolina and Florida into the blue column as demographic changes take hold. Democrats are the coalition of the ascendant.”

      Seemingly the margin between “permanent new GOP majority!” and “GOP will never hold the White House again!” should not be so narrow, but, on the other hand, it’s also easy to forget how many people 1% of, say, all voters in PA is.

      • baconbacon says:

        This is a very weak argument, “imagine if just 1 out of 100 trump voters went to Hillary”. How about imagine if Trump didn’t have a recording of him as aggressively bad as the one that was released? The imagine if just the one or two things went the other way could easily be applied in Trump’s favor and you get a landslide victory and a really big problem for the Democrats.

        Trump was functionally a political amateur, learning as he went along, with practically every piece of his history available to haunt him (unlike seasoned politicians who have replies to those mistakes as they have been brought up time after time, and aren’t shocking in both content and surprise factor combined), and spent around half of what Hillary did.

        The following are tentative lessons from this election.

        1. The largest block of voters is the Republican base. The Dems base is highly fractured and needs pandering across many groups that makes selecting a candidate very tricky. How well would Bernie have worked the GOTV for blacks and hispanics.

        2. The Dems might have shot their load 8 years early. They might have been able to generate wins with a black/hispanic/female VP and then turned that VP into the next candidate. Obama is now the bar for generating excitement within their base, there won’t be much push from “hey vote for X, their running mate is black/hispanic/female”, the seriously might have to consider ONLY nominating a minority to win in the near future (as long as Trump isn’t wildly unpopular come 2020).

        3. They may not be able to run a woman, period. Clinton had name recognition, experience and money. The idea that Clinton shows the US is ready for a female president can be viewed the opposite way, if the country isn’t ready to elect Hillary when Donald is the other option what woman is going to actually win the presidency?

        4. The GOP got 30% of the hispanic vote while their candidate said nasty things about hispanics. If they could find a hispanic nationalist candidate would the break the democratic party? Do they have any incentive to pander to the black community ever in any way?

        5. Bill won his first term with 43% of the vote and Perot taking huge numbers away from Bush. Obama’s win was helped enormously by record black turnout and virtually every single one of those votes. The Republicans have managed to win with 2 guys that were borderline joke to actual joke candidates early in the process. Dems need to fragment the republican base or generate huge enthusiasm within their own to win is a plausible interpretation.

        • Jiro says:

          The GOP got 30% of the hispanic vote while their candidate said nasty things about hispanics.

          That’s an outgroup homogeneity fallacy.

          It’s like saying that an anti-Muslim candidate got votes from Christians “despite saying bad things about monotheists”.

          • baconbacon says:

            That’s an outgroup homogeneity fallacy.

            The point is that hispanics aren’t voting as a homogenous group, Trump got substantially better results than Romney % wise, his rhetoric could have been punished with few votes or massive anti trump turnout from the hispanic community. Neither happened, which alleviates a lot of the fears the GOP had about going nationalist.

          • Randy M says:

            Was there evidence that the GOP was afraid of going nationalist, versus not wanting to?
            In a crowded primary, other more establishment candidates could have distinguished themselves in the way only the outsider choose to.

          • baconbacon says:

            Was there evidence that the GOP was afraid of going nationalist, versus not wanting to?

            They way I remember Romney’s campaign combined with the GOP trying to distance themselves from Trump’s comments only to drift back towards him as his polls held up to almost everything.

          • Randy M says:

            Can you elaborate on the crypto-nationalist (admittedly not your word) elements in the Romney campaign?

          • baconbacon says:

            @ Randy,

            My memory of Romney’s campaign (admittedly I could be way off on this as its just memory) was that they basically avoided nationalist talk as much as possible as part of an attempt to make inroads with the hispanic populace.

          • Randy M says:

            Right, so I think the mainstream GOP is generally on board with easy immigration because it depresses wages (or some business owning donors believe it does), and pretends to their voters that they share their concerns about cultural cohesion and privileging natives.

            Once Donald Trump was the nominee, they drifted back towards him, not because they now saw that they could freely support their bases views which they shared all along, but because what else are they going to do?

          • AnonEEmous says:

            well, it’s more of a fallacy on the part of other people who say it than him himself. he’s just saying those people got proven wrong, I think.

        • SEE says:

          if the country isn’t ready to elect Hillary when Donald is the other option what woman is going to actually win the presidency?

          Well, how about a woman who hasn’t personally been enriched by millions of dollars of favors from people seeking influence, didn’t have all her prominent policy initiatives end in failure, and won at least one seriously-contested election in her entire life?

          • baconbacon says:

            OK- how many of those make it to the top of the political ladder?

          • SEE says:

            OK- how many of those make it to the top of the political ladder?

            Plenty. Maggie Hassan, Jan Brewer, Janet Napolitano, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez . . .

          • baconbacon says:

            Three of those women on your list are Republicans, and one has basically left politics.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Three of those women on your list are Republicans

            Huh. Funny thing.

            So I take your objection to mean that you can’t think of any suitable Democrats either?

          • baconbacon says:

            So I take your objection to mean that you can’t think of any suitable Democrats either

            Its not that I can’t think of any, its that in tees types of exercises you have to have 10-15 names, as any one person might not really want to commit 2 years of their life running for president, or have a skeleton they don’t want brought to light, don’t want to undergo the scrutiny, might have some moderate health problem etc etc etc. This isn’t the NBA draft where every name on the list is someone basically committed to getting as good as they can at basketball.

            To many people are acting like Hillary was this fatally flawed candidate, and if we just found a woman who was X, Y and Z then she could be president, while totally overlooking the facts that many of her flaws (clinton baggage, money from banks) were also strengths (massive network of influential people, huge amounts of fundraising).

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Its not that I can’t think of any

            Come on, indulge me. Name three.

            Personally, I do believe you can, and I’d be interested to hear them. I can’t think of any myself, but I don’t know the Democratic field very well, since Hillary sucked all the oxygen out of it.

            ETA: Well, okay, probably your list would include Warren. Yuck, but okay. That still leaves two.

        • A Definite Beta Guy says:

          The GOP can certainly try to tell themselves that. It’s pretty delusional, though. The GOP has not won a popular vote since 1988, except in 2004.
          This is not a recipe for success. Eventually the Democrats will figure out how to reshape their map and demographics are still in their favor.

          If anything this suggests the Dem base is hard to hold together but that’s in large part because Hillary Clinton is so freakin’ unlikable. Even still, she might have cost herself 2-3% of the vote, which definitely doesn’t put her in, say, Goldwater territory.

          • “Eventually the Democrats will figure out how to reshape their map and demographics are still in their favor. ”

            Nonsense. For the reason I gave in my other comment, Democrats and Republicans will always each win 50% of elections, as long as the US is a two party system.

          • suntzuanime says:

            You mean somebody and somebody will win. The GOP might die of demographics and the Democrats end up losing 50% of their elections to the Partido del Trabajo.

          • Controls Freak says:

            The GOP has not won a popular vote since 1988, except in 2004.

            The popular vote tally in a system with the electoral college is not very predictive of what the popular vote would look like for some other set of victory conditions. Right now, plenty of people determine whether or not to vote based on how competitive their state is, and anyone who tells you they can model what turnout would look like in a different system comes off as a guy who said Brexit/Trump were impossible because of their models.

          • A Definite Beta Guy says:

            It’s a 2 party system with multiple election cycles. You can adopt a strategy that leads to larger turn-outs in General Election years and handicaps you in off-years, and vice-versa.
            We won’t have permanent one-party rule, but one party having a major advantage for decades is the norm, not the exception. And assuming the minority party adapts and becomes the majority party, it won’t be the same. The Republicans of 1980 were not the Republicans of 1920, and the Democrats of 1932 were DEFINITELY not the Democrats of the 1880s.

        • Deiseach says:

          2. The Dems might have shot their load 8 years early. They might have been able to generate wins with a black/hispanic/female VP and then turned that VP into the next candidate. Obama is now the bar for generating excitement within their base, there won’t be much push from “hey vote for X, their running mate is black/hispanic/female”, the seriously might have to consider ONLY nominating a minority to win in the near future (as long as Trump isn’t wildly unpopular come 2020).

          This makes me wonder – I said back in 2008 that Obama should have nominated Hillary as his VP, but he didn’t. And now I’m thinking – 2012 nominating her as VP while he’s running for his second term would have been the perfect launch pad for her in 2016. While sticking with Biden made sense (why break up a winning team?) Biden does not, to my view, seem to have done much as VP or at least hasn’t made any waves.

          Putting aside any dislike and resentment towards the Clinton campaign from 2008 when they were dog-determined to fight Obama, it’s beginning to look to me like Obama knew Hillary was tainted beyond redemption in any election for VP-before-succeeding as President. Throwing her the bone of Secretary of State was the most he could do for her. He and his campaign knew she had too much baggage and personal unpopularity for there to be a snowball in hell’s chance of her getting the job she so dearly wanted, and by associating with her it would only have dragged his campaign down.

          Anyone have any opinions on “If Michelle Obama decided to go for it in 2020”?

          • Iain says:

            Michelle Obama has consistently been on the record as a person who hates the political game and can’t wait to leave Washington. The fact that she was out giving anti-Trump speeches was an indication of how awful she thought he was, but there are absolutely no signs that she wants to run for office.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            Why would the Obamas risk their legacy, mixed as it is, by sending Michelle up to lose?

            I’ve noticed some my extreme-Hillary friends (who mocked Sanders repeatedly) are now bailing and saying “oops, shoulda stuck with Sanders.” Trump was right about America loving winners and hating losers. The Clinton legacy is toast now. The irrational love is changing to irrational hate. Gotta get out before you’re the last one holding the bag.

          • baconbacon says:

            I don’t think making Hillary VP changes much (Biden might have run had other things turned out differently and swapping him out might have basically killed one candidate while reinforcing the “Hillary next narrative which did them no favors). It isn’t like Hillary was out of the spotlight, or needed name recognition.

            Anyone have any opinions on “If Michelle Obama decided to go for it in 2020”?

            She would be an initially formidable opponent , but as I noted above you need at least several quality potential candidates to get one good one. She has to not only want to run, but also to be good at running for president.

          • keranih says:

            Anyone have any opinions on “If Michelle Obama decided to go for it in 2020”?

            …in a previous era, when one could use the label of ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ to shut down even legit criticism of an African American woman, I think she would have been a strong candidate.

            Now, though, those labels have been shown to be much less effective, and MO has 1) a dreadfully thin practical resume to run on and 2) a number of negative things (“for the first time I’m proud of my country”, health & diet nanny-state support, etc) to overcome. Most R-types I know have a better opinion of her husband than of her.

            I think she’d get more AA turnout. I think she’ll get less WWC support. How the numbers would balance out, I have no clue.

    • Deiseach says:

      Paddy Power paid out early on a Clinton win because they were convinced Hillary would do it. Even professional odds-makers got stung, so Nate Silver isn’t bad by comparison.

      Here’s how the bookies calculated the odds:

      Firstly, here’s a brief summary on how our traders have calculated the election odds to date.

      The odds for any market are initially drawn up by analysis of a number of factors.

      – Precedents for the situation and previous election data where possible
      – General opinion and expert opinion (internal or external)
      – Polling figures, where available – huge role to play in offering a snapshot of current voting intention

      Once the market is open, the changing events and updated polling figures continue to have an effect, but money placed on the runners can now be used to shape and hone the market. The market becomes, in part, an expression of the multiple investments made.

      Whilst a market is running, a poll result that represents new trend of change will normally affect the traders’ opinions and also the flow of cash

      Hindsight is great, someone hurry up and invent a time machine so I can go back and bet my shirt on a Trump win, I’ll make a fortune! 🙂

  4. Machina ex Deus says:

    So… what the hell just happened? I really, really, really thought I could predict American politics this time: Trump loses 52-48, Republicans drop two Senate seats and several House seats. I thought Nate Silver’s 35% chance of a Trump victory was eye-rollingly off, and would gladly have taken your money with a 5-to-1 bet against Trump.

    Don’t get me wrong: I hate Trump, but I hate Clinton much more; I voted for a third party. I’ve spent today dwelling on how happy Clinton losing makes me; I’ll worry about Trump winning at some point in the next ten weeks.

    Not that I have a large sample, but nobody I know who voted for Trump was happy about it. He might have much less positive support than the popular vote totals seem to indicate, let alone the Electoral College count. Or that might be me wishfully thinking that Congress can rein him in or channel him (not unlike the way Pelosi and Reid handled Obama at the beginning of his term).

    Also, I hate having to register with an email address. Or WordPress. Or whatever piece of my privacy soul I just had to sell.

    • andrewflicker says:

      There are polls showing a large number of people were voting against Clinton more than for Trump. That doesn’t mean they didn’t vote! As I posted in the open thread, turnout was quite a bit lower than the last several elections, probably because many people weren’t really happy with either candidate- but the kind of people who are more likely to vote in general are also more likely to vote for Republican candidates and/or against a Democrat.

    • suntzuanime says:

      Nobody liked Clinton as a person, and she responded to “Make America Great Again” by saying “America is Already Great”, which meant a referendum on how well things were going, and things were not going that well outside the big coastal liberal urban areas.

      • Earthly Knight says:

        and things were not going that well outside the big coastal liberal urban areas.

        According to the standard indices, the rest of the country is in good shape, too (Obama’s high approval rating presumably reflects this). 16 states that voted for Trump have unemployment rates under 5%. Crime, although it’s risen slightly over the past couple of years, is still close to 40-year lows. Illegal immigration has plummeted. Maybe there are intangible dimensions of well-being– “brown folk are a lot more uppity than they used to be,” for instance– that people think have gotten worse, but if the election were a referendum on how well tangible things are going, the democrat should have won handily.

        • Anonymous says:

          What I’ve heard is that household and corporate debt has increased substantially, but I don’t know the stats there.

        • Moon says:

          It was a referendum on how well people THINK things are going, which has been heavily influenced by Right Wing fear mongering media– plus the GOP faithful FBI kicked in too, with a terrorism warning for the very day before the election. Right Wing media convinces people that terrorists lurk around every corner, that crime is far higher than it is, and that immigrants are coming any moment now to take their job and suicide bomb them.

        • The Nybbler says:

          @EK and Moon

          You’re not going to reach any valid conclusions hiding your head in your own narrative of ignorant and deplorable Trump voters. Please, try something else.

          • Moon says:

            Yes, instead of a true narrative that is so unpopular here, maybe I should try a false conspiracy theory narrative from a Right Wing web site like Alex Jones, LOL.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Would you accept Vox? or maybe Cracked.com?

            Fact of the matter is that several traditionally Democratic strongholds, places where Obama won handily in both 2008 and 2012, broke for Trump this time around. If you aren’t willing to take a good hard look at why, you have no right to complain about other poeple’s “false conspiracy theory narratives”.

        • onyomi says:

          “According to the standard indices, the rest of the country is in good shape, too”

          What about this one?

        • John Schilling says:

          According to the standard indices, the rest of the country is in good shape, too.

          Standard indices, meet Goodhart’s law.

          16 states that voted for Trump have unemployment rates under 5%.

          Targeting “unemployment” mostly means incentivizing the government to create lots of cheap crappy dead-end jobs and move people away from traditional assistance programs to long-term disability. Tell the people on the receiving end of that treatment that their part of the country is in “good shape”, and their response might not be terribly polite. But it’s going to feel good.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            move people away from traditional assistance programs to long-term disability.

            This doesn’t seem to be a serious problem.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            the first part of that sentence, on the other hand

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is different from Supplemental Security Income (SSI). They are different programs despite the similarity of their acronyms. SSDI generally only pays people who put in enough work experience. SSI can pay to anyone.

          • baconbacon says:

            @ Earthly Knight

            Your graph is incomplete, you need also to include the numbers of people moving out of long term disability (long term isn’t synonym for permenant). I haven’t looked at those numbers for a while but irrc from 2008-2012 the number of people put onto LTD rolls only nudged up, but the number of people leaving rolls collapsed, functionally increasing the number of people on LTD by ~50% (from memory) as something like 5-7% of people normally dropped off rolls and that fell to 1-2% (again from memory).

          • Earthly Knight says:

            No apparent problem with SSI, either.

            @ baconbacon

            Do you have some kind of link? Also be sure, if you’re quoting figures from 2008-2012, that this wasn’t a short-term consequence of the recession which has since gone away on its own.

          • baconbacon says:

            @ Earthly Knight,

            I don’t have a link, i did the calculation myself several years ago and I no longer have it. I very quickly and very dirtily pulled together the information. I used a few different sites for it, and I just stuck it in an excel file so I hope I didn’t make any major mistakes. I used the 2015 report Here for the Disability rolls, I used trading economics for the population and Fred data for the working age population. AGAIN NO ONE TAKE THIS DATA TO SERIOUSLY, sloppily put together, certainly the significant figures are crap.

            in 1990 % of people on disability was 1.2%, in terms of working age population it was 1.9%. Those two had risen to 1.7% and 2.7% in 2000. and 2.6% and 4.1% in 2010 and finally 2.8% and 4.3% in 2015.

            the %s go up much faster from 2000 through 2015 if you use the LFPR as that has dropped substantially in this time.

        • nyccine says:

          According to the standard indices, the rest of the country is in good shape, too (Obama’s high approval rating presumably reflects this). 16 states that voted for Trump have unemployment rates under 5%

          I can think of no better example of what I was talking about w/r/t slavish adherence to “the experts” than this. “5% unemployment” is the U3 figure, which is blatantly bogus. Yet, because it is the “official figure,” rationalists such as yourself feel completely comfortable quoting it as gospel truth. I guess the real vision of the future was Anne Amnesia writing “The Unnecessariat,” while a well-heeled “rationalist” says “obviously that’s incorrect, BLS figures show virtual full-employment among that sector.”

          Crime, although it’s risen slightly over the past couple of years, is still close to 40-year lows.

          Yet still almost two-and-half times higher than the early 60’s. Selectively comparing current figures to when the nation had a skyrocketing crime rate is dishonest, it paints a picture that things are better than they really are. Note that the drop from the mid-90’s has apparently stalled, meaning the “new-normal” is around 370 per 100k, insanely higher than what your grandparents lived with.

          Illegal immigration has plummeted

          Because the economy isn’t as good “standard indices” claim. And, well, surely you get that there isn’t a limitless source of illegal aliens, and that rates may drop because we’ve already got them all? To say nothing of the fact that maybe there’s a problem with the ones we have that’s worth complaining about?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            The U-6 underemployment rate has also been steadily improving since the recession (it now stands around 9.5, comparable to 1997 or 2005). You say the unemployment rate is misleading, but what does it matter if the alternatives all say roughly the same thing?

            Yet still almost two-and-half times higher than the early 60’s.

            Yes, it also compares poorly to the crime rate before the fall of man. Let’s try to keep it realistic, though.

          • psmith says:

            Yes, it also compares poorly to the crime rate before the fall of man. Let’s try to keep it realistic, though.

            Can I ask why you think wanting a return to 50s crime rates is wildly unrealistic?

          • baconbacon says:

            @ Earthly knight-

            U6 fell much slower than U3 did, where as in most previous recessions they fell in concert. Secondly this happened amidst a falling LFPR, as opposed to most recoveries (not the 2002 recovery, but many others) which see increasing LFPR. The alternatives don’t say roughly the same thing, they say contradictory things.

          • jaimeastorga2000 says:

            @Earthly Knight: U-6 still doesn’t count long-term discouraged workers, only short-term discouraged workers. ShadowStats has the real numbers, and they’re not pretty.

          • Brad says:

            Re: shadow stats
            Don’t you think it is a little suspicious that the blue line is higher, but follows every little dip and raise exactly from 1994 to 2008 and then suddenly starts acting independently? The accompanying text claims it is accounting for a change in methodology that stopped counting long-term discouraged workers in 1994. Are we supposed to believe that that category of workers was an exactly fixed, never changing percentage month after month for 14 years?

    • SEE says:

      What happened? The Democrats ran Clinton, a candidate so corrupt* and disliked people like Rush Limbaugh told Republicans to vote for her in the ’08 primaries. So Trump getting fewer votes than any other Republican candidate for president in the 21st Century still wasn’t enough to sink him.

      *Yeah, yeah, never been convicted. And all Al Capone did was tax evasion, right?

      • Moon says:

        Right Wing propaganda rules. The Clintons have been bashed 24/7/365 for decades now, so badly that Hillary is being compared to Al Capone. I am sure that you actually believe that too. Propaganda, done effectively, is the most powerful force on earth.

        No, she never did anything criminal. Otherwise the Republican FBI director would certainly have brought charges against her. As it was, he simply caused her to lose the election by coming out with a non-statement that provided no information but provided raw material for Right Wing propagandists to spin negatively against Hillary, 12 days before the election.

        Right Wing propagandists make Goebbels look like a rank amateur by comparison.

        But you are right that Dems should have run a comparative unknown, instead of Hillary– like Obama was in 2008. Because he wasn’t well known, the GOP had not had time to bash him repeatedly for decades yet. Doing that really sours people on a candidate– even when the Right Wing’s accusations are totally groundless.

        We’ll see if all you Right Wingers will be thrilled with your Right Wing president. Right Wingers’ constant bashing of Hillary helped contribute to this outcome, and made it possible– even in the cases of those of you who didn’t vote for Trump.

        • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

          You forgot to blame Ayn Rand.

          • Moon says:

            As you probably know, I am barred by Scott from mentioning that name under threat of banning.

            Religions/ideologies are used as justifications of political practices, but they are not the real reason for the political practices. The real reason for Right Wing propaganda is to serve the needs and whims of the .01% and get paid well for doing so.

            But hey, I was talking about propaganda. And the 2000 page book Scott told me to read and write a book report on, if I wanted to ever name the author again, is quite a work of propaganda, actually inspired by Soviet propaganda– but just propaganda for the opposite extreme of the economic spectrum. Both extremes are rather insane.

            I already read that book, years ago, and I deeply regret it, and certainly will never read it again. In fact, I sure wish I could have back the hours of my life that I spent reading it.

          • Moon says:

            In fact, it’s propaganda specialized for naive vulnerable adolescents, complete with sex scenes. Rather effective stuff, for people who are physically or emotionally adolescents.

          • hlynkacg says:

            As you probably know, I am barred by Scott from mentioning that name under threat of banning.

            As I recall, you may absolve yourself of that restriction by writing a book report.

            @ Cerebral Paul Z

            Don’t be shitty.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            One HeelBearCub is plenty, thanks very much.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Well, sadly, there’s 0 HBCs in this comment section currently, so we’ll have to do with his non-union Borderer equivalent.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Morning class, HBC couldn’t come in today so I will be your substitute Nudge, now if you’ll open your browsers to OT 62.25…

            😛

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Cerebral Paul Z – “One HeelBearCub is plenty, thanks very much.”

            With respect, I would prefer a lot more than one.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I say we need two HeelBearCubs! No, fifty HeelBearCubs!

            (Joke aside, yes).

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            For the record, I knew that Jill was threatened with banning, but not that Moon was Jill. The absence of the usual Norm Ornstein link threw me off.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Dndnrsn – Is this like Cedrics Diggory? HeelsBearCub?

          • a non mouse says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            http://www.theonion.com/article/william-safire-orders-two-whoppers-junior-3351

            Actually the reference was to this:

            Okay, back up. Suppose you went back to Stalinist Russia and you said “You know, people just don’t respect Comrade Stalin enough. There isn’t enough Stalinism in this country! I say we need two Stalins! No, fifty Stalins!”

            Congratulations. You have found a way to criticize the government in Stalinist Russia and totally get away with it. Who knows, you might even get that cushy professorship.

            If you “criticize” society by telling it to keep doing exactly what it’s doing only much much more so, society recognizes you as an ally and rewards you for being a “bold iconoclast” or “having brave and revolutionary new ideas” or whatever. It’s only when you tell them something they actually don’t want to hear that you get in trouble.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            I suppose it depends on how the word is constructed. If it’s “Heel, Bear Cub” like “Soda, Large” then it would be Heels.

          • Deiseach says:

            Moon is Jill? Aw, rats! I was hoping we had another blue-to-the-core person coming on here commenting, because although the tune was the same, it would be some diversity and I don’t mean this in a sense of mockery.

            The only thing we can achieve is to hear one another, even if the positions are entrenched. Hillary’s loss shows that considering “it’s completely unthinkable the likes of the opposition can ever get anywhere near real accomplishment” leaves everyone with egg on their faces when the unthinkable gets thunk.

          • Chevalier Mal Fet says:

            Moon refers to ‘Right Wing propaganda’ all the time, did you guys think there could be two such posters here, in our benighted days of conservative comment dominance?

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            As far as I can tell there’s a limitless number of such people out there. If you made an audiobook of my Facebook feed from this week, it would be audible only to bats.

          • keranih says:

            For what it’s worth, I think that Jill-as-Moon has been marginally better than Jill-as-Jill, and that she is definitely expressing a more complete awareness of the SSC commentary than she did on the first couple weeks that she was here.

        • SEE says:

          Congratulations, I’d have to rate that a good 900 milliBlighters.

        • AnonEEmous says:

          Let’s start here, with the misunderstanding of analogy: Al Capone’s quality, referred to here, was that he was convicted only of a very small crime, but had many more crimes we all knew he was guilty of.

          Should Hillary be compared to him in terms of breadth and depth of crimes? Not quite. But the point is, we know she was guilty, despite her not being convicted. If you want to equivocate more powerfully, go ahead and do so, but it’s a good comparison.

          Let’s start with whether or not she was a criminal. According to the State Department, Obama e-mailed Hillary on her private server; said e-mails have been withheld due to “executive privilege”. That’s a government press release, hardly the stuff of right-wing conspiracies. From the transcripts of the FBI investigation of Huma Abedin, we know that, apparently, Obama was using a psuedonym, one Huma didn’t immediately recognize. That’s another government release of government documents, nothing conspiratorial either. Oh, Obama also claimed to have heard about Hillary’s e-mail server by watching the evening news programs. After his e-mails were revealed, he stated that he meant only the details of the setup itself.

          So at face value, and here comes the “conspiracy” bit: it looks like Obama knew what was going on wasn’t precisely on the up-and-up, right? He said he knew nothing of it and only amended that statement after being caught e-mailing her, and he did so under a psuedonym. Do you really think that he would wish Comey to indict Hillary, knowing that this would sink his legacy? Would progressive elites and wide-eyed college kids still be willing to give him his due after this all came out in the press, and of course after Trump was elected (Hillary would’ve lost easily if an indictment came down). Meanwhile, Loretta Lynch is Comey’s direct-line superior, and Obama appointed her. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she may have pressured Comey, who was even appointed by Obama himself, into letting what happened slide.

          I could go on, and on, and on.

          There’s also the question of why on earth Anthony Weiner had any access to such classified government information. Then again, reports have come out that Hillary’s maid had access to it as well, printing it out for Hillary. Wonder if she had a smartphone on her? Maybe she took a couple pictures of anything juicy, you know, for posterity?

          Bernie only got more popular the more he was known, and he polled well against every Republican, better than Hillary. Moreover, he wasn’t beset by scandal, and he wasn’t in danger of collapsing at a 9/11 memorial, as Hillary so notably did. Get out of your bubble and come meet the real world, because you did this to yourself.

    • Moon says:

      Machina, you answered your own question. “I hate Trump, but I hate Clinton much more.” Right Wing propaganda from Fox, Drudge, Breitbart, Right Wing radio– and from Right Wing writers on liberal and neutral news sites too– caused tons of people to think exactly as you are thinking. Propaganda rules the world.

      In this election, people didn’t really vote for someone. They voted against someone. And since half the country has been convinced that all Dems are creatures from the black lagoon and criminals as well, that’s who most votes were against.

      I don’t know what happened with Scott, that he didn’t vote Trump. Perhaps he doesn’t consume as much Right Wing news as most people on this site do.

      • AnonEEmous says:

        Did you ever consider that someone could’ve come to this conclusion without the addition of “right-wing propaganda”?

        Here’s a take: Hillary Clinton stated: It’s good to have a private and a public position.

        And the counter-take you will no doubt utter: Yeah, in order to get good stuff accomplished, like Lincoln! Are you even paying attention?

        Yes, I am. And what frightens me more than anything is a president who is clearly incompetent, but thinks that they need to secretly propagate their ideas while lying about it. Meanwhile, she’s a champion flip-flopper outside of this quote as well.

        “Incompetent? Hillary So Qualified!”

        If nothing else, the e-mail scandal conclusively proved that Hillary is incompetent enough to put herself in a situation where the FBI was investigating her for a year, culminating in the head of the FBI stating that “if we thought she had intent, she would be in jail”. Yeah, that’s competence. In the middle of an election, no less. And look at Libya, which per Obama defense secretary Robert Gates she was the deciding vote for. Look at Iraq, which she was still into way after it wasn’t cool to be any more. I could go on.

        • rlms says:

          Who are the politicians you think always speak their mind and never say things they don’t fully believe? They sound delightful.

      • Deiseach says:

        And since half the country has been convinced that all Dems are creatures from the black lagoon and criminals as well, that’s who most votes were against.

        And half the country was convinced that quarter of the country was a basket of deplorable “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”

        Propaganda was flowing like sewage from both sides.

      • Doctor Mist says:

        And since half the country has been convinced that all Dems are creatures from the black lagoon and criminals as well

        I promise you: I live in a deep blue state and almost all of my closest friends are Democrats. I do not believe they are monsters or criminals.

        Hillary, however, is an entirely different matter. She is both, and I’ve thought so for decades. Had there been a snowball’s chance that she could possibly lose my state, I’d have voted Trump in a heartbeat with no regrets. As it is, I was able to vote against both with a clear conscience.

  5. Wander says:

    What’s been the most interesting thing for me is seeing lots of people who had presented themselves as impartial and above this whole thing now suddenly coming out as apparent Clinton supporters. Apparently, for a large number it was only possible to pretend to not care if you secretly supported Hillary and assumed she would win.

  6. FacelessCraven says:

    Ain’t that a hell of a thing?

    Money quote from last night: “Data is dead.” After Brexit, a great deal was written about how the voters ignored or were actively hostile toward expert opinion. It seems increasingly clear to me that in politics, economics, policy, and a variety of other fields centered around messy human behavior, expert opinion simply does not exist.

    The best part about a Trump victory is the damage done to the Republican establishment. Finally, the Bush Dynasty and the Neocons are done. To hell with them.

    Clinton was a disastrously bad candidate. Bernie could have won this. Of my three closest friends and I, one stayed home, one voted Stein, and two of us voted Trump; all but me would have voted Bernie, and I would have been sorely tempted.

    I’ve argued at length with several posters here that Social Justice is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, not just an annoyance restricted to universities and Tumblr. This election, the total failure to accurately measure the pro-trump movement, and the currently ongoing meltdown of Progressives seem like further arguments for my position. Social Justice burned the tools and strategies needed to destroy Trump fighting dreadlocks on white people and boobies in video games. Worse, it has destroyed the left’s ability to relate to or engage with anyone who disagrees with them. There are a whole lot of people in this country who don’t buy into progressive ideology, more than anyone expected, and like it or not they get a say in how society works. Hoping they magically disappear is not a viable strategy, and neither is trying to make them disappear using social attacks.

    There is actually a hell of a lot of common ground available, ripe for development. We can actually improve things, maybe by a whole lot. Up till now, the left has taken the attitude that they have all the cards and that compromise is beneath them. If the Right follows suit now that we’re on top, we’ll deserve our inevitable losses.

    The Supreme Court still doesn’t matter. We’re still post-Constitution.

    • Wander says:

      The thing about expert opinion and the “post fact” era (as much as I hate that term) we’re in is that it’s all soft sciences or things that aren’t even that. As you said, “messy human behaviour”, but the way the media (in my scope, mainly the Guardian) talks about this stuff is as if voters are denying absolute truths of the universe being handed down to them by philosopher kings. If having a degree in international studies and working for a thinktank makes you an expert, I can see why no one gives a damn about what they say.

    • Ilya Shpitser says:

      Data isn’t dead. We need better models. For example:

      http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-daybreak-poll-questions-20161013-snap-story.html

      When people say the daybreak poll “went further” with weighting, what they mean is they adjusted for more confounders (baseline characteristics of poll responders). This reduces bias (less confounding) but increases variance (less data on each stratum, so we are more sensitive to what we see — for example one African American Trump supporter would periodically show up and heavily skew estimated Trump support in that subgroup).

      Bias/variance is a fundamental tradeoff in statistics. It is not easy to navigate it, especially if you cannot use cross-validation methods to check how well you are doing (which you cannot do in polling analysis since you do not have access to the true population distribution). The daybreak poll navigated this tradeoff better than most other polls (since in this case it seems it was more important to deal with bias). And so predicted Trump support much better.

      This stuff is hard, I think we should all go easy on poll analysts.

      • FacelessCraven says:

        @Ilya Shpitser – “Data isn’t dead. We need better models.”

        I understand that there’s always a margin for error, that a 70% chance isn’t the same as a certainty, and that it’s better to be wrong for the right reasons than right for the wrong ones. That being said, I’ve spent the last year using 538 as the gold standard for following the election. When was the last time Silver called something correctly?

        • John Schilling says:

          If by “called something correctly” you mean “ascribed a >50% probability to something that ultimately happened”, I believe he called GOP control of the House and Senate as of his last pre-election polling analysis.

          I don’t follow his sports predictions, but understand he still has a pretty good

        • Ilya Shpitser says:

          What Silver is doing is really really hard. It’s an entirely different ballgame than (for example) learning to recognize if an image contains porn. (Because you can test how well your model does for the latter by just giving it lots of training data, but not the former, because the distribution you are interested in is not available).

          In general causal and missing data problems rely on untestable assumptions. People try very hard to do a good job on those, but it’s difficult, especially if assumptions from 4 years ago and assumptions now changed.

