Ordinary World 5 Nov 2018

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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28 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    Wo8: The link doesn’t work but based on the blurb I strongly disagree. This seems like another of those calls for “charity” or “civility” where the Democrats/Liberals/Left need to give up everything and Republicans/Conservatives/the Right need to give up nothing. I.e. a one way street. As far as I can tell, people do this because they are afraid we are sitting on a tinderbox and don’t expect right-wingers to change. So left of center voters are always tasked with keeping everything calm and civilized.

    Trump has proven everything I thought he would be and then some more. Every time I think he or his administration hits rock bottom, they manage to find another one!!! This includes the whole Fox News empire with their caravan coverage. The election closer from the Republicans rests on open calls to bigotry. As Chip points out, one Trump says something, the rest of the right-wing falls into line like the lickspittle lackeys they are.

    What is gained from giving Stephen Miller’s vileness a charitable view? What would it look like? Or Brian Kemp’s constant attempts to throw the election for Georgia governor in his favor via voter suppression and “investigation” into the Democrats. Are we supposed to say “awww he wants the Governorship so badly that he needs to suppress people who would vote against him?”

    The calls for “civility” and “charity” and “understanding” are vague and Pollyannaish in their levels of optimism. They often seem filled with wish thinking that good-faith dialogue will produce moderation and compromise. I don’t think this is true. Especially when it always seems based on a fear that there are pipe bombs and only one side will use them so the other side needs to shut up.

    My anaologies for these essays are very intemperate so I will refrain for now. But when do right or center voices tell their side to step away from the Fox News hate machine, the Wohl pranks, the conspiracy theories? When is their a conservative who doesn’t treat a liberal policy goal with condescending snark?

    The answer seems to be none and never. But liberals need to shut up because the guy with the pipe bombs is pretty scary and the pundits are shitting in their pants.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I read the article.

        I don’t think anyone should be forced to disown their family but the guy is doing some very impressive mental backflips. At some point, there becomes an issue of effect if not intent. The guy spends a good portion of the essay describing the ways in which Trump is horrible, racist, sexist, etc and then chides his side and tells them not to do the things that makes Trump supporters so angry.

        When I was 14, I went to a summer camp for media arts. Our instructor confessed to the class that his father was deeply anti-Semitic. He loved his father and it was deeply hard for him to do so obviously. But he was brave and able to confront it. So many of these essays read like people not wanting to confront that their family might very well have racist, sexist, and homophobic members.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Part of loving people is speaking the truth to them and not being afraid to tell people when they are behaving badly.

          We have had to do this with our extended family members who support Trump.

          No, we didn’t convince them to change, but we also didn’t enable and coddle their worst impulses.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    The Baffler on how Facebook is melting the minds of our elders


  3. Saul Degraw says:

    Slate has two pieces which I think show the “hack” gap:

    1. This essay slagging the Democratic Leadership for anemic campaigns

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/pelosi-schumer-democratic-messaging-is-extremely-bad.html; and

    2. This article lambasting Senator Harris’s attempt at UBI (but Americansized)


    No right of center pundit or journalist seems to do “Our leaders are so lame” or “this policy is horrible” like left of center writers. As Kevin Drum writes, left of center writers just can’t help themselves. The attacks on policy lead to stuff like “Let’s just expand the Earned Income Tax Credit” again and those policies lead to weak campaigning because all Democratic proposals are 300 pages of wonkery. The weak campaigning leads to lambasts like the first essay.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Kidding, right? Remember the Tea Party? “Our leaders are so lame.” Remember the alt-right? “This policy is horrible.” Remember the Trump campaign? Both quotes. And now, a significant part of the right identifies itself as #NeverTrump.Report

  4. Aaron David says:

    “But no one should be surprised if they only win 19 seats and no one should be surprised if they win 51 seats,” Silver added. “Those are both extremely possible, based on how accurate polls are in the real world.”

    The midterms are just two days away and most prognosticators predict that the Democrats will flip the House and Republicans will hold out in the Senate.

    However, most also predicted that President Trump would lose in the 2016 elections to Hillary Clinton. The morning of election day two years ago, FiveThirtyEight gave Clinton a 71 percent chance of becoming president.

    Nate Silver says Dems could retake House, or not: ‘Both extremely possible’Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David says:

      Yep. There is still a 5 to 7 point advantage to the GOP in the House because of gerrymandering and other structural issues. So we can win but it won’t be enough.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

      Here’s part of it: we don’t know whether we’re making polling errors.

      If there is a fundamental polling error going on, we don’t know what it is.

      But if the same error is being made as last time…Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        All the pollsters are saying the same things: “IT COULD GO EITHER WAY”.

        I feel confident in that prediction.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Is that because the non-Nate Silver ones are twice shy after 2016 or is that because their models, which they’ve checked and double-checked, say things could go either way? (Or some mixture?)

          Because if they’re making the same mistakes as were made in 2016, I’ve got some bad news…Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

            I mean, here’s the thing that worries me:

            The problem isn’t that any given poll is “wrong”. Of course polls are going to be inaccurate. So long as we’re in the ballpark of the margin of error, we’re good.

