Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread

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  • DexterX, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And, sadly, I don't think Republicans lost big enough to puncture the denialist narrative that the only problem is that Romney wasn't extreme enough.

    I agree - the Republicans need to lose again and only then will the GOP purge itself to the degree it begins to position itself where it will have a chance of a win.

    Demographics are against the Republicans and until they being to reflect these changes they will be irrelevant to the swinging voters who look to the lessor of two evils.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to David Hood,

    or it could lead to judgements about the people who support x if one is certain in ones knowledge on a matter.

    I hope I'm not being too cynical by suggesting that this seems to be a pretty common response. It's why I don't read too many blogs / message boards / etc outside of Public Address. Reading such judgements only begets judgements. It's catching.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DexterX,

    I agree – the Republicans need to lose again and only then will the GOP purge itself to the degree it begins to position itself where it will have a chance of a win.

    Last night, I'd have doubted that -- I would have thought that the Republican conversation would be turning to Jeb Bush, who has seen this happening from a long way off in Florida.

    But I've seen so much insane, angry denial on the wires today that I think you may be right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to DexterX,

    the Republicans need to lose again and only then will the GOP purge itself to the degree it begins to position itself where it will have a chance of a win.

    Demographics are against the Republicans

    Or the GOP could take a cue from John Key: appear to be the changed demographic (ie younger and more friendly), get elected for the first term and set up the process changes that lead to the agenda being fully pursued in the second term. More likely, and those US demographic changes will take decades to bed in.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2880 posts Report Reply

  • steve black,

    I’ve been waiting for some turnout figures. Wikipedia has a long time series of historical data, but nothing for 2012 yet. I seem to remember hearing about a “good” turnout, or was it even “big” turnout from those commentators, but I want some numbers. I can add up the 60,662,174 plus 57,820,742 the Huff Post show, but it would be really good to find out by ethnic group and gender. The exit polling must collect those demographics.

    The historical figures make interesting reading. Looks like less than 60% of the Voting Age Population do vote, but even more interesting is the fine print at the bottom which suggests that up to 10% of Voting Age Population don’t qualify to vote. Then you also have to be registered… I know from comparative studies that the US isn’t alone in having low voter turnout.

    I did find one interesting article saying turnout was down

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Russell Brown,

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

    Jon Stewart was in his element on the Daily Show last night. It's got to the stage where he's no longer making fun of the Fox Network, he stoops to outright contempt. I could link to the whole episode, but his quick sketch on punditry here is a good taster:

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I guess I should have expected that libertarians would have the most violent, irrational sulks of all.

    The guy at LibertarianRepublican.net never saw it coming -- because he's seriously estranged from reality:

    However, for me, I'm choosing another rather unique path; a personal boycott, if you will. Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt
    I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted 'O'. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

    And back home, Lindsay Perigo is in there pitching for the crazy prize:

    Barack Obama is at least honest in his commitment to slavery. He says, "We're all in this together," and, "We are our brothers' keepers." By that he means the natural state of human beings is to be in involuntary servitude to each other. He means, in the words of Karl Marx: "From each according to his ability to each according to his need." At gun-point. Obamarx doesn't hide this belief; he states it openly. Wealth created by some should be "spread around" to others who did not create it. If you own a business, "you didn't build that"—and you owe to those who did (sundry government parasites). He explicitly committed himself to a "fundamental transformation of America"—and proceeded unashamedly to effect it: from a semi-free, semi-capitalist nation to an unfree, socialist one.

    This creature, having wrought havoc for four years, has just been re-elected by filth unfit to live, let alone vote, to continue wreaking havoc for another four years, thanks in part to yet another Republican campaign that refused to attack him and his ilk for their evil. Ad-wankers ruled.

    I should note that reading the comments for either post might be a step too vile for some readers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Bloody hell. I had restrained myself recently from getting too excited about the US election, telling myself I was misexaggerating how barmy the right are. But a couple of days before, I was talking with an old friend in the US who, though we often differ politically, agrees with my take
    on the fundamental human decencies needed in a society. I mentioned the election in passing; what a mistake. This person went into a vitriolic denunciation of Obama very like the Perigo piece.

    Apart from seriously denting (irretrievably maybe) a long friendship, I am bemused by the hateful invective entering the mainstream. This isn't just being a sore loser, it's a new kind of nasty and malevolent. I fear for us all.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2880 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That last paragraph of Perigo's comments is particularly awful and shows no connection with reality.

    What punches did the Republican Campaign pull? They seemed to attack him on everything from policy to origin, so I’m not quite sure what Perigo thinks they failed to mention. Although I don’t recall seeing any articles linking Obama with the vile tyranny of Emperor Nero so maybe that is what he meant?

    Also, when did it become cool for a NZ pundit to use language like “filth unfit to live” about anyone, especially voters in another friendly country. If this is how angrily insane he gets over the decisions of foreign electors what kind of insanity does he think about New Zealand electors?