          Please don’t hero worship Silver, he’s just a smart guy trying to solve a hard problem, he’s not a superhero or a wizard.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            Again, I get that… but the narrative for the last year wasn’t “the country is pretty much evenly divided and elections are a tossup”, it was “Demographics have doomed the Republican party for the forseeable future; Hillary is going to win, and the GOP will probably never hold the presidency again.”

            I bought into that narrative, and so did a whole lot of other people. Apparently it was garbage. Why should I believe the next narrative? What is actually going on in this country?

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            For whatever it’s worth, the guy who postulated the emerging democratic demographic advantage disavowed it a long while ago.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            I am not sure what’s going on.

            But the lesson I am taking away re: “narratives” is this: empiricism is the answer. Data and data analysis, and less listening to innumerate journalists and pundits. Empiricism is hard for social science and economics, though. But it’s the only way.

          • suntzuanime says:

            I dunno which Nate Silver you were reading that said “Demographics have doomed the Republican party for the forseeable future; Hillary is going to win, and the GOP will probably never hold the presidency again.” Nate Silver’s prediction bounced around, but averaged around a 1/3 chance of a Trump victory. 1/3 chances come up reasonably often.

            Now, some people gave Trump a 1/100 chance, and you might be wise never to listen to them again, but that’s not Nate Silver.

    • Iain says:

      To the extent that “Social Justice” denotes a real group, and to the extent that said group preferred a candidate in the primaries, that candidate was overwhelmingly Bernie. I think that this site’s ridiculous obsessions with “SJWs” is one of its largest blemishes, but Bernie was absolutely the universities + Tumblr candidate. It’s easy to see him with rose-tinted glasses, because he never had to go through the crucible of the general election (and Clinton was far enough ahead for most of the primary that she never really went all-out against him). In retrospect it seems likely that he would have done better in the Rust Belt – but given the voting patterns in the primaries, I don’t think it’s safe to assume that he would have won all the states that Clinton did win. Black voters went for her overwhelmingly in the primaries.

      It’s easy to generalize from our own personal desires and assume that a candidate that we liked better would also have done better across America. That doesn’t mean it’s true.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        To the extent that “Social Justice” denotes a real group, and to the extent that said group preferred a candidate in the primaries, that candidate was overwhelmingly Bernie. I think that this site’s ridiculous obsessions with “SJWs” is one of its largest blemishes, but Bernie was absolutely the universities + Tumblr candidate.

        He might’ve been, but that didn’t stop the term “Berniebro” from appearing, with the suggestion that Bern Victims were suspiciously white and male.

        • The Nybbler says:

          The “Berniebro” thing was obviously a Clinton campaign tactic (probably developed with the connivance of Jessica Valenti, who was in the tank for them). A lot of SJWs were put off by it, but not all, and once Bernie conceded, the SJWs pushing the Berniebro thing stopped.

      • lvlln says:

        FWIW, this doesn’t match my memory of the Bernie vs. Hillary primary fight at all. Bernie was the (old white cis) male candidate supported by a bunch of “Bernie Bros” who harassed feminists online because they found threatening or distasteful the idea of an (old white cis) female POTUS. He was excoriated for trying to stop BLM from interrupting his rally and for trying to focus on issues of wealth and class instead of issues that really mattered like race and sex.

        Not that Hillary was the ideal SJW candidate, mind you, but she at least was the candidate of racial minorities (and I believe this was largely accurate – Bernie never had as much support among them (us), and I do believe he would have also lost vs Trump because of that lack of support, even if he might have gotten some more Trump voters to turn his way), and she was quite loudly playing the “woman card,” in her own words.

        Both are clearly the “universities + Tumblr candidate” when compared to Trump or any Republican, but when you compare Bernie to Hillary, I think Hillary was just as clearly the “universities + Tumblr candidate,” not Bernie.

        • Iain says:

          Bernie was the Tumblr+university candidate in that he had the support of people on Tumblr and at universities. He was by far the most popular candidate among hip, liberal young people. Depending on your personal definition of social justice, that may or may prove my case; as I said above, I think the “SJW” label is actively detrimental to clear thinking in this community, but if you want to draw the boundaries of social justice in a different way, I will not argue with you.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            Bernie was the candidate that was actually popular, full stop. He was also the candidate you could oppose without being an -ist, whereas opposition to Hillary was framed as proof of -ism pretty much from the start.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            As I said above, I’m not doubting this, however, as mentioned, SJ concepts were used by Clinton supporters to attack him, and I saw a lot of people within SJ circles to buy into this narrative.

            I guess it’s just part of what’s scary about SJ.

          • Brad says:

            You don’t think a campaign between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would have been full to the brim of accusations of antisemitism? Clinton isn’t even Jewish and that happened.

            Personally I don’t want to hear about antisemitism or accusations of antisemitism, and so I’m sort of glad for that reason that match up didn’t occur.

            Plus I’m unconvinced he would have done any better. He may well have gotten some votes that Clinton didn’t, but he also would have lost some she got. Hard to say how that works out.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Yeah, I’m not in the Bernie Counterfactual Hype Train either, I mean, he couldn’t even beat Clinton in the primary.

            The problem is who would actually have won? The field was thin. Biden, probably, but he didn’t show up (for perfectly understandable reasons). Maybe Webb could have been actually syphoned the anti-Trump Republican votes (having been one himself)? Would a replacement level Democrat like Carcetti been enough to win? Who even was the other guy?

        • axiomsofdominion says:

          This was the portrayal, especially by the liberal media who we have now seen were functionally colluding with Clinton in the primary. But Clinton was being demolished among young women just as much as young men and Sanders was winning the black under 30 vote and the hispanic one as well in his good states. He also was winning Muslims, Indians, Asians, and Native Americans. Clinton’s minority leads were primarily driven by conservative older black voters. Remember that with 90%+ of the black population voting Dem because of racial issues that means that even if 40% of blacks are more conservative/religious, compared with 60% of whites who vote Republican, that’s a massive block Clinton as a southern religious old establishment player has to add to her totals.

          • Clinton’s minority leads were primarily driven by conservative older black voters.

            Yes. Remember that in places like Detroit, a very large proportion of the actual voter turnout (especially in non-presidential elections and primaries) are very religious, churchgoing older women.

          • Deiseach says:

            even if 40% of blacks are more conservative/religious, compared with 60% of whites who vote Republican, that’s a massive block Clinton as a southern religious old establishment player has to add to her totals

            And she possibly may have lost it, due to the progressivism being played up by the “Hillary stands with Planned Parenthood” messaging to appeal to those young college-educated women. At least, if that “Irish Times” article on North Carolina was any way accurate, canvassing the opinions of members of a black church:

            “It seems like the eyes of the world are on North Carolina, ” Bishop Patrick L Wooden Sr tells his congregation in the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, an African-American church in Raleigh.

            The minister, known for his vehement and often controversial anti-LGBT views, explains that there are journalists from Ireland and Canada in the house.

            …Wooden tells the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den in his sermon. He draws an analogy between King Darius being tricked by rivals into condemning Daniel to death and how Barack Obama convinced black voters to support him because they shared the same colour only to later force them to go against their religious beliefs after he flipped his support in favour of same-sex marriage.

            …Afterwards, in the calm of his office, Wooden tells The Irish Times why he thinks African-Americans have been shortchanged by Obama, why they are not supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton this time around in anything like the numbers and why he is voting for Trump.

            “We have a serious case of buyers’ remorse. The facts bear out that we are not better eight years later,” he says, referring to housing, arrests, employment and education. The LGBT community and Hispanic Americans have been treated better by Obama than African-Americans, he claims.

            “We have seen a man who, by and large, has turned his back on his most faithful constituency,” he says.

            They turned out for Obama because he was African-American. An Establishment white woman looking for – or rather, taking their vote for granted – may have got just enough of the backlash about unhappiness with gay marriage and abortion rights to lose a share of votes that the campaign (and party) calculated was in the bag, because where else were they going to go? I imagine a lot of them just stayed home and didn’t vote.

          • axiomsofdominion says:

            Yes that is a large part of what happened. I’m not sure that was enough votes to flip the race back to her but it certainly didn’t help. Since Sanders was even worse on those issues she still pulled those votes in the primary but didn’t get Obama totals in the general.

    • mtraven says:

      Clinton was a disastrously bad candidate. Bernie could have won this. Of my three closest friends and I, one stayed home, one voted Stein, and two of us voted Trump; all but me would have voted Bernie, and I would have been sorely tempted.

      Forgive me for saying this, and I only say it because I know everyone here is smart at some level — you and your friends are idiots who don’t understand how politics and elections work. And thanks to people like you, we will now have four years of Trump. How this could be a desirable goal for someone who likes Bernie is beyond me, and Bernie himself gave clear directions to his supporters.

      • FacelessCraven says:

        @mtraven – “How this could be a desirable goal for someone who likes Bernie is beyond me, and Bernie himself gave clear directions to his supporters.”

        Given the reaction across America this morning, it appears to be beyond quite a few other people as well. If you’d like to understand it better, I’d be happy to try to explain, but in short, there’s a difference between liking and supporting Bernie, and being willing to follow his instructions to the letter. I voted Trump instead.

        If this seems inexplicable to you, I urge you to consider that maybe things are more complicated than the current narrative is painting them.

        • mtraven says:

          Feel free to explain your reasoning. I promise not to criticize it here, unless you want me to. I would really like to understand.

          • A Definite Beta Guy says:

            You just called him an idiot and expect him to explain himself?

          • mtraven says:

            He offered.

            And let me rephrase: I don’t think anyone here is an idiot, but supporting Trump seems idiotic to me, so I am, as respectfully as I can, asking people to explain their reasoning to me. Furthermore, I promise to refrain from counterarguments here unless specifically asked for them.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @A Definate Beta Guy – I appreciate the thought, but it’s cool.

            @mtraven – No offense taken at all, and I’m happy to expound. This comes pretty close to being comprehensive, and is currently a massively popular sticky on r/thedonald. I recommend reading it.

            In my own words, though, I’m sick of the Republican establishment. I loath their support for Bush’s wars, for the spying and the torture, for their pandering to Christians just enough to get us in trouble without ever accomplishing anything of value. After the market crash and the recession, I no longer buy their dogma about deregulation and the benevolent hand of the market.

            The Democrats aren’t a whole lot better. Obama was a hell of a lot less awful than Bush, but not actually enough better to really turn things around. The ACA was a trainwreck, the drone strikes go on and on, we’re still picking fights with Russia and Hillary torched Libya and with it much of the middle east. The spying is still going on, and likely the torture too under whatever cutouts give them just enough plausible deniability to pretend it’s not happening. Meanwhile, Social Justice is eating our whole society alive.

            I’m sick of living under the Bush/Clinton consensus, where nothing ever gets fixed and every year things get just a bit worse. I’m sick of Democrats and Republicans you can’t tell apart. I’m sick of the old Moral Majority culture war, and I’m sick of the new Social Justice culture war. I’m sick of Clintons and Bushes and more Clintons and more Bushes. To hell with all of them.

            Trump is a scumbag, but I’ve long since given up hope of a non-scumbag president. Unlike the linked poster, I do not hold him in very high regard, and I do not much care what happens to him. He is a tool to be used. Already he has done the inestimable service of ending the Bush and Clinton dynasties, hopefully forever, and he’s arguably dealt a mortal wound to the Social Justice consensus as well. Whatever positive he can achieve from this point on is gravy, as far as I’m concerned. If he’s impeached, that’s a win too; I’m sick of politicians being above the law.

            I appreciate that you undoubtedly loath Trump, and I doubt I can change your mind on that. I sincerely believe that if your party had nominated Bernie, you would have very likely won this election. I probably would have still voted Trump to do as much damage to the Republican establishment as possible, but quite a few of my friends who didn’t vote or voted third party or voted Trump would have voted for Bernie instead. Your leaders put you in this position, and you should deal with them accordingly.

            I don’t really take these discussions personally, or at least try not to, so feel free to shoot back any criticism or questions you like.

          • mtraven says:

            Thanks for the reply. What I am seeing is that people are in genuine pain and have a load of rage, justified and otherwise, at the established powers that be. That՚s understandable, to an extent. And you can՚t argue with pain.

            But I thought people here are supposed to be rationalists, who are supposed to be able to transcend emotional reactions with the application of fact and reason. And none of the justifications being given for supporting Trump survives even a cursory application of rationality. Below I pick on some of your points and those of the post you linked, although I՚m not sure why I am even bothering at this point.

            But the upshot is that a Trump presidency is almost guaranteed to make your pain and everybody else՚s far, far worse. So, enjoy the momentary rush of good feelings you have from sticking it to the man. You let a con-artist exploit your pain, and now we all have to suffer.

            – I’m sick of the Republican establishment. I loath their support for Bush’s wars, for the spying and the torture,

            Trump is in the process of installing some of the worst elements of the existing Republican establishment, and is on record as favoring increases in the use of torture.

            – The Democrats aren’t a whole lot better. Obama was a hell of a lot less awful than Bush…

            You are contradicting yourself in the space of a single line.

            – The ACA was a trainwreck

            The ACA was a compromise, the best that could be accomplished by Democrats in the face of Republican opposition. How does it make sense to empower the opposition to get rid of it entirely?

            From the reddit post you linked:

            – He [Obama] was given near complete power to bring change and what he brought us was a hamfisted attempt at health-care reform that he didn’t understand and we didn’t want.

            The idea that Obama had “complete power to bring change” is ludicrously and obviously wrong.

            – We are tired of being undisputably the single most powerful nation to ever exist on this Earth and yet not being able to win the wars that corporations, industries, and oligarchs get us into because our leaders want to pretend war is an opportunity to be culturally sensitive and play nice

            This sentiment seems confused, and I don՚t have time to analyze it, but it՚s obviously calling for more brutality, which somehow the “corporations, industries, and oligarchs” are not providing even though they are the ones who get us into wars.

            – Then a man we’ve known for decades shows up and decides to speak up for us – and you call him racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamaphobic, arachnaphobic and whatever else. But he speaks to us and for us. And you try to shut him up.

            Trump was “shut up” to the extent that he got basically 24-hour-a-day free coverage of every stupid thing he said. And he is undeniably sexist and Islamaphobic and racist, how could anybody deny this?

          • John Schilling says:

            But the upshot is that a Trump presidency is almost guaranteed to make your pain and everybody else՚s far, far worse.

            For the next four years, or the next forty?

          • The original Mr. X says:

            The ACA was a compromise, the best that could be accomplished by Democrats in the face of Republican opposition.

            Wasn’t the ACA passed without any Republican votes?

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            It was a compromise in the Obama sense, i.e. “We’ll settle for only half of what we want, in return for which you get nothing.”

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @mtraven – “But the upshot is that a Trump presidency is almost guaranteed to make your pain and everybody else՚s far, far worse.”

            If I were confident that were true, I would not have voted for him.

            “So, enjoy the momentary rush of good feelings you have from sticking it to the man. You let a con-artist exploit your pain, and now we all have to suffer.”

            If you are correct about Trump, I am fairly confident that he will destroy the Republican party long-term. That is also an acceptable outcome to me, certainly a better one than the gradual decay created by the ineffectual, venal establishment that has controlled the party for the last few decades. I think the entire country would be better off with the Republican party dying tomorrow than with a Jeb Bush or a Cruz presidency.

            “Trump is in the process of installing some of the worst elements of the existing Republican establishment, and is on record as favoring increases in the use of torture.”

            We’ll see about the establishment. I am rather discomfited that the Republicans won so decisively. As for the torture, at this point it’s an isolated demand for rigor. It appalls me that our government crossed that line. Having crossed it, I’m not going to side with them against their enemy because he crosses it too.

            “You are contradicting yourself in the space of a single line.”

            No, I’m not. Obama himself has been a pretty okay president, certainly compared to Bush, but he’s only slowed trends down, not stopped or reversed them, and in the meantime his tribe have cooked up whole new genres of awful.

            “The ACA was a compromise, the best that could be accomplished by Democrats in the face of Republican opposition. How does it make sense to empower the opposition to get rid of it entirely?”

            At the end of the day, the plan he pushed through has not actually fixed our fucked-up system. Maybe that’s the Republicans’ fault, though it’s hard to understand how the website fuckups and the massive rate spikes are the fault of an obstructionist congress, but at the end of the day the ACA failed to fix our healthcare.

            “The idea that Obama had “complete power to bring change” is ludicrously and obviously wrong.”

            I would agree.

            “This sentiment seems confused, and I don՚t have time to analyze it, but it՚s obviously calling for more brutality, which somehow the “corporations, industries, and oligarchs” are not providing even though they are the ones who get us into wars.”

            If you are going to fight, fight like you mean it. If you aren’t willing to fight like you mean it, you shouldn’t be fighting at all. Put another way, the belief in “humane” warfare vastly increases the death-toll and misery for everyone involved. I would put myself in about 75% agreement with that sentiment.

            “Trump was “shut up” to the extent that he got basically 24-hour-a-day free coverage of every stupid thing he said.”

            I do not buy the narrative that the media “made” Trump, at least not intentionally. They actively and desperately tried to destroy him; that free coverage consisted of people comparing him to Hitler ad nauseum, or writing the 200th article about what a clown he was and how his campaign was surely finished. That coverage is exactly why I started supporting him, since he was doing such an amazing job of distressing the media and the politicos, both of which I despise.

            “And he is undeniably sexist and Islamaphobic and racist, how could anybody deny this?”

            Sexism, [x]phobia and racism are terms that no longer have any meaning beyond “I don’t like this person”. Trump actually did pretty damn well with women, baring the racial angle. Racism is what people call it when a white guy wears dreadlocks. These terms have been used up. There is no punch left in them.

            [EDIT] – I don’t doubt you are honestly worried about how bad a Trump presidency will be. Would you care to make predictions about specific disasters you think might develop as a result of his four years in office?

          • onyomi says:

            I am genuinely interested to hear more about this “ACA was a compromise” theory, which is extremely common, and which I had mostly sort of accepted myself: given that the GOP fought the ACA tooth and nail–seemingly as hard as humanly possible, and instructed their voters to punish Obama as hard as they possibly could for it, especially in the midterms, which they did, and given that they did pass it without and GOP votes, in what sense was it a “compromise”? Or “not perfect, but the best we can do right now”?

            The only answer I can come up with is that it was a compromise within the Democratic Party, not between the Dems and the GOP. Which seems obvious now that I think about it, but seemingly much less often explored in terms of its implications?

            People have spent the years since ACA debating the rift in the GOP–between Tea Party populists and neoliberal elites… but maybe the same split was already developing even before that, to some extent, in the Democratic Party, long before the Bernie Bro?

          • suntzuanime says:

            It was an acausally negotiated compromise. Don’t implement the full terrors of your plan in order that, in the counterfactual world in which your enemies won, they will not implement the full terrors of theirs.

            “restraint” is maybe a more usual term.

          • onyomi says:

            I am thinking something a bit more cynical: how many campaign contributions would have been lost had insurance companies been cut out of the sweet government deal by e. g. a public option?

          • BBA says:

            The ACA was a compromise between the Democratic Party and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

            (This is a joke, but also serious. The huge unruly mess of a bill was the result of the Democratic Party’s negotiations with its own right flank to avoid a filibuster. Lieberman in particular, who had won his most recent election on the ticket of his eponymous “party” after losing a primary, was a major thorn in the side of the process.)

          • onyomi says:

            Confirms my suspicion that the “moderates” of both parties, like Lieberman and McCain, are the real fascists. Why pick just warfare or welfare, nationalism or socialism, when you can have both? Sometimes they do something stupid and evil, and that’s what we call bipartisanship, etc.

          • mtraven says:

            “If you are correct about Trump, I am fairly confident that he will destroy the Republican party long-term.”

            I thought that was going to be the case before the election; now instead of destroying it he՚s taken it over when it՚s in a position of great strength, and I can՚t see any reason why it՚s going to lose power or votes due to Trump, if his horrible behavior didn՚t lose him this election.

            “Obama himself has been a pretty okay president, certainly compared to Bush, but he’s only slowed trends down, not stopped or reversed them, and in the meantime his tribe have cooked up whole new genres of awful.”

            The only relevant question is not whether Obama (or Clinton or anyone) meets your standard of perfection, its whether they will govern in a way closer to perfection than their opponent. You seem to expect presidents to be God or Santa Clause, reversing trends through the sheer strength of his will. But he՚s a politician leading a coalition and bound by all sorts of constraints. He can fairly be judged on how he performed within those constraints (pretty well IMO) but even that is irrelevant to the electoral choice, which is expected future performance relative to the alternative.

            The points people are making about the ACA are valid to a degree (the compromise was not with Republicans, I was wrong about that) but that is irrelevant to my point, which was that Obama did the best he could do given the constraints of power, and you are mad at him for not somehow exceeding the bounds of the possible,

            And so in what seems to me like a tantrum, your type decided to hand the reins of power over to someone far worse. Do you see how immature and insane that sounds? How absolutely opposed to anything remotely rational?

            “If you are going to fight, fight like you mean it. If you aren’t willing to fight like you mean it, you shouldn’t be fighting at all.”

            And how many wars have you fought in that you are so confident of your pronouncements on military deployments? How many has your hero Trump fought in? IOW, there may be problems with the current theory of military force, but the one outline by Trump and his supporters sounds like it was dreamed up by a six-year old playing in the backyard.

            “Sexism, [x]phobia and racism are terms that no longer have any meaning beyond “I don’t like this person”.”

            Horseshit. They may be overused, that doesn՚t mean they have lost their meaning or they don՚t clearly and obviously apply to Trump.

            “Would you care to make predictions about specific disasters you think might develop as a result of his four years in office?”

            Oh jeeze, the possibilities are endless:
            – packing the supreme court with rightwing shitheels,
            – leading to loss of voting rights, free speech rights, abortion rights, and god knows what else
            – repealing ACA leading to the loss of health insurance for millions of people
            – unleashing and empowering fascists and nazis and the KKK (already happening)
            – collapse of NATO and other international treaties
            – increased tensions with Mexico, China, Turkey, and probably everywhere else
            – nuclear proliferation
            – continued inaction on climate change
            – gutting the EPA and other regulatory bodies
            – use of the FBI and other government bodies to pursue personal vendettas

            That՚s just off the top of my head. But really, who knows? The man is a complete ignoramus about basically everything, and he’s surrounding himself with the worst of the worst. This could go anywhere. The BEST we can hope for is that he’ll attract some of the corrupt militaristic kleptocrats that made up the Bush administration, they may have gotten us into Iraq at a cost of several trillion dollars, but at least they are marginally sane and a teeny bit competent….can’t believe I am saying this…but yes, as unimaginably bad as Bush was, this is very likely to be an order of magnitude worse, and that is really beyond the range of my imagination.

          • Iain says:

            The Democrats spent a long time negotiating to get Olympia Snowe and other moderate Republican senators on board. It wasn’t until Mitch McConnell made it clear that he would punish any senators who voted in favour that the Democrats gave up and pushed it through – and the whole negotiation process was necessary to convince the conservative wing of the Democrats (Lieberman, Nelson, Pryor, Blanche Lincoln, and so on) that the bipartisan approach wouldn’t work. Here’s an article from Norm Ornstein (of the American Enterprise Institute).

            In other words: the ACA was initially negotiated with Republicans, and the failure of those negotiations became part of the negotiations within the Democratic party.

          • A Definite Beta Guy says:

            Obama expanded executive powers and escalated the drone wars to levels beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. These are not restrictions by Congress, these are executive choices.

            The Democrats could have nuked the filibuster to pass the ACA. They already nuked it for appellate appointees.

            Obama banked that ACA would create its own interest group that would make it unassailable, like Medicare or Social Security. This was ENTIRELY wrong, and it was wrong not because “Joe Lieberman is a meanie pants,” it’s wrong because he has extraordinarily poor intuitions about the actual functioning of markets.
            Instead the ACA is a COMPLETE disaster, and it is likely to die a painful death barring divine intervention: even if Trump wanted to save the exchanges, he can’t, because he is not the God Emperor of Mankind.
            And again that’s not because Congress: There are ways to make an ACA that doesn’t suck. Joe Lieberman didn’t make the computer system fail.

            Obama was a horrible, feckless President, and he will have no legacy. Trump is a high variance choice and at least has a chance of draining the swamp. Same with Bernie.

            Hillary making real change is just absurd on its face.

            Note: I am a moderate Republican that likes Dubya, and think Bernie is a commie, so I cannot properly explain the viewpoint of a Bern-out supporting Trump.

            But it’s real damn easy to see why you would think Obama is a failure, even given his constraints.

          • “And he is undeniably sexist and Islamaphobic and racist, how could anybody deny this?”

            I don’t think he is *undeniably* any of those things. He’s a demagogue. He said the things that he thought would win him the nomination and the election, and they did. That tells us that he is willing to say those things but tells us very little about what he actually believes.

            Perhaps we use words differently. Suppose you concluded that he had no sexist, racist, or islamophobic beliefs. Would the fact that he was willing to say sexist, racist and islamophobic things in order to get votes make you describe him as sexist, racist and Islamophobic? Or only as unscrupulous?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @mtraven – “The BEST we can hope for is that he’ll attract some of the corrupt militaristic kleptocrats that made up the Bush administration, they may have gotten us into Iraq at a cost of several trillion dollars, but at least they are marginally sane and a teeny bit competent….can’t believe I am saying this…but yes, as unimaginably bad as Bush was, this is very likely to be an order of magnitude worse, and that is really beyond the range of my imagination.”

            This appears to be the root of our disagreement. First, Bush was not “unimaginably” bad, just very awful. Notably, I thought he was going to be considerably worse than he actually was. Second, I do not think some of your disasters are likely, do not particularly care about others, and think one or two of them would be positive goods. Third, I guess the way I’d describe it is that I’m willing to entertain the idea of a president worse than Bush, provided they’re not worse in the exact same way as Bush.

            “The only relevant question is not whether Obama (or Clinton or anyone) meets your standard of perfection, its whether they will govern in a way closer to perfection than their opponent.”

            With respect, I think the question of what trends a president advances and what trends they reverse is entirely relevant. Take Globalism for example; I have lost confidence that Globalism is a net positive, and am willing to take hits in other areas to see it checked or reversed.

            “I thought that was going to be the case before the election; now instead of destroying it he՚s taken it over when it՚s in a position of great strength, and I can՚t see any reason why it՚s going to lose power or votes due to Trump, if his horrible behavior didn՚t lose him this election.”

            His horrible behavior didn’t lose him the election because the people he fought were seen as worse, and he fought them effectively. Now he has to actually govern, and if he fails to secure peace, plenty and prosperity the same wave that carried him in will carry him right back out again. Again, the democrats could easily have exploited the same wave by running Bernie.

            “Horseshit. They may be overused, that doesn՚t mean they have lost their meaning or they don՚t clearly and obviously apply to Trump.”

            Overuse has destroyed their meaning, and that is a simple fact. The evidence for this fact is that Donald Trump won the election. He didn’t win because your side didn’t call him names loud enough; he won because your side overused those names daily, endlessly, and interminably, until they stopped meaning what you want them to mean for everyone not deep in the blue bubble.

            “And how many wars have you fought in that you are so confident of your pronouncements on military deployments?”

            None. How many have you fought in? How many does one need to fight in to draw lessons from history?

            “How many has your hero Trump fought in?”

            He is not my hero. He is a fifteen-pound monkey wrench to drop into the guts of a machine I despise.

            “IOW, there may be problems with the current theory of military force, but the one outline by Trump and his supporters sounds like it was dreamed up by a six-year old playing in the backyard.”

            Given that the methods devised by the best and brightest have been an unmitigated monotony of failure for nearly my entire life, I am open to the idea that maybe the six-year-old has a point. The previous consensus has killed a hell of a lot of humans. We are way, way past the point when anyone has a right to be talking about how new strategies are irresponsible or bloodthirsty.

            “Do you see how immature and insane that sounds? How absolutely opposed to anything remotely rational?”

            If you think the previous consensus was not so bad, I can entirely understand how you’d think so. I think the previous consensus was pretty damn bad, though.

            “That՚s just off the top of my head. But really, who knows? The man is a complete ignoramus about basically everything, and he’s surrounding himself with the worst of the worst.”

            What would it take for you to change your mind about him and his policies. And I don’t mean him unzipping his skin-suit and revealing himself to be the Avatar of Liberalism in disguise; I get that you don’t like him or his policies, but what would it take for you to reconsider that maybe he and his supporters have a point? If he leaves office four or eight years from now, no nukes have gone off, we haven’t had a civil war, and things are actually looking rather good, will you update?

            I am not 100% certain that the trends I despise are actually evil. Maybe Globalism was a good thing. Maybe Hillary’s setting fire to the middle east would have worked out well, and her brinkmanship with Russia would have led to a better outcome. I’ve been very wrong before, and it’s quite possible I’m wrong this time as well. The thing is, your side has failed to make that case to me, and apparently to quite a few other people as well, and has instead opted to call us names until the names lost meaning.

            I am not a Triumphalist; I do not want us to beat your side forever and immanentize the eschaton. I want us to be able to live in the same country together without shooting each other. currently, what one of us considers an acceptable presidential candidate, the other considers a fundamental breach of the social contract. I am not sure how to fix this, but I’m pretty sure the solution isn’t to let you pick my candidates for me.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            unleashing and empowering fascists and nazis and the KKK (already happening)

            Not really, no.

      • axiomsofdominion says:

        4 years of Trump is vastly superior to 8 years of Clinton and then 8 years of a moderate Republican. If Clinton had gotten a narrow victory and gotten a couple more senate seats do you really think it would have erased what Trump has brought to the surface? No. Now we have a chance for a re-backlash after Trump is a terrible president but Dems learn that can’t have their corporate cake and eat their working class voters, too. I wrote in Sanders but I live in Missouri so its not like it mattered.

      • suntzuanime says:

        If you don’t understand that some fraction of the people who liked Bernie were looking to fight the system, and if you don’t understand that Clinton could appear to be more “the system” than Trump, I feel like you are the idiot. If you don’t understand that someone can support a political candidate without blindly following all of that candidate’s endorsements forever, I feel like you are the one who doesn’t understand how politics and elections work.

        • FacelessCraven says:

          ease up there, cartoon general. Maybe hit the moe a bit? Everyone’s way too high strung these last few days.

      • “and Bernie himself gave clear directions to his supporters.”

        Aside from the particular argument going on, I thought that was a striking line. The implication seems to be that people who voted for Sanders in the primaries did so because they were his loyal followers, not because, in their independent judgement, voting for him was the right thing to do.

  7. Doctor Mist says:

    Probably nobody particularly cares, but in intellectual honesty I must admit I was wrong. I didn’t care about polls or other on-the-ground analysis, but I figured Hillary would win because she was obviously the candidate of the Deep State. For a year the nation’s thought leaders have been manufacturing consent that she is the anointed one.

    So yesterday proved to me that the Deep State is not yet as powerful as I had feared.

    I don’t know what Trump’s presidency will be like. I doubt it will be as bad as the wailers and gnashers of teeth are saying, but I’m sure there will be plenty to disgust me, and if I run true to form I will look back longingly to the Obama years.

    But for now I’m sort of happy because even without my help, the American people managed to poke a stick in the eye of the elites (of both parties) who despise them, but were powerless to stop them. God bless America.

    • Moon says:

      So the American people managed to poke a stick in the eye of the elites (of both parties)? They re-elected the same party as they had before, for both Houses of Congress. And they elected the guy promising giant tax breaks for wealthy Americans, who ran against a woman who promised all kinds of programs to help the poor and middle class.

      What really happened is that the American people managed to poke a stick in their own eye. Actually there is no point in my even saying this, because it will be obvious soon enough to everyone in the U.S. and on the planet .

      • Doctor Mist says:

        What really happened is that the American people managed to poke a stick in their own eye.

        Well, you could be right, of course. See above “I’m sure there will be plenty to disgust me”.

        To my mind, though, it is still good news that the populace was even allowed to make a mistake. I really had thought that the elites had closed off that possibility forever.

        The pessimist in me (No! Down boy! Sit!) suspects that the Deep State will still prevent Trump from doing anything significant. If he actually eliminates DOE or EPA I’ll be back with another retraction.

      • Deiseach says:

        a woman who promised all kinds of programs to help the poor and middle class

        A woman who also gushed about “I love real billionaires!” when looking for campaign donations. Rich Democrat Party donors will want favourable government intervention just as much as rich Republican Party donors. The terms may be different (less regulation, more support for venture capital than tax breaks) but the expectations are the same, and how the poor will do out of them is still not a certain thing.

  8. Mark says:

    I would just like to say, if it’s any consolation to anyone, I won £500 by betting on Trump to win, and intend to spend part of the money on having a slap-up meal at a nice restaurant.

    So, there is that.

  9. Deiseach says:

    Anyway! What was that Scott said about some team called the Lions winning the Super Bowl? Who are they and is it too late for me to bet my shirt on them? 😀

    EDITED: Well, damn. My game forecast the result!

    Today is November 8, day of Saint Weomad and it’s a week since the game released. Due to game parallels to the real world it’s a good time to look at the our achievements that provide some good statistics.

    You can see that only 19% of players got to the stage of choosing a side. 61% of them threw their support behind Dieter Horn and 39% behind Clinton (Hanna Eisig in the game).

    Only 2.2% of players managed bring Horn faction to victory, opposed to 1.3% to Hanna Eisig supporters

  10. SEE says:

    I’ll note here that neither Clinton nor Trump seems to have managed to match Mitt Romney’s 2012 popular vote total of 60,933,504.

    • fivemack says:

      So, in a contest that it was absolutely clear months out would be decided by differential success of get-out-the-vote initiatives, and using the Democratic Party’s reputedly truly spectacular get-out-the-vote capabilities and Trump’s notedly motivated base, the turnout was lousy.

      Is this something stupid like employers not willing to accept ‘I was voting’ as an excuse for being in work four hours late, so the ubiquitous reports of long lines became “I won’t bother voting”?

