Facts over Feelings

A reminder that narratives are narratives and data are data.

I will have a lot more to say about this general topic over the next several days, but let me caution everyone to hold off on drawing too many conclusions about the state of American politics, the parties, the quality of candidates, and/or even polling.

Let’s step back and realize that everyone, the pro-Biden and the pro-Trump, allowed the narrative of election night to affect and influence how they saw the election. See, for example, James Joyner’s repudiation post from this morning.

A lot of folks who wanted Biden to win were extremely disappointed by an election night that did not provide a clear win for their candidate and a lot of folks who wanted Trump to win took a lot of comfort from his good performance that night.

The thing is: the night went largely like we were told it would. That it would look more in Trump’s favor due to the votes on election day that would be counted first. That we would see the so-called “Red Mirage” before a blue shift to Biden via the mail-in ballots.

But even if our brains knew this, our hearts weren’t so sure, and hence premature depression and recrimination by some and premature jubilation (and petulance) by others.

I fall into this camp, as while my brain knew better, my heart wanted a blowout for Biden and I wanted to see it Tuesday. I really wanted Florida to go blue and I thought NC would (and that we would know on election night). I had fantasies about a blue Texas (not that I really ever believed those).

And yes, there is going to be some serious discussion of polling. The most glaring example to me at the moment being Florida, as both in 2018 and 2020 the polling just failed there. It is actually too early to really know what the polling errors were until we get all the results.

There are several other state polls that were really odd, and that needs examination.

There were a lot of feelings on Tuesday night and other feelings persist. But assessment and analysis will need facts, not feelings.

One bit of data that I find interesting is that the popular vote percentages are tracking quite closely to Trump’s approval/disapproval. Biden is currently up 50.5% to 47.7% (and that gap will grow once all the ballots are counted and certified). Trump’s current disapproval is 52.2% to his approval of 44.7%.

This does not explain the 8.4 point gap in the final national polling averages, but it is worth noting that in the final average, Biden was polling at 51.8%–that is only 1.3 point of where he currently is, and keep in mind, again, his percentage of the vote will almost certainly go up.

This is all important in assessing the polls. And again, there is clearly some state-level issues to deal with as well as explaining why Trump’s final number in those averages (43.4%) was as low as it was.


When I tried to use my head before the election, I came up with this map as the most likely one:

At the moment, it appears that I might end up being one EV off and with NC and GA flipped.

As I said at the time:

Note that this is a conservative, hedged map as the polling suggests a good chance of GA and FL going Biden and OH and IA are also real possibilities. If the turnout and enthusiasm is what it appears to be, a blue wave may well be in the making.

I don’t trust Florida, even though Biden is ahead there (I have no good political science reason, just experiences watching that state in 2000, 2016, and 2018).

I will be watching Georgia carefully, but think that the Senate races may keep the state red.

And, I would note, on election night OH and FL seemed close for while (IA did not), although they are currently showing as clear Trump wins (but the margins may narrow once all the urban counties are counted).

I also stated that Trump’s only winning map looked like this:

This could still happen, by the way, although it seems unlikely. But, again, this comports with what has happened since Tuesday.


Regardless of facts, feelings, and what may or may not be wrong with polling, let me stress that all the anxiety and uncertainty has been caused by the Electoral College. The intent of the voters is quite clear, even if our institutions distort that view.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. inhumans99 says:

    Even with a recount Trump is not taking PA, so like I said in the thread James put up declaring Biden won due to PA even if Trump does end up with GA and AZ he still loses because PA’s electoral votes would put him at what, 278…so he still wins.

    There is no evidence the GOP will succeed in getting the courts to toss out and disenfranchise, what…over 1 million(!) voter ballots that have been counted since Tues night has come and gone.

    Biden is our President elect but the news orgs want to be hyper-cautious is making the announcement, if only they exercised the same caution when it came to amplifying Trump’s words prior to the 2016 election but that is water under the bridge.

