Examining Nate Silver’s predictions for 2020

Nate Silver (of fivethirtyeight.com) actually did a pretty good job. Keep in mind that he is not a pollster; he just takes the polls, weighs them based on the pollster’s history of accuracy, averages them with math I don’t understand, and then makes his prediction.

Trump was undercounted in all the polls by about 2%, so the predictions for Florida and North Carolina going Biden’s way were wrong, but the others were around that 2% difference.

His prediction for some of the “swing states” is on the left and the actual percentage is on the right. The two he got wrong have asterisks.

AZ: 50.7 / 49.4

FL: 50.9 / 47.8 *

GA: 50.1 / 49.5

MI: 53.5 / 50.6

MN: 53.7 / 52.6

NC: 50.5 / 48.7 *

NV: 52.3 / 50.1

PA: 52.0 / 49.9

WI: 53.7 / 49.6

These are the swing states he predicted would be in Trump’s column (and they were):

IA: 48.5 / 45.0

OH: 49.2 / 45.2

TX: 48.8 / 46.4

The real reason they’re fighting over the election

In case it’s not obvious, the real goal of the Republican efforts to fight the election results is to keep getting donations from their gullible cultists.

This entire presidential administration has been about making the Trump family richer, by ignoring all laws about conflicts of interest and nepotism and by moving government funds to their own personal use. No reason to think they’re going to stop doing that simply because they lost the election.

Seriously: If you go to their donations page, you can see where they are asking for money to fight the election and then, in small print at the bottom, it says that the money will mostly be used to pay down their campaign debt.

I am not making this up. The Wall Street Journal today pointed out that the “Official Election Defense Fund” explains that 60% of contributions to the fund will go toward paying off Trump’s election debt, and 40% to the operating account of the Republican National Committee. Only after a donation hits the legal limit will the remainder go toward legal expenses.” 

So why is their campaign is in debt? You’ll see that they spent a ton of campaign money on fancy hotel rooms and cars and meals for the campaign higher ups, and there’s probably more abuse we just don’t know about. It’s clear that his campaign violated the law by laundering money meant for the campaign into other places, but as long as the Attorney General works for Trump instead of the people of the United States, don’t expect much to happen.

And, of course, these lawsuits are frivolous and have no chance of success, as plenty of experts have said.

How we stole the election

Our plan was perfect.

We used the Deep State as usual. The Deep State is all powerful, you know, and with it we can do anything (except stop Mitch McConnell, get Hillary elected, or prevent an unqualified Supreme Court justice from getting appointed, but other than that…).

We were so clever that we even had Trump-appointed judges on our side, holding that the election was going fairly and all votes were being counted.

Of course, we didn’t want to show our hand so we made sure that we didn’t take the Senate like everyone predicted. That would be too obvious. We also lost a few House seats as well, just to throw everyone off our trail.

Our strategy also involved the mail-in ballots in certain states. We allowed the Republicans in those states (such as Pennsylvania, where I live) to write the law that prevents poll workers from counting ballots until after election day. That would give the Trump supporters false hope, since we all knew the mail-in ballots would favor Democrats as they came in later. Sneaky!

Then to further mislead everyone, we allowed poll watchers from both parties to observe the counting, and even live streamed the whole thing so anyone who wanted to observe could watch. We stole the election right under their noses while they watched every single thing we did.

We’re so devious.

But here’s the real trick we used:

We got more than five million votes than Trump. What a shock, huh? Who would have thought that the guy who lost the popular vote last time and who has never reached a 50% approval rating in polls the entire time he was President would lose?!

One Shift Two Shift Red Shift Blue Shift

Long before the election, those in the know discussed how the different voting patterns of each party would give us “red shifts” and “blue shifts.”

Since most of Trump’s supporters were voting in person instead of by mail, you would see a lot of his votes at first and then there would be a shift to the blue as the mail-in ballots were counted.

In states that allowed the mail-in ballots to be counted prior to election day, we saw the opposite: The first numbers coming in from states like Texas and Florida looked very favorable to Democrats, but as the same day numbers came in, it shifted to the Republicans.

NY Times map as of noon November 5th

The problem is that in some states (including my state of Pennsylvania), the law does not allow the counting of ballots until election day — so it first looked like Trump was doing great but as the mail-ins were counted that were overwhelmingly for Biden, the numbers changed greatly.

As you may have guessed, it was the Republicans here in Pennsylvania who fought against allowing the ballots to be counted early, and they’re now the ones claiming that the election is being “stolen” (without a shred of evidence to support that) as these ballots (including mine) are counted.

Don’t be fooled by the screams on the right of anti-democratic fascists who want to stop the count for no good reason other than they are losing.

Trump tests positive

As you may know, I have a number of novels and short stories published, including one book about a Presidential election (with vampires).  I often comment about how the whole Trump presidency has a plotline that is so outrageous and ridiculous that no acquisition editor would ever accept it.

But I have to admit, finding out that Trump has the “hoax” disease certainly has been foreshadowed greatly. If this were a standard book following the trend, this would be the point where the main character would realize the consequences of his actions and come out of this a better man.

I certainly don’t expect that to happen. I don’t think there is a “better man” inside of Trump.

But this diagnosis leads us to a few points I want to make:

First:  Have you noticed that many people are assuming this isn’t true? And you have to admit — Trump has lied so often that you have to wonder. Isn’t it sad that we have a President who is so dishonest that we automatically assume anything he says is a lie?

Second: No, the elections will not be cancelled. The debates may, but voting has already begun in many places. And elections are run by the states, not the federal government in any event.

Third: Trump is certainly in the most vulnerable population for this disease:  elderly, overweight, and unhealthy to begin with. But if he comes out of this fine, it won’t be because covid is a hoax or he’s a superhuman. It will be because he will have the best health care available in the world that the rest of us can’t get.