      • SEE says:

        Turnout was down a little bit, but it wasn’t actually lousy; it’s mostly that the third-party vote was way, way up.

        Johnson (Libertarian) 2012 — 1,275,971
        Johnson (Libertarian) 2016 — 4,042,266 (so far)

        Stein (Green) 2012 — 469,627
        Stein (Green) 2016 — 1,207,258 (so far)

        All Others Combined, 2012 — 490,513
        McMullin alone, 2016 — 425,328 (so far)

        Given the massive rise in popularity for the third-party options, I’d be more tempted to blame the turnout drop on the same motive — people refusing to vote for either deeply unappetizing major-party candidate.

        • Deiseach says:

          And I’m seeing the blame being dished out by the sore losers already – Hillary lost because of you third party voters!

          I don’t think this works, because I imagine a lot of the Johnson votes came from Republicans who couldn’t stomach Trump, so the idea that these were all Hillary’s votes that were ‘stolen’ somehow doesn’t wash; has anyone crunched numbers and said “Assuming all Stein’s votes would have gone to Hillary, plus whatever percentage of Johnson’s” – what difference would it have made?

          And interestingly, I see McMullin didn’t take Utah – it went for Trump pretty solidly. So did anyone know anything about how this election was going to go, apart from Scott Adams who can now pretty legitimately smirk at us all and go “I told ya so!”? 🙂

          • SEE says:

            Well, there was this guy. He thought Clinton narrowly was slightly more probable than Trump narrowly.

            (And if the exit polls can be trusted, his big defect was deviating from his own model regarding minority voters; if he’d held to his initial allocation of minority voters instead of fudging a share over to Clinton, he’d have been closer.)

          • Fahundo says:

            apart from Scott Adams who can now pretty legitimately smirk at us all and go “I told ya so!”?

            He predicted a landslide, so no.

          • dick says:

            Adams has been moving the goalposts quite a bit. His original prediction was that Trump would win in an historic 60+ percent landslide due to his unique ability to control media narratives, which has turned out to be about as wrong as a prediction can be.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            I have a friend who called every state successfully in advance, except two — Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Both of the states he got wrong had quite narrow margins, so I think he did an incredible job. I will try to discern his predictive secrets.

        • Tibor says:

          This is the best news about the election. 4 million Libertarian votes, that’s quite a success, especially with a candidate who’s pretty bad at PR. This might be largely due to how horrible the major party candidates were but still this means that probably a lot more people learned about libertarian ideas and support them at least to some extent. That’s very good news in my opinion.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            i’m going to level with you

            i would love, love, love for you to be right, you aren’t

            (i am a trump supporter but I’d still love it; libertarians have lots and lots of genuinely good ideas based on human nature)

            A) a ton of people wanted a third party, period. Outside of Jill Stein, who was radical and kind of whacko, who was it going to be? Johnson was a safe option.

            B) the nigga wasn’t really libertarian anyhow, just a centrist amalgamation of different right and left policies with an affinity for weed and a love for open borders.

            but good news i guess is rand paul still in that senate BOY

          • Deiseach says:

            4 million Libertarian votes, that’s quite a success, especially with a candidate who’s pretty bad at PR

            Just imagine how well they could do with a candidate who took geography as a subject in secondary school 🙂

          • John Schilling says:

            Just imagine how well they could do with a candidate who took geography as a subject in secondary school

            Wouldn’t matter, he’d just misspell ‘potato‘ or forget what century we are in, and that would be the end of him.

            Unless the media had some other reason to like him, in which case he could cede one of the United States to another continent and invent seven new ones to replace it and he’d still be the Annointed One

            The gaffes ought to be irrelevant. Since they aren’t, there is value in watching from the sidelines which get ignored and which are signal-boosted beyond all reason.

          • Randy M says:

            That’s a little harsh, I doubt I ever saw Aleppo in public school and geography was required.

          • Tibor says:

            @John Schilling: That’s actually a good point. I sometimes say complete bullshit only to realize a minute later. My most embarrassing moment recently was at a probabilistic conference where I I discussed a talk about a particular (and not even difficult to understand) model in discrete space with a colleague (right after the talk) and when he mentioned that one probably has to be a bit careful about one thing on a discrete space and I replied with “wait, but this was on continuous space, or wasn’t it?” despite having no problems following the talk. I felt really embarrassed at the moment and there weren’t even any cameras around or other people.

            Also, sometimes I too am surprised that it is the 21st century (and occasionally it takes me some time to remember which year it is).

            On the other hand, even though he would not realistically have gotten the 10% of the votes he was polling in July or so because people tend to shift back to the major candidates towards the election day, being more careful with what he says could have scored him the desired 5% (and given the LP more funding and recognition). And there was a way for him to get around it each time he said something like that. With Syria, not knowing where Alleppo is can be made into a trope about how it is important that the US minds its own business because we (as in NATO in this case) do not understand what’s going on in the middle east, not being able to name current foreign leaders he respects can be also answered in a similar way. One could even say something like that the focus should be on the laws and not the people or something. there were many ways to get around that and answering the question in a way to make himself look good. I am not saying it is easy but unfortunately, a big part of (especially) direct elections is PR, after all Trump had nothing but PR and managed to win.

          • John Schilling says:

            And there was a way for him to get around it each time he said something like that. With Syria, not knowing where Alleppo is can be made into a trope about how it is important that the US minds its own business because we (as in NATO in this case) do not understand what’s going on in the middle east, not being able to name current foreign leaders he respects can be also answered in a similar way.

            Agreed; I could see obvious ways to spin both gaffes fairly quickly, I think enough so that I’d have been able to do it in real time.

            Privately, I think valuing that skill does nothing to get us good leadership. Probably hurts, both in filtering out good candidates who don’t have a particular irrelevant skill and in rewarding a sort of petty “I meant to do that” dishonesty in a field where we’ve already got plenty of dishonesty.

            But since we don’t live in the world that I privately want to, the leaders and spokesmen of a precarious ideology need to be able to defend themselves against this sort of attack, and Johnson came up short.

      • a non mouse says:

        It’s the Yogi Berra election – fewer people voted because the lines were longer.

  11. baconbacon says:

    “in the short run, markets always hate surprises.”

    Big surprise last night, no move in markets. Unless the short run now means less than 12 hours.

    • onyomi says:

      I should have said “markets hate uncertainty.” Clearly there are some types of surprise which would cause markets to go up; it’s just that surprises tend to correlate with uncertainty.

      But last night futures did go down when it looked like Trump would win, and today “safe haven” assets like bonds and gold are up, indicating a perception of uncertainty. That said, when I last checked I was surprised to see stocks up again; maybe people buying a dip on the idea that Trump presidency will be long-run good for markets? But I don’t know enough, or follow closely enough, to interpret that.

      • baconbacon says:

        Gold has retraced virtually all gains, S&P is now up 0.5-1% (depending on how long it take for me to type out the reply. The VIX Plummeted overnight, almost 20% at one point. It is hard for me to reconcile Safe havens up with volatility way down, and markets down simultaneously overnight, and even harder then to get up the next morning with a flat open followed by a small rally.

  12. baconbacon says:

    What happened to the “Markets prefer Hillary” hypothesis? A massive surprise result and the markets don’t move at all?

    • sflicht says:

      It was always bullshit.

      Peso move is already starting to revert a little more too.

    • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

      Last night I heard futures prices were falling, no idea if it’s connected to the election, though.

      • sflicht says:

        Oh, it was definitely connected to the election. S&P E-mini futures (the most liquid instrument for betting on the market as a whole) were limit down (-5%) shortly after midnight. Then everyone realized that there’s no *reason* why the market should respond so negatively to Trump.

        • baconbacon says:

          This seems like the least likely explanation (“Trump is bad for markets…. no, wait, never mind”)

          • sflicht says:

            Traders are just as subject as anyone else to the misleading rhetoric in the media about how Trump will cause WWIII. Until money is at stake and you can make a killing seeing through that rhetoric!

          • baconbacon says:

            There is not reason to think that “traders” were afraid of Trump winning at 11 pm last night, and at 10 am this morning have changed their minds.

          • sflicht says:

            Well, markets are more liquid during US trading hours. Ergo a lot of the trading during the overnight is “dumb money”, because “smart money” can’t put on their positions in big size without incurring large transaction costs. Hence overnight stuff is often more volatile.

          • baconbacon says:

            You still wouldn’t expect the sign to be wrong. a 4-10% decline in futures (the range I saw last night on blogs) shouldn’t open at no movement. Additionally the markets like Hillary hypotheses was based in part on in day moves not only futures.

          • sflicht says:

            Most of the -5% reverted within a few hours. By 6:30 this morning it was down only -1.7%.

            Also the *statistical* evidence based on both intraday and long-term data was always rather weak.

            However, the options markets were indeed pricing in a massive drop should Trump win.

            What can I say? I stand by my hypothesis that only after the unlikely event occurred were the veils of MSM brainwashing lifted from the eyes of Wall Street.

          • baconbacon says:

            Most of the -5% reverted within a few hours. By 6:30 this morning it was down only -1.7%.

            the faster it happened the less likely that it was traders changing their minds.

          • sflicht says:

            How do you figure?

          • baconbacon says:

            How do you figure?

            Because of how people handle emotions, and confirmation bias.

            1. I think Trump being elected is bad for markets.
            2. Trump’s chances of winning jumps
            3. Futures show a large negative reaction

            What is more likely for step 4 after seeing the market agree with them
            A. Nope, I was wrong, more information agreeing with my position causes the average to change their minds
            B. Stronger belief that their initial reaction was correct

          • vV_Vv says:

            There is not reason to think that “traders” were afraid of Trump winning at 11 pm last night, and at 10 am this morning have changed their minds.

            Possibly some traders predicted a yuge movement so they rushed to trade ahead of it, but then the yuge movement didn’t happen.

    • Deiseach says:

      I’m seeing something about the markets falling, but nothing as bad as Brexit to the British pound. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

      I am laughing about the Canadian immigration website crashing due to the amount of enquiries, though 🙂

    • Sandy says:

      Krugman is already retracting his warning that a recession is in the works. I have to wonder to what extent people like him deliberately inflate these predictions of doom just to frighten people into complying with a political agenda.

      • sflicht says:

        Why do you have to wonder when it’s so blatantly obvious?

      • Iain says:

        If he was trying to whip people into line with inflated predictions of doom, you’d think he would have let the case stand for more than 12 hours. Krugman also argued, contra most liberal commentators, that the short-run economic impact of the Brexit vote should be minimal. There may be other pundits who deliberately inflate predictions, but Krugman has a history of calling things as he sees them.

    • Anonymous says:

      What I read is that while the amount of money favored Clinton, the number of bets favored Trump. So, big money betting on Clinton, small-timers betting on Trump. Remind me, how many more votes does a rich man get over the poor man?

      Same thing happened for Brexit, AFAIK.

    • onyomi says:

      In the short run, markets always hate surprises. Long run, one could make a case that Trump presidency is a business-friendly, pro-growth presidency, though markets are lately moved as much by Federal Reserve announcements as anything else. And if Trump means tighter monetary policy (debatable), that, too, would be short-term displeasing to markets, as would possible future trade barriers and immigration restrictions.

      Perhaps the most interesting possibility to me for a Trump presidency is its potential to reveal the weaknesses and fault lines in the American economy: the degree to which it depends on illegal immigrant labor, for example. That is, it could be that cracking down on illegal immigration is short-term bad for the economy, but if fewer black and grey market workers working under the table means the government is forced to lighten up the tax and regulatory burden on the rest of the economy (under-the-table work currently functioning as an escape valve for an over-regulated labor market), it could be long run good (though I think immigration and free trade are both better for the economy, all else equal)?

    • baconbacon says:

      Also confounding- Dow and S&P opened essentially flat after futures saw a large bump, but Gold is still up 1% after seeing a similar bump over night (~5% at peak), and the yield curve is steeper. So 1 indicator says “no change” (markets) and two indicators (gold and bonds) say “change”.

    • Murphy says:

      ???? the markets dropped so far so fast they suspended trading.

      Where are you getting your news?

      I mean they mostly recovered later but claiming they were unaffected is simply false.

      • baconbacon says:

        Futures markets dropped and then at the open the market was flat, which is the whole point of these posts. What narrative can you tell where Trump causes a panic/near panic in markets overnight, and then in the morning they are calm, followed by not only a rise in the stock market buy an increase in bond yields as well?

        • Murphy says:

          ???

          An increase in bond yields tends to imply people being less willing to trust that the entities issuing bonds will be able to pay when the bonds mature or people believe that the currency the bonds are denominated in will be worth less.

          Are you attacking some kind of strawman of people believing the markets will continue dropping forever?

          Event happens -> market adjusts to new info-> market goes back to some kind of equilibrium

          • baconbacon says:

            An increase in bond yields tends to imply people being less willing to trust that the entities issuing bonds will be able to pay when the bonds mature

            What you are describing is the case where a bond yield increases relative to other bonds, not all bonds increasing (or in the is case US bonds increasing in yield).

            or people believe that the currency the bonds are denominated in will be worth less.

            Investments are about opportunity cost, Wicksellian interest rates require that there are alternate investment opportunities and higher expected inflation automatically reduces on of the alternatives (holding cash). Expected inflation increases -> higher bond prices is probably backwards (or more accurately there is no casual arrow).

          • baconbacon says:

            Hit post to soon, continued

            Are you attacking some kind of strawman of people believing the markets will continue dropping forever?

            No, I am asking for a narrative that explains a large and rapid drop as Trump became more certain to win, with a complete reversal in ~ 9 hours. As for a straw man? Scott Sumner posted titled “stock market hypothesis confirmed” about the drop in futures, and Paul Krugman literally said

            Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

            http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/election-night-2016/paul-krugman-the-economic-fallout

            A lot of people (with some statistical evidence) predicted that a Trump win would be bad for the market, and they appeared to have that confirmed in what looked like about as close to a natural experiment as you can get (big swing in the likelihood of trump winning with the futures market reaction and no other major news happening). Trying to understand how the first reaction could be so strong, but then reversed as soon as markets opened seems important to me.

        • sflicht says:

          Listen to the most recent episode of Planet Money for one trader’s take. (He gives great weight to Trump’s conciliatory victory speech.) Not sure I buy that he’s representative, but it’s a data point.

          • Yes, other business analysts also credited Trump’s speech.

            I recall a similar reassuring effect from Bill Clinton’s press conference a day or two after the election in 1992.

            It wasn’t so much what he specifically said, but the impression he gave. In contrast to the Bush v. Congress fiscal/deficit chaos that was going on at the time, Clinton and his team (he wasn’t alone on stage) projected cool confidence, competence, an image of the grown-ups have arrived to take charge.

            As I recall (I haven’t looked it up), markets responded quite favorably.

          • baconbacon says:

            @ Larry Kestenbaum

            This is functionally just an argument that markets are emotional and reactionary, this sounds like the most plausible option, but also puts a huge damper on those that want to use prediction markets to determine policy.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            If you think the markets are emotional and reactionary, that’s good news for you — free money is lying around!

          • Jiro says:

            If you think the markets are emotional and reactionary, that’s good news for you — free money is lying around!

            That doesn’t follow. It is possible that the emotional reaction of markets is chaotic and unpredictable. You can never know in advance exactly what fad will spread to a large crowd and what fad won’t, or that it will last 9 hours or 48 hours.

            Also, many reasons why it is a bad idea to bet apply here, including risk aversion; I’m not going to bet on something that has a positive expected win but a substantial chance of losing my shirt.

          • baconbacon says:

            If you think the markets are emotional and reactionary, that’s good news for you — free money is lying around!

            Nope.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            I see. Well, “emotional” and “reactionary” are loaded terms. How do you know it’s not just noise as usual if you can’t exploit it. If there is no exploitable pattern, you don’t get to call it names, since you fundamentally do not understand what is happening.

            re: risk aversion, just pool risk with others, like everyone else.

          • BBA says:

            There’s an old chestnut: the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

            I came up a new chestnut: just because markets are efficient it doesn’t mean they’re right. They can be dead wrong extremely efficiently.

            Mine still needs a little work, I think.

          • baconbacon says:

            Well, “emotional” and “reactionary” are loaded terms. How do you know it’s not just noise as usual if you can’t exploit it. If there is no exploitable pattern, you don’t get to call it names, since you fundamentally do not understand what is happening.

            The isn’t remotely true. Someone with bipolar disorder has wild changes in mood, not being able to predict them isn’t the same thing as not being able to label them as bi-polar.

            In regards to the “money lying around” argument, what and how could you have benefitted just from knowing that the market was emotional and reactionary. You couldn’t know that Trump’s acceptance speech would be stabilizing, he just as well could have stood up there and said “I told you we would beat that lying woman, now about my wall…..” Or “Great Job everyone, we won! Thanks so much, I need a freaking nap”. Profiting in these scenarios requires multiple conditional outcomes, possibly doable but not on the level of money lying on the ground.

          • baconbacon says:

            There’s an old chestnut: the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

            Its a lousy chestnut, you can short the market perpetually while staying solvent. Keynes (one of the people this saying is attributed to) went near bust twice not because the markets stayed irrational, but because his positions were incorrect.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            Ok, so how do you know it’s not just noise.

          • baconbacon says:

            Ok, so how do you know it’s not just noise.

            I don’t know what you mean by “noise” in this context.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Random fluctuations with 0 mean that can’t be properly explained by other factors?

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            “Noise” just means “there is fluctuation and I don’t know why.” Much less emotional baggage using that term.

          • baconbacon says:

            Random fluctuations with 0 mean that can’t be properly explained by other factors?

            The markets are people making decisions, they aren’t a system like the weather. A 5% move down right as major news breaks has a presumption that the news is causal. The null hypothesis doesn’t extend to market activity, the expectation is that people are acting in ways in an attempt to profit financially.

            Had the 5% move down in futures stuck it would have been one of the 15 largest down moves (by percent, and basically tied for the largest ever in terms of points), and we are talking in excess of 15,000 trading days in the History of the S&P 500 (I don’t know how often over night futures drop by this much, a large portion of my concern would drop away if moves like this were fairly common overnight).

            What bothers me/interests me about this is that it was a known event in terms of timing. If you have an over reaction to a surprise event like a terrorist attack or an oil spill, then that can be explained reasonably easily as you are trying to make a very difficult calculation in real time. An election however is planned, for months it has been known that either Trump or Clinton wins, there was plenty of time for analysis and projections.

          • baconbacon says:

            “Noise” just means “there is fluctuation and I don’t know why.” Much less emotional baggage using that term.

            Occam’s razor, the odds of a massive move in a major market occurring just as election results come in for a surprise win for the US president being a coincidence are tiny.

  13. psmith says:

    I see a couple of you guys characterizing this as a decisive win. Remember that the winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes is set up to produce big differences between electoral vote totals, electoral college squeakers are rare, and that Hillary may yet win the popular vote once California finishes counting ballots (though this won’t change the outcome of the election) and it is at any rate pretty damn tight in the popular vote.

    • John Schilling says:

      Yes, I mentioned this elsewhere, but this is looking like the narrowest electoral college victory of the past century, save those of Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush.

      I’m guessing there are a lot of people here whose political horizons only reach as far back as Bush the Younger.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        Yes, I mentioned this elsewhere, but this is looking like the narrowest electoral college victory of the past century, save those of Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush.

        So the third narrowest.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        If Trump wins Michigan and Arizona — pink on the Times map — then he will have 306 electoral votes. Of the 20 elections 1916-2012, the winner had fewer in 7 elections — Wilson, GWBush x2, Carter, Kennedy, and the 3-way races won by Truman and Nixon.

        Edit: I see from your other comment that you’re using 538’s expected value of 299. That’s more than Carter. Also, I think 538’s numbers are based on the polls, not the returns, so aren’t useful.

        • John Schilling says:

          You can’t just count the winner’s electoral votes, because the size of the electoral college has changed over the century.

          If the Times is right about this being 306/232, that’s a 74-point margin. Kennedy had 84 points over Johnson, Nixon had 110 over Humphrey, and Dewy unbeat Truman by 114 points. But depending on how Michigan and Arizona wind up, yes, we can include Carter v. Ford

          Even so, this is in the lower quartile of modern electoral college spreads. If there is such a thing in the real world as an election that is not a “decisive win”, Trump v. Clinton is an example.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Why define “narrow” by margin over the opponent rather than margin over the win? Maybe we should consider the hypothetical in which all votes go to the two candidates. Then Truman and Kennedy become less narrow, but I don’t know what happens to Nixon.

            Added: adjusting for the electoral college size changes Truman and Kennedy’s 303 to today’s 307 and 305, respectively.

    • Deiseach says:

      The most recent results I’m seeing are amazingly close in the popular vote: 45.6% (or 46% if you prefer the New York Times) Clinton to 45.5% Trump. Astounding. UPDATED: “As a result, she had laid claim to 47.7% of the national vote vs. 45.5% for Trump.”

      So even if the electoral votes had gone Hillary’s way, there would have been a massive swathe of the country she had lumped into the “basket of deplorables” (easily a quarter). I can’t help feeling she’s paying for that and similar remarks: when poor/working class small town and rural whites see you setting them up as the punchline for a joke for rich white big-city gay men to laugh at, it’s not going to make them go “She’s right! I must switch my support immediately and vote for her!”

      They also seemed to forget that what hurts those small town working-class whites hurts women and minorities as well; it’s not that “the plant in Gatlinburg is only hiring women and Latinos now and that’s why I’m voting for Trump”, it’s that the plant in Gatlinburg isn’t hiring anyone because it’s gone – and black people, women, and other minorities also live and work in small town and rural areas (and quite shockingly some gay men are also working-class/poor whites as well).

    • onyomi says:

      Certainly Scott was right to worry that even a narrow Trump victory–one that could fairly easily have gone the other way had a few random factors been different–would be declared a really yuge deal.

      That said, any Trump victory is a surprise, relative to expectations, and one worth attempting to explain. But maybe not needing esoteric explanation. I guess probably the obvious story, in terms of political landscape, is a shift of the populist, white working class, rust belt vote away from their historical, union-backed homes in the Democratic Party and to some new, more anti-elite version of the Republican Party. I wonder if they’ll stay there post-Trump?

  14. erenold says:

    The upcoming Singaporean leadership change.
    I am continuing this thread from an earlier post. I hope this may be of some general interest, in light of the discussion of various leadership-transition mechanisms above.

    I start with some boring background just for context – please, feel free to skip ahead if necessary.

    Singapore has quite an interesting political system as they go – a unicameral Westminster system (single house of Parliament, no upper house), led by a Prime Minister, with an American-style elected Presidency tacked on, albeit an allegedly non-partisan post with fairly restricted powers. The current, and third, Prime Minister is Lee Hsien Loong (son of Lee Kuan Yew), and the current President is Tony Tan, a former ruling-party bigwig (note: this was constitutionally supposed to be a non-partisan position). Between now to 2017, both will likely change.

    Prime Minister

    These are the candidates for next Prime Minister, which despite its name is the more important role, along with some brief thumbnail background. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/6-men-to-watch

    The 6 – CHAN Chun Sing, HENG Swee Keat, NG Chee Meng, ONG Ye Kung, Lawrence WONG and TAN Chuan-jin (surnames, by which they will be referred to henceforth, in capitals).

    Every one of them is young (between 40-50 generally), ethnic majority-Chinese, and male. They are all, as per Singaporean political tradition, considered to be ‘high-fliers’, being a mix of general officers like PM Lee himself (Chan, Tan, and Ng) and top civil servants (Wong, Heng, and Ong) They are also all cishet, and it is quite improbable that they could have risen far if they were otherwise. All of them are ministers in the current government.

    Heng recently suffered a serious stroke and, despite recovering well, is likely therefore out of contention. (On a heartwarming note, he was given immediate care which likely saved his life by his Cabinet colleagues, many of whom are doctors by training.) Of the rest, Ong (trade unionist) and Chan (infantry general officer) are seen by some Kremlinologists as being the frontrunners. This is because when the departing Obama recently honoured Singapore with a rare state dinner, Ong and Chan were the ones taken along, and it was widely expected that this was to allow them to meet Hillary et al.

    Further, Chan’s candidacy is given especial notice because when Lee Kuan Yew’s wife, and PM Lee’s mother, died in 2011, Chan had pride of place, sitting in the rows traditionally reserved for close family members at the wake. Moreover, as the article notes, Chan was given the most important positions and promoted the fastest amongst his ‘class’ of fellow politicians.

    Chan, in fact, ticks all the boxes the PAP traditionally likes in their leaders. He’s multilingual, speaking fluent English, Mandarin and Malay. He retains – unlike his ‘posher’ colleagues, particularly Guards general officer Tan, with whom he’s often compared – the patois of Singaporean working-lower-middle classes. (Compare Tan here, who audibly sounds much more English-educated and middle-class.) He’s well-known for wearing a simple S$20 (US$13~ish) army digital watch in place of a Rolex, and for wearing army-issued running shoes while campaigning.

    There’s just one problem.

    Singaporeans don’t like him. They just don’t. They see Chan as arrogant, ambitious, and his man-of-the-people affectations as just that – affected. (He also has quite a punchable face, it has to be admitted.) Conspiracy theories abound that he is somehow related to the Lee family, which is arrant rubbish but damaging nonetheless.

    This may be biased by my middle-class, university-educated social circle – caution about extrapolating to the Singaporean general public. Though, my fellow reservists from much more diverse backgrounds seem to share this opinion, so far as I can tell.

    Still, he will likely be the next PM. I give Chan roughly even odds in a 6-man primary – but then again, I also gave Hillary roughly 3-1 odds, so what do I know?

    President

    The President’s duties are largely ceremonial, and is constitutionally a non-partisan one. Nonetheless, in recent times the office has become increasingly politicized, not least by the ruling party itself, which transparently entered and then backed the current President, Tony TAN.

    Much to their surprise, Tony Tan won by a real squeaker by about 6,000 votes out of 2.2m. It is quite clear the party is unhappy with this, and recently announced that, owing to previously undiagnosed latent racism in the country, it could not trust us to elect qualified minority candidates of our own accord, so the next President must be an ethnic Malay. (?!?!) We have no idea what this is about or who they intend to run, though scuttlebutt suggests it is the popular, female and competent Speaker of the House, Halimah Yacob.

    These shenanigans are more or less transparently designed to exclude the popular TAN Cheng Bock (“Tan CB” henceforth) from running again, the second-place finisher in 2011. Tan CB is a former party member and parliamentarian, but has recently become somewhat of a government critic.

    If it is in fact Halimah Yacob, she will with 99% probability have my vote, if it is some other party-backed candidate ze will with 75% probability have my vote, assuming ze has no major character or moral red flags.

    • > Singapore has quite an interesting political system as they go – a unicameral Westminster system (single house of Parliament

      Any official opposition?

      • erenold says:

        A number of small opposition parties and one medium one, the Workers Party, in a de facto electoral alliance to prevent vote-splitting but not otherwise officially affiliated. Ideology best described to an American, perhaps, as “hard-hat” – economically left, anti-immigrant, socially somewhat conservative.

        The Workers Party hold 6 out of 89 seats in Parliament (including mine), and the combined opposition won about 30% of the popular vote, when they took a shellacking in the most recent 2015 elections.

    • ChetC3 says:

      As successful Singapore may appear now, they must renounce the demotist rule of the “PAP/人民行动党” (after all, what is 人民 but Chicom for “people”) or be doomed to a future of tyranny, poverty, and destruction.

      • And there I was thinking Death Eaters loved Singapore.

        • Anonymous says:

          Singapore’s nice, with its internally-applied realpolitik, but it’s also a massive IQ grinder. Intelligent people go in, don’t breed. The Singaporean apparatus, to their credit, considers this a big problem, but their efforts to remedy it have so far failed, probably because they are not considering methods that worked in the past.

  15. Moon says:

    Wow, just wow. The combined efforts of Assange, Putin, Comey, and mainstream– that is, Right Wing– media are powerful. We’re in even more of a Right Wing country than we were, thanks to all of the above. It doesn’t matter what the Left does now. The Right owns everything now– all branches of government. Nonstop liberal bashing was already going on here at this site and elsewhere. No change in that, of course. Same ole, same ole.

    The only difference will be that the Right will have the presidency and will actually have the responsibility to do something there, rather than do only what they are good at and experienced at– which is to bash and criticize.

    We live in interesting times.

    • Anonymous says:

      mainstream– that is, Right Wing– media are powerful

      The same media that were steadfastly pro-Hillary, and solidly predicted her easy victory?

      It’s the alternative media, the Internet, that are powerful. Not the newspapers, radio and television networks.

    • NIP says:

      I look forward to eight more years of such Jill-esque clueless gobsmackery from “smart” people around here. Don’t worry – if you’re not correct now, you might be in four years. After all, we just proved there is a God :^)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX-0Yj638SY

    • Deiseach says:

      We’re in even more of a Right Wing country than we were, thanks to all of the above.

      No, Moon, say it ain’t so! I was under the impression that AmeriKKKa was already as Right-wing as it could possibly be! Several have told us so on here before, so how can it become even more Right-wing?

      Note: right now, listening to Trump giving his victory speech and he actually sounds – gasp! – reasonable. Is there no end to the cunning machinations of this wicked, evil man???? Don’t worry Moon, any minute now he will give the code word for his stormtroopers to seize their guns and raven through the streets shooting all the women, gays, and brown people they see!

      • hlynkacg says:

        @ Deiseach

        While I share much of the sentiment, I’d rather follow Trump’s example (damn it feels weird just typing that) and be a bit more gracious in victory than our erstwhile opponents have been towards us in the past.

        God knows I love ya, but dial it own a notch. 😉

        • Deiseach says:

          hlynkacg, I’ve just seen the first call to assassinate Trump and/or Pence on Tumblr (a reblogged Tweet).

          So excuse me if I go extra-heavy on the sarcasm when I’m seeing “The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy won again!” as an excuse why Hillary blew it. It’s either that or collapse into a seething fury about “You want political assassinations? You complete numpty“.

          She couldn’t hold the black vote (that “Irish Times” article on North Carolina and conservative black voters turning away from her seems to have been prescient after all) which, fair enough, they turned out especially for Obama but a rich white woman? Who cares? She didn’t catch up on all the other places she needed either. Yes, the popular vote was very tight, but she managed to lose the states she needed to win, and part of that was the assumption by everybody that “Oh well the black/Hispanic vote is hers for the taking, they always vote Democrat”.

          If the Democrats need anything to steer them right for 2020, it’s sober analysis. Hysteria about the KKK won it for Trump is not sober analysis.

          • Brad says:

            How’s the movement to repeal the eighth amendment coming along over on the emerald island?

          • Deiseach says:

            Brad, the usual weaseling is going along nicely. However, our government has recently been distracted by both the teachers and the police going on strike over public sector pay.

            The cops are settled thanks to agreeing to pony up pay increases, but the teachers are still cutting up rough. Now that the good times are relatively starting to come back – or rather, now that the property market has recovered which means rents are going through the roof – they want their pay increases and benefits which were frozen during the austerity years.

            But as soon as that’s sorted, we’ll be on track to have some kind of messed-up compromise on legalising abortion more than the limited cases it is currently permitted in. I think, given that the gay marriage thing went so well for them, the government will be desperate for a bit of easy credit and if the public sector unions are starting to flex their strike muscles, something like “See, we’re liberalising like bedamned, we’ll be a proper little modern Western country in no time!” will do for a distraction to divert the public.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Deiseach

            As I said below, I would like to avoid the scenario where me and mine turn into the same sort of arrogant smug assholes that I’ve allocated so much energy to opposing.

            To that end, I’m offering some gentle push-back despite the fact that I agree with you completely.

        • ChetC3 says:

          While I share much of the sentiment, I’d rather follow Trump’s example (damn it feels weird just typing that) and be a bit more gracious in victory than our erstwhile opponents have been towards us in the past.

          You realize that people on the left feel exactly the same way? That they’re too “nice” and those nasty right-wingers keep taking advantage of them? And yes, yes, I know it’s different when you do it, because your indignation is justified, unlike theirs. Progs and liberals believe that, too! The sentiment you’re expressing is a political version of a Barnum statement.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ ChetC3

            I think you misunderstood.

            I’m not saying that my side has been “too nice” I’m saying that my side ought to be nicer.

          • ChetC3 says:

            The other side is starting from the perception that their own attempts to be gracious in victory were spurned by a pack of spiteful boors your comment paints as long-suffering martyrs. I think it’s unlikely that the other side will see your gestures towards niceness as being in good faith.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            NOTE: this is Lysenko. I’ve been unable to get my password reset working since the change, so I made a new one.

            their own attempts to be gracious in victory were spurned

            …Since the overall popular/street level reaction was this: https://media.giphy.com/media/HOb3dfxxIHivK/giphy.gif (and I mean that literally, I could not get away from that damn meme for about a year).

            And the more reserved and presidential reaction was “Elections Have Consequences, and I won.”, I think you might want to reassess just how A) sincere, B) prominent, and C) token or strenuous those attempts were.

            I think it’s unlikely that the other side will see your gestures towards niceness as being in good faith.

            Civility may not mean much, but it’s also famously cheap. For my part, I don’t expect or even really DESIRE liberals to become less invested in fighting conservatives tooth and nail. Most of my preferred policies seem to have single digit support, so at this point I profit most from gridlock and paralysis.

            I’d just like BOTH sides to crank that asshole dial back down to a five or six, and since I’m not asking that the adjustment be accompanied by capitulation or even cooperation on policy matters, I don’t think it’s all that unreasonable.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ ChetC3

            I honestly don’t care if the “other side” sees my gesture towards niceness as being in good faith. My comment was not addressed to them. It was addressed to someone who is usually on “my side”.

            @ Lysenko

            I agree with you about civility, which is why I made my initial comment in the first place.

            I would like to avoid the scenario where “my side”, having won an important battle, turn into precisely the sort of arrogant assholes that I’ve spent the last 8 years complaining about.

