American Government, Alexander Sections

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • This is harrowing.
  • #39973

    Not all polls are equally valid. One of the headlines on Politico this morning is that a New Hampshire poll shows Trump overtaking Clinton, but when you read the article, you see that this WBUR poll, which shows Trump ahead by one percentage point, involved a sample of 500 people with a margin of error of 4.4. Translation: The poll tells you absolutely nothing, and there was no point in even announcing it.

    But from the point of view of those who do not want Donald Trump to be our next president, the news is still not good. It’s not good at all. Yes, Hillary Clinton is ahead, but just barely, and even the best of polls usually have a margin of error of 3 percentage points, which means that when the figures for Trump and Clinton are within 3 percentage points of each other, what you’re looking at is a tie, not an advantage.

    Hillary Clinton has slid dramatically in just one week, and no, the cause of it is NOT the FBI announcement last Friday. The slide was already happening. If I had to trace it to any one main cause, I would say that Hillary herself made the costly mistake of thinking the election was already won, and cutting back on advertising in states where it still needed to be done. She’s corrected that problem now, but will it be too late? On the one hand, she’s still ahead of Trump, so all she needs to do is change the direction that things are moving in. On the other hand, the Trump campaign is moving full steam ahead as well. I know I’ve said in the past that Trump didn’t seem serious about winning, but at least for the moment, he is acting like a serious candidate, and his campaign is certainly functioning as a serious campaign. So, what I’m saying at bottom line is: There is a serious possibility that Donald Trump will win this election and become our next president.

    The fivethirtyeight blog side, even when it says “updated 5 minutes ago,” is outdated by several days. Still, it’s worth looking at, if you can bear to. And in addition to whatever else you look at, you should study the snake diagram with the heading “The Winding Path to 270 Electoral Votes.” Just last week, Hillary Clinton had several states leaning toward her beyond the 270 she needed. Now, she’s back to where she was in mid-September, having no states to spare if that chart is right. Now, again, it’s not up-to-date, and some polls in Florida are showing her in the lead. But she does not have a commanding lead. (If she wins Florida, she’s safe, but that’s a big big big big if.)

    There is another reason why things are turning around. It cannot be denied that in the American population, there is a stronger-than-ever strain of hypernationalism. It’s not limited to “white nationalism”: it includes many whites who would never think of themselves as racists, and not only that, it includes a small portion of African Americans, and even Latinos, even with the remarks Trump has made about Mexicans. Hypernationalism, though predominately white, isn’t exactly about race, but it is about cultural conformism, and it does involve the perception shared by many that their nation is under siege by all kinds of subversive forces. Just a little while ago on Facebook, someone said to me, “I have to give you liberals credit for your persistence. Like termites, you eat away at this nation’s infrastructures, a little at a time.” Now of course from my point of view it’s the Trump supporters who are the termites, but obviously my point of view doesn’t prevail in this country. This election is going to be close, and it could go either way.

    Final note: You may recall that I sent out an email last spring to the government classes that I had had the previous spring, admitting I was wrong when I told them that a Donald Trump campaign for president would never get anywhere and would not last long. Well, I have to admit I was wrong about something else now too. Last spring, 2016, when it started looking as if Trump was going to get the nomination, I expressed certainty that the Republican regulars–Ryan, McConnell, etc.–would never accept Trump and that they would come together and nominate an alternative anti-Trump conservative candidate. Well, once again, I was wrong. Somehow, they’ve managed to convince themselves that something good could come out of a Trump presidency.

    I still don’t think anything good can come out of a Trump presidency.

    And I don’t think I’ll have to admit I was wrong about that.

    But I’m really hoping we don’t have to find out.


    Okay, a quick update and comment.

    When I wrote my preceding post, just a couple of hours ago on Thursday morning, Hillary Clinton did not have even one extra state leaning blue on the fivethirtyeight blog. Now, if you look at the snake diagram (“The Winding Path…”), you see Nevada back to being very light blue, which means she’s slightly ahead there. As I said before, this is a few days outdated, but there is something you can watch for. Look at what direction it’s going in. That change that I just noted means nothing by itself, especially if you look at Nevada more closely and see that they’re giving Hillary Clinton a 50.5% probability, which is as good as a tie. But the thing to watch for is whether her probability in Nevada will rise some more, and also whether she will get back North Carolina (49.3% probability as I post this now) and Florida (48.9% probability at the moment).

    The thing is, at the moment that I write this, looking at a blog site that is several days out of date, she is at 66.7% probability. You may think that looks good, but if you remember that she was in the 80s at the start of last week and has been dropping since then, the important question is not where the figures are on the fivethirtyeight blog today, but what direction they will be moving in after today. We need to see Hillary Clinton raise those probability figures in the states that look reasonably secure (Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Hampshire, which would give her an electoral victory with nothing to spare), and we also need to see her get her figures up again in the battleground states where she’s slightly down–mainly North Carolina and Florida. Ohio and Arizona appear lost.

    So, again, as you check back at the fivethirtyeight blog in the coming days, what you’re looking for is whether HRC is doing better or worse than she is Thursday morning, November 3, as I write this. Again, on the “polls-only” measure, she’s at 66.7%. If she’s any lower than that when you look in later, that means she’s still losing ground. If she’s even slightly above 70%, that means she’s significantly moving in the right direction. That’s what to watch for on that blog: the direction she’s moving in.

    And I truly have NO IDEA where this damn thing is going. No idea.


    Half an hour later, it’s getting worse, not better. She’s at 65.6% now and Nevada is back in Trump’s zone, with Hillary Clinton at a probability of 49.1%, down from 50.5% half an hour ago.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s still too early to tell whether the efforts that the Clinton campaign is making right now, with the help of President Obama, in the battleground states of North Carolina and Florida, will make a difference. In fact it’s so close to Election Day that we may not find that out until the vote is actually taken. What’s also true is that changes of one or two percentage points within the same day, using polls that are several days behind, are not as significant as they look. Fluctuation happens regardless, Still, we will not be able to say that things actually look good for a Clinton victory until we actually see the probability figures on Nate Silver’s blog moving upward, which at the moment is not happening. The probability now is that HRC will win by a very slim margin, and that means that just a little more of a slip, or other intervening variables like voter intimidation and low black turnout, could mean that Trump wins by a very slim margin, which means that Trump is our president. Donald J. Trump. President. Wow.

    God, this year is going to be SUCH a bad memory, no matter how it ends up.


    She’s still falling. She’s at 64.8%.

    Now again, these projections are based on polls that are days old. They are based on polls taken just after the Friday FBI announcement, and before the Clinton campaign really started making a push to turn things around. If she gets Florida back, she’s safe. If she wins back North Carolina or Nevada, she’s safe. In fact, even if she manages to hold New Hampshire (65% probability on the blog now), Pennsylvania (75.3%), and Colorado (71.6%), and if no unexpected upsets happen anywhere else, she’ll have enough electoral votes to win this election.

    But here’s the real point: She has lost ground, and she cannot afford to lose any more ground. That’s the big thing. If she loses any more ground than she already has, then we will have that disgusting creature Trump, God help us, for a president. This is why the important thing is not where the figures are now, but what direction they’re moving in.

    Who needs horror movies when we have this for real life?

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.