    He actually makes Orson Scott Card’s views look sane by comparison

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1011 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hebe,

    But a couple of days before, I was talking with an old friend in the US who, though we often differ politically, agrees with my take on the fundamental human decencies needed in a society. I mentioned the election in passing; what a mistake. This person went into a vitriolic denunciation of Obama very like the Perigo piece.

    I talked to an American tonight who expounded at length on Obama's failings in a way that didn't seem to me to bear much relation to observable reality.

    It does make you wonder what the hell's going on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hebe,

    This isn't just being a sore loser, it's a new kind of nasty and malevolent. I fear for us all.

    It seems to have begun in the Clinton era, around 1993, when Texas Senator Phil Gramm said “People will be hunting Democrats with dogs." Prior to that even hardcore Reagan supporters would declare that while they disagreed with goshdarned liberals dissing the Gipper, they'd defend to the death their right to do so.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4523 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I still don't get why Perigo says such awful things though. He doesn't have a dog in this game being an Auckland media pundit, who purports to hold libertarian views.

    It would be like an American issuing threats against the slate of candidates in the Dunedin City Council elections. Pointlessly extremist.

    I guess it is just a case of "he says (publishes) what other people think, usually while drinking at a pub on Friday night"

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1011 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    It seems to have begun in the Clinton era, around 1993, when Texas Senator Phil Gramm said “People will be hunting Democrats with dogs."

    Was that before or after the Wackos from Waco got curb-stomped by the ATF? Since leaving politics, Gramm has been part of the Wall Street machine - and he was also one of the architects of abolishing the Glass-Steagall Act.

    Demographics are against the Republicans and until they being to reflect these changes they will be irrelevant to the swinging voters who look to the lessor of two evils.

    It's obvious the usual suspects are going into meltdown because their born-to-rule order is crumbling, and they'll do anything to hold it together in defiance of all reason - not unlike the old League of Empire Loyalists in 1950s Britain, which mutated into the modern-day BNP/NF/EDL movements.

    Razor wire fence not high enough to keep out the plebs? Build a fallout shelter instead, complete with a good supply of food, water, weapons, and fundy propaganda. Oh, wait, the ATF and Janet Reno might get wind of it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5328 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I guess I should have expected that libertarians would have the most violent, irrational sulks of all.

    The thing, is there's plenty of pretty rational criticisms you can make of Obama and his administration from the libertarian/Objectivist (they're not synonymous IMO) -- because he's not an Objectivist. Just as I totally get that the American progressive-left aren't totally wild about a man I've not-entirely facetiously called America's greatest conservative President. (Before anyone blows a gasket, remember my idea of conservatism is Andrew Sullivan's NOT Rush Limbaugh's.) I'd say Obama is temperamentally a Oakeshott conservative, and in policy is generally mildly left-of-center. But, yeah, the idea that he's some raving Marxist or GWB in blackface both confuse me.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12359 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Round up…

    …the usual suspects are going into meltdown because their born-to-rule order is crumbling…

    …sadly the logical outcome for a Me-centric society - don’t get your own way: throw a wobbly, behave badly, sulk, seek revenge!…
    …and they just love a good Civil War, and heck, they haven’t had one at home for a while…

    There has to be something in the water,
    or the air…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …and they just love a good Civil War, and heck, they haven’t had one at home for a while…

    The language they use: filth unfit to live, degenerates, dregs etc is very similar to what has been used in the lead-up to any number of bloody conflicts.

    These are probably just stupid blow-hards, but a bit of historical awareness would come in handy for them.

    ETA: but that's pretty unlikely, I know...

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    While very much still in the anger stage of loss (I think the republican establishment genuinely was certain of victroy) the line among house Republican's seems to be forming that "as Obama ran with no policies, he has no mandate and we are free to oppose him". Now, I thought last week Republicans were clear Obama was running to increase taxes on the rich. But not acknowledge their own personal history has been a characteristic of recent behaviour.
    Interesting result in California, the Democratics look like they have a super-majority, which means they can actually do things like change land taxes beyond the 1% specified in 1978 and other things involving governing effectively.
    At the moment the Republican 2016 field seems to be being talked about in terms of Ryan (tea-party heir), Rubio (we need a latino), Christie (currently hated but America sees him as a moderate, Bush (a Bush), or some combination of the above.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1441 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Ben Austin,

    usually while drinking at a pub on Friday night”

    Hey, don't diss the pub man! At least when we blather on in defence of the likes of Obama, those against him wont mind in the morning. and apologies if anyone's got upset will follow at the pubs default name (church) on Sunday. Alcohol may invoke loose lips but also garners support for us friendly needy socialist types. Others if nothing else just feel sorry for you and we just note their naivety.
    Seriously not everyone at the pub on Friday night is as you assume. ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    The language they use: filth unfit to live, degenerates, dregs etc is very similar to what has been used in the lead-up to any number of bloody conflicts.

    I don't know if it's particularly helpful to go there in this context, and there's a simpler (and sadder) explanation. Is this functionally any different from Romney's "47%" sneer when he thought nobody except big ticket one-percenter donors would hear? (And, frankly, some of the more turbo-charged rhetoric that gets thrown around NZ every election season? Or the numpties over at The Guardian who were having screaming shit fits at the very idea of a Conservaitve-lead government?)

