TYPE I ERROR

I'm not the least bit embarrassed to have gotten it wrong, since having done so puts me in an exclusive club called Everyone at the moment.

Predictions have to be made based on the data available. All of the available data pointed toward one outcome. Polling has a margin of error, and we understand that. Even accounting for the margin of error, there's a 1 in 20 chance that the result lies outside of it. I don't think anyone wants to read a lengthy treatise on confidence intervals, normal distributions, and p < 0.05 right now, but the entire process of statistical analysis of pre-election data (and most data in the scientific world, period) is built upon the reality that 5% of the time you will accept a hypothesis that in reality should have been rejected. Beyond that, statistical models depend on any number of assumptions that can and often do turn out to be incorrect. The biggest loser this week is the obsession within political science with quantitative wizardry ("Check out my new estimator, bro!") and in the political media with forecasting models updated by the second as reality overtakes their assumptions.

Here's the problem: There are other ways, but there are no better ways.

Oh, you "had a bad feeling" about the election? That's nice. You had some theory you pieced together that managed to predict correctly the outcome of a contest with only two possible winners? Amazing. You have a brilliant post-election take on what "would have" happened had Bernie been nominated, had Jill Stein voters not voted for Jill Stein, had X not done Z? That's great, I can also sit around and make up hypotheses that can't be tested, theories that can't be proven or disproven. There's nothing wrong with any of this, and it's what people do during and in the wake of elections. But make no mistake about what you are doing when you engage in this kind of "logic" – you are pulling things out of your ass. You're guessing. You're in 6th grade writing a Persuasive Essay based on the prompt, "How would the election have turned out differently if ____?" Would Sanders have done better against Trump? Intelligence is not being able to answer that question; intelligence is understanding that any answer you can offer to such a question is pure conjecture.

I don't look forward to the months of hand wringing, of people explaining ("explaining") why this happened. The construction of post-election narratives is a process that interests me only in that none of them can be proven and we go through a collective process of deciding which one is Correct based on feel, like a clueless car buyer kicking tires and deciding that this model truly is superior to the alternatives. The world of data-driven predictions is not a perfect one, and it is one in which we all accept that we will be wrong a not-insignificant percentage of the time. It is a better world to live in, though, than one in which we all sit around filling the world with our Hunches and gut feelings. The modern world, and certainly our educational system, strongly encourages people to think unscientifically – begin with your conclusion, then construct an explanation that supports it. This process has the advantage on the user end of allowing everyone to feel like they are correct, with the obvious disadvantage of being like the gemstones – pretty, alluring, and fundamentally worthless.

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81 Responses to “TYPE I ERROR”

  1. Blakenator Says:

    Now we get to live with it. I am counting down the days until the "deplorables" start whinging about all the things he promised but didn't deliver. The one problem with that is the wing nuts I know complain about the "Democrats" when they are in charge but it turns into the "Gov'ment" when Republicans are in charge. My secret hope is he turns back into the liberal he once was.

  2. Ryan S Says:

    The American electorate elects a man who meets any reasonable definition of a Fascist (the label isn't widely applied only because of a negative association which seems more connected to the adjective than it's content) and all you have to say is a defensive post saying that you did the best you could with the data available? While no doubt true, that's really not very germane on the morning of such a disastrous turn of events.

  3. JohnR Says:

    Oh, I think we can safely put a large part of the responsibility for what just happened on 'the media', from Fox News on down. It's been a pretty careful progression over twenty-odd years from the first tentative steps of propaganda to the outright, full-throated Pravda-like lies of recent years from Fox. At any point, this could have been loudly fought, but for whatever reasons, it wasn't. Since almost all of us get our information from television, it was really only a matter of time. Well, now we have our own Brexit. God help us.

  4. other bill Says:

    Nighty night, everyone.

  5. bb in GA Says:

    @JohnR

    Since stats are the subject in this piece, may I repeat myself….

    FOX News has a regular pull of about 1.8 M people in their prime time. Their best numbers are regularly 2 – 3 M viewers (usually O'Righteous)

    How many voters this time of the R persuasion, 60M ? Add the cross-elastic Rush listeners and we're talking 4 – 5 M per day.

    So less than 10% of the voters are even exposed, much less absorb, whatever line is being sold.

    Love 'em or hate 'em, they are not the secret sauce that runs everything politics in the US of A.

    //bb

  6. John Danley Says:

    Yeah. Well…

  7. old white person Says:

    My gut feeling: backlash against the black man in the White House and the poisoning of his presidency by the republicans and those who claimed he wasn't legitimate (and we know who that was).

