The Thin Blue Wall


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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111 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:


    This election isn’t over yet? Rolls over and goes back to sleep.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I dig that theory 100%.

    That said, what seems to throw a wrench into it from where I sit is the fact that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are both polling at more than 6% between them (I tried to find these numbers from the official Ordinary Times stats guy, Sam Wang, but I couldn’t find a 4-way poll on his website, just 2 way polls).

    I submit to you the following:

    There ain’t no freaking way that Gary Johnson’s share added to Jill Stein’s share will add up to 3% between them. No freaking way.

    Assuming that there is no freaking way that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, together, will add up to 3%, I’m stuck wondering if that 3% of voters are more likely to stay home or more likely to show up and vote, for real, for one of the two real candidates.

    And if it’s the latter, who they were lying to themselves/the pollsters about who they were really going to be voting for.

    And which of the two real candidates it’s more likely that they’d feel it somewhat necessary to lie to themselves about eventually voting for.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      “If you want to know how they’d vote in a 2-way race, just look at the findings from the official Ordinary Times stats guy, Sam Wang!”

      Yeah, that’s a good argument, I guess. I suppose if we can’t trust Sam Wang, we can’t trust anybody.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’ve actually got a theory that the polls may be skewed by wives who don’t want to say they’re going to vote for Clinton in front of the husbands who think they’re voting for Trump.

      This was 1/2 of that post I tweeted about forgetting about. If I could just remember the other half…

      Worth remembering that there was no Shy Trump effect in most of the primaries.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      You’re saying Johnson and Stein together, don’t make-up one Ralph Nader (2000)? I’ll take the over 3% on that bet, but as a protest vote, so the closer the election, the less desire to protest.

      I’ve been polled several times, and the last time I was asked who i would vote for President, I was given the names of the two major party candidates, suggesting that would be my choice, but the specific question that followed gave me four choices: the R, the D, other, or undecided.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:


        Though I also suspect that Johnson + Stein + Either Of The Real Candidates will get us to 50%+1 rather than Johnson + Stein + Only One Of The Real Candidates will get us there.Report

  3. Avatar Don Zeko says:

    This is also why McMullen will not win Utah and throw the election to the House of Representatives. McMullen can only put up numbers that make him competitive in Utah if Trump is doing poorly enough nationally that it’s not close. When Trump was within a point or two, he was winning Utah handily.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I do suspect Utah’s swing will not be uniform! Kind of a special case. But I do think Trump will win it.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko says:

        I agree that Utah is likely to be an outlier, but it’s not so special that it won’t swing with the national vote margin. And it only showed McMullen tied when Trump was down by around 7% nationally, a margin at which the outcome will not be close.Report

  4. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I always understood references to The Wall as referring to a very dedicated level of support for Clinton in a bunch of states, not just swing states, or to the very strong support among black voters she has.Report

  5. Avatar Kim says:

    There’s one pundit that keeps claiming that Trump has a 70% chance of winning.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen says:

      Is it Bill Mitchell?!?

      Serious question–are you constitutionally incapable of actually naming the person you’re citing.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I am about 70% convinced that Bill Mitchell is not a real “pundit,” but instead is an amazingly subversive performance artist.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          @burt-likko @gaelen

          I just read about Bill Mitchell at Vox.


          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            During the 1983 British general election, the one where Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives gave Michael Foot and Labour a good hard licking, Labour kept to a traditional political strategy of mass rallies with roaring oratory from Michael Foot. Margaret Thatcher ran a more media-focused campaigned where she appeared on TV talk shows a lot. Mitchell’s comments about Trump rallies remind me of Labour’s blindness in 1983.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I think your first mistake was thinking that I was citing a person. (when I do cite friends of mine, I often decline to cite their names, as they answer to myriad different ones.)

        I mentioned to Saul that this pundit has polled all the elections (since the advent of reliable social media, which has varied based on country), and hasn’t been wrong yet.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The issue of course is that this looks like it is going to be a plurality election with Clinton getting around 49 percent of the vote by current projections and Trump getting around 42-44 depending.