          • keranih says:

            @ hlynkacg

            I would like to avoid the scenario where I, myself, having won an important battle, turn into precisely the sort of arrogant frothing rabid bitch that I’ve spent the last decades of my life complaining about.

          • ChetC3 says:

            @hlynkacg: In other words, what you’re calling “being nicer” is really nothing of the sort, but merely a bit of self-congratulation.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ ChetC3

            You’re trying really hard to pick a fight here. Why?

          • ChetC3 says:

            @hlynkacg: The frustration of watching history repeating itself as farce, I suppose.

    • John Schilling says:

      The combined efforts of Assange, Putin, Comey, and [Right-Wing] media are powerful.

      Wait, does this mean that one consequence of the Trumpocalypse is that Julian Assange goes overnight from being a martyred hero of the progressive left to one of its villains? And what are the implications for his continued welcome at the Ecuadorian embassy?

      • Deiseach says:

        If you release emails that show Tweedledum is as much in the pocket of “I love real billionaires!” as Tweedledee, you are a bad person and must go sit on the naughty step 🙂

  16. Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

    Though not my preferred outcome to this election, there is a certain schadenfreude to it, let’s just hope Trump pivots to a more moderate position, and forgets about the goddamn wall.

    • Winter Shaker says:

      At the end of our adventure, we realised that we never needed to build a physical structure. The Mexican border wall was in our hearts all along.
      😛

      • NIP says:

        “Those who have lungs to kek, let them kek. The Great Wall of Trump is like a shitpost, like unto the humblest posts of the internet, which first is small and then grows into the greatest of memes, which shelters all the trolls with its branches.”

        Truly, it was a parable from the beginning. The wall was never real. It was merely a mortar brick that grew in our hearts <3

  17. erenold says:

    Deliberately on a separate post –

    Whither the Democratic Party? Have they made a bad bet on trading the WWC for a rainbow coalition? Who will carry out the election autopsy, and what will it say? Could Bernie have won? Should they run to the Sanders-Warren far left and make a play to regain the Midwest, or double down on minorities, or neither of the above, and what will they actually do?

    • Sandy says:

      Twitter opinion seems to be (or rather Twitter opinion is screaming) that Bernie would have won, but I don’t think he could have. I think Biden could have won, though. There was a poll out that said huge numbers of Americans are concerned about political corruption, so Hillary had a major image problem that Biden likely wouldn’t have had to anywhere near the same extent.

      • erenold says:

        Biden’16 will be the great unknown of our time.

        We do know one thing, though – the Hillary campaign thought he was effective with precisely those demographics that hurt them badly last night. They sent him into Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin over and over again. He genuinely could have been the difference.

      • Deiseach says:

        Not sure about Biden, but I think Sanders could have appealed to the white working-class who have seen the traditional industries that made their lives good evaporate and nothing but “ha ha, you’re only jealous blacks and gays are getting a fair share now!” from the party that was assumed to have a lock on the presidency now and to succeed the incumbent.

        He’s old-fashioned Labour, not Democratic Party of today, and that would have helped a lot. He might be a damn hippie (back in the day) but he was at least not going around emoting about how he loved real billionaires (as distinct from fake billionaires like Trump).

        Sanders for President? No chance. But Sanders for VP (as Biden was to Obama) with a candidate not Hillary? Might have pulled in those half of the “not in the deplorables basket, in the basket of poor misguided idiots” that Hillary divided up Trump’s supporters into.

        • Civilis says:

          Two questions should give us some clue to how well Sanders would have done:

          How well did Stein do? I was surprised to see a number of professional-looking Stein signs in amongst the Hillary signs (and the lone Trump sign) around the polling place in my heavily blue suburban Northern Virginia polling place.

          What are the last reported percentages of how many Republicans and Democrats went for Johnson? While I remember that more never-Trump Republicans went Libertarian than never-Hillary Democrats, I know there were some that fit in the latter category.

          I would suspect that most of the Stein Democrats and a good portion of the Johnson Democrats would have gone for Sanders, and I doubt many of the Johnson Republicans would have switched to Trump in a Trump v Sanders match up, if anything I would bet the numbers would go the other way.

          • There is a big difference between Bernie running as a third-party candidate and Bernie running as the Dem nominee. As the latter, you could expect most Dems to fall in line and vote for him, even if they didn’t like some of his policies.

        • axiomsofdominion says:

          Sanders absolutely could have won. The majority of winnable states where there is a large black vote also have the kind of white voters Sanders does incredibly with. There was no chance that Sanders would have lost Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. On top of that as we saw in the general there is a huge difference in turnout boost between a primary candidate who boosts turnout and a general one. People who wrote Sanders off as a primary candidate would have come out in the general in DROVES. Once he actually WON he wouldn’t be a sheep dog, etc. Trump got millions of votes from that factor. Also, Clinton got about average black turnout. So its not like she had a big advantage there over other Dem candidates. Would Sanders have had the hispanic turnout Clinton did? In Nevada yes. That was a Reid thing. In Florida? Maybe not. But a Sanders electoral map doesn’t need Florida. He could easily have won Ohio and Iowa and potentially Oklahoma.

    • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

      Should’ve nominated Jim Webb.

    • DrBeat says:

      They SHOULD stop taking actions whose primary purpose is to make themselves feel superior and they SHOULD start taking actions whose primary purpose is to get party members elected to office so they can enact policies.

      Mainstream Liberal Smugness lost this election on multiple levels. It’s a huge part of what Trump voters were rebelling against, and it’s why they were so Godawful at modeling or reaching out to those voters.

      What they are GOING to do is get increasingly more smug about how this proves everyone who isn’t a mirror of their politics is a horrible person to feel contempt for. I think this time they aren’t going to conclude “we need to move further right” as nominating Hillary was not a tactical choice, they did it because She Was Owed, and they certainly cannot admit that they shouldn’t have done that. The only thing they will learn is “We need to make all of the mistakes that lost us this election, but moreso!”

      • Moon says:

        Well, now Right Wingers will have to try to do something constructive with the presidency, rather than simply to just criticize “smug liberals” constantly. Good luck with that.

        Liberals couldn’t go further Right than Hillary was. It’s not possible, without merging with the Republican party. She was Nixon in a dress– not even in a dress– in a pants suit.

      • Edward Scizorhands says:

        My image of the Clintons right now are petty dictators who wipe out all competitors to their own power, and then once the petty dictator loses, everything falls all to pot because all the competent people got disappeared.

        Obviously I’m exaggerating a bit there, but the Democratic National Committee has, irresponsibly IMO, absolutely no plan for what to do without the Clintons. None. Clinton, like a banana republic dictator trying to negotiate with the US, set up a situation where “it’s me or the abyss, so you better support me.” And now that’s she’s lost, there is nothing left.

        • sflicht says:

          It’s not *that* hard to see what will rise from the ashes. I’d guess 2020 will feature a primary battle between a Clintonesque machine candidate — maybe Gillibrand — and a Sandersnista, probably Warren. I don’t think the fundraising apparatus will completely fall apart. Prominent donors like Tom Steyer aren’t changing their views anytime soon. Party collapse seems unlikely, but the battle between centrists and left-wing(nuts) will continue.

        • John Schilling says:

          My image of the Clintons right now are petty dictators who wipe out all competitors to their own power, and then once the petty dictator loses, everything falls all to pot because all the competent people got disappeared.

          So, kind of like Stalin and the Russian Army in 1941, then?

          Yeah, yeah, we’re not supposed to do Trump = Hitler comparisons. Kind of looking forward to the bunker scene, though.

        • Deiseach says:

          Well, Hillary has conclusively proven that if the nation ever does want a female president, it certainly isn’t her. So she’ll have to fall back on being the kingmaker, to wield power through connections and influence. It’s kind of a pity that she hadn’t a son as well as a daughter; Bill Jr running in 2020/2024 would do nicely, but Chelsea certainly isn’t set up to take over Mommy’s senatorial seat in the grand old tradition of dynasty politics.

          I think it will be whoever of the next candidate in 2020, or even the candidate after that (2024) manages to link up with the Clintons and their machine will be the Dem choice. I can’t see Elizabeth Warren for several reasons; she’s got even more of that patrician elite aura around her (even if she’s from working-class/lower middle-class roots) and would be off-putting to the blue collar Dem vote that they’ve neglected and lost. If the Democrats are smart, they’ll have a look at what Sanders showed them and start courting the blue-collar vote once more. A candidate who is in touch with that side could do well for them.

          What they’ll do in the aftermath, I have no idea. I’m expecting the Usual Suspects to start yelling about sexism (indeed, the New Yorker already has – so a majority of women voting for a woman isn’t sexism, but a majority of men voting for a man is? I see!), racism, homophobia and the rest of it, but unless the party leadership is completely stupid, surely they will realise they need facts, not “this fits in with the prejudices of our core groups” to make decisions on policy and candidates?

    • onyomi says:

      This prediction, in February, on how Trump would beat Hillary, certainly seems prophetic now.

      I’m not sure whether Bernie could have done better since he did still have the curmudgeonly Jewish socialist thing, but it’s also clear Trump rode a wave of anti-establishment, populist sentiment, and it may be they wouldn’t have cared whether their populism was blue flavor or red flavor.

  18. erenold says:

    Wow. Wow wow wow, wow wow.

    From abroad, my heartiest congratulations to those of you who wanted this result, and my sincerest commiserations to those of you who did not. And as for Donald Trump himself, let us give him the credit he deserves for a truly historic victory. Those moronic foreign politicians who went around gratuitously insulting one of two potential candidates for leader of the free world for no apparent purpose but to signal their immense and saintly virtue, must surely now pay some kind of electoral price for the pain Trump is surely imminently about to rain down on their countries, and with good reason. (Hello, Justin Trudeau!)

    Whither the Republican Party? Now that we know Trump was right all along about the hidden Trump vote, have they stumbled on a formula for perpetual electoral victory? Are we on the cusp, ironically enough, for a permanent (ish) Republican supermajority?

    • Jugemu says:

      >Are we on the cusp, ironically enough, for a permanent (ish) Republican supermajority?

      People seem to make this prediction (replacing “Republican” with “Democratic” if the Dems won) literally every election, but it’s never been right so far.

      • erenold says:

        I distinctly remember some ostensibly very #smarttakes, in the period immediately following the DNC conventions, pre-emptively predicting that the Democratic Party would indeed achieve such a thing, in this very election. That… no, not really, not so much.

        Now, having said that, I think Trump really has stumbled onto a genuinely hitherto-unknown piece of political truth here. That truth being, the WWC are not foredestined to be 33% of the electorate, but potentially up to 45%, if you say the right things to them. That’s not a long-run prediction like “demographics are destiny”. That’s true, now, and that’s true, big (league). A clever Republican Party could milk this for quite a long time.

      • S_J says:

        Karl Rove was talking about permanent Republican majority in 2004…

        The leaders of the DNC were talking permanent Democrat majority in 2008…

        Make of that what you will.

        I think neither party has a permanent majority. I also think that Americans like change–at the Presidential level, but not at the Congressional level.

    • Sandy says:

      I walked down to Times Square at 1 in the morning to watch the results come in, and Bill Kristol’s smug fucking face was there on the massive screen, poll-watching with the ABC panel.

      Really, fuck that guy, I hope he and his fellow neocons are completely marginalized in the party from now on.

    • Tibor says:

      It is a bit ironic to read a comment like that under an article which argues against making sweeping statements about the result. Trump seems to have won with a larger majority than expected but nevertheless the result does not change the underlying factors. 4 years of Trump’s presidency could change them a bit of course (although it is worth to repeat the quote from Reason that neither of the candidates has the needed ability, charisma and public support to ruin the country in a mere four years).

      I think that the most important result after this election and after Brexit is that the people who do the polls should be sacked. They seem to systematically underestimate the support of certain policies and candidates, essentially those that are not in the vogue, probably since the people they ask are unwilling to tell the pollsters that they support them. So their methodology should change or they should include this “shy voter” effect into their models, otherwise they will end up being laughing stock.

      At the same time one should ask whether it is normal to have such a large “shy voter” effect. It tells you something about the political atmosphere when people are afraid to express their opinion publicly due to an overly hostile environment. Sure, it is probably unwise to advocate gay marriage at a Westbro church congregation, but that is a bit like saying “Hitler kills a lot of innocent people, so let’s kill a few thousand civilians in Dresden”.

      Ironically, being more receptive to the “verboten” opinions and trying to understand them would probably lead to a decreased support of really extreme ideas, while condescension and ostracization fuel them.

      • erenold says:

        But Scott’s post has a faulty premise. Namely: that we know everything, or close to everything, about American elections. All we don’t know is when known freak occurrences like rainstorms will occur.

        The thing is, Trump didn’t win because of a rainstorm in Philadelphia. We knew about the possibility of rainstorms in Philadelphia. Trump won because he knew, or strongly suspected, something that very few others did – there were about 8 million white voters whom he, and only he, could turn out. Not just that, but perfectly strategically located voters, too – a Trump card, so to speak. The Democrats, let alone the Republican establishment, and even less so the conventional wisdom, never knew this, and only seem to have cottoned on right at the end, much too little and much too late.

        This one fact completely upends the electoral equation. There is no reason not to believe most of these folks will turn out for him in 2020 as well. Now, ‘permanent Republican supermajority’ is obviously deliberately overstating the case, but I challenge anyone to suggest that the Democrats start on the front foot, have a ‘blue firewall’ or any of that debunked nonsense in the 2020 Presidential contest. They now have to be seen as the underdogs in a wholly redrawn electoral map. This is a pretty big fact from which I think its reasonable to draw some pretty big implications.

        As for the latter half of your post – completely agreed.

      • Civilis says:

        I think that the most important result after this election and after Brexit is that the people who do the polls should be sacked. They seem to systematically underestimate the support of certain policies and candidates, essentially those that are not in the vogue, probably since the people they ask are unwilling to tell the pollsters that they support them. So their methodology should change or they should include this “shy voter” effect into their models, otherwise they will end up being laughing stock.

        Polling is, quite often, a case of both trying to measure the current opinion state and change that opinion state at the same time. Some people will take their cues as to what is an acceptable position from the popular opinion around them, as reported by the polls. In that respect, polls that don’t reflect the electorate may be doing their job, it’s just the job they are doing isn’t what we are supposed to think they are doing.

        The revelations that the Democrats had been intentionally oversampling Democratic-leaning groups in their polling should make it obvious that this has risks as well as potential rewards.

        • Tibor says:

          That might apply in a parliamentary representative system where one party hovers around the usual 5% needed to get elected. It does not make much sense if one party/candidate is projected to have at least 40% of the votes. If you systematically underestimate his real support it is not going to make people vote for the other candidate, it is just as likely to energize them to really go to the polls because they will feel that “now every vote counts” as it is to make them think that “he’s gonna lose anyway, why bother voting”.

          Apart from that, the main job of the pollsters is to give accurate predictions and that’s what they’re paid for (unless they are paid by the political parties directly). If they are often wrong, they are going to lose future clients. I think it is more likely that the polls don’t take something into account because of their outdated methodology than that they’re all systematically and intentionally biased one way. That something what is missing is likely the “shy voter” effect (or whatever the proper term for that is).

          • Civilis says:

            For all the discussion on this site over the Overton Window and how to manipulate it, it’s odd to see the idea thrown out when inconvenient.

            If you systematically underestimate his real support it is not going to make people vote for the other candidate, it is just as likely to energize them to really go to the polls because they will feel that “now every vote counts” as it is to make them think that “he’s gonna lose anyway, why bother voting”.

            If you were going to use poll data to sway the electorate, the best way to do it would be to minimize your opponent’s perceived support during the long boring stretch to boost your bandwagon and minimize his fundraising, then make it look closer at the last minute to drive your ‘get out the vote’ efforts with those dollars you raised. Is this what happened in the polls in 2016? I don’t know, but I’m not willing to rule it out.

            The only polling where the accuracy can be immediately tested is political election results. If you poll the public on a commercial issue, and whatever product or ad results from the poll doesn’t get results, you can always blame the product or ad agency. Polls on generic political leanings or issues are even worse, because almost all are push polls. Every time I get a phone survey, you can tell who sponsored the survey right away by the bias in the wording of the questions.

            Perhaps the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect applies to poll results as well as other media stories. The main job of the media is to bring us accurate news, and yet they’ve often fallen down on the job, especially for stories which are politically charged. While they’ve lost some customers, they’re not out of business yet. And most of the polls are presented to the public via the media. We expect the media to be biased; why should the polls they conduct be any different? (And, yes, political campaigns do conduct private polls; those aren’t the ones that make news stories. There are rumors going around that the Democratic internal polling going into Tuesday was a lot different than the polls in the media.)

        • The revelations that the Democrats had been intentionally oversampling Democratic-leaning groups in their polling

          No, that was a misreading. “Oversampling” is a legitimate polling practice to get a better picture of a small or hard-to-poll group. It does NOT mean giving those groups undue weight in the overall results.

          For example, if you were doing a survey of senior citizens to understand differences between age cohorts, your sample would naturally contain a huge number of people in their 60s, and very few in their 90s. It would be normal to oversample the 90-plus folks, so that conclusions about that group wouldn’t be based on just a few respondents.

          Contrary to many comments in this thread, in general, election pollsters are striving for accuracy, and their reputations rise or fall based on how accurate their results turn out to be.

          The problem is that the U.S. population is increasingly resistant to being polled, not just because of refusals, but because voters are shielded from unwanted contacts by caller-ID and other technology. Moreover, predicting which survey respondents will actually vote is always a thorny problem.

          All of these issues are steadily getting worse (for pollsters) over time, and “polling errors” have become more frequent. For years, many of us have been predicting the collapse of the whole enterprise. Maybe it has finally happened.

          • nyccine says:

            If you want to know what 90 year olds think, you poll 90 year olds; you don’t oversample them, and then not back this out of the polling.

          • Iain says:

            It’s a good thing nobody does that, then. Here’s an explanation:

            Oversampling is the solution. When pollsters launch a survey, they’ll often try to interview more people from underrepresented groups so they’ll end up with a large enough sample to draw real conclusions. Before they report the results, they’ll rebalance the sample to bring it back in line with the overall demography of the population—negating the inflationary effect of the oversample.

          • FranzPanzer says:

            Y’all talkin ’bout this?

          • Civilis says:

            It took me a while to notice this, but something doesn’t make sense. If the oversampling is there to make the demographics match the population, then why is this not evident in the party registration of the people that responded to the survey?

            Suppose I’m going to look at marketing a new soda, and I want to take a poll as to where people’s preferences lie, and I commission a firm to get me the data. And the data comes back, carefully balanced via oversampling to make sure all the market segments have valid data that matches their relevant population. And yet, despite this, the poll says that 2/3rds of the people polled currently drink Pepsi, yet you know from sales records that Coke outsells Pepsi in the region 2 to 1. Are you going to trust the polling firm?

            One of the few things we can reasonably accurately get numbers on is people’s political preferences. We have access to numbers of registered voters and results of previous elections. If your goal was to present an accurate picture of the American electorate, why would you advertise that the sample on which the poll results is based is not representative of the American electorate? “Clinton has a 12-point lead” is certainly easier to say than “Clinton has a 12-point lead among a sample that has 25 percent more Democrats than Republicans”, but if you are truly looking at stats, then the second is accurate.

            I will admit it might not be intentional bias, instead it could just be a case of the pollsters themselves not seeing the bias inherent in the samples they select. An article at the Huffington Post, Nate Silver Is Unskewing Polls – All Of Them – In Trump’s Direction by Ryan Grim (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nate-silver-election-forecast_us_581e1c33e4b0d9ce6fbc6f7f), which was published 3 days before the election, serves as an excellent example of this bias in action (and one that is hilarious in retrospect of what actually happened). The key sentence is “And we still haven’t accounted for the unique fact that one campaign has a get-out-the-vote operation, while the other doesn’t.” The author knows that Hillary’s GOTV campaign gives her an advantage, so if anything, Hillary’s chances of winning should be better than the 85-98% suggested by the 5-6 points she’s leading in the polls.

          • It took me a while to notice this, but something doesn’t make sense. If the oversampling is there to make the demographics match the population, then why is this not evident in the party registration of the people that responded to the survey?

            This was the Romney critique of polls in 2012.

            Polls aren’t reweighed for partisanship, because partisanship isn’t an unchanging demographic characteristic. Many states don’t have party registration of any kind, and lots of people are at most weakly attached to a party.

            Moreover, there’s a tendency for people to report a party preference that matches the candidate they happen to support at the moment, or to not admit a party preference contradicting their candidate.

            If the Republican candidate gains 5 points, compared to your previous poll, the proportion of people who call themselves Republican also rises, and the proportion of people who call themselves Democrats falls.

            A pollster who responds to this by saying, oh, we must have found too many Republicans, and downweights the Republican responders, will come up with numbers that go seriously awry. Experience has shown this to be a bad idea.

        • Ilya Shpitser says:

          Important public service announcement (again): if you don’t understand how to analyze polling data, please read first before criticizing. People have been thinking about correcting for biased samples for close to 60-70 years. People like Silver, who are involved in the polling business, almost certainly know a lot more about this than anyone commenting here.

          • Anonymous says:

            Their expertitude does not make them any less wrong.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            They are wrong because their problem is hard to solve. The question is, do people know enough to criticize? Specifically, could you have identify without hindsight what should have been done differently?

      • Earthly Knight says:

        Trump seems to have won with a larger majority than expected

        Trump did not win a plurality, let alone a majority. He’s trailing about 200,000 in the popular vote at present (he was previously ahead because many precincts from California had yet to be counted).

      • paulmbrinkley says:

        So their methodology should change or they should include this “shy voter” effect into their models, otherwise they will end up being [a] laughing stock.

        This is uncharitable, but I keep having this vision of pollsters employing a cargo-cult approach to solving this problem by hiring pollsters who talk “folksy”. “Howdy! This here’s Phil – you don’t know me, but the fellers over at Gallup asked me to ask you if I could trouble you for a moment of your time?”

        (Another part of me wonders if this half-assed idea might even work…)

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      People who think we are going to have a permanent majority are always wrong. If they believe it of their own side, it ends with disastrous results. Exhibit A: last night for the Democrats.

      • People who think we are going to have a permanent majority are always wrong.

        Exactly. The two U.S. parties are highly adaptable, and even when one seems moribund, it quickly springs back to life when voters are dissatisfied with the other.

  19. Tibor says:

    A good read for today (by no other than Jonathan Haidt):

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-get-beyond-our-tribal-politics-1478271810

    • Civilis says:

      Reason has a number of articles that I think are good on their blog (http://reason.com/blog). I don’t necessarily agree with them completely, but they seem to be a reasonable outside (libertarian, not progressive) look at what motivated Trump voters.

      From Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash by Robby Soave:
      The leftist drive to enforce a progressive social vision was relentless, and it happened too fast. I don’t say this because I’m opposed to that vision—like most members of the under-30 crowd, I have no problem with gender neutral pronouns—I say this because it inspired a backlash that gave us Trump.

      There is a cost to depriving people of the freedom (in both the legal and social senses) to speak their mind. The presidency just went to the guy whose main qualification, according to his supporters, is that he isn’t afraid to speak his.

      The other one is Why Donald Trump Won: People who don’t understand how anyone could vote for Donald Trump are part of the reason Trump won by Ed Krayewski

      Throughout, Clinton supporters ignored her professional flaws—questionable relationships of the Clinton Foundation, a disregard for transparency and the rules in setting up her own email server, as well as a total inability to acknowledge any real faults in her history of foreign policy positions. Instead, they tried to gaslight opponents of Clinton as sexists. Even now, the narrative that “America is more sexist than racist” is taking hold on the left (the notion itself could easily be called racist, at the very least its an distasteful exercise in oppression ranking). Trump won in part because of voters in places like Michigan and Wisconsin who voted twice for Obama. It won’t stop some on the left from calling those Trump voters racist, either.

      It turns out people don’t like being talked down to, and don’t like being lied to. They can smell a bullshit argument from someone else even if they subscribe to their own set. So a deeply flawed candidate like Trump was able to win, despite his own best efforts, because of the popularity of the anti-establishment sentiment.

  20. Nadja says:

    I think I agree with the consensus here that Scott Adams’ predictions were a bit preposterous. (The “98 percent chance”, the flip-flopping, etc.) But where I do give him credit is in his arguing against the “lucky clown hypothesis”. There are people (um, most of my social circle) that literally think Trump is a moron who just got lucky in life. Scott Adams, on the other hand, argued that the Donald is smart and skilled. He gave various examples of Trump succeeding in various disciplines (business world, books, entertainment, etc.) The elections seem to confirm what Scott Adams was saying. Trump won a decisive victory in terms of the electoral college. He seems to have campaigned in pretty much all the right states. It’s as if he had actually figured out what he needed to do, and did it. Will people again argue that he just got lucky? That there was no skill/intelligence/whatever involved? Especially considering that he spent literally less than half of what Clinton did?

    • Jugemu says:

      I feel similarly. Adams isn’t intellectually honest enough to take everything he says at face value, but I think he saw some things that few other people did.

      • dndnrsn says:

        This is what I think you can say for Adams. He saw some stuff that most people didn’t spot. His lens isn’t perfect, but it gave a better picture, especially during the primaries, than the ones a lot of other people were using.

    • John Schilling says:

      Adams and the “Trump is a clown who got lucky” crowd are equally and oppositely wrong.

      But where are you getting “decisive victory in terms of the electoral college”? The results are not all in, but 538 is predicting 299-239 as the mean expected outcome. In the past hundred years, only Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush have won presidential elections with a narrower electoral-college margin. The EC being winner-take-all biases it towards wide swings; this is what a legitimately close election looks like in the United States.

      • Nadja says:

        You’re right, John, I got carried away with the “decisive”. I should have said “less of a narrow win that it could have been” with him taking both PA and MI, and getting a 306 total, if we believe the NYTimes projections.

    • He gave various examples of Trump succeeding in various disciplines (business world, books, entertainment, etc.)

      All areas where you can succeed by creating an aura of success, of course.

      • Soy Lecithin says:

        And perhaps winning the presidency is another such area.

        • More than perhaps. And if it also wasn’t obvious, the “aura” things is the exact opposite of technocracy.

          • Murphy says:

            I remember listening to some of the speeches people were giving before the election and there’s something about a speech which spends 30 seconds praising the person you want people to vote for and 10 minutes talking about how horrible their opposition is.

            1: “damning with faint praise”

            2: it leaves the person you’re attacking sounding terribly important since you’re spending all this time talking about them, they must be a real threat to your side for that, so they’re strong.

            And there was something about the speeches where people would go out of their way to make sure to mention that “white males” support Trump even when it made no sense. With a sneer in their voice to make clear their disdain for white males.

            If I was an apathetic white male voter who voted with my gut feeling then I’d be looking at one group who’ve been busy telling me that I’m a terrible person for existing telling me that I need to vote for Hillary or else I’ll be an even more terrible person while declaring that people like me are a problem.

            So I have a choice between 2 sides. People who hate me already and say so, again and again and blame all the worlds problems on me because I was born. The other side is not doing that to me. Tough choice.

          • Nominative determinismm too.

            trumpery
            [truhm-puh-ree]

            1.
            something without use or value; rubbish; trash; worthless stuff.
            2.
            nonsense; twaddle:
            His usual conversation is pure trumpery.
            3.
            Archaic. worthless finery.
            adjective
            4.
            of little or no value; trifling, worthless; rubbishy; trashy.

      • Nadja says:

        Trump didn’t win the election by creating an aura of success, though, did he? He didn’t even get the popular vote. It’s not like people were universally drawn to his aura. He won by winning the states he needed to win (with some safety margin built in, taking all and not just two of PA, MI and FL.) And he won those states by smart, targeted campaigning.

        I’m not saying an aura of success doesn’t help. Trump himself definitely thinks it’s important and he definitely works very hard to create it. (And I’d argue that it takes skills and smarts to do it well. Intellectuals often have an aversion to investing time in building social desirability, but making yourself more attractive is like any other human endeavor where being smart makes it easier to do it effectively.) But it’s not enough. Not in politics and not in business. Trump does well not only because he’s charismatic, but also because he takes calculated risks and because he’s an independent thinker, in the sense of being Taleb’s Fat Tony and not falling for the “intellectual-yet-idiotic” (apologies for the phrase, borrowed from Taleb again.) So, anyway, since “technocratic” often applies exactly to the “intellectual-yet-idiotic”, Trump, in my mind, indeed is the opposite of it.

        • Trump does well not only because he’s charismatic, but also because he takes calculated risks and because he’s an independent thinker

          Those *are* charisma. Bad boys and all that.

          And he won those states by smart, targeted campaigning.

          He did it by campaigning isn’t exclusive of “he did it by charisma”. I don’t know what you think charisma is. The uncharismatic way of doing things is to appeal to your track record, and put forward detailed plans, neither of which he did.

          • Nadja says:

            If I’m understanding correctly that you’re saying Trump’s aura of success/charisma helped him win, then I agree.

        • The Nybbler says:

          The popular vote isn’t really relevant; everyone knows the rules in advance, and strategies which write off votes in “sure” states in order to obtain votes in marginal states are the most rational ones. The popular vote falls as it may as an artifact of that.

  21. JC83 says:

    Clinton and the Democratic party made a critical mistake. Clinton continued to focus heavily on minorities while taking the white male support she had for granted. The message from Clinton to white males was “I am not on your side”, while Trump embraced them. Even if they favor Clinton on issues and experience, they can’t help but favor Trump emotionally. And, most humans make decisions based on emotions instead of logic.

    As for the polls being inaccurate, I believe it’s because these mostly white voters previously considered both parties to be good enough and didn’t care enough to vote. But, now that the Democratic party has begun to look like the “anti-white party”, these voters felt threatened and turned up in greater numbers. The polls missed because this group simply is far less likely to answer polls.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s also probably a significant amount of Havel’s Greengrocers.

      – “You’re not voting for Trump, are you?”
      – “Of course not, comrade. See you at the next Party meeting?”

  22. Deiseach says:

    HOLY CRAP AMERICA HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???

    Since your election results wouldn’t be out until 4 in the morning my time, I didn’t bother staying up to see the results as I was sure Hillary had this won.

    “I’ll wait till the morning”, I said to myself. “Check it as soon as I get into work, that’s time enough”.

    AND THEN YOU ELECT TRUMP ON ME.

    I’m not at all sure how to react – part of me is delighted, I have to say. I think he’ll be bad, but unless he was the Devil out of Hell, there is no way he could be as bad as the hysteria in the run-up was painting him. I think it’s partly the same reaction I had to the same-sex marriage referendum here: up till the campaign got into full swing, I was an apathetic “Ehhh, probably will vote yes, no reason the civil law should be restricted to straights given the state of marriage nowadays” but after the gloop, glurge, and ‘unless you vote yes the apocalypse will ensue with the streets littered with dead gays and lesbians whose hearts you broke and who were murdered by the homophobes encouraged by a ‘no’ result’, I went “I AM GOING TO VOTE NO, AND NOT JUST NO, BUT HELL, NO!”

    Well. Looks like some people will need to apologise to Scott Adams, though I don’t know if the final result counts as a “landslide” – does it? 276-218?

    Let us see how events eventuate 🙂

    • Murphy says:

      “AND THEN YOU ELECT TRUMP ON ME.”

      And not even by just a little bit, even split on the popular vote but by a massive margin of the electoral college.

      I kept saying he’d win but I should have put my money where my mouth is. I could have got 8 to 1 from the bookies.

    • S_J says:

      I was telling myself yesterday morning that this whole election cycle has been the Monty Python campaign.

      And Now for Something Completely Different!

    • Anonymous says:

      HOLY CRAP AMERICA HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???

      You shouldn’t believe what the mainstream media says when the mainstream media is not a neutral side in an issue. The MM is establishment property, and has been propagandizing appropriately. The polls were crap because it’s really easy to fudge the numbers by being selective in just the right way to show one’s preffered result; in addition, given the negative propaganda, publicly avowing allegiance to Trump was fairly radioactive – it wouldn’t surprise me if like ~4% of polled people lied and said they’d vote for Clinton, but in the privacy of the voting booth did something else entirely.

      • You shouldn’t believe what the mainstream media says when the mainstream media is not a neutral side in an issu.

        And the pollsters are biased too? Or just incompetent?
        I mean, its’ actually in the interest of the other side to have accurate polls and not make believe, so they can plan effective strategy.

      • Murphy says:

        If it were just the media then there wouldn’t have been such a sharp change in the markets after trumps election. A lot of money in on the line in little things like the value of the mexican peso and various industries potentially affected by the results.

        The people who have money on the line, a lot of money, you’d expect to invest in gathering accurate information.

        Yet the markets seemed moderately shocked by the outcome.

    • The original Mr. X says:

      I’m not at all sure how to react – part of me is delighted, I have to say. I think he’ll be bad, but unless he was the Devil out of Hell, there is no way he could be as bad as the hysteria in the run-up was painting him.

      Yeah, me too.

      Plus, there’s been a fun sense of schadenfreude watching all my American Facebook friends who’d previously posted loads and loads of sanctimonious stuff about how stupid Britain was for voting to leave the EU, having online meltdowns now that their country has elected Trump.

  23. Fossegrimen says:

    My take from the election:

    Country as a whole: Trump ~50%, Clinton ~50%
    District of Columbia: Trump 4%, Clinton 93%

    That’s some Marie Antoinette level disconnect between the rulers and the ruled right there. Also the whole reason you guys got Trump summed up in 4 simple numbers.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      DC went 85% Democratic the first election in which it had EVs and hasn’t looked back since. I don’t think there’s any deep meaning to be had beyond a restatement of the usual white/black urban/rural divides; if you give electoral votes to what is essentially a single urban core with a substantial black population, that’s to be expected.

      In fact, I’m not even sure there’s an example of a democratic capital not leaning dramatically left/liberal compared to the country at large.

