The Choad Ahead

Trump voters await their harvest.

And here we are.

We weren’t supposed to be here — we were punditsplained for months how this was not merely unlikely, but totally impossible — but anybody paying attention could see it happening, almost from the start.

Really: Calling John McCain a loser because he was a POW? And getting away with it? Put away your statistical analysis, nerds. We’re in uncharted territory here.

And yet, since Donald Trump won Indiana Tuesday night, we’ve been treated to a barrage of new assurances that It Can’t Happen Here. And you’ll forgive us if we’re in no hurry to pop the champagne.

We’re in no hurry anyway because we’re facing a classic Least Worst choice this November, but hey, that’s The American System.

Speaking of which, have you heard about the Electoral College? Funny story: They choose the President. Always have. Except for that time five Justices chose for them, but we don’t talk about that.

The Electoral College, as you know, and Our Nation’s Media always forgets, predominantly votes in state blocs: Whether you win New York by a sliver or a landslide, you get all its 29 votes. This means that “national” polls are worthless for predictive purposes, since they tell us nothing about individual states, where the game is actually played. Hillary’s — or Bernie’s — lead over Trump in a national poll this week is all noise, no signal.

For that matter, with Trump declared consumptive presumptive only a few days ago, it’s too soon to see any head-to-head state polls that would allow us to make even the most tentative of Electoral College head counts.

And even then…

The statistical basis of polling is a science, but the practical application involved a fair degree of art. The days when pollsters could rely on most people having landlines, and most of those landlines being answered around dinnertime, are long past. The demographics of the American electorate are shifting rapidly as well, so any scale-tipping pollsters do to match the numbers they can get with the population as they understand it, may be prey to a statistical snapshot that’s already out of date. You do what you can and cross your fingers.

Which is why we’ve found that the best way to follow state polls (and thus, state counts) is as an average over time. Any bad rounds — outliers — get mixed into the batch, and as the long months unfold toward November, you get nice long lines that tell you whether you should start considering Canada as a place to raise your family.

Served us well in 2008. Obama had a very comfy electoral lead over McCain for months, and when Sarah Palin turned America’s head with some inspired line-reading, we could see America’s head quickly snap back once it witnessed her less-inspired improvisational skills.

But even our calm, measured approach presumes politicians behaving predictably. We know one of them will — Hillary will be a predictably awful campaigner — but nobody knows how Trump’s nativist populism is going to play out with the general electorate, since nobody has seen a major-party candidate like Trump since…

Well, since Ronald Reagan.

And Jimmy Carter was not a particularly inspiring candidate in 1980.

Everything may indeed transpire in November with the confidence we’re hearing this week — Hillary wins in an electoral landslide, perhaps taking Congress with her — but we’ll wait to see some facts on the ground before joining the party.

Because it’ll take a lot of clever YouTube supercuts to offset an endless chant of Crooked Hillary.


I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to watch the roll call this year. Didn’t you almost live blog it in 2008? I’d like to see Bernie’s people, of which I’m one, maybe have a good time while losing their shit.

TJ/ I figure this is as good a place to harsh the buzz as anywhere else.

I’ve been on vacation, and I logged onto my work computer today to knock out some overtime to replenish The JNOV Motorcycle Fund. I was wading through emails and read a bunch that mentioned “the recent tragedy,” “EAP for employees,” chaplains available the office…what happened?

Someone who was fired from my office appears to have killed his wife and then himself…and, yeah. A combat vet with PTSD. I think that besides the obvious need many of us have to talk about this, and I haven’t been able to yet, they are legitimately worried about a potential suicide cluster.

Here’s the thing: we’re always a potential suicide cluster. A lot of us (all of us?) are occasionally triggered by the claims we work, and I don’t think a diagnosis of PTSD is a prerequisite for having a terrible time coping with some of these claims and the sheer magnitude of these claims. This has been a very, very long war.

I’ve had to pass off two claims to other people, because I couldn’t handle what I was reading. Sometimes I have to take a walk and cry. And it’s not always about combat or even violence. I lost it when a 30something was diagnosed with MS. I told my boss I needed a minute.

A lot of us have mirrors in our cubes (I have one), so no one can accidentally walk up behind us.

We live in a powder keg.

@JNOV: 2008 came down to a Saturday rules-committee meeting, which somebody tracked, but I don’t think was me.