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  2. mattbernius says:

    I think 538’s live blog raises a critical on how the illusions created through vote-counting also presents another key factor in this:

    Biden isn’t “pulling ahead at the last second”, these votes were all cast on/before Election Day. “The illusion of a dramatic horse race is simply a product of the order in which we count votes.”

    source: https://fivethirtyeight.com/live-blog/2020-election-results-coverage/

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  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    A reminder that narratives are narratives and data are data.

    As a guy who makes his living creating narratives, I endorse this statement.

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  4. mattbernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    As a guy who makes his living creating narratives, I endorse this statement.

    Actually I second that (and had missed in the article on first readings) and, as a qualitative researcher, I endorse that as well. In fact, I had a interviewee who worked in advocacy, put it this way:

    “We rarely mix data and stories. We use stories to fight stories and data to fight data. But when you try to fight a story with data, or vice versa, it rarely works. At best one can set the other one up, but beyond that they don’t mix.”

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  5. Kathy says:

    A few years ago I was robbed at gunpoint outside a bank. In the following months, I couldn’t even drive past that bank branch without feeling anxiety. Needless to say, I avoided that branch office for a long time.

    I felt the same anxiety Tuesday/Wednesday when Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan were pale pink on most electoral maps.

    It eased when MI and WI turned blue. It will end when PA does (or some other combo provides Biden with a win).

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  6. Kurtz says:

    @mattbernius:

    Their live blogs are always worth reading. But this one, stretching into a fourth day, was particularly good. So many sticky tidbits.

    One of the staff members, maybe Skelley, posted a scatter plot that showed a significant portion of the electorate is culturally conservative but economically liberal. I plan on going back and looking for it at some point.

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  7. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @mattbernius:

    Yeah, I think these statements seem right.

    There are a lot of different ways to explore the intersection of data and narratives so it’s fertile ground for figuring out how to move forward.

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  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    I think the way it works is that data convinces 10% of people immediately. Another 40-60% come along in time. Give or take a third of people are completely immune to data.

    Narrative should explain and expand upon data. Here is Fact A, and here’s a story about Fact A so you’ll understand the relationship between Fact A and all the other facts. Even in fantasy/sci fi it’s absolutely vital to establish facts (in the context of the fanciful world-building) in order to ground the narrative. In more real-world narrative you start with reality, facts, including facts about human nature.

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  9. JohnSF says:

    I hoped for a bigger win; but I tried to restrain myself from letting that get in the way of being analytical.
    (It’s a conscious struggle because i am by nature a bad-tempered optimist.)
    To copy from an earlier thread:
    Regarding polls, I was looking at 270 to Win a lot.
    My personal approach was assume that only leads of over 5% on multi-poll averages were safe; that being the rough margin of error both ways, BUT especially for Biden because of various factors:
    1) “shy Trumpers” (related: “third party”and “don’t know” breaking disproportionately for Trump)
    2) differential in”polling reach”
    3) the universe hates me and wants me to suffer.

    So my personal guesstimate was: Biden holds all Hillary Clinton won in 2016; polling indicates MI/MN/WI should go for Biden; of the remainder PA is the biggest prize and the most likely win for Biden, and it looks like I was not far wrong, except that AZ and GA are a bit better for Biden than I thought.

    Now, if a foreign fool like me can get that from a reasonable read of the polls, that suggest to me they are not doing too badly.

    The trouble is the people who ignore the likely error bars and take the raw percentages as a hard forecast.

    And in my “rational pessimism” I left out, Kylopod noticed the ratfuckery with the postal service, voter suppression, polling places etc.

    Still disappointed about the Senate, mind you.

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  10. al Ameda says:

    A couple of points:

    (1) In every battleground state where Biden was up I approached ongoing polling results by giving the margin of error to Trump, usually that meant swapping 3% or 4% from Biden to Trump. Certainly in the cases of Wisconsin and Michigan it told me that the races were much closer to even than the 5 to 7 points than kept showing up.

    (2) Isn’t it time to consider Florida a Red State, and not a Swing or Purple State?