  8. Mo Says:

    So, political scientists can now join the ranks of economists in failing to predict total crash-and-burn disasters? Noted.

    Nixon…Reagan…Bush…Trump. Have we reached peak puppet of the oligarchy yet? Or is someone like Mao waiting in the wings when Trump blows up?

  9. Grendel Says:

    But will our likely voter models change? What we saw here was higher turnout and more block voting from whites, especially non-college whites. Will future models use that turnout rate? Will it continue? Is this a one time barbaric yawp in reaction to a changing world, or a trend?

  10. cromartie Says:

    It's the message, stupid.

    It's the economy, stupid.

    These two things are always true. All of seven percent of counties in the US have reached the pre recession employment levels.

    More than one-third of the nation’s loss of manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2005 occurred in seven Great Lakes states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Those jobs haven't magically reappeared. The Obama administration merely stopped the bleeding, for which he was rewarded with a second term.

    Finally, I'll just drop this off here. These are the top 20 counties in new business creation since the last recovery. They've generated half of all new economic growth. 19 of them voted for Clinton.

    http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/05/there-are-more-losers-than-winners-in-americas-economic-recovery-due-to-geographic-inequality/483989/

    It's the economy, stupid.

    And in the absence of a situation where a rising tide has demonstrably lifted all boats, the person preaching the economic message that resonates the most wins, and that message was:

    Immigrants are taking your jobs.
    Trade deals are bad and taking your jobs.

    Viewed within that context, it's easy to see why what happened in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin happened.

  11. catbirdman Says:

    Michael Moore laid it out very cogently in July, and was entirely on the money.

    http://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/

  12. Gerald McGrew Says:

    I read an article by a historian a while back, and he pointed out that every major progressive movement in the US has been followed by a conservative backlash. In this case, after electing the first African-American to the Presidency (twice) and gays getting the right to marry, white Christian conservative America rose up and lashed out in a bigly way.

    Now we just have to see how it goes.

  13. ToddBC Says:

    Well then, if we're not going to play the "WTF just happened?" game, how about the "looking forward, not backwards" exercise?

    I see only three things that might save us from the abyss:
    1. The filibuster
    2. Trump court intrigue and gossip that fever pitches to scandal
    3. Fomenting Republican Party civil war

    None of these can get the initiative back, but they can slow things down enough to make it to the midterms and 2020 without too much national damage. This may be the morning after talking but, other than Nancy Pelosi, I have doubts the Democrats in the Senate and House have the brains and the balls to do it. No. 1 is effective, but requires Chuck Schumer and too much discipline. No. 2 seems to have no effect on Trump's minions, I guess it's all part of the show.

    No. 3 could be very effective considering how energetically these preening, narcissistic morons seek out a microphone. Three components to the current Republican Party: the white nationalists, the theocrats, and the fiscal whiners (about 30-30-30). They just put themselves through the ringer, but these servile farm animals pretty much all came home to Donald in the end. Bills are about to come due and Trump has several of them by the balls, but some like Cruz and Rubio now have warts on their fanny. Play all these idiots off each other (e.g., I heard a rumor Cruz has set-up a 2020 exploratory committee, and so on). But then, they did all come bleating back home in the end, so what difference will it make?

    Of course, all this presumes the Democratic Party can gets its crap back together quickly…stop laughing.

    Also, with the most exquisite irony, keep in mind we should want Trump to serve out his full term. He's a con artist and a fascist wannabe, but he'll blow with the wind if he has to to keep the attention coming. Who knows, we might even get a new autobahn out of him. Mike Pence, on the other hand, is far more dangerous, a useful idiot enraptured by the flames. Hey now, there's a silver lining for you: we could actually do far, far worse than Donald Trump.

    Now to pretend to work for a few more hours so I can go home and start drinking again. Hang in there, good citizens.

  14. Brian M Says:

    So, based on Cromartie's analysis, we are doomed to (an eternity?) of far right rule because they tell better fables?

    The "left" (center right) has no real vision. Neoliberalism is collapsing, and the only alternatives in the world today seem to be toxic racial nationalism or religious theocracy (or a combination thereof, c.f. Pence). focusing on group identity victim politics (the "left" position currently) doesn't solve this problem of a lack of vision.

    Face it, assembly line jobs are not coming back, no matter what the Tangerine Menace promises.

    We need to come up with a better story, a fundamental reordering of the economy to deal with the new reality that given technology and world trends, more and more people will be "surplus" I won't see this. Maybe we need total (temporary?) collapse?