    Here is Nate Cohn on the polls:

    Many of these dissatisfied voters are extremely likely to vote for one candidate or another, but they are not happy about it. When the news isn’t so good for the candidate they’re likelier to support, they say they’re “undecided” rather than bring themselves to admit — either to themselves or to the polling interviewer — that they’ll support their candidate. These same swings in enthusiasm have an effect on whether pollsters judge them to be likely voters, or even the propensity for voters to respond to surveys at all.

    This theory helps explain why the most abrupt movements in the polls seem to come when the race is near one of its two extremes. Mrs. Clinton surged after the first presidential debate in part because she was near her low point heading into it. The allegations about Mr. Trump’s sexual misconduct didn’t hurt him as much in the polls as his first debate performance, for instance, because Mrs. Clinton’s marginal supporters had already flocked back to her column after the debate. There were fewer voters for her to lure back.


    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Fingers crossed. My most hoped-for outcome for election day is a plurality outcome.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I, of course, would love a blue blowout. Seemed plausible for a while, then more of the email nonsense pops up and it’s back to being a pipe dream. Oh well, I’ll just hope for the Presidency and Senate.

        I’m assuming you’d like a plurality as a vote of no confidence in the big two/vote of strength for the libertarians?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I suspect that a blowout would accelerate whatever might happen.

          A plurality would put brakes on. Or try to.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            Obama had a blowout. It made him poltically complacent.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I remember 2009-10 a little differently, I guess.

              Though I can see how 2011-2016 would look that way.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Obama tried to do stuff in 09-10 and even got some stuff done.

                But his complacency, specifically he and all his acolytes thinking “Obama is awesome, who could be against Obama?” got Scott Brown a Senator’s seat and then led to a complete shellacking in November 2010.

                When you’re entire political legacy is dependent on a specific piece of a political coalition, it’s unconscionable to allow that piece of the political coalition to get away from you. And he didn’t even get something good for it, e.g. true love instead of a Frey wife.

                The subsequent midterm losses wouldn’t even be something to affix blame on him if it wasn’t for losing Kennedy’s seat. But the midterm losses showed he and his minions didn’t learn a darn thing from the Oakley debacle.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                LOL. Complacency is a funny way to describe “had a literal gun put to his head”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I keep forgetting you believe that.

                I shouldn’t, it’s hilarious. Kinda racist. Actually a lot racist, but hilarious.

                (Clearly the black man only understands the literal gun to the head, whereas the white Presidents understand the threat without needing the props and large lettering.)Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                If you grant that it actually happened (which, I will say, is a lot to grant), then the morons who thought they needed an actual gun were white, and a rather insulated bunch, at that.

                Of course, if you want to have some real fun, we should get into why the neoliberals (on Wall Street) got us into WWI.. and WWII in the bargain.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                You wouldn’t believe how racist the Senator from Saudi Arabia is, either.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I’m more in agreement with this analysis than not. I’ve always read Obama’s first couple years as them living their own campaign rhetoric that they were a new way and were above “politics as usual”. They also either
                A) couldn’t imagine the GOP would embark of the cynical total opposition strategy or
                B) couldn’t think of any way to prove it except by letting the GOP show it by doing it.

                I think the 2010 whupping was damn near unavoidable with the combination of the great recession and the right wing response to the left basically winning a contest they’d been fighting over for a century. I do agree that Oakley was heavily on O and Co. It would have done them a hell of a lot of good if they could have run the ACA through the normal process of getting its legislative final coat of paint.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                What I find fascinating about this election is mainly that O&co ran the table in ’08, but within a decade they will have possibly pissed the whole thing away. If Hills doesn’t win, the R’s will have turned that whole losing “a contest they’d been fighting over for a century” to the destruction of the D’s at pretty much every level of gov’t.