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  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    The thing that worried me on Tuesday night was that it was clear from the FL returns – FL counted all its votes very quickly and accurately, good for you FL! – that the polls had missed, maybe by about as much as 5 points. And looking at some other fast-counting states, it seemed that the miss was not limited to FL, it was systematic.

    Frankly, that scared the crap out of me. We thought we knew what was going on, but we didn’t.

    Granted, as you had pointed out, those polls that missed had quite a big cushion for Biden. Which he needed. So I was very worried that the miss was going to be as big in PA, MI, and WI, and that would tip the scales, or get close enough that legal shenanigans would become a factor.

    But yeah, it was the polling miss that scared me. Pollsters also missed, in the same direction, some of the Senate seats, it seems. And some House seats, as well.

    Interestingly, the two people in my life that are most strongly arguing that “you can’t trust polls” are both from FL. I don’t know what to make of that.

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  12. KM says:

    Indeed. What we have here is Trump desperately trying to catch up to Biden’s early lead and falling short each time. That’s the imagery libs should be pushing – old, tired Donald just can’t reach the finish line no matter how hard he tries. Can’t seal the deal!

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  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It seems pretty clear to me, looking at the results, that the Democratic Party avoided a total massacre solely because Trump is so uniquely bad and that drove turnout enough to salvage some Democratic seats. I’m with Spanberger in her characterization – that if her party considered this cycle to be a victory, they’re headed for disaster in 2022.

    Two thoughts –

    1) it has become pretty clear that polling has become much less useful than it used to be, so building strategies around polling polling polling and nothing else is a fools errand.

    2) The simple truth is that Dems suck – suck – when it comes to messaging. The GOP, for all its faults, gets messaging on a level that the Dems do not. Until they accept that the sound bites coming out of the AOC block of the party are poisonous outside of their Northeast and Left Coast strongholds, and do something about them, they’re headed for disaster.

    Anybody who paid any attention saw those sound bites used to dramatic effect in places like Florida, among others. The GOP messaging machine successfully used them to paint the entire party with a broad brush and to surgically target Democratic seats in specific. New York got bail reform combined with defund the police (which might go down in history as the worst own goal messaging in history) to paint Dems as soft on crime and hostile to public safety. Suburbs got the threat of tax increases. Florida got socialism socialism socialism. All of those messages were made quite more effective by the ample supply of sound bites from AOC and friends talking about them in raving terms. They worked. So if they’re serious about winning, they need to muzzle that crowd yesterday and realize that they’re not only allowing themselves to be painted as being slightly left of Lenin, they’re also supplying the ammunition with which that’s being accomplished. The reality doesn’t matter. Politics is perception, and they’re losing that battle. They need to get control of their messaging problem ASAP or 2022 is going to be a very ugly experience.

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  14. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think the way it works is that data convinces 10% of people immediately. Another 40-60% come along in time. Give or take a third of people are completely immune to data.

    Narrative should explain and expand upon data. Here is Fact A, and here’s a story about Fact A so you’ll understand the relationship between Fact A and all the other facts.

    As someone who worked in marketing for 20+ years, I agree. If you’re trying to convince people of something, you can never go full “Joe Friday”. And, unfortunately, none of us are good enough to go “full Columbo”–though I call on his spirit in many debates.

    People don’t intuitively grasp facts. So you give them a story to put the facts in context. There’s a reason that you hear “four out of five dentists recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum” rather than “80% of dentists”. We can all imagine 5 dentists. We can’t imagine “all dentists”.

    When scare-mongers say “3 million children are sexually trafficked in the US every year!”* I reply with “that’s 1 in 10 children” and people start counting the number of kids they know and realize that the number is ridiculous.

    What’s the quote? “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” To many people on the left are trying to argue with facts–absent the story.

    Hmm…. now that I think about it, what Biden needs on his transition team is a playwright–someone who understands the Aristotelian concepts of empathy, sympathy, crisis, and catharsis. Trump has given the right wing sympathy (“that person is like me”) and crisis (“we’re in danger, something must be done!”), but not empathy (“I feel what that person feels”) or catharsis (“I have passed through the fire and emerged stronger”).

