The Rationalist Papers (17): Why bother voting?

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The polls say Biden will very likely win. Why spend your time and effort voting? Just a reminder: these Rationalist Papers posts are for the group I call the deciders: conservative, moderate, undecided, and third-party voters considering their choices in the 2020 US Presidential election. The horse race As they do every year, news organizations devote a … Continued

How trolls divide America and what you can do about it

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It’s clear that Russians interfered in our elections. But their objective was not primarily to elect Donald Trump — it was to make us hate each other. And they’re succeeding. New information on Russian troll activity is now available, including a corpus of 3 million tweets from Russian trolls who were part of a foreign … Continued

Nate Silver wasn’t wrong

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My Facebook feed is full of people angry at election forecaster Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, declaring him a failure. They’re wrong. Here’s why he was right . . . and why you’re blaming the wrong guy. My argument has three simple points: Nate Silver’s forecast wasn’t wrong, because he didn’t predict a Clinton win. Polling … Continued

Fivethirtyeight.com reveals the whole election in one gutsy graphic

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This is a puzzling election to understand, with unconventional candidates, unusual voting patterns, and hundreds of fluctuating polls. One site does the best at tracking the race (as opposed to the candidates and issues): Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com. And one very strange graphic on that site shows exactly what’s happening, what matters, and what’s changing. Here … Continued

Nate Cohn, Nate Silver describe how they misread Donald Trump

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I’ve said that true analysts find bigger truths when they’re wrong. Smart people predicted Donald Trump would never win the Republican nomination. It’s pretty revealing what they learned from their mistakes. Let’s look in particular at the mea culpa pieces by Nate Cohn of the New York Times’ feature “The Upshot” and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com. First, admit your mistake True analysts … Continued

Donald Trump endgame: The Trumpist Party

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Analysts predict not only what will happen next, but what will happen after that. Here’s my prediction: after losing in 2016, Donald Trump will form his own party, the Trumpist Party. Trump is divisive Trump thrills white men and scares nearly everybody else. Donald Trump is a hero for white, working-class men. As Kathleen Parker writes in the Washington Post, … Continued

Who’s better for the economy, Democrats or Republicans?

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I set out to learn which party did a better job for the American economy. What I found out taught me more about data than politics. In a time of market-based panic and bloviating presidential candidates, we need thoughtful data analysis, not empty rhetoric. Here’s a challenge for you. Just for a moment, try not … Continued