                Hillary has to win not only the presidency but take the senate to just hold on. And even then, they have a much worse situation in ’18 regarding seats held in the senate, they have lost even deep blue governorships in areas such as Maryland and Mass.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Hillary is not the democratic party. Hillary is pro-neocon and pro-neoliberal. She wins if the Republicans win the House and she takes the presidency.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I think predicting destruction of the Dems at every level of government is a bit hyperbolic (I approve, I love hyperbole). It does beg the question; what liberals goals are; political success or implementing their preferred policy? I’m pretty happy with what the behavior of the ‘liberal’ party says is their answer to that question.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Well, to stray a little bit, they are part-and-parcel. You can’t have goals achieved without legislative success. You can’t have legislative success without goals achieved.

                Otherwise, you are out in the woods like Labour right now. But by gosh, they are sure showing everyone just how liberal they are! (Not that we libertarians are doing much better.)Report

              • Avatar Anne says:


                don’t know why but made me think of this

                “We’re more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They’re all blood, you see.”? Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead


              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                That play will always have a soft spot in my heart.Report

              • Avatar Anne says:

                It plays a huge part in my life 😉Report

              • I always conflate it with Waiting for Godot. Not exactly sure why.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                There was an argument for this about a year ago, but fortunately for the Democrats the Republican voters had no interests in clenching the missing link.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                Do not underestimate the ability of Republicans to completely blow the opportunity they’ve been served up, @aaron-david.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it councilor. But, considering who blew up an opportunity* in the first place, well, it would be a bit of tit-for-tat!

                *Along with don’t fight a land war in asia, don’t barely pass unpopular legislation just before a census year.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Yes, they could have had healthcare reform or they could have played super safe and maybe* have had a shot at, what, a less bad whipeout in 2010? I think the Dems chose pretty well. Especially since we know, post hoc, that the GOP was going to refuse to participate and was going to pitch a fit over whatever was done no matter what Obama had proposed in place of the ACA.

                *Assuming their base didn’t ditch them and stay home in raw disgust at them bailing on health care reform.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                I forget who said it, but The Point of having a Congressional Majority is to Do Things, especially if you’re a Democrat.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Sure, sort of. If the point of having a majority is to pass a crappy version of reform and then get your electoral ass handed to you after you had just run the table.

                Let alone do it in a census year, which incidentally gave your opponents damn near complete control of state level gov’t while giving them the house by unprecedented gains. And while I know the left isn’t a fan of state level gov’t, it is the nature of our system.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I forget who said it, but The Point of having a Congressional Majority is to Do Things, especially if you’re a Democrat.

                “We came here to do a job, not keep a job.”

                Nanci PelosiReport

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Well, you got something, kinda, sorta like health care reform.

                (I always thought that O&co should have been more attentive on the economy. Pull that off, and health care reform would have walked up to you in the bar.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:


                You’re looking at this wrong. It’s not the ACA which is a disaster, but our (US made!) healthcare delivery system.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Sure that’s why docs and insurance companies are fleeing Obama care.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Docs, but primarily insurance companies, are the cause of the underlying problems.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Why do you blame the insurance companies for trying to survive in the conditions created by obamacare?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, for starters, they’re not “trying to survive”; they do alright for themselves and their shareholders.

                For seconders, the ACA was instituted, to a great extent, because of the entirely rational and in fact predictable for-profit market-based behavior of insurance companies.

                After that, things get more complicated.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                You obviously aren’t in the business of healthcare.
                To put it simply: they aren’t doing alright. They’re falling apart at the seams and the profit in healthcare is recentralizing around the providers rather than the payers.

                HIGHMARK is busy trying to become a provider rather than a payer, because fo these trends.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Kim: hey’re falling apart at the seams and the profit in healthcare is recentralizing around the providers rather than the payers.

                Isn’t this a good thing in the macro sense? Isn’t economic efficiency all about minimizing middle persons in the exchange of goods and services?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I’m not sure that’s where I’d head. I’d argue that minimizing the profitability of health care payers means that it will be easier to get single payer, which will be more efficient.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You obviously aren’t in the business of healthcare.

                Ironically enough, Kim, I actually am! My wife and I are part owners of a birth center.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Uhm, how does the disaster of the healthcare delivery system system negate the disaster of the ACA? Seems to me that the ACA is making the rest even worse by doubling down on much of the worst aspects, with no easy fix in the offering.