    ===
    * I just pulled that number out of my ass–the same place most scare-mongers get theirs (and… yes, I realize that can be parsed in an inappropriate way–accept it for the brevity and scansion, okay?). 🙂

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    A) Biden is ahead by 4 million votes so far. It could hit 5 million.

    B) Biden just knocked off an incumbent president, something accomplished just three times before in the last century. (Ford doesn’t count.)

    C) We keep getting ‘advice’ that we need to chop off this or that group in order to appeal to this or that group. So, we should kick the rising generation out of the door to pacify more elderly white males? Um, what? Alienate the future to appease the dying past? That would be stupid.

    D) These suggestions for getting rid of this or that group of actual Democrats has the odor of narcissism. The subtext is, ‘why would you prefer X over meeeee?’ Let’s see. Who gave us money, who volunteered, who organized, who voted? Those are the people that turned Georgia and Arizona blue, gave us a 4 million vote margin and paid the bills. So how about we dance with those what brung us?

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  16. dazedandconfused says:

    I understand most of the pollsters use “likely voter” models. Massive turnout means the unlikelies show up and the information is that this demographic identifies, by a slight majority, with Republicans. Almost seems obvious after the fact, does it not?

    Harvard,
    The search for a way to get people to seek more sources of information than FOX must continue. But this, it now seems clear, is not an easy fix.

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  17. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Do we have any evidence that the rise in young Democrats–particularly those who have supported Biden from the start–comes from the “Democratic Socialist” range of the spectrum?

    The fact that traditionally red states are tipping towards–or have tipped to in this election–blue seems to indicate that the support is coming from moderates who think that the Republicans have gone too far.

    I’d say that Russ Feingold would sway far more young people over to the blue side of the force than AOC would.

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  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    @HarvardLaw92: First of all, it’s not possible to “shut” Members of Congress up. They got elected on their own, and they’ve developed their media following on their own. There is no mechanism for disciplining them any more than there is one for getting Steve King to shut up, until he really went too far. But that took a long, long time.

    Second, while I don’t like the message, because it’s ambiguous and controversial, those qualities may, in the long run, be positives. A slogan like “Defund the Police” can easily be read as proposing that big cities get along without any police. I think very few people want that. But it serves two concrete purposes:

    1. It attracts lots of attention to the issue. There is a long-term school of thought that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. People will have a reaction, and that reaction will start a conversation. And people like me can say, “Well, of course we need police, but we could cut the budgets for all this military hardware they love and don’t need” and so on.

    2. It expresses feeling. This is actually important. It’s what many anti-immigration voters loved about “Build The Wall”. Precisely because it is over the top it is taken as authentic and deeply felt. In the “Defund the Police” case, it expresses a profound distress over the state of criminal justice. Which is completely justified.

    I’m a former academic and a programmer, and I am accustomed to precise and accurate speech. Which this is anything but. But I possess now many, many data points that support the case that I am in the minority, and people understand these hyperbolic slogans as being associated with authenticity.

    One thing AOC said this week is that she feels other MOCs are making a mistake in not engaging in “deep canvassing” all year round. She doesn’t want them to run away from racial issues, because that lets Republicans own it. Instead, engage with the issues on a regular basis, tell your story. Yes, some will demand endorsement of a slogan as a litmus test, but that can be handled, if you’re a good politician. I think Biden handled it pretty well. I think relatively few people think he’s going to be shutting down police departments all over the country.

    Bear in mind, I’m not really as far to the left on policy as AOC is. But I thought her remarks on process were spot on.

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  19. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’d say that Russ Feingold would sway far more young people over to the blue side of the force than AOC would

    Most young people would say “Russ who?”

    I’d say you don’t know enough young people.

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  20. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Traditionally red states have no youth? Have no young folks who look around their dying little towns and see no job prospects but to move to a city and maybe get lucky? See their friends and family die of overdoses and despair? See families struggle to keep the house and pay bills and think there needs to be a safety net or we’ll all die? See the GOP screwing them over for a generation and toss the bill at them on the way out the door? See the vast world out there and think they might have more in common with them than a neighbor who keeps flying a swastika?