      • Fossegrimen says:

        Not sure I’m buying that. Early exit polls says Trump is getting 8-12% of the black vote, so to get 4% total means some pretty out-of sync demographics.

        Edit:
        And for your added point about all democratic capitals being like that, I believe that proves my point. Rulers being disconnected from the ruled can scale down to the state level too.

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          And for your added point about all democratic capitals being like that, I believe that proves my point.

          It would only prove your point if all countries always elected right-wing leaders at odds with the capital. But to use the most proximate example, Ottawa seems pretty in-tune with Canada at the moment.

          • Fossegrimen says:

            Aah, sorry, I thought you were talking about state capitals.

            No, the problem seems pretty unique to the USA at the moment. The Scandinavian capitals are very far to the left and also in tune with the populace at large. The problem is not the leftish-ness, but the large difference.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          Bosch is correct, this has everything to do with black population and urbanity and nothing to do with ruling classes. Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia all also went for Clinton by huge margins, and none of those cities rules over anything.

      • Tarpitz says:

        Depends where you think London stops. Inner London is very left wing. The suburbs, not so much. The totality is more left-leaning than the country as a whole – and certainly than England as a whole – but not so much so that it couldn’t elect and re-elect a Conservative mayor by reasonable margins.

    • That’s some Marie Antoinette level disconnect between the rulers and the ruled right there

      That can be read two ways. Y

  24. Bugmaster says:

    Hmm, well, I was pretty certain that Trump would not get the nomination. Then, I (along with Nate Silver) was pretty certain that Hillary would beat Trump easily. In the previous discussion threads, I was pretty certain that, in the unlikely event that Trump would somehow get elected, he wouldn’t be able to make any major policy changes (and the same went for Clinton).

    Let’s hope I’m not 0 for 3…

    EDIT: Missed a “not”. Freudian slip ?

  25. Jugemu says:

    Well, that was surprising. Could hardly believe my eyes seeing Trump’s betting odds shoot up. Well, considering that I was half-seriously starting to think about moving away from possible nuke targets if Hillary Putin-Hatin’ Clinton won, I’m pretty pleased with the results, even though I’m not quite sure what to expect out of Trump. (And in the short term the smugness of victorious Clinton fans would have been unbearable.)

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      Where can I see the betting market movement over the course of the night?

    • Unirt says:

      Easy for you to say… If this is the end of NATO, then I’ll have to move away to not get bombed. I mean, Trump won’t do anything that Putin doesn’t like, will he? Neither Putin nor Trump like NATO much. So Putin will invade the Baltics, knowing that USA won’t answer. That will be the end of NATO and the glorious post-WW period of peace. Why would Putin not do it, if it costs him nothing and there’s no real danger of war with USA? If he can eliminate NATO with no cost at all, why not do it? The next day China will attack Japan or something. Well, I’m now living as if none of this will happen, I’ll take my kids to daycare and go to work like usual, trying to wish this scenario away.

      • No, no, China will invade Taiwan first. Priorities.

      • vV_Vv says:

        I think the most that will happen is that the Russian annexation of Crimea, Donbass and possibly Transnistria will be formally recognized.

        If the NATO ends, then European countries will form their own military alliance, perhaps minus some of them which may ally with Russia. So what?

      • sflicht says:

        Perhaps you should consider the possibility that just as they were wrong about the election, media pundits are not being accurate/honest in their assessment of Putin’s aggressive intentions towards the Baltics.

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          Let me preempt about 10,000 future comments by saying “pundits were wrong about X, therefore they are wrong about Y” is not a good argument.

          Georgia and Ukraine provide strong non-pundit evidence for Russia’s willingness to launch revanchist wars.

          • sflicht says:

            Only if you read the evidence according the conventional (MSM) Western interpretation of those events. This is not the only way to read it.

            (EDIT: Thanks to Anonymous below who took the time to spell out the alternative interpretations I was gesturing towards. I was too lazy to do so because it’s generally futile.)

          • Anonymous says:

            Ukraine is evidence of USA’s willingness to steal from other powers’ sphere of influence. Russia is merely defending its client state, after its puppet government has been overthrown and a hostile puppet government installed.

            In Georgia, it was also the Georgians who started shooting. Russia came to the aid of its client rebels.

            Neither of these seem “revanchist”.

        • Anonymous says:

          Attacking the Baltics would be utter idiocy for Russia, engaged as she is in Ukraine and Syria right now. Only someone with the power and reach like the United States – a far cry from the resources at the disposal of the Russian Federation and friends – would and could do something like that.

          • Unirt says:

            I don’t think Russia would go and take the whole Baltics. It’s enough to take a small piece, i.e. the Russian-populated Ida-Virumaa (to “protect the Russian citizens living there”). The main outcome would be the de facto annihilation of NATO, if USA doesn’t respond. Not obtaining a piece of land.

            But what if Putin figures that USA won’t respond, and attacks, but then the Congress, or perhaps the US Army generals or whoever has the power, forces the government to respond after all, just to save NATO, and that will lead to an actual USA-Russia war?

      • John Schilling says:

        Why would Putin not do it, if it costs him nothing and there’s no real danger of war with USA? If he can eliminate NATO with no cost at all, why not do it?

        If Putin invades the Baltics, he’ll probably get to keep them and Moscow won’t get nuked, yes. What are the Baltics worth to Russia, really?

        But if Putin invades the Baltics, everyone else in Europe will recognize the need for an effective alliance to contain Russia, and if NATO can’t be remade to fit that purpose something else will. And if Donald Trump isn’t on board with it, the US will have a new president in 2020.

        Putin gets maybe one free shot against a Europe without an effective defense alliance. The price for invading the Baltics is that he doesn’t get to hold on to that card for use later. And really, if you’ve got that one card, your best bet is probably to never play against anyone it but hold it as a threat against everyone you have to deal with.

        • Jiro says:

          But if Putin invades the Baltics, everyone else in Europe will recognize the need for an effective alliance to contain Russia, and if NATO can’t be remade to fit that purpose something else will.

          Couldn’t the same thing be said about Ukraine? (Ukraine isn’t in NATO, unlike the Baltics, but you’re postulating that this will happen even if NATO is ineffective.)

          • Anonymous says:

            Ukraine was until very recently in the Russian sphere. Everyone not living under a rock realizes this, and Russia’s “aggression” seems somewhat justified. After all, there was a coup d’etat in Ukraine, and there does seem to be fairly massive grassroots uprising support. Russia intervening there is not surprising.

          • John Schilling says:

            If Russia were to invade and conquer all of Ukraine, or Georgia, that also would likely trigger Europe (and no later than 2020 the US as well) to reinstate a strong anti-Russian defensive alliance.

            Invading just Crimea, the Donbass, South Ossetia, etc, are much less provocative, for reasons Blue Anonymous and others have already pointed out. The Russians could maybe try to find a pretext to occupy a few select districts of one of the Baltic states, but there would be less grounds for legitimacy and much less reward from such a thing. Putin gets one free shot against NATO and he’s going to waste it on a quarter of Estonia?

          • Unirt says:

            Putin gets one free shot against NATO and he’s going to waste it on a quarter of Estonia?

            Which other NATO state would be a better (and more legitimate) target? And he only does need one shot. Dispatching NATO is a sweet enough reward, even if the quater of Estonia isn’t particularly valuable, right?

          • John Schilling says:

            Which other NATO state would be a better (and more legitimate) target?

            All of them combined?

            If President Trump gives you an advance pardon for a single count of first-degree murder, going out and killing the one person you hate most is the sucker move. The smart move is making up an “I still have one free murder left” T-shirt to wear whenever you’re dealing with anyone you don’t like or really want something from.

  26. John Schilling says:

    Remember, everyone: the reason the United States is almost certainly going to have a wretchedly awful president for the next four years is that the leaders of both parties were so incredibly arrogant as to believe they could force the voters to line up behind a dynastic party insider with one of the most toxic names in American politics, because they had the seniority and the right connections and the donor support and because the voters would do what they were told. Which means that the virtue of this particular outcome is that both parties cannot fail to get the message. The Democrats had the discipline to force their Chosen One down the voters’ throats, and lost everything. The GOP lost control early, so now they’ve got someone presiding over the country in their name who is not one of them and will cause them more harm than they can yet imagine.

    That’s cause for hope, not despair, at least in the long run. In the short term, faced with choosing the lesser of two evils, the American people split evenly on which evil concerned them most. Anyone who wants to make this an exercise in blaming the voters who didn’t agree with them about which evil was greater, that’s wrong on every level except possibly being the easiest way to feel smugly self-righteous. Likewise anyone who wants to rejoice in the triumph of their supposed lesser evil.

    If you want something better in four years, you’re going to need help from some of the people who voted against your preferred candidate tonight. You’re probably not going to get it by demanding that they feel ashamed of themselves. And you’re losing track of who your enemies are.

    • Deiseach says:

      a dynastic party insider with one of the most toxic names in American politics

      Now John Schilling, that’s just mean ol’ Republican Hillary-bashing as in “Right Wing media wouldn’t have bashed a Republican Hillary for decades, the way it bashed the Dem Hillary. It wouldn’t have twisted and distorted and lied about everything in all her emails”, doncha know? It’s all lies and propaganda that made you have a bad opinion of the lady, who never did anything wrong ever and whose hands are lilies and snow and certainly not somewhat spotted a la Lady Macbeth when it came to cronyism and peddling influence for money 🙂

    • Jaskologist says:

      I’m going to be reposting that last paragraph elsewhere if you don’t mind. Probably without attribution unless it bothers you.

    • Bush 2.0 was fine I guess.

    • Earthly Knight says:

      Anyone who wants to make this an exercise in blaming the voters who didn’t agree with them about which evil was greater, that’s wrong on every level except possibly being the easiest way to feel smugly self-righteous. Likewise anyone who wants to rejoice in the triumph of their supposed lesser evil.

      I do not think there can be any objection, in principle, to blaming voters who make what is clearly the wrong choice if that choice goes on to have disastrous consequences. Certainly the plurality of Germans who voted for the Nazis in 1932 and the plurality of Palestinians who voted for Hamas in 2006 deserve some blame, don’t they? If Trump goes on to cause an entirely foreseeable catastrophe, some share of the responsibility will fall on those who voted for him.

      • Randy M says:

        I really am looking forward to seeing whether these predictions of doom come true and whether anyone changes their beliefs based upon the results.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          Here’s a list of possible catastrophes which, I think, could reasonably have been foreseen by Trump voters:

          –Trump starts a devastating war over a minor provocation
          –Massive tax cuts for the rich effectively bankrupt the federal government
          –Russia expands its sphere of influence to a large part of Eastern Europe
          –Deportation program causes widespread human rights abuses
          –Federal government becomes substantially more authoritarian, restricting freedom of speech and the press
          –Protectionist policies set off a trade war leading to recession
          –The US military commits war crimes with Trump’s tacit or explicit approval
          –Xenophobia and racial conflict in the US increase, with attendant rises in hate crimes and discrimination against Hispanics and Muslims

          If any event on this list comes to pass, Trump voters will bear some responsibility for it.

          • Randy M says:

            Thanks for going on the record here; a few quibbly follow ups:

            Do you want to give a casualty range for the devastating war? Without it, I think one war in four years may well be below baseline.

            Do you think a Trump tax cut would be in any particular way different from a Bush tax cut? Also, any particular reason to think Trump wants to cut taxes on the rich? Now that he is president, there are much easier ways to make loads of money than by merely taxing his personal income less.

            Has Russia’s influence changed at all in the last eight years? Is this Obama voters’ fault?

            Are you labeling a deportation program in and of itself a human rights abuse? If so, I dispute the terms. If not, please specify.

            A more authoritarian federal government is certainly a concern, but how would you separate Trump’s contribution from the baseline trend? Why is a government that punishes your speech a qualitatively different catastrophe from one that punishes you for not buying favored products?

            His trade proposals do buck conventional wisdom. At least there would be some good evidence, though hard to detangle from technological changes or other policies.

            War crimes like Waterboarding or war crimes like Dresden?

            What has racial tension been doing the last eight years, and to what extent are Obama voters to blame?

          • John Schilling says:

            Do they get credit for e.g. preventing Hillary’s no-fly zone over Syria from escalating into WWIII? Or stopping the Federal government under Clinton from becoming substantially more authoritarian, restricting freedom of speech and the press?

            How, aside from “trust me, it’s obvious”, do we know?

      • John Schilling says:

        I do not think there can be any objection, in principle, to blaming voters who make what is clearly the wrong choice if that choice goes on to have disastrous consequences.

        In principle I agree, but denouncing as irredeemably evil the 96% of the electorate that voted for Not Gary Johnson seems a bit harsh.

        More seriously, “clearly the wrong choice” is much easier to define after it has gone on to have those “disastrous consequences”. Particularly in a lesser-of-two-evils situation, it is almost a tautology that if a majority of the electorate votes for X then X isn’t clearly the wrong choice at the time.

        Certainly the plurality of Germans who voted for the Nazis in 1932 and the plurality of Palestinians who voted for Hamas in 2006 deserve some blame, don’t they?

        The Germans who went Nazi had a range of credible choices under a parliamentary system, which narrows the scope for any excuses. Hamas v. Fatah was much more of a lesser-of-two-evils scenario, skewed by the fact that Hamas’s terrorist evil was directed against outsiders that we happen to like whereas Fatah’s kleptocratic evil was inwardly-directed. What is clearly wrong to us, might look different from the Palestinian perspective.

        • Tibor says:

          The problem with voting Hitler is that you only get to vote for him once. And he wasn’t so exceptional at his time, similar people won the elections in other European and southern American countries of the time. Also, the Czechs who kind of smugly saw their country as the only bastion of democracy in central Europe did the same mistake only 12 years later with the communists (and many of them treated Germans in an appalling way when the war ended, regardless of whether those Germans were Nazis or not). My opinion is that had the WW1 played out a bit differently , Hitler could have just as easily been an Englishman or a Frenchman.

    • noob says:

      For months, there appeared to be a huge consensus among Americans that both Hillary and Donald are horrible candidates (at least within my filter bubble). In every category, one of them is extremely bad, and the other one is worse. Discussions about which is the lesser of two evils.

      After months of complaining, over 95% of American voters voted for Clinton or Trump. I do not understand American voters.

  27. registrationisdumb says:

    Looks like a lot of “rationalists” have been living in a bubble lately.

    Called this a few months back, and a little dissapointed no-one followed through on their bets that Clinton would win.

    • jaimeastorga2000 says:

      Scott, at least, bet “a lot of money” that Trump would not win. I’ve also seen some bets on the subreddit.

      • Jiro says:

        Scott’s major reasons for opposing Trump also included the bizarre claim that if Trump gets elected, that would help the social justice warriors. Let’s see what happens with that.

        • Zombielicious says:

          Yeah, I’d take that bet. For people who think this is going to make “SJWs” more moderate and restrained, ask yourself whether the 2008 Obama/Dem win (by far larger margins), and efforts to “reach across the aisle and find common ground,” worked on conservatives. Everything they fear was just validated completely. They don’t see chickens-coming-home-to-roost in return for “marginalizing conservative voices,” they’re seeing a country that hates them enough to elect an openly racist bigot who campaigned on deporting or imprisoning them. And that’s not just the most hardcore “SJWs” blogging on tumblr, that’s a huge portion of the left that sees it like that (present tense because I’ve been watching this reaction all night). It only gets more polarized from here, not less.

          Not nearly cynical enough about how the left is going to react to this. Or that it’ll actually force them to move further towards conservatism, rather than double-down until people are similarly pissed off after another four-to-eight years of “if you don’t like America, you can get out” rhetoric.

          • Jiro says:

            I think there’s a difference between “becoime more restrained” and “have less influence”. Clearly they are going to be up in arms about this, but just the fact that Trump got constantly attacked by social justice and managed to win anyway would show that social justice isn’t unbeatable and make intimidation by social justice harder.

            Also, electing any Republican would make the SJWs less restrained, but Scott was implying a special effect of Trump specifically, above and beyond the effect of just electing a Republican, which is a lot more doubtful.

          • vV_Vv says:

            but just the fact that Trump got constantly attacked by social justice and managed to win anyway would show that social justice isn’t unbeatable and make intimidation by social justice harder.

            That. Remember how the SJWs were always saying:
            “It’s 2016!”
            “We are on the right side of history!”

            I guess we not going to hear this for some time.

          • vV_Vv says:

            Yeah, I’d take that bet. For people who think this is going to make “SJWs” more moderate and restrained, ask yourself whether the 2008 Obama/Dem win (by far larger margins), and efforts to “reach across the aisle and find common ground,” worked on conservatives.

            Well, how did it work on the SJWs? After 8 years of first black president you’ve got BLM, not the KKK, rioting in the streets.
            After the Dear colleague Title IX letter, you’ve got Mattress girl and Rolling Stone’s false UVA rape case.

            The SJWs can’t be appeased. Any concession they get makes them more vicious. They need to be humbled.

          • Jaskologist says:

            Well, the thing there was that there wasn’t a real attempt to “reach across the aisle and find common ground.”

            I’m not sure how that plays out this time. Obama promised to do that, but it doesn’t seem to me that Trump did.

          • onyomi says:

            “I think there’s a difference between “becoime more restrained” and “have less influence”.”

            With any luck, maybe they’ll undergo “evaporative cooling.”

          • AnonEEmous says:

            the power of SJWs is to say “you can’t say that”

            now we know that you can actually get elected president by ignoring them.

            this also means that politicians know that you can get elected president just by ignoring them.

            Scott is probably going to hop in disagreeing but he presupposed his own conclusion; Trump had a very strong margin of victory and he’s probably going to take 30 plus electoral votes, which means he could afford to lose at least 1 state and likely 1 big and 1 small state. In short, this wasn’t a rainstorm victory, this wasn’t an accidental victory, this mattered. Trump didn’t just slip and fall over the finish line, he leapt over it in fairly convincing fashion.

            Meanwhile, SJWs now have no federal power, at all. And people already don’t like them; if they keep getting angrier and angrier, how long before they’re just hated by the majority of the populace?

            ultimately trump has the chance to show that all that rhetoric about him was false and the speakers are false speakers, as well. We’ll see what happens, but SJWs have been dealt a crushing blow.

          • Everything they fear was just validated completel.

            Fro some value of validated. If you fear Obamacare as a terminal goal, then Obamacare happened, so validation. If you. If you feared Obamacare because it will make the sky fall in, then no validation. (During the coverage I saw a Trumper complain that the other parties had done “nothing” over several decades, Well, Obamacare wasnt nothing when it was being discussed!)

  28. AnonEEmous says:

    BOY

    TUESDAY MADE THE NARRATIVE GREAT AGAIN

    PREPARE FOR FLEXING

    :::

    :::

    :::

    FLEX COMMUNIQUE END

  29. Brad says:

    This is on y’all’s heads. Hopefully there won’t be too much blood on your hands come four years from now.

    • keranih says:

      Oh, I’m perfectly willing to work on impeaching Trump straight off the mark, and given that I wouldn’t have to fight the media, academia, and the rich men in the country every. single. stinking. step, there’s a chance we’ll make it stick.

    • The_Other_Brad says:

      You don’t feel like you’re exaggerating?

      • Protagoras says:

        We’re talking about a presidential election. What could make you think someone was exaggerating in saying something like this? Are you suggesting that presidents have not in the past frequently made decisions that produced many deaths?

      • Brad says:

        Maybe. I hope so. But I don’t think so.

      • Zombielicious says:

        Given that the last time this sort of thing happened we got the Iraq War, torture programs, and housing crisis, among other things, it doesn’t really seem like that ridiculous of an expectation.

        About the only way I can shine this penny is to say that we’ll at least get to test people’s predictions for how bad a Trump presidency (w/ three fully GOP controlled branches) could actually be. I’m going with >80% odds of an Iraq War level disaster, and no way Republicans actually try to remove him prior to that after he handed them control of all three branches of government.

        • John Schilling says:

          after he handed them control of all three branches of government

          You seem to be implying that the GOP controls Donald Trump. When did that happen?

          • Zombielicious says:

            No idea what you’re reading into my comment. The GOP gets the Supreme Court and maintains both houses of Congress. So it seems he didn’t hurt their Congressional chances that badly after all (as many were suggesting), plus by taking POTUS they get SCOTUS as well. The only downside is (probably) losing the popular vote and winning by the EC for a second time in five elections, which is not going to go down well with the people who will now consider themselves a disenfranchised majority. Not exactly a mandate, though I’m sure it’ll be spun as one.

            I’m basically saying that’s awesome for them, Trump is somewhere between partly and heavily responsible, and there’s no reason for them to give their new coalition a black eye by immediately jumping to impeach the guy who just won PA, MI, WI, etc. So if it happened at all, it’ll only be after he did something truly awful to tank their popularity to absurdly low levels. Basically, all this we’ll-get-Pence-after-deposing-Trump stuff is totally unrealistic.

    • CatCube says:

      I’m going to say that the Democrats bear some responsibility. They nominated somebody who might not be able to beat Donald fuckin’ Trump. (It hasn’t been called by either CNN or Fox as I write this, and I can hardly believe that Trump is even within spitting distance.)

      As a Never Trump conservative, I’m incredibly surprised that he might have pulled it off. I really, honestly, thought that the Republicans managed to nominate the only guy who had zero chance of beating Clinton. I voted for McMullin for other reasons; I think that Trump is a buffoon with a tendency to let his dick lead him off of cliffs, like Bill Clinton, and doesn’t have a conservative bone in his body. (Also like Bill Clinton) I don’t like what this is going to do for the environment of the Republican Party–this will likely push me into the wilderness. Hopefully all the people on the right who drank the Trump Kool-Aid are right that Pence and the party leadership will be able to keep a hold of him, but I doubt it.

      I can take some small consolation in watching Hillary lose (if she does). God, I hate her. Then the consolation will get snatched away when I realize I hate Trump just as much.

      • Chevalier Mal Fet says:

        Yeah, as a fellow NeverTrumper, I’m alternating between “Thank God our First Woman President isn’t going to be Hillary Clinton!” and “Oh, God, I cannot believe Donald Trump is our president for four years.”

        That said, the wailing and gnashing of teeth in my social media sphere is rapidly pushing me pro-Trump.

        • CatCube says:

          I’m still in the “thank God Clinton lost”/”I can’t believe Trump won” cycle, but yeah, the reactions to the election are something. I can’t say they’re making me pro-Trump, but the desolation of liberals is definitely a bright spot to be enjoyed. Reading Slate’s article about how white women betrayed the sisterhood is like a sweet, juicy orange.

          • Tibor says:

            Reminds me of this :-))

            your tears are delicious and your parties will die

          • hlynkacg says:

            *Facepalm*

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            Oh for fuck’s sake. I expected better of Reason.

            File pretty much all of the above under “NOT HELPING”. Reveling in Schadenfreude is obnoxious no matter who’s doing it, and it’s counterproductive to boot.

          • Zombielicious says:

            Nice. Please splain to me again how liberals are uniquely evil people and show me the gif of some rando with a 2-liter of fake “Republican tears” as an example of how awful we are?

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Zombielicious
            I don’t think anyone here has suggested liberals as a group are uniquely evil people. And you’ll note that there’s already people like hlynkacg pushing back against that sort of reaction.

            Go and do likewise. Which is to say, rein in the overreaction among your liberal and progressive friends.

            Otherwise, well, file under “Not helping”. I expected rather better of both you and EarthlyKnight based on earlier threads.

          • Zombielicious says:

            Oh, you don’t think anyone here has done that? I guess I can just say that I strongly disagree. I’ve sat here and many other places and tried my best to hold my temper as I’ve read all kinds of thinly veiled and not so veiled accusations about how much more categorically evil and different the left is from the right, from some of this blog’s most regular and well accepted commenters. Yes, there were people pushing back against it, just as there were people like HeelBearCub doing so on the left. I’ve definitely done the same in other places as well, maybe not so much on here because there’s a lot more conservatism going on here than liberalism, so saying “+1 feminism can be awful” has been pretty unnecessary (fwiw I’ve been actually sent to jail by lying feminists and sexist laws, and publicly shamed by them to the point where I was left with some serious issues as a result from it, so I don’t think almost anyone here who is “scared for their jobs” or whatever has room to claim I haven’t actually experienced the worst of it more than them). But in other places I get regularly attacked as a conservative (and misogynist) for defending any positive ideas they have.

            There is no way anyone who talks about something like instrumental rationality and has watched the results of the last sixteen years, culminating in this result, has any room to demand niceness and civility and factual accuracy and charitability from their opponents anymore.

            You think I want to sit around and debate something like “global warming alarmism” or “HBD” with conservatives when they win elections by saying it was all a Chinese hoax to kill American manufacturing? That it’s unfair to challenge the legitimacy of a president after electing the guy who started his entire campaign with “show us his birth certificate, a black guy is probably a Muslim born in Kenya!” If I decide to just personally attack them all as rapists and killers and lie lie lie about everything they’ve ever said or done, do you think that’s irrational of me as far as choosing the most successful strategy? That’s what I mean when I say that, along with the mainstream political establishment, that anything resembling sensible political discourse was also voted down this week. Love to hear how completely out-of-context offhand remarks about “bitter clingers” or “deplorables” or “47% just looking for a handout” are any comparison for the new low we’ve now hit. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll sit here and let people tell me how I’m not being civil enough in the future. It’s not like a completely new standard in dishonesty and personal attacks has been laid out as the blueprint for successfully destroying your opponents, and demanding the other side not immediately embrace these tactics is any kind of double standard…

            I can’t say, unlike some, that I see absolutely no upside to this outcome, but no one who helped cause it has any moral authority to demand reasonableness, factual accuracy, or even treating your opponents like human beings anymore. Sorry, that bridge got burned.

            Don’t worry, I highly doubt you’ll be hearing from me again in the future.

          • hlynkacg says:

            So are you going to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @hylynkacg – I don’t think they are interested in playing the conversation game right now, or maybe ever again.

            From their perspective, we are the problem, and the solution is to go somewhere else.

          • Tibor says:

            To Reason’s defence:
            1) this is a quote from the head of the Libertarian Party.
            2) While there is a lot of Schadenfreude in it, it is aimed at both the Democrats and the Republicans (“your parties will die”, not “your party will die”) and it is also partly a response to “You stupid Libertarians! Why haven’t you voted for Hillary like you were supposed to? Now look what you’ve done!”

            I am just a bit worried that while 4 million votes is a triumph to the LP (although it could have potentially been even better), just as the Reason’s reporter points out in the interview, it could be something like Nader’s victorious boasting in 2000s (and telling the two parties who have got 96% of the votes that they will die is a lot of boasting) about the great future of the US Green Party.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Zombielicious
            Yes, we already established that you’re unhappy with the result.

            “If I decide to just personally attack them all as rapists and killers and lie lie lie about everything they’ve ever said or done, do you think that’s irrational of me as far as choosing the most successful strategy?”

            No. I think that if you decided to do that, it would indicate that civility, honesty, and rationality are not ends to you, but means. I don’t generally think it’s a good thing when someone elevates tactical effectiveness over principle. Arguably, it’s worse than someone who simply lacks the emotional maturity and/or intellectual capacity to choose another course.

            I’m not terribly concerned with questions of “moral authority” (I voted for Gary Johnson and don’t much care if someone thinks that this means I ‘helped Trump’ or not), and you are of course free to reject my opinion. I’m speaking as someone who has considered your voice to be one of the valuable left-leaning ones in the commentariat, and would like to see that continue.

            You’re free to do with that input whatever you’d like.

            @Tibor
            Yeah, I realize it’s a LP quote. I’m not a fan of the LP as a -party- (I’m not of ANY party as parties. Political machines suck, period, and they tend to bring out the worst in people the longer they’re associated with them), so I didn’t necessarily expect much better.

            But I had hoped that Reason’s staff would be more mature than to just echo/reblog that sort of response without comment, especially since it encourages people to double down on the assumption that Libertarians are just Racist, Sexist, Homophobic Deplorable Republicans who happen to like smoking weed.

            For the main reason, see my response to Zombie above. But even if you’re only interested in tactics, consider that while we may be aware that the schadenfreude is aimed at both parties, that’s not how it’s going to be interpreted by a lot of the people who see it.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            I think that if you decided to do that, it would indicate that civility, honesty, and rationality are not ends to you, but means.

            I don’t know if anyone thinks that civility, honesty, and rationality are valuable for their own sake. They’re mostly valuable insofar as they help people acquire true beliefs and use those beliefs to make informed decisions that improve the general welfare. Which means there’s no reason to exhibit those virtues if people are going to ignore what you say and believe whatever insane lies a cartoonish demagogue feeds them instead. Scott proposed that being civil, earnest, and charitable would be more effective in promoting truth and well-being than being nasty, cynical, and uncharitable. We’ve had our experimentum crucis now, and Scott’s hypothesis was wrong.

          • Zombielicious says:

            Wow, you’re really trying to accuse me of just being a sore loser who doesn’t value such noble concepts as “civility, honesty, and rationality” as terminal values while simultaneously telling me to STFU and just accept Donald Trump as a fine outcome.

            Speaking of the Libertarian Party, they’re also ridiculing the “anti-war left” after having just asked us to come out and vote for their candidate. So glad I actually wasted more than five seconds considering doing that. Maybe more Ayn Rand book reports and I’ll finally learn the lesson about being noble in defeat.

            Libertarians, Nov. 7: “Support Garry Johnson to help end the two party system!”
            Libertarians, Nov. 9: “Your tears taste amazing and we drink to your suffering!”

            Meanwhile the people who constantly lambasted Queen Hilary are conspicuously silent in their criticism of the guy who campaigned on “kill their families” and “I’ll make a list of my enemies once I’m the most powerful man in the universe.” Almost like they think totalitarianism is only wrong when it’s the tumblr commie negroes doing it. I mean say what you want about Jill Stein and the Greens (as well as most of the other left-leaning groups that are regularly attacked on here), but at least they have their hearts in the right places. And it’s a lot more reliable to trust basically good people to eventually find the right policies than it is to engage with ideologues and demagogues who just want to gloat and make their outgroup suffer.

            But libertarians aside, let me try and explain how someone like me is completely incompatible with a community that imagines itself as this one does now. Trump didn’t win the election because not enough SSC readers turned out to vote against him. He won because, among other things, the strategy of spamming millions of poor, uneducated, disillusioned Americans with nonsense about chemtrails and Satanic devil worshiping was by far a more effective strategy than long thinkpieces in Foreign Affairs about the need for stability in a globalized world. The left was fighting the idea war while the right was fighting the meme war. People can go on and on about the need to understand your opponents, but it was those damn coastal elites sitting there wondering “maybe I am biased” that got themselves screwed doing just that, while the Alex Joneses of the world were playing the smart game, the one based on fear-mongering, hate, and misinformation.

            You want me to be part of a solution? Oh trust me I’m gonna. But winning back those people from the clutches of their biggest exploiters isn’t going to involve linking people like Melanie Austin to read Meditations on Moloch and ask her to think about the liberal viewpoint.

            Oh, here’s another one: you remember the poster who was threatened with banning (and eventually was) for bringing up the Naomi Klein Shock Doctrine stuff about a certain other poster here? Yeah, you have no credibility to claim that’s not an acceptable strategy for the left anymore. It was just officially institutionalized as a part of American democracy. A community which discourages it is either actively hostile to us, or just irrelevant to the broader social discourse now.

            Staying and communicating would be both ineffectual and useless, and would lead to my banning anyway since you apparently can’t play the conservative game with conservatives unless you already agree with conservatives. I’m not really sure how to get around that one, so I’m going to try to mount an effective resistance to the shitty direction I see my country headed in (just as under Bush, Obama, and would have done under “Hilary”). SSC doesn’t seem to have much place in that under the new norms, and the old rules were clearly a fool’s game.

            I’d personally recommend anyone else remotely dissatisfied with Donald Trump as CEO of America, Inc., along with his cast of all-star “winner” negotiators like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani, consider doing the exact same. Otherwise, GTFO of my way.

          • a non mouse says:

            Almost like they think totalitarianism is only wrong when it’s the tumblr commie negroes doing it.

            As bad as East German communism is, it’s better than Zimbabwean communism.

            Trump didn’t win the election because not enough SSC readers turned out to vote against him. He won because, among other things, the strategy of spamming millions of poor, uneducated, disillusioned Americans with nonsense about chemtrails and Satanic devil worshiping was by far a more effective strategy than long thinkpieces in Foreign Affairs about the need for stability in a globalized world. The left was fighting the idea war while the right was fighting the meme war.

            Ok, next election we restrict voting to 100+ IQ people and measure it by testing literacy or perhaps testing mathematical ability. That strike you as fair? You think the left gets more or less votes that way?

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Zombielicious
            I’m not accusing you of anything. If anything, I am saying “Yes, I get that you are upset. I get that you are very upset. Further expansion and amplification of how upset and unhappy you are isn’t really accomplishing much beyond any venting of internal pressure you’re getting from it.”

            Is that more clear?

            And I said IF you, to quote again “personally attack them all as rapists and killers and lie lie lie about everything they’ve ever said or done,” THEN I would conclude that you didn’t have those things as terminal values. I don’t think you’ve engaged in that sort of demagoguery so far.

            I think my exact words in response to the LP response was an exasperated “For Fuck’s Sake”, not “Yeah, you tell ’em, guys, Har de Har Har”.

            If you can sit here and honestly tell me that you think the basic problem with the democratic party and the talking heads (both print and screen) was excessive moderation and restraint, I honestly don’t know what to say to you or how much ground there is for meaningful communication, since we obviously have a very different perspective of how the last year or two played out.

            RE: the Shock Doctrine stuff, no, I don’t know what you’re talking about, though I am familiar with the book. I assume that was before I started following SSC.

            If you truly want to leave SSC, no one’s stopping you. But it’s a bit silly to engage with the commentariat here as if it were comprised entirely of Trump’s most rabid core supporters.

