2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, Uncategorized

Trusting Nate Silver

June 29, 2016

If you’re reading this, there’s an 80-90% chance you know who Nate Silver is. After he correctly predicted 49 of 50 states in 2008 and all 50 in 2012, he was anointed as a predictive savant, something he found more amusing than accurate. Nate’s actual contribution is bringing baseball-style (he cut his teeth at Baseball Prospectus) data analysis to politics.

For all the talk about polls, most pundits aren’t real versed (like at all) in reviewing data, tending to grasp at whatever result bits fit their preferred narrative instead of digging for the most likely reality. Having Silver and his blog-turned-platform FiveThirtyEight around provides some important balance and has definitely influenced how I look at numbers. Continue reading

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2016 General Election, 2016 Republicans, Counting Delegates, Strategy, Trump, Uncategorized, Veepstakes

Trump Enters the Cocoon

June 28, 2016

Three weeks from today is Day Two of the Republican convention. Three weeks from tomorrow, Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee will give his/her speech. Between now and then, expect to see quite a bit less Trump. It doesn’t mean he’ll be out of the news, or won’t say anything interesting. He’s not entering the Candidate Protection Program, but he will be a bit under the radar, at least by Trumpian standards.

On the morning of April 6, Trump was in trouble. Ted Cruz had just defeated him in Wisconsin. This came after losing two of three contests in the previous round of primaries on March 22 (he won Arizona, lost badly to Cruz in Idaho, and finished third in Utah.) #NeverTrump was in the ascendant.  Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, State of the Race, Uncategorized

Pick Your Narrative

June 27, 2016

These are dangerous times. For the campaigns. The stretch between the end of voting and the gavels calling the respective party conventions to order often leads to illusion. While we can’t assume the next three weeks will stay quiet, voters are usually looking for a bit of a summer respite from their presumptive choices.

Bernie Sanders hasn’t officially endorsed Hillary Clinton, but he says he’s planning on voting for her. His campaign isn’t doing anything beyond hoping to influence the party platform and campaigning for selected Berner-friendly candidates in down-ballot primaries. We won’t hear much from him until the Democrats reach Philadelphia at the end of July. Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Republicans, In the World, Uncategorized

Brexit is a Variable More Than an Indicator

June 24, 2016

A bit of an earthquake from the other side of the pond. Britain is out. At least that’s what they voted for. Voters in the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union after 40 plus years of becoming increasingly enmeshed in the pseudo-United States of Europe.

The actual mechanism for leaving will take some time. Once the U.K. triggers Article 50, they have two years to negotiate their exit. They’ll need new trade agreements with the EU. They’ll be able to negotiate new ones on their own with other countries and trading blocks. That sort of thing takes time and often doesn’t go well. So far, the world markets aren’t excited. Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Republicans, State of the Race, Trump, Uncategorized

The He Said, She Said Campaign

June 22, 2016

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave a speech devoted to slamming her opponent on the economy. Today Donald Trump responded. Each address was a recitation of the flaws of the other candidate. We heard about all the countries Trump-branded products are made in. Hint: the United States wasn’t one of them. Hillary uncorked a line about Trump books ending in Chapter 11. The speechwriter was proud of himself for that one.

Trump reminded us of the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation collected from Saudi Arabia. We heard about foreign governments hacking Hillary’s home server, how the FBI is missing 33,000 deleted emails, but the Russians and/or Chinese likely have them and are prepared to blackmail her while in office. The combined charges are too numerous to list.  Continue reading

2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, State of the Race, Uncategorized

How Far Can Johnson & Stein Get?

June 21, 2016

We’ve spent the past few weeks watching Donald Trump either implode or merely confirm the suspicions of his detractors. Either way, it’s not pretty. I’ll spare you the recap. Yesterday’s firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, followed by the resignation of communications director Michael Caputo after he sent a “ding dong, the witch is dead” tweet in reference to Lewandowski, along with the release of numbers showing the campaign is effectively broke, was a 5 of 10 on the Bad Day Index.

It’s enough to remind me it’s probably time to do a piece on the worst primary to general election transitions in presidential history. Does Trump belong ahead or behind George McGovern picking a guy with electroshock therapy history (this was especially frowned upon in the early 1970s) on the list? He’s reached his highest disapproval ratings. The media is savaging him at every turn.  Continue reading

2016 Republicans, State of the Race, Strategy, Trump, Uncategorized

Bye Bye Corey

June 20, 2016

Corey Lewandowski is no more. After a tempestuous year in the upper reaches of the Trump campaign organization, he was forcibly ejected from service today. While he helped an electoral novice to the top of the polls last fall, and was at least part of the brains behind his mega rallies, Lewandowski was on borrowed time.

For months, various staffers bristled at his heavy-handed methods. Corey was not a charmer with the campaign staff. His altercation with reporter Michelle Fields in March cast an unwelcome spotlight on his activities. Within minutes of joining the campaign, veteran operative Paul Manafort was trying to eliminate Lewandowski. At first he didn’t succeed, but he tried and tried again. Continue reading