Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread

389 Responses

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  • John Armstrong, in reply to Hebe,

    Where do they get those Foxbots?

    Weta Workshops, hopefully.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    If Tea Party pin up Bachmann -- who also outspent her Democrat opponent twelve to one -- loses her seat, I'm going to break the internet with schadentweets. You've been warned.

    I would've been happy to have experienced that.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Williams,

    When you say ‘Obama doctrine’, I’m not sure I know what it is?

    I thought I should refresh my memory before commenting and thus found the Obama Doctrine article on Wikipedia. It didn't know it was a thing either, which is why I put it in quotes.

    The first paragraph of the article is:

    The Obama Doctrine is a term frequently used to describe one or several unifying principles of the foreign policy of U.S. President Barack Obama. Unlike the Monroe Doctrine, the Obama Doctrine is not a specific foreign policy introduced by the executive, but rather a phrase used to describe Obama's general style of foreign policy. This has left journalists and political commentators to speculate on what the exact tenets of an Obama Doctrine might look like. Generally speaking, it is accepted that a central part of such a doctrine would emphasize negotiation and collaboration rather than confrontation and unilateralism in international affairs. This policy has been praised by some as a welcome change from the more interventionist Bush Doctrine.[1] Critics, such as former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, have described it as overly idealistic and naïve, promoting appeasement of the USA's enemies.[2] Others have drawn attention to its radical departure from not only the policies of the Bush administration but many former presidents as well.[2][3] Meanwhile, additional political pundits have disagreed entirely, accusing Obama of continuing the policies of his predecessor.

    I think you can see it in the Obama administration's preference for dealing with Libya and Syria by essentially forming committees and embracing the kind of restraint on itself that wouldn't have been tolerated under Bush.

    There's also a separate article on the foreign policy of of the Obama administration.

    We've seen both good and bad here, but I don't think there's any debate that the current US ambassador, David Huebner, is a much more reasonable and constructive figure than that Bush-era idiot Charles Swindells. Interestingly, he's only the third openly gay ambassador in US history, and serves as general counsel to LGBT rights organization, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to John Armstrong,

    Weta Workshops, hopefully.

    Nah.Weta's would be more, well, human.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    [Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy talked with Soviet leaders because]

    ...they had a shedload of nukes pointed at the US?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I was almost hoping Romney might win, the reason being that when (as is likely) a major setback occurs to the US, such as a banking crash, the doctrinaire craziness of the right would be exposed.

    Previous experience indicates that exposing this doctrinaire craziness doesn't make it go away or even much less popular.

    I didn’t see that but I thought some of the early calls were way too early in such a tight race and when voting hadn’t closed in many states.

    I've seen a lot of people comment on this. We have to remember that in the states they have vastly more knowledge at their fingertips about which precincts have returned their votes, and which have left to do so. Within each precinct they have a lot of information about how many democrats, republicans, independents, democraphics, income etc - it's all matched up with the census and so forth.

    So if they've got half the precincts in, and they show a 5% swing in a direction, they can extrapolate that using fairly simple maths as to what the final result is likely to be. Hence when Rove sends the reporter down the corridor to talk to the analysts, they can say "yes, the places yet to return are largely democrat leaning, Romney isn't going to make up ground there".

    It's not an exact science, but it's fairly impressive in most cases the data they have and what they can do it with it, and very well resourced (what the political parties do with it is astounding).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6181 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I was almost hoping Romney might win, the reason being that when (as is likely) a major setback occurs to the US, such as a banking crash, the doctrinaire craziness of the right would be exposed.

    You mean like the banking crash of 2008 under Bush? All that really lead to was the right doubling down on it's policies.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    For SF geeks out there, I couldn't resist sharing Orson Scott Card losing all his shit in a manner that makes The Trumpernator look cool, calm and collected.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    For SF geeks out there, I couldn't resist sharing Orson Scott Card losing all his shit in a manner that makes The Trumpernator look cool, calm and collected.

    Man! That's a rant and a half!

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 796 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    He's still writing SF I see...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    An ABC commentator remarked how he thought the 2012 election was going to be the last presidential election "between two white men". There followed an awkward exchange a minute or so later as a correspondent they crossed to and then others in the studio tried to nicely point out that one of the current candidates maybe wasn't actually white.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bevan Shortridge,

    He’s still writing SF I see…

    From another planet, even.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes. Ork.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    I’ve seen a lot of people comment on this. We have to remember that in the states they have vastly more knowledge at their fingertips about which precincts have returned their votes, and which have left to do so. Within each precinct they have a lot of information about how many democrats, republicans, independents, democraphics, income etc – it’s all matched up with the census and so forth.