            EDIT: As for “fighting” with invective, insults, and demagoguery, I think that if it were going to work, it already would have. I think that in fact those tactics helped to contribute to Trump’s success. But if you want to contribute by stopping posting here, and taking to the streets to throw bricks through the windows of trump supporters, burn some american flags, or just start posting about “president pussygrabber” on twitter, tumblr, and the comment threads on youtube and newspaper websites, that’s your call.

            I suspect it will do more towards soothing your current anger and frustration than advancing your stated goals, however.

          • Zombielicious says:

            Well, I had typed a reply to “a non mouse” explaining why he’s a total hypocrit and doesn’t understand anything, but it apparently hit a filter or something. Either it appears later or else this blog community doesn’t actually have the commitment to freedom of speech and ending political correctness, at least not for left-leaning opinions, just for right-leaning ones. Or I’m already banned, who knows. Either way, not worth my time to figure it out. See ya.

            @Lysenko:
            Search for it yourself, not my problem. There’s no room for meaningful communication here anymore, that’s basically been my entire point.

          • Sandy says:

            at least not for left-leaning opinions, just for right-leaning ones.

            There have been filters for “right-leaning opinions” for a while, mostly relating to Death Eater thought.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @zombielicious – for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure you ran afoul of the spam filter due to some random thing. multiple posters have complained about it over the last few threads.

            I’m sorry to see you go, and I will definately miss your input here. I’m not sure how much I have a right to say beyond that. Stay safe, sir. Though it may be unlikely, I hope to hear from you again someday.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Either it appears later or else this blog community doesn’t actually have the commitment to freedom of speech and ending political correctness, at least not for left-leaning opinions, just for right-leaning ones. Or I’m already banned, who knows. Either way, not worth my time to figure it out. See ya.

            It’s not “this community” (whatever that means”) who decides on the filter, it’s Scott, and he’s very much not in favor of ending political correctness. In fact, you’ll probably find that the unofficial filter list has more “right” terms banned than “left” ones… plus, a fuckton of insults, maybe that was the problem?

          • Tibor says:

            @Zombielicious: If it’s worth anything, I also would prefer you to stay here. As for the LP, while it is true that the comment of their boss is a bit childish, it was said mostly as a reply to Democrats who were angry at Libertarian voters that they did not vote for Clinton. It can definitely be explained in a more constructive way of course why libertarians prefer their own candidate to just (from their point of view) the lesser of two evils (and some libertarians are particularly dogmatic about never choosing the lesser evil, sometimes beyond reason, although I don’t think that that was the case in this election). But as Lysenko pointed out LP is a political party and political parties tend to be tribal. And I have to admit that being happy about the 4 million votes the LP got, I was at first amused by that statement myself – but Lysenko is right that while this is really appealing to the lizard brain it is not not very helpful. Especially since it looks like it is mostly aimed at Democrats (although I do believe that it was sincerely meant as a fuck you to the Reps. as well, as hard as it might be to believe that, Libertarians really do not like either party – they might be on board with non-radical Democrats on social issues and with libertarian-leaning Republicans on economic issues, but especially now as the Republican party is turning into a party of protectionist conservatives and parts of the Democratic party is turning into a thought police – even if probably not the mainstream of that party – they have little in common with either of them).

            As for that anti-war left spoof, it is a comment on the difference in activity of anti-war leftwingers during Bush’s administration and during Obama’s. They were (rightly) against the Iraq war, but I have noticed little objections against the strikes in Libya or drone strikes in the Middle East. True, Iraq war involved more US troops, but Libya is at least just as fucked as Iraq, if not more and in both cases the US involvement has a lot to do with that. To be fair, the Libyan intervention was actually initiated by Nicholas Sarkozy, i.e. France (although Europe is incapable of even such a relatively small scale operation without the US) whereas Iraq was a US initiative. But still it does seem like a lot of the people on the left are against foreign interventions a lot more when those interventions are carried out by a Republican administrative.

          • Iain says:

            @Zombielicious: For what it’s worth, I agree with Faceless Craven and Tibor. I have appreciated your posts, and would be sad if you disappeared.

          • Divers Alarums says:

            @Zombieliscious, so what do you think of blowing this popsicle stand and starting a new one? I’m sick of the same things you’re sick of and I’d like to see community done better.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @Zombielicious:

            I won’t be unhappy at all if you leave.

            I will, however, be unhappy if you don’t come back after a week or a month.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      “I don’t know how Trump could have won! I had a fucking conniption every time his name was mentioned. I screamed at people all day about how they were monsters! What more could I have done???”

    • Tyrant Overlord Killidia says:

      Over the summer I was walking in south Philly around midnight on a Saturday with my Jewish girlfriend.

      We were holding hands and talking. While we were walking, I saw a dude walk perpendicular to us wearing a full militant neo Nazi outfit: Red T-shirt with a huge swastika on the front, black pants with chains, etc. He looked at us sort of menacingly (probably seeing the obvious Jewish girl) but kept walking, but for a moment I thought he was going to make a scene.

      Girlfriend didn’t notice since she was talking/looking at me at the time, but a few steps later I pointed out the above dude who passed literally 10-15 feet in front of us and she was like “Really? In Philly?” “The age of Trump I suppose”

      I wonder if the next one will feel more empowered to act on his hatred based on this Trump victory.

  30. onyomi says:

    I think the rational conclusion here is that magical Chinese monkeys can predict the future.

    Somewhat more seriously, my possibly premature takeaway is that “shy Trumpkins” were real, and they were calling themselves “independents,” “undecided,” etc. Yes, people talk about the “shy Tory” thing a little bit every four years, but there was better reason to suspect it could be real this time, considering how ambivalent many Republicans felt about Trump on a personal level, and how culturally divisive the election became (people afraid to put up Trump signs, etc.).

    • Jaskologist says:

      Reminder that this is the other danger of PC/SJW/whatever. Forget the damage it does to the body politic.

      It also damages your ability to gather accurate information. Instead of altering people’s behavior, you alter their willingness to tell you about their behavior. And then you get smacked in the face with a Brexit or Trump, which could have been avoided or at least mitigated if only you’d been willing to listen.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Yes. I think most of the Shy Trumpers stopped being shy at the last moment and that’s why the polls closed up. The rest of it was due to errors in estimating likely voters.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or it’s a combination of the pollsters not wanting to completely lose their credibility and homing in on the most “truthy” but acceptable outcome they could divine from entrails – and shy Trumpkins being shy all the way to the secret ballot, where they could have some privacy.

    • Creutzer says:

      Shy right-wing voters have been a thing in Europe for years. Voting for Trump is culturally analogous to voting for a right-wing party in Europe (whatever you think of his actual alignment on any sort of left-right axis, which is probably a meaningless thing to ask about). So this isn’t all that surprising, or shouldn’t be.

      • Tibor says:

        Depends on what you call right-wing and depends on where in Europe. If the CSU is right-wing, I don’t think there are people who are not going to admit voting for them. People not being open about voting for the AfD are of course a thing. In the UK, I doubt anyone would lie about voting for the Tories or for the Les Republicanes in France. Of course, Fronte National might be a different story. In Poland, the PiS seems to be something like the AfD, only more religious, I’ve never been to Poland but it doesn’t seem to me like people are hesitant to admit that they vote for them.

        At the same time, in the Czech republic, it is somehow reversed. The polls tend to underestimate the support of the communists. Not by much, mind you, they tend to get something like 2% more votes in the actual elections than in the projections (their support hovers between 10% and 15% with a slow downward trend, since most of their voters are old people). Similarly, I think some people would not admit voting for Zeman (the current Czech president) in the presidential elections, even though he is a leftist. I would expect a similar pattern with Die Linke in Eastern Germany, although their role seems to have been partly overtaken by the AfD.

        I think the line is not between right-wing or left-wing, but between sort of “progressive” and “regressive” (both of those terms are extremely vague in this sense). Both Zeman and the Communists are very “regressive”, supported mostly by older people and by people in the countryside (the people in the cities either vote overwhelmingly “liberal right wing” or “liberal left-wing” parties). There is also a small anti-immigration party, something like the AfD (the funny thing is that the head of the party is a guy called Tomio Okamura who is half Japanese and born in Japan) which also probably gets votes mostly from people in the countryside but their support is about 6% anyway.

        So in all these cases you have a city/countryside divide and the countryside tends to be more conservative (it might sounds strange to call the communists conservative but it is an accurate description for the Czech ones – they are economically extremely socialist of course, but socially they are conservative…sort of the worst of all worlds). It also explains why a right-wing party like the AfD can attract voters of Die Linke (those voters who voted for the old DDR communists and who did not like its shift towards the “new left” when they merged with the Western German radical leftists). At the same time, the media and the academia are city based and for various reasons tend to be even more “progressive” than the average city-dweller. Since there is little effort made by anyone to understand the others, everyone on the other side is considered by most to be either stupid or evil. And since the media and the “respectful society” are largely amassed on one side, it is the people on the other who are hesitant to admit that they support the other guys. This subsequently leads them to support increasingly radical people on that other side out of frustration and simply to take it back to the condescending media and “elites”.

        • Tarpitz says:

          In the UK, I doubt anyone would lie about voting for the Tories

          Socially? In certain circles, including mine, absolutely. Or at the very least keep extremely quiet about it. To a pollster? I’m less certain, but would regard it as at least entirely possible. No, you know what, I’m pretty certain it must happen; the question is whether it happens often enough to affect polling. The last general election seems like a data point in favour of yes.

          • Anonymous says:

            If the poll is conducted by telephone, or asking random people on the street, there’s a high chance it’ll catch them in company of their peers. In such a situation, the polled person might have the same false response as when asked by an acquaintance.

          • vV_Vv says:

            Or they just don’t trust the pollster not to leak their answer.

            And why would they?

            I mean, if they support the populist right, they are probably already likely to believe that there is a vast elite conspiracy out to get them. They have probably noticed the mainstream media crucify anyone who publicly expresses the same political preference that they have, from tech billionaires to the billionaires friends of such billionaires, to random nobodies.

            Why would they entrust their reputation to a random voice who calls them and asks who they will be voting for? They stand nothing to lose for refusing to answer or giving a false safe answer and lots to lose for giving a true but politically incorrect answer. Why take the risk?

        • In the UK, I doubt anyone would lie about voting for the Tories

          “Shy Tory Factor is a name given by British opinion polling companies to a phenomenon first observed by psephologists in the 1990s, where the share of the vote won by the Conservative Party (known as the ‘Tories’) in elections was substantially higher than the proportion of people in opinion polls who said they would vote for the party.[1] This was most notable in the general elections of 1992 and then 2015, when the Conservative Party exceeded opinion polls and comfortably won re-election.” — WP

    • Agreed. now regret not adding a Shy Trumpkin post of my own, sicne I would have predicted the result of the election and the reason for it.

  31. nyccine says:

    I’m reminded of nothing so much as Orwell’s completely inane critique of Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution; ignore the entirety of the argument in favor of an irrelevant tangent. The reality is, Trump shouldn’t be anywhere near as close as he is, what with the entire establishment of both parties being hell-bent on trying to take him down, coupled with a ridiculously hostile media. That Trump is doing as well as he is speaks to the validity of Adams’ central thesis; that charisma matters vastly more than intellectual arguments.

    The reality is, Nate Silver hasn’t done anything different than what Scott Adams has, you’ve just been conned by the scientism Nate Silver employs – there’s math! (how’d that work out for him in calling Brexit or the Republican primaries again?) – and you can’t be bothered to look any deeper. Not entirely dissimilar to how you respect an abject moron like Bryan Caplan, who insists on the validity of clearly b.s. stats on inflation and unemployment, never mind that the doctoring there is done completely in the open.

    Posts like this, in contrast with the care you take in things like alleged bias in American jurisprudence against African Americans, are proof positive that “rationalism” is nothing more than a label.

    • Moon says:

      Nate Silver may be wrong sometimes, but he does go by the numbers. Scott Adams seems to go by who he personally feels attracted to emotionally– and then he tries to think up arguments for why that candidate is a “Master Persuader.” There’s a large difference there.

      • a non mouse says:

        …and yet Nate Silver was very very wrong and Scott Adams was right because Nate Silver was using polls that were actually just propaganda and basing a model on them.

        • Jaskologist says:

          Yeah, at this point even if Hillary eeks out a win, it’s hard to say that Scott Adams did any worse than Nate Silver, especially since Adams was taking the side of the bet counter to conventional wisdom. And I say that as somebody who in this very comment section declared “it won’t be Trump [winning the Republican primary].”I was wrong. The polls were wrong (according to them this would not be this close).

          Time to read up on sex hypnotism magic, I guess.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            You guys like existential risk, right? Well, good news! 🙁

          • John Schilling says:

            Yeah, at this point even if Hillary eeks out a win, it’s hard to say that Scott Adams did any worse than Nate Silver

            If Adams says “98% probability Trump wins by a landslide” and Silver says “even odds this election will be within a 2% margin, too close for anyone to call”, and Trump wins by <2% of the vote, I call that pretty good for Silver and way off for Adams.

          • Jaskologist says:

            I think the top-line number everyone will remember is that Silver has been pretty consistently giving Hillary 60+% odds of winning. All the rest is fine-print; we weren’t expecting a close election. And sure, maybe we’re in the 1/3 universe, but I don’t think that excuse holds up well when the test is only run every 4 years.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            1. Silver deserves enormous credit for baking enough uncertainty into his model to give Trump a 30% chance of winning on election night. The most recent polls in aggregate suggested Hillary had a 2-4 percentage point lead in the popular vote, and most other election models gave Trump far slimmer chances than 538’s did. I was prepared for the outcome precisely because I heeded 538’s warnings that a Clinton presidency was no fait accompli.

            2. It looks like Trump will win Michigan by about 17,000 votes, Wisconsin by 27,000, and Pennsylvania by 70,000. This is not an election that either candidate had a 98% chance of winning.

            3. It is important to distinguish having correct beliefs from having beliefs which are supported by the evidence. These two can come apart in cases where the evidence is misleading, as were the polls in this election. Rationality consists in proportioning your beliefs to the evidence, not in having true beliefs, and we should resist both the urge to blame those who believe as they ought to but get unlucky and the urge to praise those who making foolish gambles and get lucky.

          • Iain says:

            Earthly Knight has it right. The polls were clearly in Hillary’s favour going in. Nate Silver took a lot of flack from the left for building enough uncertainty into his model to allow for polling error to swing the election in Trump’s favour, but he has been thoroughly vindicated. Nate Silver doesn’t run the polls, he just interprets them – and in this case, it looks like he interpreted them better than anybody else.

          • Jaskologist says:

            Rationality consists in proportioning your beliefs to the evidence, not in having true beliefs

            Is that really so? My reading of the Litany of Tarski is the exact opposite. The goal is true beliefs. Evidence is a means to that end, and if the available lines of evidence turn out to be flawed, you want to find lines of evidence that work better.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            “Believe all and only the truths” is good policy for a god, but useless for us. “Believe what your evidence supports” is the best advice we mortals are capable of following and hence the appropriate standard for adjudicating praise and blame. A man who is confident he will win the lottery deserves censure, even if he turns out to be correct.

          • a non mouse says:

            “Believe what your evidence supports” is the best advice we mortals are capable of following and hence the appropriate standard for adjudicating praise and blame.

            What “rationality” has forgotten is to appropriately discount all evidence for things that progressives deeply wish were true because progressives have been shown over and over as willing to at minimum be careless as long as the results come out right and at most thoroughly dishonest to reach the right conclusion.

            Unfortunately, going down this road invalidates a lot of ideas that prominent “rationalists” are emotionally attached to.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            There’s no evidence that polls in presidential elections tend to err in favor of the more progressive candidate. Quite the opposite, in fact. Final polls in the 2012 election showed Obama up one percentage point in the popular vote; he went on to win by four. Final polls in 2000 showed Gore down three percentage points; he won by half a point. Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by noisy data.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            Biased, not just noisy. Bias/variance is a thing, the big problem with polls is they are systematically biased by nature of the polling process.

          • Iain says:

            If there is a bias, then there should be some dimension along which the polls are consistently wrong in the same direction. It’s not Republican vs Democrat; as Earthly Knight says, the polling has been wrong in the opposite direction multiple times in the recent past. So what is it?

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            I think it’s bias in the opposite direction (perhaps because Trump people didn’t trust pollsters as they were part of the establishment).

            The fact that bias went the opposite way from the way it has in the past is the reason a lot of people got things wrong. People will talk and think and write about this issue a lot in the future.

            At this point all I wanted to point out was that statistical models have to deal with bias (being systematically off) AND variance (being noisy). Generally there is a tradeoff, since your squared error has both of these components.

            This stuff is not so simple…

        • Edward Scizorhands says:

          Although right now Nate Silver is looking like a genius for standing his ground against people calling him an idiot for not saying Hillary Clinton was guaranteed.

        • Jaskologist says:

          Another (slightly inebriated) thought on polls:

          The actual vote counts don’t give us breakdowns according to demographics (beyond coarse geographical data). We get that information from exit polls, right?

          The exit polls aren’t looking so hot right now. How much should we really trust the vote breakdowns by race/sex/etc?

      • nyccine says:

        Nate Silver may be wrong sometimes, but he does go by the numbers.

        Which is the point; the numbers were never good. That’s why I brought up the unemployment and inflation figures; they’re equally as garbage – blatantly so – but the “experts” stick with them, and that’s good enough for Scott, and rationalists in general. There’s no excuse for it.

        Also, Silver’s been wrong a few times – as best I can tell, his entire aura relies on the completely silly “his model called all 50 states!” argument. The mistake people make is believing Nate Silver is in the “stats” business; no, Nate Silver is in the Nate Silver business. He sells his audience a belief that their beliefs are “science” because he’s “done the math”.

        • John Colanduoni says:

          What is the opposing empirical evidence with which you made your conclusions? What is your argument that your method is any less of a fluke than a coin flip, noting that “correctly predicting the election” only counts as one data point?

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          In a world where currencies are freely traded against each other (plus non-governmental measures like MIT’s Billion Prices Index) inflation seems like the sort of thing that can’t be fudged by a bureaucracy.

          • nyccine says:

            @Anonymous Bosch: “core” CPI doesn’t count energy, or food, or even housing costs, although it does have a oddly calculated “Rent of Shelter.” Normal CPI does have those figures, but here’s a good example of how that’s garbage.

            MIT’s Billion Prices Index

            Suffers from the same problems as CPI; it’s artificially only looking at certain things, which dramatically understates inflation, particularly as it’s impacted the lower classes. But there’s MATH!, and so it’s accepted as true, even though it isn’t.

          • Anonymous Bosch says:

            Suffers from the same problems as CPI; it’s artificially only looking at certain things, which dramatically understates inflation, particularly as it’s impacted the lower classes.

            What “certain things?” Energy and food are definitely in the BPP, their raw dataset includes gas and supermarkets. It doesn’t appear to have housing but it has prices for things like furniture and appliances which would be expected to track housing closely. Even if we assume otherwise, asserting that there is hidden inflation AND it’s concentrated 100% in the single sector of the economy not directly included in BPP and CPI requires stronger evidence than boilerplate criticisms. Especially since (a) BPP and CPI closely track each other despite different methodologies (b) BPP has a track record of exposing inaccurate official numbers in other countries (Argentina)

          • nyccine says:

            It doesn’t appear to have housing but it has prices for things like furniture and appliances which would be expected to track housing closely.

            I can’t argue with this. I mean, I literally can’t argue with this, it’s a complete non-sequitur; there is literally no reason to think prices of appliances and furniture would track with housing at all, except perhaps at the extreme tails.

        • Nate Silver is into sports as well as politics, which he approaches in the same way. He is quite open with his assumptions and approach, and (most importantly) the degree of uncertainty in any prediction. He was bashed, hard, for his unwillingness to call Clinton’s election a near certainty, but he stuck to his guns, pointing to the factors that raised uncertainty about the outcome. And he was a lot righter than all the analysts who assigned probabilities north of 90%.

          The numbers — in sports and in politics — are what they are, subject to inaccuracy and limitations, which Nate specifically discusses, in each context. Past election returns, demographic statistics, survey interviews, focus groups, exit polls, weather patterns, whatever, all contribute at least a little bit of information, in a Bayesian way.

          The larger issue, much larger than Nate Silver, is that accurate polling has become nearly impossible. Cell phones, caller ID, sampling issues, extremely low response rates, problems with estimating who is likely to vote, etc., all make it more likely that polling will not reflect reality. Many of us have been expecting the entire polling industry to collapse AnyTimeNow, and that moment may have finally arrived.

          • a non mouse says:

            The larger issue, much larger than Nate Silver, is that accurate polling has become nearly impossible. Cell phones, caller ID, sampling issues, extremely low response rates, problems with estimating who is likely to vote, etc., all make it more likely that polling will not reflect reality.

            But the polls all systematically were wrong in favor of the preferred candidate of the pollsters and the whole chattering class.

            Taking the conclusion that “polling is impossible” as opposed to “the current pollsters are dishonest” isn’t correct.

          • Anonymous says:

            What the mouse said. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the polls are fraudulent.

            It doesn’t even take a genius to actually fabricate poll results favoring whichever result you want – simply play around with the participant selection, or repeat the process until you strike gold, or do anything else that dishonest scientists do to tweak the numbers in the favor of their chosen conclusion.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            The polls were off in 2012, too, but there they underestimated Obama’s margin of victory by an average of about 2 points (Obama was, I take it, also the preferred candidate of the chattering class). The problem isn’t dishonesty or fraud, it’s error.

          • Fahundo says:

            Just wondering why, if you want Hillary to win, you would cook up polls to make her look farther ahead. This was really close; people predicting this as a slam dunk may well have caused many potential Hillary voters to stay home, thinking victory was assured. If the MSM was cooking polls because they like Hillary so much, that would probably mean they sabotaged themselves.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            There are lots of reasons the polls might be systematically wrong in favor of Clinton that are not due to a conspiracy. For example, Trump supporters don’t trust “the establishment” (including the media, the pollsters, the academics that interpret polls, etc). So they refuse to poll.

            I always thought “shy Trumpkin” was kind of a misnomer. I think these folks aren’t shy or embarrassed about their views, they just don’t like pollsters.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Funnily enough, what I’ve heard (from non-reputable sources) is that the polls were cooked to make them seem narrower than they actually were, in order to scare people into voting (presumably, for a push at taking congress).

            You can make up whatever you want if it sounds kind of plausible.

          • Anonymous says:

            Just wondering why, if you want Hillary to win, you would cook up polls to make her look farther ahead. This was really close; people predicting this as a slam dunk may well have caused many potential Hillary voters to stay home, thinking victory was assured. If the MSM was cooking polls because they like Hillary so much, that would probably mean they sabotaged themselves.

            Indeed. By spinning the narrative of Trump being unsuitable/unelectable/deplorable/etc, they’ve shot themselves in both feet. Hard to backpedal all the way from “he hasn’t got a chance” (intended to demoralize his supporters) to “every vote counts!!!” (intended to encourage her supporters). Even combining the two in one coherent story would be very tricky.

          • nyccine says:

            And he was a lot righter than all the analysts who assigned probabilities north of 90%

            He had her north of the 80’s for most of the campaign, and his last analysis had her at 71.4%. Now, he’s backtracking by insisting the polls showed a competitive race. I can’t put it better thanProf. Althouse; he’s protecting his lucrative brand.

          • nyccine says:

            @Fahundo: Presumably, a monster lead would depress turnout by the opposition who expects to get steam-rolled anyway. Additionally, it’s social persuasion to those who might be on the fence; get them thinking it’s what everyone else thinks is the right thing to do, might as well get on board as well.

            It certainly seems obvious that among the elite, perception of inevitability gets people, and money, flowing in one direction.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Funnily enough, what I’ve heard (from non-reputable sources) is that the polls were cooked to make them seem narrower than they actually were, in order to scare people into voting (presumably, for a push at taking congress).

            This is also undoubtedly bunk. The one real place where you see malfeasance (according to 538, anyway) is that pollsters often suppress outlier results in the last week or two of the race, on the hypothesis that (a) the polling average is more likely to be correct than their own individual poll and (b) getting it wrong at the last minute will damage their reputations.

          • a non mouse says:

            Just wondering why, if you want Hillary to win, you would cook up polls to make her look farther ahead.

            When the “polls” showed Trump down a bunch and the latest manufactured scandal came out a bunch of Republicans actually called for Trump to step down as candidate.

            That’s how it would work. Make him look like a loser, his coalition fractures, people that he relies on who are only helping because they think he can win defect, actual loss results.

            Almost worked too.

          • Iain says:

            All the pollsters who produced polls showing an edge for Clinton are currently wiping egg off their face. They look dumb, in a way that hurts their bottom line. Most of these pollsters make their actual money by doing commercial marketing research, and election polls are just an advertisement of quality. There’s a strong incentive to get the numbers right.

            I don’t see why we are giving this conspiracy theory the time of day, when the obvious answer is the parsimonious one: the pollsters made a mistake, because polling is hard.

          • Taking the conclusion that “polling is impossible” as opposed to “the current pollsters are dishonest” isn’t correct.

            So you reject the incompetence explanation and insist on malice?

            Pollsters (there are dozens of major ones) are individually much more self-interested than they are trying to change the world. Each individual one is trying to stand out as more accurate.

            That does lead to a degree of groupthink: if everybody else is saying +3, then I don’t want to look ridiculous by saying -4, so outliers do tend to get discouraged.

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t see why we are giving this conspiracy theory the time of day, when the obvious answer is the parsimonious one: the pollsters made a mistake, because polling is hard.

            Why the miraculous error in one direction only, then? If it were down to simple error due to difficulty, wouldn’t you see many polls predicting Clintslide and many polls predicting Trumpslide? Why did they polls pretty unanimously predict that Clinton would win, with her hands in her pockets?

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            You are suggesting that any problem with polling could be fixed by doing more of them and then averaging them all out. Obviously polling is harder than that.

            Polling is hard, but I look with scorn on people who second-guess all the hard work that the polling people do. It is their fulltime job, literally, not something they only care about once every 2 or 4 years. They have reputations with their customers on the line. Getting it right may mean having work next year. Getting it wrong may mean going out of business. That’s more feedback than someone in a comment section has.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Why the miraculous error in one direction only, then? If it were down to simple error due to difficulty, wouldn’t you see many polls predicting Clintslide and many polls predicting Trumpslide? Why did they polls pretty unanimously predict that Clinton would win, with her hands in her pockets?

            You are asking why the error was systematic rather than random. We don’t really know yet. But pretty much any kind of complicated measurement carries a risk of systematic error, it’s about as miraculous as rainfall.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            “Why the miraculous error in one direction only, then?”

            Because that is how errors due to bias look. Errors due to variance will have your answers “all over the place” away from truth, errors due to bias will have your answers tend towards one wrong direction.

            Serious suggestion (not a status attack): if you don’t understand statistical analysis involved in using polls for prediction, please criticize less and read up on things more. Some relevant topics: survey sampling stuff, missing data, trend corrections, regression models.

          • . By spinning the narrative of Trump being unsuitable/unelectable/deplorable/etc, they’ve shot themselves in both feet.

            Unsuitable and deplorable both still work.

          • Anonymous says:

            Unsuitable and deplorable both still work.

            What do you even mean?

          • vV_Vv says:

            Why did they polls pretty unanimously predict that Clinton would win, with her hands in her pockets?

            Because they use similar methodologies which cause them to make correlated errors.

            Possible source of systemic error (statistical bias) could include:
            – Sampling error: the method that the pollsters use to choose which people to interview undersrepresents Trump supporters and overrepresents Clinton supporters. Traditionally, pollsters used to sample from landline phone directories, but now many people don’t have landline phone, and this may correlate with their political preferences for complicated demographic reasons.
            – Self-selection bias: maybe Trump supporters are more likely not to like being polled and don’t respond or give BS answers.
            – Preference instability: maybe there were many undecided voters who made up their mind at the last minute and they were more likely to vote for Trump rather than Clinton.

    • John Colanduoni says:

      Were the party establishments or media really trying to take him down with intellectual arguments? Because that’s sure not what I’ve seen. I won’t repeat your mistake of using “you” to tie a bunch of opinions together as if you’re talking to the rationalist who is of one mind when it come to all the things you mentioned, but the complaint I’ve heard before now was that the elite were using power, not reason, to get their way.

      Are you disagreeing with that? Do you think the problem is that the elite were floating around sound intellectual arguments when they should have just been name calling?

      • nyccine says:

        Were the party establishments or media really trying to take him down with intellectual arguments? Because that’s sure not what I’ve seen.

        Missing the point entirely. Scott’s article insists a Trump win doesn’t matter, which is hilarious; everyone in power threw everything they had, that they could get away with – and Trump didn’t get crushed, he competed. And might win.

        I won’t repeat your mistake of using “you” to tie a bunch of opinions together as if you’re talking to the rationalist

        Re-read; I made no such mistake. My post is directed at Scott, and only tangentially extends to rationalists at large. Although I will ask – how many people other than me told Scott his post is flat-out wrong?

        • John Colanduoni says:

          Missing the point entirely. Scott’s article insists a Trump win doesn’t matter, which is hilarious; everyone in power threw everything they had, that they could get away with – and Trump didn’t get crushed, he competed. And might win.

          If Adam’s central thesis “that charisma matters vastly more than intellectual arguments” is not the point, then why did you assert its validity in your argument? Were you missing the point then? Did I miss a “not intended as a factual statement” qualifier somewhere?

          I never said I disagreed that virtually everyone in power was stacked against Trump, or even hinted at it.

          Re-read; I made no such mistake. My post is directed at Scott, and only tangentially extends to rationalists at large. Although I will ask – how many people other than me told Scott his post is flat-out wrong?

          You called “rationalism” nothing but a label, which is pretty far from “rationalism is nothing but a label for you” or “you are not a rationalist.”

  32. Eponymous says:

    So…you’re saying the glass ceiling is effectively shattered, even if Trump wins?

    • shakeddown says:

      Is that really in dispute? We know that a woman can easily be elected president now – even if Clinton loses, a hypothetical woman without an email scandal would probably win.

      • Moon says:

        A Republican woman who was otherwise identical to Hillary certainly could be elected president. Because the Right Wing media wouldn’t have bashed a Republican Hillary for decades, the way it bashed the Dem Hillary. It wouldn’t have twisted and distorted and lied about everything in all her emails.

        And liberal media does about 90% less lying and distorting than Right Wing media does. So liberal media wouldn’t have bashed Republican Hillary much either.

        The reason Obama was able to win, despite being a Dem, is that he hadn’t been a well known powerful Dem for very long before he was elected. Therefore he hadn’t been bashed for decades on end like Hillary has.

        If Hillary wins, it will be only because DT is such a horrible candidate, who lies 70% of the time, a record even for a politician.

        Negative campaigning works to win elections. And the GOP does it far more often than the Dems do. But go ahead. Look into that 5% to 10% of the bashing and distortion that is done by liberal, rather than Right Wing, media, and cite every single example of it.

        • sflicht says:

          TayTay for president?

        • houseboatonstyxb says:

          @ Moon
          A Republican woman who was otherwise identical to Hillary certainly could be elected president.

          Ho, data in sight! Looks like a correlation there. Thatcher, May, Merkel, Meir? (Disclaimer: very small sample.)

          • shakeddown says:

            Meir was leftist. But aside from that, yeah.

          • Tibor says:

            Merkel is hardly a rightwinger. If anything and steered her own party clearly to the left. Also note that neither the PM nor the Bundeskanzler is elected directly, so if Meir (I don’t know her) is a leftwinger, you have a sample size 0.

          • rlms says:

            The PM is elected directly in the sense that they have to win a seat, and also in the sense that when people choose which MP to vote for, they generally do so largely on the basis of which party (and hence candidate PM) they prefer.

          • Tibor says:

            @rlms: Ok, make it 1 then (to my knowledge, no other European country has the first past the post system so preventing the designated PM candidate from getting a seat in the parliament/Bundestag/whatever it’s called in a particular country is almost impossible (unless you vote for a different party altogether)

        • Deiseach says:

          And liberal media does about 90% less lying and distorting than Right Wing media does.

          I’m just going to lean back in my chair and admire that from all angles, to get the full beauty of it.

        • Anyone want to bet that anyone will remember or give a damn about the email server in a years time?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            I will remember and give a damn about it, just as I remember and give a damn about a great many other Clinton improprieties from the 90s.

          • paulmbrinkley says:

            I can’t help but remember it for the rest of my life, given that it involves things I’ve been close to by profession. If I’m counted in “anyone”, I would take the bet and offer 100000:1 odds to everyone within earshot.

          • keranih says:

            Hillary’s actions & conduct –

            – leaving aside the lack of accountability for it –

            – have already have had repercussions across the field of government secure communications/record keeping. Whether or not her name is attached to it, a corporate memory of her actions is already baked in.

          • While we’re on the subject, who remembers “Hilary definitely about to die any second now” from a month ago?

          • hlynkacg says:

            I remember a fair bit of speculation to that effect after her heat exhaustion pneumonia snafu back in September.

            Is that what you’re talking about?

          • keranih says:

            I remember the physical health things, and was thinking a week ago that it’s interesting that a) we haven’t heard much since and b) that she stopped doing major public appearances outside of the debates.

            I expect that she was emotionally devastated by the results, on top of being physically run down. I hope she recovers well, and has many years to come to play with the grandkid(s), mentor young friends of the family, and enjoy her home in NY.

          • Iain says:

            Clinton did four separate rallies the day before the election: one in Michigan, one in North Carolina, and two in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, somebody bumped into her walking through the woods with Bill and their dogs.

            Her health is fine. The stories were bullshit.

          • a non mouse says:

            So for weeks she doesn’t do rallies, she disappears for days before and after the debates and has a freaking seizure on video (that they denied until they saw that there was video evidence) and your conclusion is “nah, that story was bullshit”.