Fourth: I don’t want anyone getting this disease or dying from it, and that includes Trump. I want him to live, lose the election terribly, and then go to jail.

Fifth: It’s not like Dr. Fauci and others didn’t warn anyone. Maybe people should take medical advice from doctors instead of from politicians.

There is no Republican party. Only Zuul

There is no longer a Republican party, apparently. Only Trump.

They’ve decided not to have a platform at the convention, so we don’t know what they stand for other than Trump. Trump and his family will be the main speakers, and Trump will speak every night at the convention.

You know, it used to be funny to call his followers cultists, but jeez, it really applies these days.

AOC and the nominating process

I’ve seen more than one post from people complaining that AOC was supporting Bernie instead of Biden because she was one of the people nominating him at the Democratic convention last night.

That’s not true.

Bernie delegates are required by the rules to vote for him on the first ballot. If Biden did not get a majority, then they could switch their votes on the second ballot.

And under the rules, someone has to officially nominate him and someone has to second the nomination. Someone has to do it.

So someone did, and she seconded it. It was a formality. She had already long ago endorsed Biden. She spent most of her sixty seconds talking about issues that were important to her and then, at the very end, seconded the nomination because it had to be done.

Now we can discuss whether politically she should have done this (as opposed to letting someone else take on that job), but that is a separate issue.

 

Harris and the “But she’s a cop” argument

As a lawyer who works with DAs and AGs every day, allow me to say: they’re not all bad. Some are even liberal Democrats who want to see justice done, help victims, and stand up to bad cops.

And not all cops are bad, either. I know, I work with them every day, too.

So I’m really sick of my fellow liberals saying “You can’t support Harris for VP — she’s a cop!”

To place them all in the “bad” category is like when we defense attorneys try running for office and people say “You can’t vote for them. They’re on the side of criminals!”

No, we’re on the side of justice, and that can be fought by both DAs and defense.

I personally want more Democrats to run for DA and AG. But when my fellow Democrats consider that a disqualifying factor, then I guess I won’t expect a lot of reform coming. (If you want to make change, you have to be in the room where it happens.)

So let’s see how terrible this cop was in California when she was a DA and later an AG.  Hmmm.  Well, she refused to enforce the state’s death penalty. She took felony marijuana arrests and reduced them to misdemeanors and refused to even prosecute the misdemeanor marijuana arrests. She set up a hate crimes unit to help LGBTQ victims and refused to defend California’s Proposition 8 that prohibited gay marriage. She stopped prosecuting young prostitutes, realizing that they were the victims, and worked to provide them with support to get out of their situation.

And when she ran for AG, the police union refused to support her.

So much for “but she’s a cop.”

 

Hey third party people

A bit of advice.

Politics starts at the grass roots. Get your people elected at the local level and work your way up, winning state seats and then governorships and senate seats and so on. That’s the only way you’ll be able to actually make a change.

Even if you get a President elected, they’ll have four years fighting against two parties who want to see that President fail, and you’ll accomplish nothing.

“But it’s a protest vote!”  Sure, fine, if it makes you feel better, go ahead, but it does no good. No one pays attention to it and in the long run, all it does it take a vote away from some other candidate who could actually accomplish at least some of what you want done.i-vote-sticker

Of course, this will convince no one. Voting third party is basically a way to feel superior about yourself, because you can’t be corrupted by the political system and you’re voting your morals and blah blah blah.

Those of us who are pragmatic in our lives are more concerned about actually accomplishing things than being able to pat ourselves on the back, and we will continue to try to make a real difference.

Now, if you want to talk about how to change our voting system so that third parties could accomplish things (such as using ranked voting), I’m all in. But until that time, I’m not going to waste my vote.

 

 

Biden’s poker strategy

by guest blogger David Gerrold

I know that a lot of people are impatient for Biden to come out swinging.

But …BIDEN

Let me tell you a story. In 1968, George Romney was running against Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination. Nixon was holding back during the early part of the year and his advisors were a little worried. They wanted him to speak up.

Whatever else he was, Nixon was a very astute, calculating, poker player. He said, “Let the press chew on the other fellow for a while.”

Because Nixon kept himself out of the spotlight, the press focused on Romney — who seemed like a pretty good guy, until finally, he stumbled. In order to backpedal his position on the Vietnam war, he said he had been “brainwashed.”

Oops.

The press turned it into a big story and Romney’s campaign evaporated.

Nixon then had the field to himself without ever having to get his hands dirty. He had other tricks to pull. But in terms of managing his campaign, it was the right thing to do.

Biden is wise to avoid the attention of the press right now. It’s too early. The public will get tired of him in two months. But, after Labor Day, when the campaign starts in earnest, Biden and all the other Democrats, all the surrogates, etc. will start hammering their message like a battalion of blacksmiths.

But right now — let the press chew on the other fellow for a while. The Trumpalumpas have only one place to go — Fox Noise. All of the other media are reporting the bad news. It’s fun to watch some of those people trying so hard to keep a straight face when you know they really just want to smirk and grin when they report Trumplethinskin’s latest political face-plant.

And it’s only going to get worse for him. The pandemic is going to get worse. The economy is going to stagger into a depression. And all it takes is a couple more police murders and the summer of protests will escalate into a general strike. Oh, and SCOTUS might rule against him on keeping his tax returns secret. And Mary Trump has a tell-all too. And there are half a dozen other rough scandals slouching toward Washington, waiting to be borne.

The karmic chicken has come home to roost.

So why should Biden say anything.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. His most recent novel, now available, is HELLA. Other novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. He also has stories in my anthologies BAKER STREET IRREGULARS, RELEASE THE VIRGINS!, and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. His web page is here.