5) Math can be impartial and nonpartisan. As I was nearing nauseous freak-out status yesterday waiting for election results to start coming in, my good friend Toni reminded me to trust in Nate Silver. She was right, of course. Toni and I were on the math team together back in high school (and she beat me to the number one spot every year, dammit!), and we take solace in numbers. Numbers don’t lie – if handled correctly. And Nate Silver handles them correctly.
Nate got a lot of shit leading up to the election for his predictions. When I checked his site yesterday morning he was saying that the odds of an Obama win were around 90%. But people like Dean Chambers of Unskewed Polls had been accusing Silver of skewing his numbers in favor of democrats. He does no such thing. For a geek like Silver, it does him no good to be wrong. No matter who he actually wants to win (and he is a registered democrat), his credibility lies in being very right.
And OMG, he was. Also, check out how far away from the bull’s-eye Dean Chambers was.
Conservatives don’t tend to like things like science, math, evidence, proof…but those things come in handy at times, like when trying to interpret polls and predict elections.
4) Money isn’t everything. There was so much money being poured into this election it was disgusting. But in the end, did it really make that much of a difference? Rachel Maddow pointed out weeks ago that soft money just doesn’t pack the same punch as hard money. President Obama’s campaign was able to buy ad time for a fraction of what the soft money groups had to pay. So even though it looked like he was getting outspent, the value and impact of the money being spent just wasn’t equal.
And it wasn’t just SuperPac money that turned out to be underwhelming. Linda McMahon spent tens of millions of dollars of her own personal fortune to lose her senate bid in Connecticut. And it wasn’t even close.
3) Candidates are being recorded, all the time, everywhere. The days when a candidate could sit in a room with “friends” and say things not meant for general consumption are over. Candidates need to get it through their heads that they can no longer say dumb things and hope that those things get forgotten. They won’t be. They will be put on YouTube and replayed ad nauseum until the candidate loses.
2) Intimidation just pisses people off, it doesn’t keep them from voting. I was extraordinarily lucky. I was in and out of my polling place in twenty minutes (and it’s on my corner, too!). But there were people having to wait hours and hours to vote. And they did. Politicians tried to make voting harder in many places, and the voters fought back – by voting anyway.
There are many, many countries where nonpartisan groups oversee voting. But instead of doing that, we have this complete clusterfuck of a system where states are in charge, the rules are different everywhere, and they can often be changed at the whim of a politician trying to rig things to go a certain way.
This is, frankly, an embarrassment. And while we seemed to have overcome it yesterday, we shouldn’t have to.
1) Donald Trump should not be listened to about anything, ever. He has passed the point of being the kinda funny, kinda sad rich guy making an idiot of himself, to being a dangerous guy with a big voice. I’m just waiting for him to say something so over the line that he gets a visit from the Secret Service.
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