    Or maybe we are heading for Mad Max Dystopia.

  15. John Danley Says:

    It's his unrivaled foreign policy expertise, stupid. It's his extensive resume as one of the most qualified public servants ever, stupid. It's his unruffled disposition under pressure, people skills, and flawless communication style, stupid. It's his nuanced understanding of geopolitical dynamics, climatology, ethical business standards, and international conflict resolution, stupid.

    The con that never ends.

  16. mothra Says:

    Yep, you wuz wrong. But then, so wuz everyone else. I did have a feeling that Trump would win, but it wasn't based on anything at all other than my feeling and I certainly wouldn't ever pretend to be more qualified at predicting election outcomes. Although the idea of seeing The Great Kreskin predict election outcomes on CNN from now on is kind of fun.

  17. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    @Brian

    It's either going to be Mad Max Dystopia or livable 30-hour weeks. Due to our quasi-religious devotion to work and toil, it's probably going to be the former.

  18. doug Says:

    Interesting that no one has mentioned how flawed a candidate the D candidate was, and how corporate elites have taken over the D party and how the D party has ignored poor folks of all stripes for a long time.

    Keep talking it up, but try some introspection(fox news indeed. Nice rebut from bb. thx. )
    and hope(pray if you are so inclined) for positive surprises out of our newly elected leaders.

  19. Lit3Bolt Says:

    @doug

    Well, since we live in a post-empirical world now, then yes, Hillary was flawed because people wished it to be and it was so.

    More to the point, voting as consumerist fantasy is now reality. Trump has no voting record, and no accomplishments, so fantasies of "shaking up the system" and "sending a message" could be projected upon him.

    But if you think Republicans in Congress are going to reject neoliberalism or trade deals…

  20. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @doug:

    A lot of us have been talking that way since the '90s, and that DNC strategy is now deep, deep in the crapper. That does not strike me as a full explanation for what happened here. When you have people signing off on a candidate like Trump because they think he can bring back coal, you have problems that populism can't adequately account for.

  21. Mo Says:

    Democracy for Realists, bitches.

  22. swkellogg Says:

    "I'm not the least bit embarrassed to have gotten it wrong"

    The only people who got it wrong were the Trump voters.

  23. JustRuss Says:

    At least we might get to see Trump go head-to-head against the Club For Growth over TPP. My fear is it will get tweaked a little and Trump will say "There, fixed, you're welcome!"…but he might torpedo it to show those dweebs who's boss and polish his populist cred.

  24. Ormond Otvos Says:

    Keep dancing, fools. Democracy provably doesn't work. The USA is just a striking example.

  25. Well. Mostly Says:

    Confirmation bias – thy name is "every pol except the USC/LATimes." Oh how I hated reading that one: so depressing, just like last night.
    Spent the last two years in small towns and rural areas. Never looks like a crowd but they surround every big city, they're pissed, and they vote.
    Catbirdman is right. Moore was spot on. I've walked past more empty stores and closed factories than I can count. There's not lick of hope in sight. Google et al will never come anywhere near those places. Imagine if Denny's serves the best meal in town. Their anger, born of fear and dread, may be misplaced – it usually is. But it will always get placed somewhere. It just got placed on HRC this time.
    That the dems don't seem to speak with or for these folks isn't so much a political failing as a human one. I've never given much credence to the 'elite' line of criticism of the dems. And the small mindedness is revolting. But really – get the f out of the big city once in a while if even to the suburbs and it will be clear as day why it's The Donald headed for 1600 Penn Ave.

  26. GunstarGreen Says:

    In the end, it was the Rust Belt that decided this election. Those 64 electorals put Trump over the top.

    He promised them he would bring their jobs back. It was a lie, of course, and a number of them likely knew that. But being lied to is better than being ignored. At least Trump gave enough of a shit to bother lying to them.

    An object lesson, perhaps, in the folly of believing that you can safely ignore undesirables — excuse me, 'deplorables' — in your march towards progress. Deplorable people are, in fact, people, and they don't take kindly to being written off. It may be cathartic to explain to yourself that they're terrible, awful, no-good less-than-people, but the fact of the matter is that they cast votes just the same as everyone else.

  27. Tom Says:

    I can think of two things you possibly didn't factor into your posterior:

    – the advice from statisticians (not polling companies) saying, ~"be skeptical of the polling data coz they're using some really bizarre methodologies."

    – the leaked emails that >>show HRC campaign encouraging pollsters to distort their results<< to suppress R turnout.