    So if they’ve got half the precincts in, and they show a 5% swing in a direction, they can extrapolate that using fairly simple maths as to what the final result is likely to be. Hence when Rove sends the reporter down the corridor to talk to the analysts, they can say “yes, the places yet to return are largely democrat leaning, Romney isn’t going to make up ground there”.

    It’s not an exact science, but it’s fairly impressive in most cases the data they have and what they can do it with it, and very well resourced (what the political parties do with it is astounding).

    Yes. They are far more data-matched in the US, but I have spent election nights in NZ with old hands here who do similar extrapolations based on historic knowledge of which booths lean which way (easier in a small country of course) and other indicators. But that has been in private, not on global TV where a call on a state result really needs to be over 90 percent certain.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Dear goodness!
    I realise he’s a Mormon – - but this sounds like someone on rotgut whisky, right out of control.
    I’ve enjoyed some of his work but waua! this isnt science fiction: this is total rantdom -

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    100 seconds of Fox News the day after the election:

    I mean, not unexpected, but … does anybody there have anything resembling self-awareness?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bevan Shortridge,

    He’s still writing SF I see…

    To be fair, his primary "mainstream" publisher nowadays - Tor Books - has some serious mana in the SF/F community and wouldn't let anything that generally shitty out of the slush pile without beating it to death with a shovel.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    At what point do you start to get feedback loops? How much of an impact does being told what’s very probably going to happen, or what everyone else thinks, or what you care about, have on individual choices?

    Which is why many countries ban polls.

    But to get back to the point. It's not that the voters have no say but rather that by the time the actual voting day comes around most people have (as they should) already made up their minds. Polling just samples that prior to the actual event of voting.

    The minus for the MSM is that the results of the actual voting become less newsworthy.

    The real problem with polls though is when they are innacurate AND they cause feedback loops. That's an issue with almost all the New Zealand polls because the margin of error quoted is complete bollocks. And that NZ polls to have real sampling issues.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3394 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    An ABC commentator remarked how he thought the 2012 election was going to be the last presidential election "between two white men".

    I think the meaning was that this will probably be the last majority of white men voting election. The comment and opinion today has indicated that the population has shifted significantly. It was in this four year term that the "minorities" population exceeded the so called "American" population. It can only continue.

    But but but.....the god's willed rapists maybe doing the right a favour in keeping their population increasing. Breed more white guys!!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1496 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    ‘Obama doctrine’

    The most important thing about the Obama Doctrine is that, like similar efforts by previous (moderate) presidents, it works.

    It is by no means perfect of course. But the approach of leaping into conflict as quick as you can clearly does not work. Personally I favour approaches that work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3394 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    the less-insane states

    Can I just note that even in the most "insane" states, one of every three people you see is voting for the Democratic Party?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3656 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Ross Mason,

    White men are about 36% of Americans - is voter participation so skewed that they form a majority of voters?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    How much of an impact does being told what’s very probably going to happen, or what everyone else thinks, or what you care about, have on individual choices?

    I've never seen any actual evidence on this, but have heard lots of people worry about it- both people worrying that being ahead in the polls will cause complacency for their side and lower turnout, and (sometimes the same people) worry that being behind in the polls will cause apathy and lower turnout for their side.
    I would tend to say part of people's calculus of elections is "who is likely to win" as well as "whose policies do I like" and for a lot of people to vote for a candidate they can live with that might actually win needs knowledge of what the rest of the voting population is indicating.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    It wasn’t a foregone conclusion. If there are 9 elections where someone is a 92% to win, there’s a greater than 50% chance at least one of those elections will see an upset.

    I'm not sure the probabilities calculated by 538 are quite that simple. I could be wrong but my impression is that the 92% is a conservative summation of more specific state by state probable outcomes. I haven't dug into the stats that deeply and nor do I want to but my understanding is that a sequence of unlikely outcomes would have had to occur for Romney to win and that sequence had a lower probability than .08.

    It's worth noting that at no time this year did Obama have less than a 60% chance of winning.

    To describe the Obama win as anything other than the expected result at any time this year would have been false.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3394 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to David Hood,

    I’ve never seen any actual evidence on this

    There are a whole bunch of psych studies that show most people will change their position on any issue if told that the majority believe something different. Particularly if they are told what the majority believe before they are asked their opinion. The studies range from hilarious to scary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3394 posts Report Reply

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