                But what do I know, the Cubs are in the series…Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The exchanges are a disaster for two reasons (well, three): insurance companies are playing politics with em; people with chronic conditions who pre-ACA wouldn’t be gettin any insurance are now receiving it; and young, healthy people aren’t signing up and contributing to the pool (that one was pretty predictable).

                What all this shows to me – both our pre- and post-ACA healthcare – is that an insurance based model in the US of A is totally unworkable. Repeal and replace is a great idea until you get to the second part of that cute phrase: “replace”. With what? (HSAs of course!!)

                I’d suggest single payer, myself.

                Add: But to finish the thought more in line with your question, the delivery system by which healthcare is provided (Insurance companies) is in almost every respect the anti-thesis of a functioning market.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                One more problem for you: Actuarial in nature. It’s hard to figure out how much to charge, even for catastrophic health care, for people who are just joining and have lots of problems.

                We were SUPPOSED to give the insurance companies some money so that they could have a decent buffer to get the numbers right. Republicans nixed it.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                I’ve always found the argument that a pol should be knocked for trying to enact one of there biggest platform planks and multi decade desire of their party just plain weird. Not that they can’t be criticized for doing it poorly or that the result didn’t work out. But going for HCR in 09 was almost mandatory for any D. That little economic crisis thing was certainly an issue, but after winning the prez and both houses going for HCR was an easy easy choice.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                The only thing worse than craven careerist politicians seeking to cover their behinds, are brave politicians sacrificing their future to do what they promised.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen says:

                That’s a great point. The only thing I would say in rebuttal (or maybe just as rationalization) is that both the 2010 and 2014 elections were mid-terms with low turnout and a motivated opposition. So democrats were even for governships held in the presidential election years, but lost 9 during the midterms. Another quirk to note is how many more states had gubernatorial elections in off years. With that said, Republicans did a great job at formulating and implementing a solid strategy for taking back a huge number of states.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            If a Civil War didn’t happen in 1968 when there were literally hundreds of riots, it’s not happening because transgender people can use the bathroom they want, some bakers have to bake cakes they don’t want too, and the nation is getting browner.

            But, what will not help is another 4 years of dueling narratives of “Imperial Democratic Presidency flouting the Rule of Law” and “Congress Refusing to Do Anything.”Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              You’re assuming that Hillary will win the plurality election.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                What evidence do you have that HRC is not the favorite to win the plurality election? Princeton and the Upshot have here high likelihood. So does 538.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I’ve got one pundit with a rather impressive history of polling the internet. He’s not been wrong before, though the smugness may cause an implosion if he’s actually right this time.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                If you have one pundit, why no links?

                If it is the same pundit that has been trotted out before, I think he has been debunked for being pretty subjective.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I said he was a pundit, I didn’t say he’d been published. His english, not to put too fine a point on it, isn’t up to snuff.

                But when I say an “impressive history” I mean “has polled all the elections, in all the countries” (since social media got prevalent, which means it’s a different start time per country)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Stuff like this, this, and this.

                Is this proof?
                No. It is not proof.

                Is this reason to not be certain that Hillary is going to win?
                Come to your own conclusions.

                I’m just telling you why I’m skeptical.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                The CNN headline seems more like clickbaiting for anxious liberals like me and wanting a horserace. It seems like a “this one neat trick” kind of newspaper headline.

                I suppose there is a possibility that Princeton, 538, and the Upshot, and other polling sites can all be wrong but it seems like a far shot.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, here is some more stuff to make you anxious:

                Michelle Obama deleted her last 3 years of tweets.

                Rumors are swirling around that Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden have unfollowed Hillary Clinton but I don’t know how to check that. Well, without using some seedy twitter check thing that makes me log in rather than just checking anonymously.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                Eh. This doesn’t make me anxious. This reminds me of when you went wild because Cookie Roberts talked about HRC possibly being replaced on NPR. Did not happen.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                No, I talked about how Cokie Roberts was talking about how her contacts were talking about how people were talking about HRC needing to step down.

                Here. We can read the thread again.