    Who even cares though? Let's Make America Great Again, let's help TRUMP put a hotel on the Moon.

  28. NickT Says:

    I've feared this day for months now. I thought Clinton was a mediocre choice as candidate and the Democrats were being much too optimistic about large areas of the economy. Yes, the jobs reports looked in decent shape – but many of those jobs meant meager hours and poor pay. Throw in a Democratic party that has decayed locally and at state level and you've got a disaster in the making. Well, here we are and complacency has received the ass-whupping it deserves and generally gets.

    Time to gut and radically rebuild the Democratic party – without the Clintons, their baggage and their bungling cronies. It'll take time and be painful, but that's what must be the priority now.

  29. Tom Says:

    Ryan S, I don't really know what Fascism is but these quotes from WIkipedia seemed the most concise and (to me) easily understood.

    Trotsky:
    > The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery

    Orwell:
    > Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes… It is a planned system geared to a definite purpose, world-conquest, and not allowing any private interest, either of capitalist or worker, to stand in its way.

    Neither seems to describe TRUMP. Perhaps you could elaborate on your favourite reasonable definition of Fascism?

  30. Sluggo Says:

    @ tom
    Look up Francisco Franco. That's our future.

  31. Tom Says:

    Sluggo, this is from a quick perusal of Wikipedia; let me know if erroneous.

    > As a conservative and a monarchist, he opposed the abolition of the
    monarchy and the establishment of a republic in 1931

    > Intending to overthrow the republic, Franco and other generals staged a failed coup precipitating the Spanish Civil War. With the death of the other generals, Franco quickly became his faction's only leader.

    > Leaving half a million dead, the war was eventually won by Franco in 1939. He established a military dictatorship, which he defined as a totalitarian state.

    How is this at all congruent to TRUMP? Are you trolling me?—you got me real good!!1!

  32. fledermaus Says:

    I think pollsters are ignoring the elephant in the room – declining response rates. When 9 out of ten don't bother, you really must wonder what's with the 10th one who does.

  33. democommie Says:

    @ Sluggo:

    You may have hit on something there. Do we know for certain that Franco is STILL dead–and not a member of Orangehair Club for Men?

  34. Anonymous Prof Says:

    I'm sorry, Ed, but I don't entirely buy the "get over it, there was always a 5% chance of an unexpected result" business. (Let me say that this is not a criticism of you, so much as a broader criticism of other people who are making similar claims, with far less justification.)

    Prior to the election, the professional prognosticators all said that yes, maybe there was a small chance that Trump could win. But those scenarios always involved him squeaking out a tiny margin of victory. Trump currently has 290 electoral votes, and is likely to get 306 by the time counting is over. He really trounced Hillary, and the only people who predicted that were people like Michael Moore, who were speaking as pundits rather than as statisticians.

    Sam Wang addressed this, over at Princeton Election Consortium. He said that the real problem is that *something is profoundly wrong here.* There's a lot of nattering about math and models and probabilities, but the fact is that all of that was based on data that was not only incorrect, but incorrect far beyond anything anyone could have expected. So yeah, the mathematical models said there was a 5% chance Trump would win. But we're looking at a scenario where we thought a coin flip could predict the election with 95% accuracy, and it came up "H", and when the election came up "T", people are now saying, big fucking deal, there was a 1 in 20 chance that would happen, grow up. But that doesn't address the fact that, at least according to Sam Wang, something is fundamentally wrong with the entire procedure with which we tried to predict the election.

  35. Rich S. Says:

    Gerald McGrew thinks that Obama represented a major progressive movement.
    Well let's review reality for Mr. McGrew since it seems he's just yesterday extracted his head out of his own ass.
    A huge successful bailout for the largest banks in the world after they destroyed trillions in the wealth of working people and almost plunged the world into depression.
    No criminal investigations into said banks much less any attempted prosecutions.
    Conversely, a half-hearted failure of a bailout of the homeowners who lost everything due to the banks greed and recklessness.
    Letting the war criminals of the Bush Admin off the hook completely after starting a war based on lies that killed several hundred thousand including 4500 of our own while allowing this illegal war to cause us to largely abandon our pursuit of the real targets.
    Larry Summers.
    Tim Giether.
    James Fucking Comey.
    Abandon the ACA Public Option without even the hint of a fight.
    Abandon the Senate amendment that proposed to break up the largest banks which James Kwak said could have passed if Obama supported it.
    The idea that health insurance coverage should be a republican plan ginned up by Newt to counter the Hillary healthcare commission and using a major element first proposed by the fucking Heritage Foundation in 1989, then implemented by Romney in Mass.
    No consideration of a universal healthcare plan whatsoever.
    Mr. McGrew thinks this represents a major progressive movement. I beg to differ. Obama represented the Rockefeller wing of the old republican party.

