LG&M: On the Extremely Limited Value of Campaign Tactics Tautologies
After every remotely close election campaign, there are almost as many just-so stories about how there was one perfect campaign tactic that could have changed the outcome as there are pundits. And the problem is that the vast majority are just unfalsifiable tautologies with no retrospective or prospective value:
A huge percentage of campaign analysis consists of two basic and related categories:
- “The losing candidate had worse messaging, which we can tell because he/she lost.”
- “The losing candidate would have won had she emphasized issues x/y/z in exactly this way, which entirely coincidentally aligns perfectly with my own ex ante policy views.”
Both of these arguments are abjectly useless the vast majority of the time.