          • Sandy says:

            Yesterday, somebody bumped into her walking through the woods with Bill and their dogs.

            Today, there is suspicion that the encounter was staged.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            No. Next you’ll tell me the little kid that broke through the security line to hug Clinton was staged too.

          • Iain says:

            Heaven forbid that Chappaqua, New York have a higher-than-average density of Democrats! Surely it is impossible that a person living in the same neighbourhood as Hillary Clinton might meet her more than once and take photos with her both times.

            Even by the normal standards of anti-Clinton conspiracies, this one is dumb.

            @a non mouse: If you watch the full video of Clinton’s “seizure” and think it shows a medical concern, then I don’t know what to say to you.

          • IrishDude says:

            @Iain, the women’s facebook post of the Clinton encounter was taken down and all other posts deleted. Seems suspicious but who knows. Maybe trolls found her post causing her to delete everything.

  33. sflicht says:

    If HRC wins tonight, I plan to honor E Harding by referring to her as Her instead of Hillary, Clinton, or HRC, for the duration of her term in office. I call on all SSCans to join me in this show of national unity.

    • John Schilling says:

      No, thank you. I’ll give the office the respect it deserves in spite of its next occupant, and I’ll avoid the petty name-calling. “Hillary” or “Madame President”, depending on context

      • sflicht says:

        I respect your decision.

        Nonetheless, ever since Harding started doing that, I’ve been delighted by the idea of it catching on enough that we could have newscasters saying things like “Her’s taken us to DEFCON 2” and such.

        As an aside, neither the office nor its holder are intrinsically worthy of respect. Rather, the Constitutionally enshrines responsibilities of the position warrant respect. None of the living Presidents has lived up to those responsibilities in my view, so if I ever meet one in person I’ll be addressing them by their first name, not their former title.

        • shakeddown says:

          I like this (and it doesn’t really seem disrespectful – it’s a term that could be used affectionately by supporters just as easily).

  34. BBA says:

    SSC reader Matt Levine points out that in the French Revolutionary Calendar, today is the 18th of Brumaire.

  35. Humbert McHumbert says:

    On a related note: why is Sam Wang’s model such an outlier in its high confidence of a Clinton win?

  36. Jordan D. says:

    Writing from Pennsylvania: the sky is clear blue as far as the eye can see. It’s supposed to get nasty tomorrow though.

  37. Deiseach says:

    *throws hands in air*

    This is a sample of what some people genuinely believe:

    I don’t care if Hillary Clinton is corrupt. I don’t care if she lies, if she cheats, if she eats bowls of newborn chipmunks for breakfast.

    She is literally the only thing standing in the way of a fascist dictator becoming President of the United States with a Republican majority congress that guarantees he can do anything he wants and nothing will be able to stop him.

    If Trump is elected, people are going to die. Women are going to die when Roe v Wade is overturned and Planned Parenthood is defunded. LGBTQ people are going to die when conversion therapy is further legalized and more bathroom bills are passed. POC are going to die as Trump rounds up Mexican immigrants, gives more power to the police, and fuels the fires of Islamaphobia. Poor people are going to die as Obamacare gets overturned and further cuts are made to welfare programs. And that’s just in this country. That’s not even taking account the all-too-likely outcomes of Trump starting new wars in the Middle East and having control of nuclear bombs that he’s said he ‘would not rule out’ using.

    Thing is, I’ve also seen on my Tumblr dash someone reblogging a post from 2012 when they were “The results of the election are either going to be the biggest party of all times or the apocalypse” and saying now “Ha ha, imagine thinking back in 2012 that Mitt Romney would be the cause of the apocalypse!”.

    But the thing is – back in 2012, there genuinely was hysteria about the evil Republicans and evil Mitt Romney who would be as bad for women, immigrants, LGBT, etc. as they’re saying Trump would be. And now it’s “Good old Mittens!”

    Do people never learn, or what?

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      Bill Maher apologizes: https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/794934727811756032

      This is a lot better than most others, who react to “you have called wolf before” by screaming “WOLF” at the absolute top of their lungs.

      • koreindian says:

        AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND- AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND MILLENNIALS…

        The clip cuts off at just the right time.

      • John Schilling says:

        Talk is cheap. Maher claims to have backed up his histrionics re Mitt Romney with a million-dollar donation to the Obama campaign; I’d kind of like to know how his newfound appreciation for the virtues of non-Trump Republicans, and his supposed need to atone for past wrongs, is going to guide his next million-dollar donation.

        • Matt M says:

          Right. While he does get credit for admitting to being wrong before (something most people won’t do), he’s still following that by saying “BUT I’M NOT WRONG NOW”

          The true test will be if the GOP nominates say, Rubio, in 2020, will Maher lead with “I disagree with this guy but he’s an honorable opponent who is surely much better than Trump was” or will we find some new outrage that requires us to assume Rubio is TOTALLY THE WORST EVER?

      • onyomi says:

        Yeah, I give Bill Maher a lot of credit for intellectual honesty.

    • koreindian says:

      It’s posts like that that remind me why I no longer use my tumblr.

    • liskantope says:

      I wholeheartedly agree that the American left has in part brought this situation on themselves by repeatedly crying wolf in the way you describe. I also think that the current opposition is by far the closest thing we’ve seen to an actual wolf in modern times. Now that’s still a long way from actually *being* a wolf, and in fact I believe the fundamentals of American democracy are too strong to allow him to bring about any kind of apocalypse regardless. But still I don’t blame the American left for cautiously comparing him to a wolf this time, *as long as* they’re extra careful not to go further than is reasonable or necessary. The real measure of how well they’ve learned their lesson will be to see how they talk about (what will hopefully be) a less extreme candidate in a future election.

      • Deiseach says:

        But still I don’t blame the American left for cautiously comparing him to a wolf this time, *as long as* they’re extra careful not to go further than is reasonable or necessary.

        Is “How to avoid getting shot by Trump supporters tonight” going more than is reasonable or necessary, d’you think?

        I think I’ll quote the full of this one, because it is a pippin – and I’m beginning to think some people want blood in the streets to validate how they’re on the side of truth and justice and their opponents are pure scum (yes, yes, it’s Tumblr, I know, but this is what some young adults are putting out there and others are swallowing whole; unless I am to think that the original poster is cynically manipulating emotion-based fear for their own purposes, and I can’t quite figure out what those purposes might be, I have to think that they’re at least semi-sincere even if being a self-dramatising martyr in their own mind – it must give them a pleasant thrill to think, as they walk home, that they are in actual bodily danger from the fascists because of their brave stance to vote for Hillary Clinton):

        This is a plea to those in the US on tumblr about election night:

        If you can, please, for your own safety, stay home.

        Regardless of who wins, there will be violence.

        If Hillary wins, then all the violence Trump has been encouraging will come to a head. His supporters have already said they believe the system is rigged, and there is a growing movement to “take up arms” and “fight back” if Trump loses. This is especially important for those of you in smaller, more rural, white-dominated communities. Trump supporters are plenty there, and as someone who lives in one, I can tell you the chances of people having guns on hand are very high.

        If Trump wins, then all of his ideas about “law and order” being enforced by self-policing neighborhoods and his terrifying ideas of vigilantism being an acceptable form of law enforcement could come to fruition. People will most likely be protesting if he wins, and there is a heavy chance that Trump supporters may decide to shut these protests down with violence. They may decide to get a jump start on kicking people out of America. They may decide to commit hate crimes because Trump being elected reinforces their belief that violent rhetoric and actions against minorities is acceptable.

        This is not an exaggeration. There will be violence on Tuesday night. There will be hate crimes. There will be people hurt. Do absolutely everything you can to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

        Sound extreme? Well, listen up.

        I want to stress something to everyone on tumblr who is voting for the first time, or is too young to remember previous elections: the violent rhetoric around this election is NOT NORMAL.

        Previous elections have never had this strong of a group of people declaring they’ll secede if their candidate loses. Previous elections have never had violence encouraged and stoked by a presidential candidate. Previous elections have never been this tense, this scary, this pivotal.

        This election has been violent, and the results on Tuesday night will either push Trump supporters into thinking their violence is acceptable, or push them into fighting back against what they see as a “rigged system”.

        Either way, please look after yourself Tuesday night, especially if you are a minority and/or live in a conservative, white-dominated community.

        Please reblog this so everyone can see it. I never ask for reblogs, but this is extremely important for people in the U.S.

        Yep, look out for all those white conservatives, those bitter clingers have been fondling their guns all month in anticipation of shootin’ them some liberals in celebration of turning the USA into a fascist state/as the kick-off to armed revolt against Saint Hillary!

        • Brad says:

          Do you go searching for tumblr posts that will upset you, or are these people you follow because you’ve liked what they’ve written in the past or on non-political topics, or ???

          • Deiseach says:

            are these people you follow because you’ve liked what they’ve written in the past or on non-political topics, or ???

            Follow for fandoms (the fun I’ve had discussing the Dumas Musketeers, you wouldn’t believe), art, western martial tradition (very amateur interest but some gorgeous swords, armour and really genuinely informative history posts), TV/movies to an extent, football (the soccer not American version) and bits’n’bobs.

            For some reason, everyone with common interests as listed above is way, way, way more liberal/left-inclined than I am. Our host is the most conservative person I follow in any sense, apart from religious blogs and one Sad Puppy author who is even more conservative, politically and economically, than I am 🙂

            I have no idea how that happened, it just did; f’rinstance, when the Peter Jackson “Hobbit” movies were coming out, I struck up an acquaintance with a trans male femme mixed-race English guy who was Asatru but has recently converted to Judaism over our mutual conviction that Dáin Ironfoot was (a) Magnificent (b) the only member of the Line of Durin who seemed to have a functioning brain (as an aside, did you know that ZOMBIE DWARF KINGS are canonical? Well, technically they’d be more liches, but nevertheless, this is something that can be legitimately derived from what Tolkien has said on the topic!). We don’t even agree on everything in Tolkien, so you can imagine the disparity in our views on practically everything under the sun (antipodean doesn’t even begin to approach it).

            Generally most of the posts are about mutual interests, and the liberal/progressive stuff I ignore or bite my tongue about as background noise (unless it’s particularly egregious and I have unfollowed a couple of Tumblrs for it).

            But this election has been a constant drumbeat of HILLARY HILLARY HILLARY THE PROMISED SAVIOUR THE ONLY ONE WHO STANDS BETWEEN US AND THE DARKNESS and the hysteria about causing the deaths of poor POC LGBT etc people if Trump were elected and how his supporters and voters are only itching to go on a rampage has been non-stop.

            I’m keeping my head down and only bitching about it on here because at least I can have a sensible discussion with you lot, even if we vehemently disagree.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          @Deiseach:

          I think going out and looking for outrage porn is a sort of antithetical to the spirit of the blog. Your (from my perspective) apparent love for being outraged reduces the likelihood that I take the time to evaluate future arguments you make.

          If I wanted to go out and find horrible things said by random conservatives on social media, I guarantee I could do it. If I posted it here, I feel I would get shat upon to an inordinate degree with people claiming how unfair it was that I was making the argument that “all conservatives” are [pick your negative characteristic of choice].”

          • Deiseach says:

            Dear HeelBearCub, I don’t have to go looking for it. I get it shoved in my face whether I want it or not. My choice is to unfollow all these people (which I don’t really want to do, because outside of crazy politics we mostly have interests in common we can agree on) or ignore it until this election is over.

            But I know I’m going to get, even if Clinton wins, loads of stuff about how awful Trump/his voters/the other crowd are, and how there is imminent and immediate threat of [terrible thing happening] unless everybody right now [does this thing].

            The level of “we are the nice people and those over there in the opposition camp are literally going to bathe in our blood and eat babies raw” is driving me up the wall. Believe me, I’m certainly not going out searching for any of this stuff.

            The next Irish election, I freely invite you all to criticise our selection of rogues, idiots, criminals and two-faced back-stabbing liars. Unfortunately, we just had our general election this year so the next one won’t be for five years or so. But our presidential election will be held in 2018 (unless Michael D. pops his clogs before then, and there’s no reason he should do so). Generally our presidential elections are quite boring, but the one in 2011 was interesting.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Deiseach, you do have a third option: install tumblr savior and train it to hide political posts.

          • keranih says:

            @ Douglas Knight –

            I am really ambivalent about that sort of gagging. To me, it seems like deliberately putting blinders on so that one can’t see what ones fellow community members are really like. Like deliberately constructing a bubble.

        • liskantope says:

          I… don’t disagree.

          I do believe that the likelihood of violence in the context of voter suppression and over disputed results is marginally higher than for other elections, but the passage you quoted is blatant hyperbole. I spend more time on Facebook than on Tumblr and am glad to say that my Facebook friends are somewhat more moderate than many Tumblrites, but they still do generally seem to have overblown ideas of the consequences of a Trump victory.

          I will point out, though, that the type who posts passages like the one you quoted is generally not the type to use the descriptor “saint” anywhere near the name “Hillary”.

  38. liskantope says:

    I agree 100% with this post and think it makes a point not heard often enough. The result’s of today’s election will greatly affect our country’s future, but in terms of my view of the American people and political process in late 2016, all damage has already been done. I want to point out, though, that I suspect that the closeness of the two main candidates has less to do with many people being nationalist and many others being against that, and more to do with a deeply entrenched two-party system.

  39. Deiseach says:

    Good luck to you all on Election Day today (later your time) and remember – vote early and often! 🙂

  40. keranih says:

    Slightly random bit of election noise:

    Evidently, Trump masks outsold Hillary masks. Which, thinking about it, is a bit of a cultural tell, and might end up being upended this year by rising Hispanic voters. Either way, I surely do hope we know in 24 hours which way it’s going to fall.

  41. BBA says:

    The polls have closed in the township of Dixville, NH, which will soon be the first precinct in the nation to report its results. And as Dixville goes, so goes Erving’s Location, and perhaps Chandler’s Purchase as well.

    EDIT: Clinton 4, Trump 2, Johnson 1, and a single write-in for Mitt Romney. And we’re off.

    EDIT 2: With three precincts in NH reporting, Trump leads 32-25. And now no more precincts report for another 17.5 hours, when polls close in the parts of Indiana and Kentucky in the Eastern time zone. I’m going to sleep.

  42. HeelBearCub says:

    Regardless of an HRC or Trump win, I take the following out of this election:

    1) The Republican coalition really does have a governing rump that is far more “nativist populist” than ideologically conservative (as the intellectual leaders of the past 40+ years have defined that ideology).

    2) The structural realignment of the parties that has been occurring since 1964 may have almost run its complete course. The blue-collar Midwest whites seem poised to jump to in bulk to R, as the union power that kept them D has waned too much. College educated whites may be forced/jump out of the R coalition in increasing numbers.

    3) To the extent that 1 and 2 play out, “minority” voters will also be kept at arm’s length from the the R.

    4) None of this is a surprise. George W. Bush didn’t really look all that reliably conservative either, but the base was happy to embrace him as a folksy populist. The base got Medicare-D, everyone got a tax cut, and most on that side didn’t really care that the surplus became a record deficit (plus they knew it was the Dems fault somehow). But what he couldn’t get through was immigration reform.

    5) The inherent cognitive dissonance in the Republican Party caused by the coalitional stresses mean that, although they have tribal cohesiveness, they struggle to govern effectively with coherent policy objectives. This means that the base continues to search for a candidate who can articulate a policy that threads the needle. Trump is able to get away being incoherent on policy because the party lacks policy coherence.

    6) The Democratic Party is also suffering stress due to populist leanings.

    7) The Dems may have a reckoning when they can’t actually enact things like “free college for all”. Free college for all also is somewhat regressive from a benefits perspective, which shows that some of the white youth vote may actually put pressure on the Democratic coalition.

    8) There is a hunger to address some of the basic inequities caused when a rising tide swamps some boats and lifts others. But the current coalitions may prevent this from occurring.

    • keranih says:

      George W. Bush didn’t really look all that reliably conservative either, but the base was happy to embrace him as a folksy populist. The base got Medicare-D, everyone got a tax cut, and most on that side didn’t really care that the surplus became a record deficit (plus they knew it was the Dems fault somehow).

      Just going to point out that there was a great deal more going on than just Medicare D & the tax cut that led to the deficit, and that the deficit record didn’t last very long. And that Bush had a number of detractors on the right.

      I think your grasp on the pulse of the right side of the electorate is not as solid as you might like.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        @kerinah:
        Did you think Trump had a shot at becoming the nominee when he announced?

        If not, have you revised your beliefs about the coalition that forms the Republican electorate?

        Yes, there were plenty of people in the coalition who were mad at Bush by the end. But, much of that anger was for having bad outcomes, rather than the actual policy choices.

  43. neaanopri says:

    I think that it’s quite meaningful what the conventional wisdom is, in and of itself. It’s going to inform what kind of policy choices will be made and what kinds of proposals will be listened to.

    I also don’t necessarily think that because the election is close in the polls, that the results will actually be close. There’s two different “randomnesses” here: the randomness in which people will behave, and the randomness in which the way polls translate to actual support. And these are difficult to disentangle, since we’re only going to have one trial on this election!

    If the election actually contains significant amounts of randomness to it, then yes, the outcome of the election shouldn’t affect our conclusions as much. But if the election doesn’t contain much inherent randomness, just a complicated relationship between polling outcomes and votes, then we can absolutely take lessons from the outcome of the vote. Of course, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the contributing factors, especially if the election turns out to be actually close.

  44. Cerby says:

    Here’s my two cents:
    – Power is magnetic to the corrupt.
    – With their lack of moral restraints, the corrupt are also advantaged by their more numerous options and methods in obtaining and maintaining said power.
    Therefore, until proven otherwise on a case-by-case basis, all people with sufficient power can safely be assumed to be unrepentant shitstains, and both Trump and Hillary, as well as all their cohorts and hanger-ons, have done nothing to alleviate such concerns (quite the contrary, in fact).

    In other words, it doesn’t matter who gets into the White House; Moloch wins.

    • shakeddown says:

      Clearly, the solution is to have the country run by a guy with a cat who doesn’t know he’s running anything, and elect someone entertaining who doesn’t do anything to be president.
      The rise of Yair Lapid suddenly makes a lot more sense.

  45. shakeddown says:

    Optimistic theory (p~40%): This election will have disgusted people so much that partisanship will go down afterwards. Before the election, people are invested in the results, but afterwards, once there aren’t any hard results to look forwards too, people will just avoid thinking about partisanship because it’s gotten so ugly, it’s become an unpleasant thing to think about.

    • Acedia says:

      I’m not so sure. An awful lot of people seem to be reveling in it.

      • shakeddown says:

        It’s a race to the bottom, though – those people race to make it uglier and uglier, and more and more people are just getting sick of the whole thing, until the people who enjoy it end up a minority among uninterested non-partisans.
        (This is the optimistic scenario. I’m not much more optimistic than you are – like I said, I give it about 40%).

  46. I’m glad that Scott mentioned betting markets, because I really wish people in the chattering classes would follow Bryan Caplan and Robin Hanson’s ideas about betting on ideas. For example, Scott Adams claims that he still believes that Trump has a 98% chance of not only winning but winning in a landslide. From looking at these new-fangled inventions called “polls”, “forecasts” and “betting markets”, I conclude that Mr. Adams has perhaps just slightly exaggerated the probability of a Trump landslide, and I would very much like to take some of his money and/or embarrass him make a bet about it with him. In all seriousness, though, I think it would be nice if it was a social norm that people who are being contrarian about something demonstrate their real intellectual confidence (or lack thereof) by betting money on falsifiable predictions regarding it. In a world like that, I think people would be much more careful about sharing their opinions without doing sufficient research beforehand and much more honest to themselves and others about what they actually think the evidence shows as opposed what they wish it did.

    • Deiseach says:

      I know nothing about how your electoral system works and am too damn lazy to Google some basic information for godsakes, so is it possible that Trump could win the popular vote but still lose on the electoral college votes (given that the big population centres are where Hillary’s support is and that those are the ones with the most electoral college votes)?

      That way, Adams could still claim Trump had won and if the American system were different (direct voting by the people instead of via electors to the electoral college), it would have been by a landslide?

      • John Colanduoni says:

        Yes. The simple and less insidious reason is what you brought up: that the electoral vote is winner take all on some level, mostly states.

        The dicier and scarier one is that the members of the electoral college for each state does not have to follow that state’s popular vote as far as the Constitution is concerned. It’s illegal in some states, but not all. I would have disregarded this possibility completely even in this election, if not for the fact that some have already said they will do it.

      • Balioc says:

        It’s possible, yes, but far more likely to go the other way. Relative to the popular vote, the electoral college is heavily biased towards “empty” states and rural voters.

        (The short version is that every single state gets two “free” electors, plus an number roughly based on population. So the 600K voters of Wyoming divide up the power of those two free electors amongst themselves, while the 39M voters of California are dividing up those same two free electors, before any population-based representation even kicks in.)

  47. sflicht says:

    Does anyone care to make a prediction as to the number of states in which Trump wins the Latino vote?

    • The Nybbler says:

      Only chance would be Florida, and I think likely not. So zero.

      • sflicht says:

        Part of the reason I asked was that I couldn’t easily find relevant state-by-state polling data, or even a convincing demographic model. Do you happen to have a link?

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Yeah, the over/under couldn’t be set on this as a prop bet.

        Well, I guess they would set it at zero and the house would bet against people who wanted to take the over.

  48. keranih says:

    So, we have a country that includes a lot of people who don’t support Trump, and a lot of people who don’t support Hillary Clinton. And either way, there are going to people who are unhappy and disgruntled.

    I wonder, however, if it’s a really balanced reality. My sense is that had there been a different R candidate, there would have been far more supporter for the R ticket. On the other hand, I don’t get the impression that Hillary is as unacceptable to so many people. So Trump is the outlier, the weird one, and – all else being equal – the ‘normal’ majority is going to be against him. So the anti-D, or pro-conservative populist, trend is maybe larger than one thinks from the Trump vs Clinton matchup.

    If one accepts this – and I would be interested in other thoughts – the conformation bias of a win is more dangerous for Democrats than for Republicans. A close win for Trump (or even a close loss) would understate the overall support for conservative positions/candidates. On the other side, a D win overstates the support of Clinton and D policies, because so much of it is anti-Trump. Which for me recalls (ex) friends who had posters of “Commander in Thief” up in their offices in 2007, and the meltdown after the 2004 election. (And yep, there were strong R-intransigent areas after 2012.)

    Either way, there are going to be a number of po’ed people whenever the election is finally decided, and we are going to have to learn to live together in the weeks and months later.

    We’ve tried division before, and the attempt was heartbreaking. Let’s not do that.

    (So I was thinking about this point earlier, but in this moment I am finishing up 538’s podcast on Trump the 2016 election, and omg they just. don’t. get. it. All of them are defensive, strikingly pro-Hillary, and aghast at the idea of living in a country with people who might support Trump. It was very frustrating to not even have a figleaf of a pretend attempt to understand the other side.)

    • onyomi says:

      “Either way, there are going to be a number of po’ed people whenever the election is finally decided, and we are going to have to learn to live together in the weeks and months later.

      We’ve tried division before, and the attempt was heartbreaking. Let’s not do that.”

      In order to avoid seeming like a sore loser when Hillary likely wins tomorrow, I’ll say right now that, whatever the outcome, I’ll continue to think it would be a very good thing for the United States to splinter somehow, and that this election has done nothing but dramatically strengthen that opinion. Either way, huge chunks of the population are going to be unhappy with their leader. Why force them all to have just one?

      I not only think this is desirable, I think it’s probable within the next fifty years or so.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Because that splinter would happen on really weird lines and all of the urban areas that want to be in coalition aren’t connected?

      • keranih says:

        It’s not that I don’t think that splintering couldn’t be the best choice, it’s that I see nothing to make me think that the Union would be any more willing to let the fractions go their own way this time than the last time.

        • psmith says:

          I see nothing to make me think that the Union would be any more willing to let the fractions go their own way this time than the last time.

          If nothing else, I think today’s Union is a good deal less warlike than yesteryear’s.

      • jaimeastorga2000 says:

        We’ve tried division before, and the attempt was heartbreaking. Let’s not do that.

        I not only think this is desirable, I think it’s probable within the next fifty years or so.

        The U.S. cannot Balkanize.

        • erenold says:

          John C. Breckinridge, running on the ballot of the Southern Democratic Party, won almost the entire South, while Abraham Lincoln won almost the entire North and John Bell of the Constitutional Union ticket won three states in the center of the country, including Virginia, which coincidentally fell apart very soon.

          Not a single ballot was cast in favor of Lincoln in 8 out of 10 states that Breckinridge won, and not a single ballot was cast in favor of Breckinridge in four Northern states, including the big ones of New York and Pennsylvania. The South had a three-way race between the Northern and Southern Democratic parties and the Constitutional Union Party, while the North had a two-way race between the Republican Party of Lincoln and the Northern Democratic party. The country was de facto holding two totally different elections. In other words, it was already de facto two different countries.

          That’s actually one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. Am I getting lost in translation somehow through some Electoral College thing or something, or did literally zero voters, in 12 entire states, vote for one of the two major parties?

          • Brad says:

            I believe the zeroes all represent cases where the candidate in question was not qualified to be voted for in that state. Each state has its own rules for deciding who can appear on the ballot.

            Also, keep in mind that the Republican Party was not a firmly entrenched “major” party in 1860. It had only been founded in 1854 after the de facto end of the Whigs.

          • I believe the zeroes all represent cases where the candidate in question was not qualified to be voted for in that state. Each state has its own rules for deciding who can appear on the ballot.

            That’s an incredible anachronism, almost like asking whether Alexander Hamilton drove a Ford or a Chrysler.

            In 1860, governments did not print ballots. That practice did not start until nearly three decades later — a reform that took the nation by storm.

            Before 1888, voting was by “ticket”, and the tickets were supplied by political party organizations. Party representatives handed out tickets in polling places. A voter would take one of the tickets and drop it into the ballot box.

            You could “scratch” your ticket, by crossing out some names and writing in different ones. Partisan newspapers deplored this practice, strongly urging readers to vote a “clean ticket”.

            I suppose in theory you could write up your own ticket, but I’ve never seen any reference to someone doing that.

          • erenold says:

            Many thanks to both of you, particularly re: “ballot access” point – I had forgotten about that. 0 voters in 12 states did seem wildly improbable mathematically.

        • onyomi says:

          As the article states, the Civil War resulted from a situation in which two parts of the country were de facto holding two different elections. We’re not there yet, but, I feel like we’re moving in that direction, a la “post-partisanship is hyperpartisanship.” The fact that the alienated factions are more geographically dispersed makes it less likely, but not impossible, given that technology makes geography less relevant as time goes on (which is part of the reason for greater tribal dispersion in the first place).

          • jaimeastorga2000 says:

            The fact that the alienated factions are more geographically dispersed makes it less likely, but not impossible, given that technology makes geography less relevant as time goes on (which is part of the reason for greater tribal dispersion in the first place).

            Onyomi, do you remember when you realized that the lack of aversion to moving from one end of the world to another in search of a job that you and other academics have is a complete aberration from the way most humans feel? I think something similar is going on here; people who live a life of the mind which can be lived entirely online and in books and in postal deliveries have lost touch with how incredibly, amazingly important physical location is.

            In particular, politics is ultimately about violence, and anybody who has studied history or even so much as played a strategy game can tell you how much difference physical distance makes in the application of violence. There is a reason the vast amount of territory in the vast majority of countries is contiguous.

          • onyomi says:

            It is true that most people aren’t nearly as mobile and unattached to place as myself, but if they were, secessions would already have happened.

            I also think there’s an extent to which technology makes everything come to you, including more tangible goods and services, so even people not socializing online all the time can still get, e. g. their insurance, their banking, etc. etc. from somewhere physically far removed.

            Also, various migrations are happening, albeit gradually. But the cumulative effect of that could be pretty big over 50 years. Black people are moving back to the south. Young professionals moving to coasts, etc. It’s true America’s diversity is less geographically concentrated than in most places, but many American localities are still very different, on average, from their neighbors, compared to probably most places which have historically split. Northern Ireland is probably not more culturally different from Southern Ireland than Texas is from California, I’d guess. And if people keep being unsatisfied with the government, maybe we will see even more migrations with political goals specifically in mind: Free State Project, etc.

      • onyomi says:

        And now this is a thing. Not a serious thing yet, but people are thinking about it.

        • FacelessCraven says:

          so there’s an obvious point here that’s going to come up a million more times over the next few days: People are scum, and there are already uncountable examples of gross hypocrisy raining from the sky. Reveling in them as evidence of why the other side is awful is probably not useful. Using them as a reminder that both sides have a lot in common probably is more useful.

          • onyomi says:

            I didn’t post the “Calexit” thing as proof that Hillary supporters are awful, but rather to support my point that, no matter which side wins, a lot of people are going to be so PO’d, maybe they’d be better off just seceding. If Hillary had won, I’d probably be pointing to “Texit,” though, as I mentioned above, it might make me seem like more of a sore loser, since I wanted Trump to win. I’m saying, either way, I have no problem with the idea of secession, and actually think it’s a good idea. Most people in California clearly don’t want to be governed by Trump; most people in Texas clearly do (or at least prefer him strongly to Hillary). Why make 300 million people accept one-size-fits-all leadership?

          • eccdogg says:

            I think secession lite aka Federalism is our best path forward as a country. The problem is neither party wants to give up telling people what to do when they have power.

            Most US states are the size of many European countries. Let each of them set their own climate policy, minimum wage, marijuana laws, abortion laws, healthcare policy, etc etc that way California can have what it wants and Texas can have what it wants.

            Immigration and trade policy are the two thorny issues. But even with immigration you could let each state decide how much of its public services it wanted to extend to undocumented immigrants and how heavily it wanted to enforce immigration laws.

  49. thepenforests says:

    I completely agree with this post, and I’m glad you wrote it.

    That being said, it’s still interesting to talk about where exactly the uncertainty lies when we talk about a 60-80% chance (or whatever) of Clinton winning tomorrow. It could mean a number of things: that if we were to re-run November 8th over and over again Clinton would win 60-80% of the time, that if we were to re-run this election over and over again Clinton would win 60-80% of the time, or that if we were to consider an unfathomably huge number of possible elections, elections fitting into this reference class would be won by the Clinton-like candidate 60-80% of the time. In the first of these cases we can consider the election to be legitimately undetermined at this point, and the 60-80% number reflects that fact; in the latter cases the election is essentially determined already, and the 60-80% number reflects an epistemic uncertainty on our part.

    So the two main categories of uncertainty would be:

    1. Chaotic or quantum-chaotic uncertainty. In this case the election depends on the exact microstate (say the position of all the atoms) of the universe at the outset of November 8th. A slightly different microstate would lead to a different election outcome. This could be the case if (as in Scott’s example) a rainstorm would cause reduced voter turnout somewhere and swing the election, and whether or not that rainstorm formed was chaotically dependent on the exact microstate of the universe. If this is the case it basically means that you could never predict the outcome of the election, even if you were a superintelligent AI. The best you could do would be to say that Clinton has a 60-80% chance of winning, and this would roughly cash out to meaning that 60-80% of future branches of the wavefunction would contain Clinton election wins.

    2. Epistemic uncertainty. In this case the election is basically already decided, we just don’t know how it’s going to turn out. You could reinitialize November 8th over and over again with slightly different initial conditions, and you would get basically the same result every time (or 99.99999% of the time). Polling errors would fall under this kind of uncertainty. A superintelligent AI might be able to predict the election with a great deal of certainty in this scenario. The vast majority of future branches of the wavefunction (from this point onwards) turn out the same way in this case.

    I feel like most people saying that Clinton has a 60-80% chance of winning consider their uncertainty to be predominately epistemic (does anyone here feel differently?). This seems reasonable to me – I doubt the election is all that dependent on chaotic or quantum factors. Still, I feel like this is an important distinction that people often don’t make when talking about uncertainty.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      that if we were to re-run November 8th over and over again Clinton would win 60-80% of the time, that if we were to re-run this election over and over again Clinton would win 60-80% of the time, or that if we were to consider an unfathomably huge number of possible elections, elections fitting into this reference class would be won by the Clinton-like candidate 60-80% of the time.

      I think the real story is just that there is exactly one outcome — but we can’t measure it. Either Trump or Clinton wins, and we have an imperfect measure, leading to error bars on our predictions.

      There’s a 65% chance we are in a universe where Clinton wins, and a 35% chance we are in a universe where Trump wins.

      • shakeddown says:

        A more mathematically precise way to put it: In 60-80% of universes with election scenarios that lead to polls(\other date) like this, Clinton wins.

  50. Squirrel of Doom says:

    Can we talk about how bad the Primary system is? Both parties have several better candidates than these clowns, yet this system consistently produces other candidates than the most electable.

    Letting anyone vote to select the candidate sounds democratic and fair, but it’s also the system that gave us Boaty McBoatface.

    I understand there was a different system, abolished a number of decades ago, when party bosses decided what candidate each party would run. Is it “grass-is-always-greener” bias to think that the candidates were better then?

    I would also welcome a scientific study of the correlation between being a primary voter and a Youtube commenter!

    • suntzuanime says:

      Yeah, broadly speaking, the less democracy the better. I think it’s worth considering that the primaries gave us Obama, though, and not holding primaries would not have stopped Clinton from being nominated.

      • Tibor says:

        One of the most democratic (among other things) countries in the world is Switzerland. Would you argue that it is run worse than China? Or Germany? Or that, keeping other things constant (such as strong federalism) that Switzerland would do better with a less democratic model? Of course, a feature that is hardly present elsewhere is that the voters can actually vote directly for or against laws, as opposed to just representatives.

        At least from a libertarian perspective it is interesting to note that the Swiss consistently vote against minimum law, higher taxation for the rich, etc. And they do it by large margins (around two thirds of the population), which somehow contradicts the usual elitist argument that if you give the voters too much direct power, they will vote for populist measures that are going to ruin the state.