  36. schmitt trigger Says:

    Bill Maher on his show on Friday, actually mentioned that he felt that Trump was going to win.

  37. Kaleberg Says:

    If Trump does what he is likely to do, the blue urban areas are going to pull farther away from the red rural areas. Most modern nations are facing a problem that no one knows how to solve. We have such massive productivity that the big problem is generating demand. Right now there is no political system that anyone is willing to consider that would fix the demand problem. China has been automating and has a rust belt that dwarfs ours. Europe has an unemployment problem, particularly for younger people and ethnic minorities. Japan has stagnated. The US is being played out as the consumer of last resort.

    No one is sure of the next political step. The American electorate seems to thrash about desperately hoping that someone has an answer. Remember, a lot of these Trump voters went for Obama in 2008 and even 2012 or there has been a bigger population turnover than anyone wants to talk about.

    I keep worrying that we'll go to the Hunger Games solution. We'll bring back hard rock coal mining – none of those sissy dragline surface mines – and hunt down anyone who doesn't like it with nuclear powered hovercraft. We'll harvest our wheat with scythes, but the workers will have night vision binoculars so they can put in 16 hour days. I don't think The Hunger Games was meant to be that profound, but those districts provided arduous but satisfying work in occupations that could be tied to blue color identities. It's a solution, but not a pretty one.

  38. HoosierPoli Says:

    Spare me Ed. Trump didn't do anything special, he basically turned out Romney's electorate. The PROBLEM was Hillary Clinton was a dogshit candidate that nobody, not even her base voters, really liked all that much. What's my proof? She underperformed 2012 Obama by SIX MILLION VOTES. Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin turned on about 100,000 TOTAL.

    People didn't like Hillary Clinton from the start, and no amount of money could make them like her. This was the problem that the party hands SWORE to us was an exaggeration, but every "bernie bro" (what a pathetic smear, BTW) was proved right by this result.

    Was it the media smear jobs that did it? Widespread sexism? Who knows…who cares, honestly. My personal view is that blaming Hillary Clinton's total lack of charisma and personal appeal on sexism is a little like saying you don't want to eat a shit sandwich because you're biased against sandwiches. No, I like plenty of sandwiches, but I don't like shit. Elizabeth Warren wouldn't have had those problems. Michelle Obama wouldn't have had those problems. Hillary's flaws were numerous and obvious and the only response from her supporters was outright denial.

    Spoken as a Hillary voter who helped give her Virginia.

  39. Kovpakistan Says:

    Look I get the whole margin of error thing and I realize that everything depends on the data you receive, but that would probably fly a little better in an election where Trump barely eked out a victory or where Clinton wins but by a smaller margin. Though she did get the popular vote, Trump basically trounced her. It seems to me that such a difference might produce a noticeable anomaly in the data. I think confirmation bias might be the culprit.

  40. Lit3Bolt Says:

    @ HoosierPoli

    So which celebrity should we nominate in 2020? Serious question.

    Obviously, there will be a lot to unpack in the Clinton campaign post-mortem, but this election proves hacking works, gossip works, endless investigations work, and candidates have a freshness date on them.

    Hopefully the Democratic Party does a post-campaign Clinton purge of all the deadwood, but that simply is not going to happen. They'll tack even more centrist and more boring instead.

  41. Tim H. Says:

    Not much of a comfort that in the record book Trump will have an asterisk next to his name *Lost popular vote, but he is potentially a loose cannon, which has a remote chance of working out well, but not no chance. Could someone slip him a copy of "Trekonomics"?

  42. Amateur Socialist Says:

    The problems with polling and statistical analysis miss a rather large forest: You can't beat something with nothing.

    I watched every game of the world series including carefully paying attention to the ads of both campaigns. For her hundreds of millions in image and branding, demographic consultants and social media task forces, the key messaging in every single one of her ads was "I'm not Trump". That was it. For what was probably the largest tv audience available just prior to the election. And I'm not X is less than something.

    Trump's ads while full of blustery BS at least managed to convey his own personal brand of "Winner". Apparently.

    But hey Alec Baldwin will keep showing up on SNL. It's something.

