Numbers Nate Silver and the guys at 538.com publish their political bull sessions, where they sit around and B.S. after a hard day crunching the numbers. I can see them with their feet on their desks, sipping their double cappuchino lattes. Today they’re trying to decide if either party will have an advantage next year. They think the R’s might possibly have a teensy weensy advantage. They can’t decide to call this a 54-46, 52-48, or 51-49 advantage. Nate himself rejects the idea of Obama being a negative because “… running a regression model based on an n of four is inherently kind of ridiculous.” As you can imagine, that penetrating insight shut everyone up. Nate knows how to cut a guy down, hard. He goes on to say that any Republican advantage will be offset by a teensy weensy Democrat advantage in the electoral college, which is a regression model based on an n of two (2008 and 2012). Nate just has better regression models, I guess.
They do get around to talking a little about what I think about exclusively: politics. They call this the elephant in the room. No shit, Sherlock. They accept the idea that a Hillary-Marco match up doesn’t really look that good for the D’s, but they really don’t want to speculate. I like these guys. They do try to keep their liberal political opinions out of their analysis. Nate absolutely nailed the 2012 outcome. He’s obviously a very bright guy. But the reason the Republicans almost have this thing in the bag doesn’t show up in any statistic or numerical data point.
After a few beers down in Cabo I wound up in a political conversation with Ryan, a thirtyish North Carolinian who’s moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in apps. Uber is an app, so you never know. I don’t think Ryan spends a lot of time thinking about politics, so I said the election next year is real simple. It’s who you got. We got Marco Rubio. You got Hillary. You’re screwed.
Think about it. A Cubano version of Jack Kennedy, without the baggage, against a stunningly unattractive shrew
Nate and the boys might point to the new WSJ/NBC poll that shows Hillary beating Marco. That poll is meaningless. Show me a poll after the American people have had a chance to see these two together on the same stage. Marco will have to struggle not to appear a bully, it will be so one sided. But since I can’t prove that with a regression analysis, Nate dismisses it. See you in September, Nate.
I have a hard time believing we’ll get to 34 next year without Virginia, and they’re having their legislative election today. I haven’t followed this at all, and really don’t know who’s favored, though the R’s sound confident. One State Senate seat in Virginia could be the difference between getting there or not. Biddulph and others on the Task Force have been trying to help in selected races. If the tide is with us, we should be O.K.
At the end of the evening in Cabo we’re around a bonfire on the beach, and this young fellow asks me what song to play on his little device. So I say, “What a fool believes, he sees.” He hadn’t thought about the meaning of that title, and said the reverse was true as well. But it’s not, as I explained to him. A fool does not believe what he sees. He only sees what he believes.
In politics, as in most things, seeing is believing. And as for Nate and I?