                Oh, that reminds me, I owe Kazzy $5.Report

              • And Hillary passed a note to Joe Biden in history class, but Chuck Schumer saw him throw it away without even looking at it.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen says:

                Jay, two seconds of googling brought up a Fox News (Fox News!!) article debunking that claim.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Ah, okay then. Whew. (I couldn’t find Fox talking about it. Just this.)Report

              • Avatar Gaelen says:

                Ha!, my bad. I read that as Fox Live. Again mea culpa.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Do you think any of those people actually use Twitter? I mean yes, they have Twitter accounts, which are run by…staffers. Posts are made by staffers.

                Trump, apparently, actually DOES use his own Twitter account. But him aside, any other top-level politician does not. If you see them tweeting with their own tiny thumbs, you can bet it’s a publicity stunt, planned in advance.

                Which, if you internalize that, makes that rumor both stupid AND entirely unalarming.

                Those are not personal twitter accounts run by individuals. They are more akin to corporate entities. You can tell, because the ones run by individuals do things like…rage-tweet at 3:00 AM.

                These rumors and the ‘anxiety’ they could generate — those fit motivations from individuals, but not the actual mechanisms behind those accounts.

                If Obama (both of them), Clinton, and Biden were teenage girls running for class president, then it’s possible the Queens of the School might be having a falling out. This is more akin to a rumor swirling around that AT&T’s PR twitter has stopped following their corporate twitter because their tech support twitter is maybe mad at them.

                (For another example of someone running his own Twitter account, see Sid Miller of Texas. And as an added note, where DO you get these rumors? They’re delightful, in a sense.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I hang out on the twitters.

                It’s, like, mainlining data. Not information. Certainly not knowledge.

                But all of the data you could ever want.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You realize it’s like 80% garbage and 20% porn? 🙂

                Speaking of Twitter, what’s going on with the FBI? One of their twitter feeds (something to do with FIOA requests) activated after a year of nothing (like no tweets) and decided to dump info on Trump’s dad (calling him a philanthropist), and then docs on the pardoning of Marc Rich (making sure to name drop the Clinton Foundation, which I’m pretty sure didn’t exist yet. Making Foundations is what Presidents do after, not before).

                Which is hilarious if it’s some leak attempt (as opposed to, I dunno, a weird cron job or backlog of whatever that got kicked off on accident), they’re not leaking Clinton emails — they’re digging into the 90s, instead.

                I await their next leak, the FBI vault report on the investigation into the death of Vince Foster.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I very much enjoy Weird Sun twitter, Calvinist Superhero twitter, and Professional Wrestling twitter.

                But my fetishes are exceptionally specific.Report

              • You realize it’s like 80% garbage and 20% porn? 🙂

                You’d think that combinations would be fun.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                There’s porn on Twitter? Man, I am really using it wrong.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                Or maybe your friends are just as boring as mine.Report

              • Actually, I’m wrong. 80% garbage and 20% porn isn’t fun at all: it’s Entourage.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I agree. It’s so dunderheaded one wonders if they got hacked or something.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                It’s fake. Like so fake that Chinatown Rolexes make fun of it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If you had to give an additional source to it being fake to the one I gave, did you have to make a racist joke while you gave it?Report

              • You know, I totally misread that. I saw it as “Chinatown Rolodex”,and I thought the joke was something like “The only index cards it has are C, L, and W.”

                Anyway, it’s so fake that if David Irving had written it, Kevin Macdonald would say “This time you’re on your own.”Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Wait, it’s racist to say you can get knockoffs in Chinatown?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Obama said hillary should examine her conscience.
                Obama probably got most of the e-mails that Hillary had deleted on her server.
                He’s subtlely asking her to step aside.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                In all fairness, I can’t get twitter at work so I couldn’t follow your link and see she hadn’t deleted them. 🙂Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Just so I’m clear what is the definition of “Whatever might happen” in this comment? I haven’t been around a ton, work is just flattening me.Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    “When people try to get specific with the states, they tend to get hung up on the stated odds in specific states”

    I see what you did there. Cute!Report