  43. geoff Says:

    Ed, to your point about polling, I guess my questions would be two: is the problem with the data perhaps that literally no one answers their phones, much less has landlines anymore? How are pollsters supposed to get a representative sampling of the electorate if they have no 'random" way of reaching them, and let's say angry and alienated voters self-select themselves out of the process to begin with by refusing to be polled even if successfully contacted? Worse, what if these same voters, should pollsters manage to find them in the first place, simply lie? After all, who wants to be a "deplorable"?

    And if polls were "manipulated", as some 'wingers have suggested to favor Mrs. Clinton (seems doubtful to me, but who knows?) that may have perversely had the effect of driving up the GEB's turnout. I'm a lefty myself, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that the MSM (Fox excluded, of course) were all in for Clinton, which may have had the same effect.

    (Sidenote on "deplorable". When Mrs. C. said that, I started getting nervous about her prospects. It was a Mitt Romney moment to be sure.)

  44. Skepticalist Says:

    I was sitting in my doctor's office yesterday with retirees all about my age. All six of them admitted they didn't like Hillary and that some kind of change was needed. Old men and women like me who never miss voting. None of them would admit to voting for Trump. It finally came to me that he had a TV show. Anyone on TV is your pal. I paid no attention to his show. How dumb could I be? TV for god's sake!

    "TV" is the thing today." From "Good Night and Good Luck."

    No wonder pols and so many of us didn't see it coming.

  45. josh tager Says:

    To back up Ed's thesis:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-11-09/trump-s-win-yields-investing-wisdom

  46. Dave Dell Says:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” H. L. Mencken

    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." – H. L. Mencke

  47. S M McBean Says:

    I'm no statistician but Trump won with fewer votes than Romney got. A quick look at my state (Ohio) shows 3% lower turnout and 300K fewer registered voters than 2012. She wasn"t likable enough to generate turnout.
    What I haven't seen is any discussion on the purging binge in Rep. controlled states. Will we ever know if a million voters got turned away who thought they were registered?
    Also I get the impression the exit polls support the result and are paid for by a consortium of news orgs. Are these truly reliable? (Twain sticks in my mind)
    I've felt since 2000 that we should have an election week (or month) with all paper ballots, hand counted twice. We don"t NEED to have a winner called horse race style by midnight of a certain date.
    FWIW, when Trump announced I commented his body language was pure Mussolini. Still don't know if that was intentional (he may not know history
    that well) or the natural pose of an authoritarian.

  48. Skepticalist Says:

    Maybe we just like voting for people who can bankrupt casinos.

    How's that done anyway?

  49. bb in GA Says:

    Do Y'all think the Anti-Trump protests and riots will be bigger than the Anti-Obama riots back in 2008 ?

    Oh, wait….

    //bb

  50. Jestbill Says:

    It's not a game.
    In US elections, you can vote for candidate A, candidate B or you can fail to vote. A vote for candidate C is the same as failing to vote.

    It simply does not matter what the polls show. It does not matter whether you "like" either candidate. It does not matter whether either candidate makes you proud or happy.

    One is a better choice than the other. Vote for that one or STFU.

    Trump won because Democrats didn't get out the vote.

    Crafting a different message or changing polling strategies are just ways to turn reality into literature: playing a game instead of choosing a government.

  51. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @bb:

    Poorly focused rage is part of the grieving process. I don't think #TrumpProtest in its current form will be as sustained or grab as much attention as the Tea Party.

    If Trump takes actions that threaten the enlightenment project – what's the right-authoritarian equivalent of providing health insurance for the poor? – I don't plan on granting him much deference.

    As a libertarian, I trust you will also demand accountability from this new batch of top-down elites.

  52. Khaled Says:

    @bb

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/us/anti-obama-protest-at-university-of-mississippi-turns-unruly.html

    There was a small riot at the University of Mississippi in 2012, and the whole tea party astroturf movement started after the election of Obama.

    Also, where is the idea that Trump is a capitalist coming from? He's never been for free markets and capitalism, he's a grifter, a con, and a cheat who takes other people's money for his investments, pays himself first and leaves his lenders, vendors, and investors high and dry while he profits. It's ludicrous to call him a "successful" businessman because almost all of his "businesses" have failed, the only reason he is rich is because he was born on third base with a sliver spoon shoved up his ass. His daddy had to bail him out repeatedly and practically bankrolled his entire "empire". He's used government created loopholes and protections to get out of paying his debts. He is the very definition of "crony capitalism" only without the actual capitalism part. Trump a "capitalist". Please.