The retrospective irony, of course, was that Hillary had already lost, but wouldn’t give up. The result was PUMA. Good times.

Meanwhile, Hillary is leading Bernie by 290 pledged delegates. Not the outcome I would have preferred, but it is what it is.

@nojo: Don’t make my try and find it, man. Because I will happily waste two hours trying to. Naw – you weren’t live blogging it – I think we were just chatting in the comments.

Ronnie had a few benefits:
1) Iranian Hostage Crisis (which his team made worse)
2) Aftershocks from the Oil Crisis
3) A limp economy (probably the biggest factor of all.)
4) He had Ed Rollins and Lee Atwater running his campaign (ruthlessly competent pros unlike the wildly amateur shitshow running the Trump Team.)

If these things happened now then Hilsbot has no chance because desperate times/people call for stupid measures or Trump.

The people that are going to vote for Trump will vote for him. Those that hate him won’t. I think it is safe to say he’s pretty much lost the ethnic and female vote so he’s gotta reach for white male Dems by a huge margin.

This is going to be another election decided by who has the better GOTV machine.

If Clinton would just drop out and take her Wall $treet ghouls with her, or if the FBI would kindly send her straight to the nearest Supermax prison where she belongs, then we wouldn’t be having this problem now, would we?

Honestly, I haven’t seen this much groupthink, delusional denial, and willful blindness since the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003.

Running the ultimate crony establishment kleptocrat in a year in which voters are in an all-out rebellion against the swindling establishment is pure madness.

Establishment Dems are incapable of understanding that people are voting for The Don Don out of sheer rage and frustration with the incestuous DC/Wall $treet kleptocracy, and they’re using Trump as their missile to destroy it.

Yes, but those angry people forget that Donnie is as well connected a 1%er as the Hilsbot minus the DC pedigree. How is that any different? Besides the racism and ineptitude.

@JNOV: My vague recollection is that Bloggie was liveblogging the DNC meeting, because I vaguely recall thanking him for that thankless chore. But I only migrated my own Cynics posts (everything pre-September 2008 here), so that one’s trapped in the Wayback Machine, if available at all.

Hold on…

I also recall this, which came at the end of that Long Afternoon.

And how could I forget this, which was the first sign of trouble between me and the Cynics Politburo.

And just to capture the 2008 zeitgeist, there’s this, previewing Hillary’s concession speech.

“Bites head off bat”: Her Bobby Kennedy allusion really pissed me off.

@¡Andrew!: Bernie’s problem, evident since South Carolina, was that he had no truck with Primary Voters of Color.

I honestly don’t know why that is. I know why the Congressional Establishment of Color would endorse Hillary, but I don’t know why the voters would fall in line.

Being a Nice White Boy from Orygun, I’m not the one to answer that question. But it is what it is.

@nojo: I think he took too long to reach out to them. I get what he was saying at the time – if he addressed issues that affect everyone in socioeconomic terms, people would understand that what he proposes is in their best interest. But we know that people don’t always agree on what’s in their best interest. Case in point: The Tea Party.

I also think that he didn’t want to pander to affinity groups. I call it politics, but maybe he thought that crafting his message for specific audiences is pandering. In some ways his apparent dedication to consistency might have been naive or kind of dumb.

@nojo: Yup. I saw those and more, and it was awesome.

Weird thing I remembered this morning: A lot of us called Cynics Party “CP,” and I think at some point I was like, “Er. Puts me in mind of CPT,” and then I spoke to my kid about CPT which kind of brings things full circle when Hillary did her CPT dumb shit. My kid posted about it on his FB wall, and I called him to ask him if he’d heard of it before. He said I had told him about it. It must have been here waaay back in the day. /things you think about when you’re bored.

@JNOV: You’ll recall that Obama faced a similar problem in 2008: He wasn’t Black enough. (He made a joke about this at Nerd Prom just a week ago.) Hillary had the Black Establishment locked up because she was a known quantity, and Obama was viewed with suspicion for being too, well, uppity.

That’s likely part of it. And then there’s Bernie’s inclination to subsume Race into Class, which is a valid socioeconomic argument, but good luck selling it (or anything involving Class) to an American electorate.

Still, he gave Hillary a decent run for it, and opened up the conversation. You can bet Elizabeth Warren is taking notes.

@nojo: Right. And the whole “Clinton was our first black president” thing hasn’t really gone away. I’m not sure why he’s still venerated. I remember thinking that he really cares about us. He’s a master campaigner, manipulator, and douche.