    There's a non-trivial number of people in this world who have politics confused with religion -- there are true believers, the righteous, and ANYONE who deviates from The Faith are either infidels or heretics. They're not just wrong, but they're either stupid or actively malignant. Always have been, and tragically always will be. Doesn't mean we should be stocking up the shelter with canned food and ammo. :)

    At heart, folks like Trump are not only having a rhetorical dump all over tens of millions of their fellow citizens but saying elections only "count" when the outcome is to their liking. Sorry, folks, the world doesn't work like that. Free, fair and credible elections in a functional democracy certainly don't.

    Am I disappointed the truly vile Michelle Bachmann wasn't given her marching orders by the electors of the Minnesota 6th? Yes, but unless credible evidence of significant voter fraud in her favor washes up I'll just have to take a deep breath and accept she's still a legitimate and lawful member of Congress. Just because.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12359 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    The balance of one’s mind must shift and sway markedly the longer one spends in a cave worshipping at the altar of Rand – getting covered in that much guano can’t be good.

    The Libertarian response – is batshit crazy – particularly Perigo’s bullet for Obama view – he has distanced himself from this – though I do not doubt his initial expression is a genuine reflection of his reality.

    The voter suppression issues in the great republic, although an expression of the free market, don’t bolster liberty. The myriad of voter suppression practices needs to be outlawed in the interests of liberty.

    That the republicans stack the deck and can’t win is simply the best outcome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Ben Austin,

    I thought Perigo had been deported / not had his residency granted? Must have got the wrong end of the stick.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5539 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If I roll two dice, I expect I will roll something less than 11. But rolling a 10 or a 9 or an 8 or something lower is not a foregone conclusion. There is a smallish, but very real chance I will roll an 11 or a 12. And on Nate Silver’s numbers, he was telling everyone he thought the same about the presidential race: confident Obama would win, but not certain. Just like me and those dice.

    But rolling dice is random (at least, in theory, I guess it's actually a result of physics, the nature of the dice, the nature of the surface it lands on, and the way it gets thrown) at the time the dice gets thrown.

    Elections aren't random. If 90% of people have chosen how they vote a week out from the election, then polling can send very strong signals.

    Exit polls, taken after people have actually voted, can give much clearer answers.

    Extrapolating who is going to win a state or an election once you have 50% of the results in and exit polls on some of the remainder and extensive polling data on the whole state, isn't like rolling a dice.

    It's like rolling a dice and when it's already bounced three times, and have a fair understanding of the physics involved, and then you hit pause and ask a computer to tell you what it will be. Not exact, but no longer random, we're crossing over into the territory of science.

    I agree with Bart that inaccurate polling is the worst case scenario, but I repeat my earlier point that foregrounding how people are likely to vote in political coverage, ahead of analysis of policies can’t be a good thing, regardless of whether those polls are accurate or not. Can it?

    I would agree. I like how we don't have exit polls, and how all our polls close at the same time. Results out East affecting how people vote out West would drive me nuts.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6242 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Just like me and those dice.

    Except that Nate Silverman is not rolling dice. I am not a statistician. But I know enough to know that the statistical analysis of as many polls as he is using is quite different from the analysis you use for a simple dice rolling ecxperiment. What you are describing is true for datasets that have a normal distribution and are independent. Polls are neither of those things hence the statistical methods being used are quite different.

    The output from the meta analysis of the polls and economic data will be a range of probabilities depending on the method used to combine the data and the statistical models used. Because of the political importance of what he is publishing he will almost certainly have used the most conservative set of probabilities. My guess is that using different models he will have had much more extreme answers.

    But whatever method he used you can't simply take the 92% and treat it like a dice roll. It is not necessarily true that in 8 elections where he predicts a 92% chance he will have a 50% chance of being wrong.

    So no I stand by my first statment, it was a forgone conclusion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4364 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    But rolling dice is random (at least, in theory, I guess it’s actually a result of physics, the nature of the dice, the nature of the surface it lands on, and the way it gets thrown) at the time the dice gets thrown.

    Elections aren’t random. If 90% of people have chosen how they vote a week out from the election, then polling can send very strong signals.

    And the polling are random (at least in theory). You ask 1000 people a question, 9 other companies are 1000 people a similar question, and if you get a result that's really kinda close, maybe the reason that one candidate is head among those 1000 (or those 10000) is a result of the fact that random samples aren't always representative samples, and even though 90% of people had made up their mind, you didn't actually ask a politically representative part of that 90% so when - even though no-one has changed their mind - the election came around it didn't pan out exactly as you expected.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to John Armstrong,

    With so much media content focusing on poll results

    But it's so much easier to report on a poll than to do a proper analysis of policy and the effects it has on people, by for example, studying the impacts in other countries where similar policies have been put in place and highlighting the differences between the countries that might lead to a different outcome from the policy.

    That would require research and skill to communicate ... much easier to say 43% of this survey said red shirts are gay.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4364 posts Report Reply

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