  53. Jeneria Says:

    I hope you do a post about how New Dealish Trump's plan sounded yesterday. I can see McConnel and Ryan getting apoplectic over their president running up national debt (because how else is he going to pay for what he was saying yesterday?) with a very non-Republican plan.

  54. Vinny Says:

    I'm repulsed by the 'evangelicals', whatever that means, who turned out very strongly for the pussy grabbing (sorry if I've offended any evangelicals) racist misogynist who changed political parties like one of his cheap chinese made suits, who is on his third wife, who is an immigrant (although she was not brown skinned) who worked in this country without a work visa and also posed for lesbian pornographic photos, with whom he was fucking while married to his second wife (who oddly enough he was fucking while married to his first wife). Although I think purposefully vomiting on someone is disgusting (http://www.espn.com/mlb/news/story?id=5098407) , if ever there was a time and place for it, it is now and on an evangelical.

  55. Bill Says:

    This is all true, but really water under the bridge. People need to start organizing against Trump yesterday. This is going to be a long four years. We will need everybody.
    http://www.resistancemovement.org

  56. old white person Says:

    Bill is correct. Don't get angry (ok, that's ridiculous, stay angry as hell), but for gods' sake organize.

  57. Laie Says:

    If there's one thing there was too much of, it's organization. Don't forget that Hillary was so organized, she was The Candidate a year before the primaries even started.

  58. Mo Says:

    Oooh, Brad, I love it when you fire "rent-seeking" and "technocratically competent" and "bastards" like bullets…

    http://www.bradford-delong.com/2016/11/electoral-college-fail-number-six.html#more

  59. Mo Says:

    P.S. Thanks, Khaled, for the clean-up.

  60. Vinny Says:

    I was confident that Clinton would win for the longest time until I saw Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank appearing on the tee vee, back in whenever, state that Trump would be President with such confidence, and sincerity.

    https://youtu.be/va5oTjuYOvc?t=432

    It was kind of the same feeling when I noticed that black spot on the roof of my mouth. When I saw it, I knew it wasn't normal, and it gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, but in my heart I knew the truth.

    It was malignant, and the first Surgeon botched the surgery by removing several things, which were not the tumor. A second surgery removed the cancer, and luckily oral salivary glands have very low recurrence. So there's that.

  61. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @RichS.

    It would be helpful if you responded to what I actually wrote.

    I never said Obama's policies represented historical progressive achievements. Instead, I said the election of the first black president (twice), coupled with giving gays the right to marry represented progressive achievements.

    If you don't think those two things played a significant factor in motivating white evangelical Christians, I suggest you pay better attention.

  62. Gerald McGrew Says:

    A few things I've picked up after another day of reading….

    As others have noted, Trump won with fewer votes than Romney and about the same as McCain. IOW, Democrat turnout was down. In many areas black voter turnout was down and I've seen at least one black leader mention how many in his community still hold the Clintons responsible for their role in the war on drugs and the disparate crack cocaine sentencing laws. Hillary's "superpredator" remark didn't help either.

    We're already seeing signs of a battle between Trump and McConnell. Ol' turtle-face Mitch is saying that he will not be spending new money on infrastructure repair. That'll be an interesting fight, given how Trump has proposed a lot of new spending coupled with massive tax cuts. Now we'll see if their base, the radio hosts, and the GOP establishment will go along with rising deficit spending and adding even more to the debt. Democrats in Congress would be wise to exploit this potential rift.

    I like Michael Moore's post-election list (http://commondreams.org/news/2016/11/10/michael-moore-who-predicted-trump-win-calls-democratic-party-takeover). Just as conservatives started the Tea Party movement after Obama got elected (and have been using it to drive federal policy for years now), liberals need some sort of equivalent. Then we need to exploit the primary system and its low turnout to our advantage and get actual liberals on tickets instead of the Clinton-era New Democrats.

    As others have noted, with Democrats now faced with the lowest level of power they've had since before the depression, what have we got to lose?

  63. Skepticalist Says:

    Jesus Jolly type support? Evangelicals comfortably voted for Trump because of his VP candidate. They'll go for anybody that proposed funerals for aborted fetuses and encouraging laws to ban cake decorating for same sex marriage sinners.

  64. other bill Says:

    @HoosierPoli thank you, spot on

  65. Katydid Says:

    @Gerald McGrew; you're completely forgetting the concerted effort yt he GOP to keep many African-Americans from voting. North Carolina was bragging about it. Look to that for why voting was down.