@ManchuCandidate: One of the many leaps of mental gymnastics of this election. They’re angry at all the wrong people: immigrants, gays, blacks, Latinos, poor people, young people, whatever. All The Don Don has done is rip the paper-thin facade off of a far-right party that’s been intellectually and ethically bankrupt since Nixon. We’ve now answered the question of what happens when people are too stupid to achieve class consciousness.

@ManchuCandidate: And oh, whatta world, we just know someone’s sitting on videos of Clinton’s secret Wall $treet speeches so greed-crazed, they’ll make Mitt Romney gasp. And that person is waiting for precisely the ideal moment before the election to anonymously post them on the U-tubes.

@nojo: One nice African American lady interviewed by the Seattle press said that she supports Clinton because she’s so disillusioned with the gridlock of the Obama years that she just wants someone who can win and “get things done.” So, pragmatism, I guess? I don’t think Clinton won’t get things done necessarily, but that she’ll do a whole ton of shit that I’ll hate, like nominate Goldman Sachs as her running mate–cuz corporations are people, my friend–then hand over the entire US Treasury to it in November.

@¡Andrew!: Ah. Right. Pragmatism.

Because the GOP whose stated goal from the start was to deny Obama any semblance of “victory” would be more than happy to do a Gipper&Tip show with Hillary.

And, well, you know what a Clinton Compromise amounts to: Give away the store, then pretend that’s what you wanted all along.

Ah, well. Nice Black Lady has much more at stake than a Nice White Boy like me. I hope she knows what she’s doing.

@nojo: That’s the most common refrain from Clinton supporters: “she has experience, and she’ll get things done.” Well, you wouldn’t hire a surgeon who’d lethally botched half a dozen operations because “she has experience, and she’ll get things done,” right?

I dunno. I’ve heard lots of Nice White People cite pragmatism thinking Bernie just can’t get things done. He’s too too. I don’t buy that that’s why people of color, wait, people of color over 40 years of age, haven’t supported him in larger numbers.

I think he made a mistake, and he waited too long.

I have no illusions that anything is going to change/get fixed/improve under Hilary. All I’m focused on is SCOTUS. There will be maybe three seats filled by the next president. I want that to not be Trump.

@¡Andrew!: So people bought that one. I always found it depressing — Fuck Hope — but even focus groups score now and then.

@Mistress Cynica: Sadly I’ve given up hope for Hillbot on SCOTUS, albeit Bubba got some good ones on the court. Drumpf said he’d appoint his sister, and she’s actually a pretty good federal judge.

@JNOV: I’m so sorry to hear about your coworker. You and your coworkers should feel entitled to take those walks as needed, you do some stressful work.

@nojo: I choose to believe in unicorns.

@Mistress Cynica: Yerp.

@SanFranLefty: Thanks. I’ll learn more tomorrow. All I could glean yesterday was what I read online.

@SanFranLefty: Don’t know about SCOTUS, but as soon as she has Bernie out of her hair, Hillary’s gonna shift right so hard your head will snap.

Clintons are nothing if not electoral pragmatists, which is why we ended up with all those gawdawful Nineties laws that she now disowns. She’ll try to capture the territory Trump leaves behind, knowing progressives are stuck with her.

And while we await state polls, PPP has her only +4 nationally over Trump, with Republicans quickly falling into line. So much for that easy landslide we were promised last week.

@nojo: Don’t worry, she’ll generate yuuuge Democratic voter turnout. Just ask the tens of people who’ve attended her rallies.

And we’re off… Quinnipiac has them tied in Florida and Pennsylvania, with Trump +4 in Ohio.

Need to see many state polls over time, but the baseline is starting to fill in.

@nojo: You forgot to mention the most important finding from the PPP polls — that Trump has slightly more favorable ratings than cockroaches and hemorrhoids, but he is less popular than lice and Nickelback.

@SanFranLefty: I grew up in an America that elected Nixon twice, so cockroaches aren’t an impediment.

@nojo: And elected CaliguBush twice. You forgot Poland!

@nojo: Yeah, but more hated than Nickelback? Cockroaches < Drumpf < Nickelback. I'm more surprised that Nickelback is more popular than cockroaches. Hillbot's ads should just consist of images of Drumpf's face with Nickelback background music.

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