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Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 1,012

About Me

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

Journal Archives

Nate Silver is indeed the most pessimistic of the group

I ranked these by taking the midpoint of their tossup range, and got this ordering:

FiveThirtyEight 297.5
Cook Political 301
ABC 306
PredictWise 308
Sabato's Crystal Ball 308.5
Governing 311.5
CNN 315.5
NBC 316
Associated Press 321.5
Princeton 323
NPR 323.5
Fox 325.5
The Fix 326
NYT Upshot 334.5
Rothenberg&Gonzales 335

Nate Silver is about 19 EV off the average, and the most Trumpward of the bunch. Given that the turnout stories indicate a surge of Dem votes way beyond his prediction, I expect that this election will be Silver's comeuppance as the big star among statistical election predictors.

Nate Silver is going to get a comeuppance as star prognosticator.

Still, the house might be a stretch.

EDIT: See the All the predictions thread.

There are several reasons. Sexism is one.

There are several reasons why Trump has a chance instead of being a joke:

1. He appeals to authoritarian-follower personalities. The Republicans haven't really made a strong appeal to that personality type in a long time. George W sort of halfway did it, but Trump is going full potato on it.

2. Racism, xenophobia, and the other deplorabilities. Same deal.

3. Sexism. In this case Trump is not the one to blame, despite Mike Pence's appeal for a "broad shouldered" government. That's why I list it separately from the deplorables. The sexist hate for Hillary was pre-existing -- indeed, a surprising amount of the opposition to Bill Clinton in the ninteties focused on Hillary all along, because she became a symbol of feminism. Hatred of feminism is every bit as powerful as hatred of other frightening minority views, such as Islam or communism or atheism. Unlike the racist and xenophobic issues, Trump didn't even have to do anything to get these voters in his pocket.

But I think the biggest factor may be:

4. The fact that both parties sold out the blue collar working class -- the Rs because they viewed them as nothing but an extractable resource, and the Ds because they stopped caring about voters who wouldn't come along with them on issues like civil rights, abortion, and gay marriage. At this point these voters don't just want justice, they want revenge. In practice they've been completely unrepresented for a long time, and have little to no stake in preserving the status quo.

if the GOP were to split

into a reformed conservative/libertarian party and a "deplorables" party, I wonder which would get the bigger share? I'm all too afraid it would be the latter.

The outcome I'm sort of hoping for now is that the GOP starts losing massively, and all the moderate conservatives flee and join the democratic party, until it becomes so overwhelming that the schism happens there, leaving us with a progressive party and a moderate-conservative party, with the hardcore racists and fascists relegated to a third-party rump status. But that probably won't happen... and if it did, it would certainly be a sad end to the legacy of Lincoln. I think the more likely outcome is that the Republicans will stick together despite being in permanent chaos and dysfunction, until they either come up with a charismatic post-racist leader, or finally manage to age out all the racists who keep making them lose elections.

A pre-post-mortem of the 2016 Republican debacle

From my blog:


The TPP is such a clear-cut issue that once you see someone support it, you need no further data.

Any politician who supports the TPP is out to make you poorer for their own benefit. It really is that simple, and "third way" is the least of the labels they deserve. If they're liberal on social or lifestyle issues they qualify for the "third way" category; if not, they're plain right-wingers or just as bad.


There's all kinds of other disingenuous lumping-togethering that gets done when someone wants to defend stuff they do... democracy = the two party system, free enterprise = deregulation, liberty = not paying taxes, and weirdest of all, capitalism is Christian.

a distinction that Wall Street doesn't want us to make

We usually hear the terms "entrepreneurship", "free enterprise", and "capitalism" lumped together as if they're all the same thing. But they aren't. They are three separate things.

Entrepreneurship is when you start a small business and hope it can expand beyond mere self-employment. Free enterprise is open competition without barriers or protections. And capitalism... that's when an investor or speculator takes ownership of other people's productivity, in exchange for cash they may or may not actually have.

Why do these three always get conflated? Because capitalists want what they do to seem as valuable and legitimate and necessary as entrepreneurship and free enterprise are. Because they want you to think they're job creators -- a description which is valid for entrepreneurs. Because they want us to see their games as being about freedom and openness, instead of as a narrowing of power and privilege.

Don't buy it. We respect free enterprise and entrepreneurship, but that doesn't mean we have to respect Wall Street's version of capitalism. It's not at all the same thing.

We've been undervaluing inflation for decades

Consumer goods made by machines get cheaper. Real wages drop but you can still afford to fill your house with junk. You don't see how much earning power you've really lost until you try to buy something that can't be made by a robot or a third-world laborer, such as an education or a house or a hospital stay. Wages aren't just stagnant, they've been driven downward by a huge distance. They hide this fact by basing the inflation index on consumer prices for cars and TVs and stuff, which cost far less than they used to because it takes far fewer person-hours to make each unit than used to be needed.

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people

I think Abraham Lincoln's famous description, "government of the people, by the people, and for the people", sums up what defines liberalism. Every form of conservative or antiliberal philosophy amounts to an opposition to some part of it. For instance, anarchists oppose "government of the people". Monarchists and fascists oppose government "by the people". So do theocrats. So does anyone who wants to maintain a ruling class.

But the most interesting bit is government "for the people". This doesn't just mean that government shouldn't be corruptly twisted to serve a minority; it means that government should be actively on our side. It should be "for" us like a sports fan is "for" his team. A government that is truly for us should be actively engaged in promoting our success. Not only should it have no other loyalty than to its people, but it also must not be indifferent to them. It should not be neutral or passive when it comes to its people's interest.

And that's what separates liberals from most of today's conservatives and libertarians. At best, they want neutral passivity -- they do not want a government that is for the people. Even though it belongs to the people.
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