  66. Rich S. Says:

    Gerald,
    I know what you wrote. I read it twice. You may have had a specific idea in mind, but this is what you actually typed:
    "I read an article by a historian a while back, and he pointed out that every major progressive movement (saying that a major progressive movement just ended – represented by Obama) in the US has been followed by a conservative backlash. In this case, (the case of the Obama major progressive movement)…"
    A single legitimate example of a progressive achievement, as important as it may be to those directly affected, does not constitute a "major progressive movement".
    Your response to me does not accurately characterize your first post.

  67. Mo Says:

    So . . . back to goat entrails?

  68. Tom Says:

    Bill, why don't you want to drain the swamp and stop dumb wars?—you can organize with TRUMP and try to do something real & meaningful at greatagain.gov; esse quam videri.

  69. Skepticalist Says:

    Draining the swamp sounds a little too "Me" Libertarianism.

    It's popular with people my age that say that they are glad to have been born when they were for purely selfish reasons.

  70. Madmax Says:

    Katydid:

    It's entirely possible that depressed Democratic turnout was driven by a combination of voter suppression and lack of enthusiasm for Clinton.

    Skepticalist:

    Given the number of lobbyist in Trump's transition team, it appears "draining the swamp" was (shocking!) little more than an empty promise.

    As Popehat's Ken White put it: "I'm happy to introduce my new Secretary of Swamp Draining, Swamp Thing."

  71. Skepticalist Says:

    Geezers my age were happy to vote for change but not ideology. This is dangerous without some adults in Washington. Where are they? "Getting even" isn't exactly what they wanted. I hope.

  72. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @RichS.

    You know, it's not a good idea to lie about what someone posted when it's simply a matter of record….in the same thread even.

    Here is what I wrote:

    "I read an article by a historian a while back, and he pointed out that every major progressive movement in the US has been followed by a conservative backlash. In this case, after electing the first African-American to the Presidency (twice) and gays getting the right to marry, white Christian conservative America rose up and lashed out in a bigly way."

    Here is what you claimed I wrote:

    "I read an article by a historian a while back, and he pointed out that every major progressive movement (saying that a major progressive movement just ended – represented by Obama) in the US has been followed by a conservative backlash. In this case, (the case of the Obama major progressive movement)…"

    I'll let the fact that you had to lie in such an obvious way speak for itself.

  73. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @Katydid,

    Certainly in some areas voter suppression played a role, but that doesn't explain the lower turnout among African-Americans across the board.

    Those crack cocaine sentencing laws still affect many families and communities in very serious ways.

  74. Skepticalist Says:

    The next president tweets.

    The end is upon us.

  75. Rich S Says:

    What a smug asshole you are.

  76. April Says:

    On the one hand I'm glad I'll be in China the next four years, but on the other I wish I were there I so I could be involved in protesting and organizing for the future. One thing no one is talking about is our national parks and forests. You know he's going to raze them and drill baby drill there. I read he's actually thinking about putting Sarah Palin as Secretary of the Interior!

    The only light I see in all this is MAYBE this fuck-up will be enough to rid us of Republicans forever. Hey – a girl can dream…

  77. Skepticalist Says:

    You may have a point.

  78. HoosierPoli Says:

    One shining ray of hope, though: Trump can be influenced by basically whoever talks to him. "Obamacare is the devil!" (five minutes of talking to Obama) "We're gonna keep some parts of Obamacare."

    If Dems keep an open line to Trump and stoke his ego enough to get him to start pushing his OWN party around instead of the opposition, all is not necessarily lost. Trump is weak-minded and easily manipulated – that's what the Republicans learned that made them coalesce around him, and it should be the cornerstone of Dem political strategy going forward.

    He may be an unstable nutjob but he's not an ideologue – he wants to be loved and admired and call the shots. Reminds me of Nixon in that way, and remember Nixon gave us the EPA.

  79. Skepticalist Says:

    Maybe Nixon with no brain.

  80. Bboy Says:

    HoosierPoli makes some worthwhile observations. Trump clearly is malleable. Dems should be in there pitching. It won't be pleasant, but it is necessary. (OK, it will be really unpleasant, but still necessary.) Dems might, maybe, be able to work him more than they could work some of the true ideologues everybody thought the GOP would nominate. It's worth an effort, at least to see if it's possible.

    Trump has no brain? Ummm, seems to me like he's pretty much outsmarted everybody so far. Underestimating the guy is part of the reason why we are where we are.

  81. Nate Says:

    @April Sarah "I quit after one year of a 4 year governor term" Palin will probably leave the cabinet once she gets bored and realizes how hard Secretary of the Interior is. She stopped being Alaska's governor and that was one state! This is all 50! :)