            The problem is when every single poll is wrong in the same way, in the same direction.

            2016 should have had some major pollsters saying that Trump was going to win.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              As someone here pointed out last week,something that has a 29% chance of happening, will happen 29 times out of a hundred.

              The math wasn’t wrong; everyone just hoped the chamber would be empty when the trigger was pulled.Report

            • Catchling in reply to Jaybird says:

              2016 should have had some major pollsters saying that Trump was going to win.

              That’s a rather interesting argument but I don’t think it holds up. First of all, pollsters give no predictions whatsoever, they give estimated samplings; you’re talking about analysts.

              So suppose there are ten analysts discussing a 10-sided die that’s about to be rolled. Would it be best for one of them, Alice, to officially predict a 1, another, Bob, to predict a 2, and so forth? Or is it better for them all to say “It’s a 10% chance of any number” (with subsequent conclusions like “20% chance of a multiple of 5”, etc). I think the latter makes more sense. After all, if that set of ten predictors had arranged to do this. and the outcome was a 2, that doesn’t give any reason to be more confident in Bob about the next roll.

              Of course elections are considerably more complex than dice; the question is how substantially different they are once you get as much information as possible. So exactly what should have triggered any given analyst to veer from the evidence for Hillary and into Donald territory, and why?

              There’s a very solid basis to suppose the Comey letter was the biggest decider by far, in the sense of being a small might-not-have-happened factor which ended up deciding the outcome. Anyone who had its emergence shift their prediction from below 50% to above 50% for Trump would have my ultimate confidence — 538 comes closest to this, they just never reached that 50%. By contrast, anyone who had always been saying Trump would win does not have my even though they were “right”, because just about all those people were simply conservative cheerleaders or liberal pessimists and that mindset, not the evidence, was the main driver of the prediction. On a similar note, Nate Silver has pointed out that polls/predictions were *more* wrong about the most recent French presidential election than the American one, because they tended to strongly overestimate Le Pen, probably out of compensation for slightly underestimating Trump. They just happened to fall on the correct side of the 50-50 line.

              Mathematically (if not emotionally) an extreme prediction of the correct outcome is “less correct” than a small/conservative prediction of the wrong one. Repeated many times, the latter predictor is still going to be right more often than the former.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Catchling says:

                I’m remembering Sam Wang.

                Can we say that Sam Wang got it wrong or are things set up so that it’s impossible to be wrong?Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Catchling says:

                2016 was a really freak occurrence of the election where we discovered that someone can lose the popular vote by 2-3 million people and still win the electoral college by a significant amount using some 70K voters spread across key states.

                I think people are still processing this, still don’t like the results, and are finding a way to blame Democrats out of their own personal political tribalism or because freak events/structural problems are hard to deal with but saying “Democrats you had one job…” is easy to do.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                It was only a freak occurrence if you believed the polls which were demonstrated to have systematic errors.

                If you start from the position that the polling had systematic errors, you find yourself asking the question of whether it would have been possible to avoid these errors.

                However, we were in a place where quoting Nate Silver resulted in questioning like “Why do you trust Nate Silver instead of Sam Wang?”

                It’s the trusting of Sam Wang more than Nate Silver that was part of the mistake that was made.

                Surely it possible to ask whether we’re making a similar mistake today.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                What people are not grasping is when you have an electorate that is so closely split, almost any outcome is possible.
                Its not like there were or are any polls showing a 60%-40% split; they were all within a few percentage points, well within the margin of error.
                And as we’ve noted here, predicting what a “likely” voter is is damned near just guesswork.
                When the races get down to just a couple points, its a flip of the coin.

                Which is really the larger point. No matter what happens tomorrow, we are still in a closely split electorate.

                Even if one party sweeps every contest, the other one is still going to be here, still determined to battle it out every single day for a long, long time.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Am I the only one who remembers 2016?Report

          • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

            We’ve been seeing changes in intensity among different voting blocs over the last few years, and that’s the one thing that polls have no capacity to measure. This is the first midterm in the most recent new world, so how are they supposed to measure it?Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          All the pollsters are saying the same things: “IT COULD GO EITHER WAY”.

          I feel confident in that prediction.

          I’m not.I think it can only go _one_ way.

          I don’t want to spoil things for you, so I’ll tell you guys which way in a day or two. And you’ll be amazed at how accurate my guess was.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to KenB says:

      “Votes are like trees, if you are trying to build a forest. If you have more trees than you have forests, then at that point the pollsters will probably say you will win.”
      — Dan Quayle

      I assume apocryphal, but if he didn’t say it we’d have had to make it up.
      — Abraham Lincoln.Report

  5. Marchmaine says:

    On Turnout and high-tech polling… This stock photo is everywhere – from NPR to American Greatness.

    I for one am glad that we’re using v.2 Next Gen tech: Poll [lightningbolt] Master II

    Except for all the obviously Russian poll-workers milling about, we should be fine.Report