        • Walter says:

          Well, you can pick and choose examples where Democracy does worse or better. India is a fine counterexample.

          • Tibor says:

            I suppose that’s correct. Another counterexample is Singapore. However, on average the more democratic countries tend to be more successful. I don’t see democracy as a value in itself (I prefer democratic majority decisionmaking replaced by individual personal decisionmaking), but on average it seems to be better at limiting state power than oligarchy and there is a good evidence that limiting state power (by which I mean limiting its scope rather than efficiency) leads to both more freedom and prosperity.

          • onyomi says:

            Yeah, like a college education, democracy could be correlated with success without causing it.

          • Tibor says:

            @onyomi: I find this video to be largely correct.

            The question is not whether India could do better with some kind of a dictator or a less democratic regime. That is obviously always true. The question is how likely it is that that regime is going to be close to the philosopher king ideal.

            I am still not absolutely convinced about the Singaporean model (and it should be noted that while it is definitely not a democracy it is not an outright dictatorship either). Having one good almost-dictator is well within the realm of possibility, even two in a row. But eventually you get a really bad one and the dictator has a much more power at his disposal than a democratic government. He can do much more good stuff that way but also he can do bad stuff more easily.

            Maybe Singapore has a mechanism for choosing good quasi-dictators which I am not familiar with. But if not then it will sooner or later have a bad one. One reason this might not happen (and that might explain the success of its current regime as well) is that Singapore is dependent on international trade. An isolationist Singapore or even one with laws like China (which has made a long way since its Maoist past but it is still hardly an economically free country, not to mention socially) would end up with dwindling resources and subsequently a coup or a revolution. So it may be competition which forces Singapore to have quite a good governance (even if somewhat peculiar and not exactly a liberal or libertarian one).

            It would be interesting to measure the relationship between the quality of government (by some objective measures) and dependence on international trade. I would expect it to be quite positive. It could contribute to the Swiss success as well. At the same time, countries where the government can afford to be isolationist (usually due to having natural resources) tend to have really poor governance.

          • erenold says:

            Quite coincidentally, Singapore is actually undergoing a leadership change as we speak. However, it’s wholly behind-closed-doors phenomenon in which the party leadership – I suppose you could use the pejorative American term ‘bosses’ – will make the decisions and then present the Singaporean people with their choice. Moreover, in early 2017, they will also vote for their next President.

            It’s going to be a very interesting test of the Singaporean leadership-renewal process, because this will be the first time the Prime Minister will not be Lee Kuan Yew, his son, or the seatwarmer between the two. If all goes well for Singapore under their ‘fourth-generation’ leadership in the decade to come, I’ll consider it proof that the Singaporeans are on to something.

            I’m not sure what the level of general interest on this is so I’ll leave it at that, but I can go into further detail about what to expect if there’s curiosity.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            There is always curiosity.

          • Tibor says:

            @erenold: Feel free to go on 😉 (maybe in a new thread though? as this is already reached the maximum indentation).

          • onyomi says:

            @Tibor, I liked that video a lot, though it does contradict Hoppe’s argument that autocrats have more vested interest in their country’s long-run prosperity since they can, essentially “bequeath” it to their children, whereas democratic leaders are incentivized, essentially, to goose things to look good in a 4-8 year time frame, even if it means the equivalent of “eating your seed corn.” I can sort of see both arguments.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            The book that the video is based on 100% concedes Hoppe’s point. The video mentions in passing that democratic rulers don’t last very long; I suspect that a later video in the series will come back to this. Both the book and video just argue that the other effects are more important.

          • “So it may be competition which forces Singapore to have quite a good governance ”

            At a more local level, I have long argued that the idea form of government is competitive dictatorship–the way we run restaurants and hotels. I have no vote on the menu, and absolute vote on which restaurant I go to.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sounds like the Holy Roman Empire.

          • Tibor says:

            What’s like the HRE?

          • sflicht says:

            I believe the HRE comparison was in reference to David Friedman’s “local competitive dictatorships” model. I’m not sure I agree the comparison is apt, because under feudalism the peasant class was probably not actually very free to move among the jurisdictions of the HRE member states. Although I suspect there was more mobility for them than for peasants in contemporaneous France, if only because the princes were constantly drafting their peasants into petty wars, and one can desert from an army pretty easily. Probably the shared German language helped make capital and members of the bourgeoisie relatively mobile, at least within certain regions of the HRE. So there probably was some genuine competition for the loyalty of the Second Estate.

          • Tibor says:

            For most of its history the HRE had no common language. There had been no Hochdeutsch until Luther and if you compare for instance Bavarian to Plattdeutsch, you’ll see that they’re not mutually intelligible. Also, the HRE included the Dutch and the Czechs who didn’t even speak a German language (and the kingdom of Bohemia was the largest part of the empire, I’m not sure if also by population). At times also the Burgundians who spoke French.

          • At a more local level, I have long argued that the idea form of government is competitive dictatorship–the way we run restaurants and hotels. I have no vote on the menu, and absolute vote on which restaurant I go to.

            Misleading analogy. The barriers to uprooting yourself, finding a new job and social circle ,etc, are much greater than going to a different restaurant, so that rounds of to dictatorship. Consider the HRE again..the majority did not have Voice or Exit.

          • Tibor says:

            @TheAncientGeekAKA1Z: I’m not sure if this is what David meant by local level but if you consider a country organized like Switzerland, i.e. with small constituencies with a high degree of autonomy then “uprooting” yourself means moving about 500-100 kilometres away. You can still meet anyone from your old place on an hour’s notice (something that’s not always possible if you both live in Berlin for example). Also if you keep reducing the area of the constituencies to zero you basically arrive at the kind of anarchocapitalism David advocates. Or the Amish, apparently, whose Ordnungs sometimes geographically overlap.

          • Switzerland isn’t a patchwork of dictatorships, twice over. It’s a devolved democracy. The Cantons are democratic, and they are part of a larger federal democracy. As you shrink the granularity of the devolved units, what happens is that more has to be done at the federal level, because things like infrastructure become too big for a tiny canton too handle directly.

          • Tibor says:

            TheAncientGeekAKA1Z: of course the cantons are no dictatorships (Amish congregations technically aren’t either) but the point of is that the success of Switzerland might be more due to competition than to democracy (although I think that direct democracy on a reasonably small scale, I.e. voters in tens of thousands and not millions, can actually work quite well)

          • ChetC3 says:

            The HRE (I’m assuming from context you mean the HRE of the early modern era) is a poor model if competition is what you’re after, since it tended to work in favor of preserving the territorial status quo above all else. It wouldn’t matter how manifestly incapable an imperial prince was of performing even the most minimal functions of a state, he and his descendants would remain in power so long as the HRE lasted, and enforce their rights at the expense of their luckless subjects.

      • Squirrel of Doom says:

        This is too simple.

        Democracy is good for some things and bad for others.

        For choosing a president, who we all have to live under whether we like it or not, it makes a lot of sense.

        Choosing which candidate a political party should support should be up to the party itself. We don’t let the public vote on what products Apple or Starbucks offer, and that’s a good thing.

    • DrBeat says:

      That party boss system is what the Democrats are doing now. The party anointed Hillary as its chosen candidate and everyone got in line except this one asshole nobody invited (Sanders). Throughout the entire process, the party leadership along with the media have blatantly and shamelessly skewed things in order to ensure Hillary was the nominee, bypassing the entire purpose of having primaries.

      Having primaries leads to awful, reprehensible nominees, and not having primaries leads to awful, reprehensible nominees. If you notice that this means there is no way out, you’re right! Death is the only escape.

      • The Nybbler says:

        The Wikileaks suggest that Bernie may have been invited (to provide the appearance of opposition) and expected to throw the game. There’s talk about him violating their agreement and them (Hillary’s people) having leverage over him.

    • dsotm says:

      Which among these arguments doesn’t hold equally well for the general election itself ?

      • Squirrel of Doom says:

        – The gradual whittling down of 15 candidates is a very different game theoretical scenario.

        – People from the party A have no interest in voting for the worst party B candidate

        – Primaries attract a small population of party member voters. The general election draws out the regular population

        • dsotm says:

          I can somewhat see the first point though it’s mostly an artifact of the two-party system but the only possible benefit of the bosses deciding on a nominee imo is their ability to overcome in-party populism and decide based on which candidate would likely be better accepted by voters outside the party – but this would be offset by the chance of alienating core party voters and the boss’s personal/interest-group agenda so no clear gain here and an (even bigger) of loss of PR for the party and legitimacy for the chosen candidate.

          Not sure I understand the other two – if primaries votes are limited to party members then people who register to party B to sabotage their primaries will lose the ability to vote in the primaries for the candidate they support in their own party, seems analogous to the strategic choice to vote in the general election for a candidate that you’re sure will be so bad that he will cause damage to the party in the next election or in the congress. Or is it legal in the US to register to both parties ?

          Alternatively, is it legal to condition party membership on anything ?

          • Squirrel of Doom says:

            The primary rules vary between states, but it’s usually fairly easy to vote in a primary election. I don’t doubt that most primary voters are loyal to the party they vote for, but tactical line crossing is not uncommon either.

            I forgot the maybe biggest problem: Since only a small minority of dedicated party faithful vote in primaries, they tend to go for extremist candidates. D picks someone really to the left and R someone really to the right. The centrist candidates that most of the country would be pretty OK with have a very hard time getting to the general election that they probably could win.

          • dsotm says:

            But this time the democrats didn’t pick someone really to the left, even Clinton’s opponents don’t really cite far-leftism as their main criticism against her while the really-to-the-left democrats who supported Sanders accuse the party of bossism even in the presence of the primaries.
            I’m not sure Trump qualifies as ‘really to the right’ either, more like really to the low – it’s true that he would most likely not pass a boss system but that would probably be more due to his political outsiderness rather than any views.
            Re the general election drawing out the regular population – doesn’t look that way from here, in the general election almost all the states are winner-takes-all whereas the in the primaries it seems to be a more mixed bag, if anything that’s a reason to encourage more people to participate in the primaries rather than penalise those who actually care from the start.
            As far as systemic changes should go imo the first priority would be to make both the general elections and the primaries popular-vote based doing away with the electoral college

          • Deiseach says:

            the only possible benefit of the bosses deciding on a nominee imo is their ability to overcome in-party populism and decide based on which candidate would likely be better accepted by voters outside the party

            I dunno, parachute candidates tend not to be very popular on this side of the Atlantic; generally they’re ambitious bright young things that headquarters forces on the constituents in a ‘safe seat’ so they can get their start for the forecast glittering career, when they’ll then drop the yokels like a hot potato and get a plum candidacy in the really important places (i.e. the capital).

            Sometimes it works because there really is no alternative, but often the resentful local party machinery works against the imposed candidate and the ungrateful voters insist on voting for someone they like instead 🙂

          • dsotm says:

            @Deiseach
            Well this is specifically about the presidential candidate, in the local level party bosses already have a lot of say in determining the candidates from what I understand, isn’t that what makes them bosses ?
            Squirrel of Doom says that it will be good to have them override the opinion of their own party supporters if they believe it will bring better results in the general election, but as I wrote I don’t think it will work well in the average case – The US idea is for the president to enjoy at least a legitimate pretence of direct popular support as head of government as well as the state – otherwise why not let congress elect him thereby ensuring that he will have a majority for at least the first two years like in parliamentary coalition PM systems ?

    • erenold says:

      I, too, have been having this thought a lot lately and I would like to propose a possible explanation for this phenomenon.

      Claim: The primary-voting process is inherently flawed because the single most important candidate quality – competence in governance – is information not generally available to the primary electorate. The ability to schmooze, make backroom deals, and generally get things done is information that party bosses are privy to, but not generally the voters.

      Moreover, with all candidates being broadly ideologically similar to each other, the primary process appears to force candidates into signalling spirals to distinguish themselves, to no effect other than to drive party politics to ideological extremes.

      The latter in particular is a phenomenon that does not exist in the general. You broadly know what ideology will drive the government if the Democrats win. Likewise the Republicans. Your vote genuinely adds value to the process because you’re making a clear, relatively well-informed choice about the direction you want your country to go in. Not so for the primary.

      • erenold says:

        I’m not even primarily thinking of America here – Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is clearly the example par excellence of a self-destructive primary process leading an entire party to suicidal electoral annihilation, and doing considerable incidental harm to the nation as a whole in the process.

      • The Nybbler says:

        The ability to schmooze, make backroom deals, and generally get things done is information that party bosses are privy to, but not generally the voters.

        Both the US Democratic and Republican primaries picked someone with this ability par excellence. Obviously Hillary, who won her primary that way. But also Trump, for whom this describes his business career.

        • erenold says:

          Well, certainly. But I think it’s reasonable to wonder to what extent either primary process was driven by the criterion of actually-able-to-get-things-doneability, and to what extent by signalling-spirals and, basically, the ability to advertise oneself. How much steak to how much sizzle, basically.

          And, more importantly, to the extent that both primary processes were, in fact, driven by steak, how much reliable information voters had to go on in that regard. Say Trump, as he reportedly almost did, got last minute cold feet and we had a Trumpless R primary – could a meaningful distinction between the Bush/Christie/Rubio/Kasich/Walker candidates be drawn in that regard? Bearing in mind, of course, that the alternative was internal selection by party bosses. How much steak-sizzle ratio could we expect from that mechanism instead?

    • Tibor says:

      That’s a system that most parties in Europe employ. You can usually only vote for the party, not for the candidates (for the MPs at least…and you don’t have a say in who’s the PM at all, you usually can vote for the president directly, but in most countries the president is a rather unimportant function, and in Germany he is actually selected by the Bundestag as opposed to the voters), the parties choose who gets to be on the candidate list and in what order which the voters can only marginally alter by preference votes. Sometimes the party members vote on that, sometimes it is chosen by the party leadership and sometimes even votes of the party leadership are restricted to just some party members.

      It is a system that leads to a insulated political class and hence eventually to protest parties gaining momentum. On the other hand the US system also seems to produce such a political class.

  51. Tibor says:

    I’m not a big Trump fan either (ditto for Clinton) but why “Trump and Hillary” and not “Trump and Clinton” or “Donald and Hillary” (I’d prefer Trump and Clinton even if I liked them)?

    Good post otherwise.

    By the way, an argument for why it does not really matter all that much who wins.

    I particularly like this bit:

    …Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, neither of whom possess the requisite talent, vision or charisma needed to destroy this country in a mere four years.

    • suntzuanime says:

      Personally I use “Trump and Clinton” but I understand why someone might not: there has already been a different President Clinton, a different Clinton very much in the public eye, so use of the first name provides some additional clarity. Personally I feel that it’s usually not hard to figure out from context and equal treatment is more important, but I can sympathize with those who might feel differently.

    • John Schilling says:

      We normally refer to presidents by their surname, but:

      For most of the period that Hillary Clinton has been a recognizable public figure, “Clinton” meant the important Clinton. You know, the one who was actually governor of Arkansas and later President of the United States. Even a recent ex-President ranks higher in the public mind than a freshman Senator, never mind an ambitious first lady.

      Hillary Clinton gets called “Hillary” because the mononym “Clinton” was already taken when it mattered, and habits are hard to break.

      • lhn says:

        Sort of similar to the way among 19th century English gentry, “Miss Bennett” was the eldest unmarried daughter, and the rest were “Miss Elizabeth Bennett” (or “Miss Elizabeth”), “Miss Mary Bennett”, etc. There can only be one unmarked user of a name.

        In the context of current presidential candidates, there’s only one Clinton, so like suntzuanime I’d say “Trump and Clinton” is more appropriate where there’s no risk of ambiguity.

        On the other hand, whether “President Clinton” will be ambiguous (if she wins) will likewise depend a lot on context. Current events, sure, but a lot of times that shades into historical discussions where what happened under previous presidents will be relevant.

        (As there were different circumlocutions to distinguish between Presidents George HW Bush and George W Bush not so many years ago. I expect to see a fair amount of “the first President Clinton”, “President Bill Clinton”, etc. in that case.)

        • nancylebovitz says:

          “Donald and Hillary” sounds weirdly over-personal, but it might be possible to get used to referring to both of them by their first names.

    • a non mouse says:

      She doesn’t want to be referred to as “Clinton” and doesn’t actually use that name in private.

      Her email addresses on her private server were hrod17@clintonemail.com and hdr22@clintonemail.com (Hillary Diane Rodham).

    • The Nybbler says:

      That’s been their brands for this election; he’s “Trump” (though his more raucous supporters call him “The Donald” — for the origin, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2015/09/01/why-does-everyone-call-donald-trump-the-donald-its-an-interesting-story/ ) and she’s “Hillary”. Probably because there’s another Clinton associated with the Presidency; the younger George Bush was branded “W”, after all.

    • Deiseach says:

      Eh, I use “Hillary” because every time I type “Clinton” I feel the urge to add “not Bill, the other one”. So it’s easier to just go by “Hillary”.

      I also think it might have been part of a campaign strategy to get people to think of her in a warmer, more personal way – “Hillary” is more personal and familiar, and she does have the image problem to overcome of seeming to be a little robotic and arrogant, especially by comparison to Bill who just overflows with charm and charisma. Maybe she’s really a lovely caring person once you get to know her up close, but that’s not how she comes across publicly.

      • Tibor says:

        Well, that’s kind of my point. Using Hillary instead of Clinton sounds like obvious favouritism, just as “Clinton vs. Donald” would (although when you say Donald, the first thing that comes to my mind is the duck from Walt Disney). It reminds me of a poll in die/der Welt* a few days ago where the two options were “Hillary Clinton would be a good president” or “She is just the lesser evil” (with a slider to represent an opinion somewhere between those two options). No option for those who find Trump to be the lesser evil or even a good candidate. Of course, this was a stupid informal online poll, but it was kind of ironic as a good part of the article was about how the people who accuse the media of being biased against Trump actually do have a point and that the media should try to be less blatantly partisan and try to understand these people instead.

        I get the point with Bill Clinton. However, at least outside of the US, people also said Bush and not W for the younger Bush. And Bill Clinton hasn’t been a president for almost two decades now, so I think there should be no confusion (I don’t know how active he is politically, but you don’t hear about him any more, at least not in Europe).

        *I never know whether to write in der Welt when writing in English, using the proper declination in a language where declination does not exist, or in die Welt, hence using nominative instead of dative with the preposition “in”)

        • Creutzer says:

          I never know whether to write in der Welt when writing in English, using the proper declination in a language where declination does not exist, or in die Welt, hence using nominative instead of dative with the preposition “in”)

          You have two options. Either you take “Die Welt” as a whole as a proper name and write “in Die Welt” (including the capitalisation).

          Or you treat only “Welt” as the name, but account for the fact that it is mandatorily accompanied by a definite article and write “in the Welt“. (Similar to “the Times” and “the Pravda“.)

          My feeling is that the second strategy is preferred only for well-known venues.

        • JulieK says:

          Fowler (section 4) recommends against declining foreign terms when writing English. I second Creutzer’s “in Die Welt.”

  52. Bugmaster says:

    We live in a country and a world where Hillary can be at about 47% and Trump at about 45%. … It suggests that a lot of people are willing to support a nationalist candidate, and a lot of other people really hate that candidate.

    Not really. All it shows is that about 90% of people are going to vote for their favorite team. The candidate him/herself is irrelevant. He/she could say or do anything, it doesn’t matter; as long as the candidate is wearing Team Elephant colors, he’s guaranteed ~45% of the vote. Same goes for Team Donkey. Elections are decided by the ~10% of people who haven’t picked a favorite team, and there are relatively few of them, so of course their decisions will be drowned out by noise.

    • andrewflicker says:

      As far as I understand it, this is factually untrue. General presidential elections are far more about how many of the 45% Team Elephant and how many of the 45% Team Donkey actually show up at the polls- not about the oft-lauded swinging ten-percenters.

  53. suntzuanime says:

    If Trump wins in a landslide, I’d be more willing to entertain the possibility that Adams has seen something I’ve missed. I don’t count him as already wrong. And honestly, so long as Clinton wins by anything but the tightest of margins, it seems like we should at least consider the possibility that Wiener is right. Isn’t “the media reports a real possibility of Trump winning but then Clinton turns out to win” exactly what we would expect to see from his model?

    I mean, one piece of evidence is not proof, but we should be willing to update at least a little.

    • onyomi says:

      Yeah, I think a more defensible, if boring title for this post could be: “don’t look for surprising explanations when boring explanations will do.”

      For example, a narrow Hillary win is easy to explain with conventional wisdom, but so too, really, is a narrow Trump win. The media will act more shocked if Trump wins, but a narrow Trump win is still fairly easily explained by boring explanations: the economy, Clinton scandals, general tendency of the White House to flip after eight years, bad weather in Philadelphia, etc. A narrow Trump win doesn’t demand we “question everything” or look for exotic explanations, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into it (and neither Wiener nor Adams get to take too much of a victory lap for a prediction which may have hinged on something like the weather, which they couldn’t possibly have predicted), I think is the point.

      That said, I think a big win by either candidate, and especially by Trump, would be very surprising and run very much counter to conventional wisdom. Therefore, digging for more surprising explanations may be justified where boring explanations won’t suffice. I think Scott’s point is that pundits will be tempted to reach for surprising, interesting explanations to a case which really won’t require them.

      • Wrong Species says:

        How relevant is the economy to this election? I keep hearing people bashing Clinton for Benghazi and corruption and people bash Trump for racism and stupidity. Maybe it’s just because these candidates are so terrible they overshadow everything else but we really haven’t heard much about the economy since the primaries.

        • suntzuanime says:

          It’s also a matter of the economy being kind of middling. If it were disastrous Trump might be pushing change harder, if it were wonderful Clinton might be trying harder to take credit for it, but it’s just sort of meh.

        • Deiseach says:

          I don’t think either of them can do much about the economy. It’s recovering a bit but it’s still sluggish, but no-one seems to have much of an idea what will boost it – stimulus packages have been tried and whether they worked or not is what the argument is about.

          Really all that can be said is the old reliable “lower taxes, remove barriers to entrepreneurship, make it easier for people to hire new workers, come back from bankruptcy, move where the jobs are” and the problem is – where are the jobs? if (as is the case most often) they’re in the nearest big city, what do you do about rents being too high to move there? if manufacturing industry is not going to be the driver of employment and we’ve now transitioned to a service economy, again, that favours urban over rural or small town areas, and how do you revitalise the Rust Belt?

          Neither Trump nor Clinton can do much about that, if the future is “manual labour and manufacturing will be replaced by automation and the only jobs are going to be for computer programmers/coders/that line of work”. Not everybody can code, unfortunately, despite what the upbeat slogans say!

  54. Moon says:

    I hope that at least some attention can be paid to the needs of people who identify as working class, as a result of this election– people whose wages are stagnating, or they’re unemployed because their job was outsourced or doesn’t exist any more, or they work full time but can’t afford food, shelter and utilities, the growing number of people with opioid addictions etc. Trump and Bernie both spoke to those groups. And they both spoke of wanting not to have unnecessary wars. Trump is a racist clown. But Bernie is a serious and ethical person. I hope for Bernie to campaign for issues, now that he is no longer campaigning for president.

    • Brad says:

      What about people that identify as working class but are doing great financially? Think tradesman of various kinds. Or the many many people that identify as middle class but are nonetheless struggling financially, many in just those ways you describe? What about the outright poor, including those in inner cities?

      • Moon says:

        YEs, I think those groups would all fit as categorirs of people that Bernie and/or Trump appealed to.

  55. Wander says:

    I’m always a little wary of polling for the simple fact that I don’t believe people’s minds change like that. The idea that there are people flipping back and forth day to day, hour to hour just doesn’t make sense to me. Are there really people who have such a malleable opinion of things that they change their choice of Presidential vote on a regular basis? I’d assume that everyone was well set into their groove by now.

    • Moon says:

      Yeah, it doesn’t really make sense. I would suppose they keep polling different people over time, so there are differences because of that, even though perhaps no particular person has actually changed their mind. They just were different people– polled e.g. a month ago vs. now.

    • Moon says:

      Although there were big changes when Comey at the FBI came out 12 days before the election and said he’d found some more Hillary emails. As Trump supporters like Giuliani– and, I expect Comey (who donated to both McCain and Romney)– certainly hoped would happen, some people apparently did read things into the FBI statement that were not really there, causing them to see Hillary less favorably than before.

      • Deiseach says:

        This is what interests me – oh, the FBI must be a partisan operation! Were the guy in charge a Democrat, what would we see happen? If the guy in charge was a Democrat and buried the emails, would we see accusations of partisan bias? How about if embarrassing/potentially incriminating emails came out about Trump during an investigation and Comey sat on them – would we see the same “he’s in the tank for Trump, of course he squashed any news!”

        You see, whatever about the initial emails, the ones that turned up when Anthony Weiner was being investigated can’t just be swept under the carpet. Never mind if they’re marked confidential or not – what we’ve found out is that someone working at a high-ish level in the State Department not alone brought home/was sent via this private server emails having content that is supposed to be confidential and secure, she then kept or stored or otherwise had these on a home computer that her husband, who was not cleared to have anything to do with these, was able to access. And in the middle of an investigation about child porn/solicting sex with a minor, the investigating officers found these unrelated AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE emails.

        What were their choices? “Okay, make a snap decision, we ignore these and pretend we never found them”? That can be portrayed as equally as partisan a decision pro-Clinton (to save her any negative consequences during an election campaign) as the action Comey took is being portrayed as pro-Trump.

        I’ve said it before: I’ve had to turn over and wipe any work-related files I used in my minor minion bureaucratic function. I’m supposed to keep the work confidential and secure. If anyone in my house could log onto the computer and read the material, I would have been in so much trouble. And I’m nothing near the State Department.

        From the reaction pouring scorn on Comey (and it may well be deserved), the message anyone in future takes away from this is: You are not there to do your job and serve the public interest. You are there to serve the interests of whoever is in power at the time, no matter which party it is. You quash anything that may be embarrassing or awkward for whoever is the favoured candidate running for election, even if the public has an interest in knowing this is the kind of thing their potential representative or leader does when in office. Otherwise you will be pilloried as a stooge and a partisan.

        If we’re all agreed “Okay, Hillary is Connected. People like her don’t have to deal with public fall-out from any misguided decisions, it can all be handled discreetly in secret with a phone call to the Right Person and the little people don’t have to know and never find out”, then let’s come on out and say that. But remember, this applies to your political opponents just as much when they’re the ones in power or on top of Fortune’s Wheel. Any potential scandals for a Republican candidate next time round? The FBI now knows it keeps its mouth shut and buries anything.

    • The Nybbler says:

      I believe most of the changes are in who is considered a “likely” voter rather than who is being voted for.

      • Wander says:

        That’s an interesting point. I often forget that in non-compulsory voting systems turnout is about as important as actual support.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      There was a point made recently, I’ll see if I can dig the blog post up, that polls are “swingy” because, although they are trying for demographic balance, they aren’t trying for partisan balance. This means that when Trump has a tape come out, his partisan backers don’t stop planning to vote for him, but they do stop responding to polling attempts. Ditto Clinto.

      Here is the post at YouGov.

      • erenold says:

        I wonder if the solution to non-response bias is to reveal the total number of contacted people, including hangups. If we saw that Hillary was +15 nationally or something, at the height of the Khantroversy from a n=800 sample, (that’s a real poll I distinctly recall), but it took an atypically large number of calls (say, 2000 rather than the usual 1500) to get this result because folks kept hanging up, one could reasonably infer that such a result was probably chimerical.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          Maybe, given a particular polling firm using a particular contact strategy comparing like to like over time, that gives some good information that something is up.

          But unless you include a demographic/partisan weighting (who is hanging up) it doesn’t tell you all that much. Polls taken in Illinois last week probably had a non-response effect, but it didn’t have anything to do with the candidates.

          • Jordan D. says:

            I concur- as a voter living in a swing state, I’ve been getting calls from pollsters locally and nationally roughly a dozen times a day. For the past two weeks it’s been my policy- and the policy of a few people I know have voted both ways- to just let all calls go to the answering machine.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I was implying that phone calls during Cub games weren’t getting answered, and that this is unlikely to have a partisan effect on the poll outcome.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Here is a similar paper.

  56. Ryan says:

    So here’s the burning question that really should be at the front of everyone’s mind:

    Why have we never seen a documented case of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_seeding as a means of influencing an election?

    Seriously, this has seemed obvious to me for a decade. Too easy to get caught? Too sciency? Won’t actually work? What’s the deal?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Is it legal for a private individual to cloud-seed?

    • (1) If there’s no clouds, there can be no seeding. So the method would be powerless against ideal (clear, sunny) voting weather.

      (2) Presumably it would be difficult to focus the effect on the desired voting district. The rain might fall elsewhere.

      (3) A little rain (without change in temperature) probably doesn’t have much impact on voter turnout.

      (4) Presumably the high risk of getting caught and suffering public scandal and legal liability outweighs the small chance of having an impact.

  57. Nate Silver says:

    We could really use a voter-list-based poll of Nevada, indeed. And one of Michigan. Those are the two states where I think we have the least idea what’s going on, and they’ve both had high polling errors in the past.

    Well, such polls are being conducted in Michigan — they just aren’t public.

    Here’s something a Michigan pollster had to say about his results in non-public polls:

    …the prior partisanship of respondents was a much weaker than usual factor explaining 2016 presidential preferences. That is, significant proportions of known strong Republicans (including Republican presidential primary voters) support Clinton and significant proportions of known strong Democrats (including Democratic presidential primary voters) support Trump….

    What is most interesting is that in each of the two down-ballot races we surveyed voters are staying with the party of their presidential choice, not returning to their earlier leanings. That is, a strong Republican who is voting for Clinton is also voting Democratic down ballot; a strong Democrat who is voting Trump is voting Republican down ballot.

    This is not what I was expecting. Based on this data, voters are realigning themselves in response to Trump.

    • Deiseach says:

      That is, significant proportions of known strong Republicans (including Republican presidential primary voters) support Clinton and significant proportions of known strong Democrats (including Democratic presidential primary voters) support Trump

      This story, if it’s accurate, may indicate why some of the swing towards Trump from allegedly staunch Dems:

      Out in Wooden’s congregation after his service, Aroson Randle (40) and his wife Deanna (40), who run a childcare business, are proud Trump supporters.

      “I voted for Donald Trump,” says Aroson, standing between the two banks of pews. “I ain’t shy about it.”
      Deanna voted for Obama in 2008 but not in 2012 because of his support for same-sex marriage. Most African-Americans, she said, only voted for him because he would be the first black president.

      “My grandfather was in his 90s. We asked him who he voted for. He didn’t even know his name. He said, ‘I voted for the coloured guy’,” she said.

      Their friend Amanda Pierre-Louis (31), who owns an insurance agency, says she hopes black voters researched the issues behind the candidates in this election and “opened their eyes to see Democrats don’t fight for us because they know we are only going to vote one way”.

      Aroson is particularly annoyed that Obama’s promised loan support for black-run small businesses failed to materialise. “He was talking over our heads, misleading to feel like he was going to help small businesses when in actuality there was no help offered.”

      He even suggests that education standards may have been better for blacks during segregation, based on what older people who lived under it had told them.

      The three see African-Americans as being worse off now than they were when Obama was elected. They also agree with Trump: they believe they have nothing to lose by voting for him.

      “It can’t get any worse,” says Pierre-Louis. “It can be better faster than it can be worse.”

      • andrewflicker says:

        What I’ve read indicates that African-American support for Clinton is the usual 9 or 10 to 1, no different than the last few elections. The change this time seems to be a significant drop in black turnout (probably reversion to the non-Obama mean), but it will take the exit polls to be certain.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          I will want to see whether there is any drop in black voter turnout, and if so, whether that drop in turnout is nationwide, or varies on a state by state level, and if so, what states.

  58. Douglas Knight says:

    You chose Philadelphia as the example because of the strike, right? (Resolved late Sunday.)

    Why did the Philadelphia transit union strike immediately before the election? This would predictably suppress turnout in a heavily Democratic city and predictably suppress Democratic turnout more. But aren’t the union and the city government both heavily Democrats? They did this before — striking through the 2009 local elections. Maybe they had different interests in local elections, but why did they sign a 7 year contract setting them up to strike at the 2016 national elections? Don’t they both want the same thing? Why not make the contract a month shorter or a month longer, so that they didn’t risk swinging Pennsylvania?

    • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

      If the city is heavily Democratic, it’s the Democrats who should be scared of pissing you off, right?

      • Edward Scizorhands says:

        Right. They can strike now and the DNC will bend over backwards to undo it. There were leaked emails somewhere showing that the Democrats were afraid of the damage that a pissed-off union could do to them (which was presented as a surprise, but I thought everyone knew it already).

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Sure, the DNC cares about the national election a lot more than the union does. But it also cares a lot more than the city does. The DNC is not a party to the negotiation. How can it do anything to end the strike?

          Maybe it’s valuable to not care one way or the other about striking through the election, not to extract anything immediate form the DNC, but just to remind the DNC not to take it for granted.

          • John Colanduoni says:

            Depending on how desperate they are, they could lean on/bribe (especially a Democratic city government) the city to give in and make the strike end.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      If Hillary lost the election because of a transit strike, wouldn’t that be on the front page of all the papers and make the mayor look terrible?

      (actually, I chose Philadelphia because I originally chose Detroit, worried that some people would read some kind of racism into it, and went for the next big diverse city in a swing state)

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Would the mayor take more blame than the union? Would the mayor care about blame more than the union?

        • Scott Alexander says:

          I think so. The union doesn’t need to be reelected. Also, the whole point of a strike is to inconvenience people and make them unhappy. If you can do it in a single day, that’s better than losing a lot of wages.

        • shakeddown says:

          To some degree, the point of a strike is to play the chicken game and see who blinks, at which point you negotiate. It’s in everyone’s interest (especially the union’s) to make strikes as short as possible, so putting it right bef