    Yes, moderates telling Trump nope is a thing. However, study after study have shown Millenials and Gen Z are more socially and economically liberal, even the conservative ones. They don’t want to have to move to CA to get a job – they want to stay in their home and have home suck less. Much like with Hispanic / Latinx votes, that means going Dem till the GOP loses enough Boomers to start giving a damn. They like what they see and they like people like AOC because she’s young and struggled like they have. They’re ours for now and they are legion, as big a group as the Boomers themselves.

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  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Most young people would say “Russ who?”

    I’d say you don’t know enough young people.

    Obviously I was using Feingold as a stand-in for a “generic moderate Democrat”.

    Anyone who’s falling into AOC’s orbit as a voter is guaranteed blue. Why actively chase them? There’s zero chance in hell of them ever voting Republican. They’re a sure thing.

    If you want to expand the Democratic party, there’s only one way to go: towards the center.

    If they want to turn reds to blues, the Dems need a “Feingold 2.0”–a young, honest, casually charismatic, socially liberal, fiscally responsible, approachable, and actively engaged person who’s going to work across the aisle and understand the concerns of the middle.

    AOC, Bernie, and the rest will never turn a single vote from red to blue. They might, however, turn some blue ones to red because they’re abandoning the moderates.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Russ Feingold hasn’t won an election since 2004. Jus’ sayin’.

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  23. Mu Yixiao says:

    @KM:

    I was utterly confused by your reply until I got to this:

    They like what they see and they like people like AOC because she’s young and struggled like they have. They’re ours for now and they are legion, as big a group as the Boomers themselves.

    I’m on my third scotch for the night (slow day at work, I left way early), but I’d like to know what you’re smoking, because it sounds like it’s really good.

    If you think that young conservatives are going to flock to Democratic Socialism, you’re either seriously high or delusional. They might accept someone like Biden who’s “harmless” and “moderate”, but there’s no way in hell that the 18-35 demographic is going to flip from “staunchly red” to “socialist”.

    Current House Map

    If you think that AOC is going to turn all that red to blue… Then, I think, you need to stop taking whatever drugs you’re using.

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  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Anyone who’s falling into AOC’s orbit as a voter is guaranteed blue. Why actively chase them?

    No, they are not guaranteed anything. Both parties have long had trouble getting young people to vote at all, much less engage with them, get them to volunteer, etc. AOC, whatever her *faults*, gets them. She understands them. They follow her, and she follows them. A couple weeks ago she and Ilhan Omar had something like 400,000 young folks following them while they played what I would call a “stupid video game”. But it’s not stupid, not to them. To them it’s fun. She knows it and she has fun with it and therefore they identify with her.

    She has good political chops and has proven it on several occasions. I don’t know how far she will go but I would not underestimate her.

    ** her faults, something I know you and I would disagree on, but that is a whole ‘nother thing.

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  25. Scott F. says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    First point: what @Michael Reynolds said about how to read this outcome. Narrow escape from total massacre is an odd way to represent a pick-up in Senate seats, a retrenchment in some red House districts, and a turnover in the White House.

    The simple truth is that Dems suck – suck – when it comes to messaging. The GOP, for all its faults, gets messaging on a level that the Dems do not.

    Second point: The level of messaging that the GOP gets is that narrative is a whole lot easier when you don’t have to use facts and when you’re completely comfortable with lying to the masses. As Pete Buttigieg said many times during the campaign, it doesn’t matter whether any Democrat anywhere ever utters the words “socialism” or “defund” ever again, because the Republicans will put those words in their mouths anyway.

    For Democrats to stop ‘sucking’ with messaging, it doesn’t require quieting voices on the left. It requires getting over whatever reservations Dems have about painting the entire Republican party with a broad brush based on the crap that comes out of Louie Gohmert’s mouth. Give the suburbs the threat of hundreds of thousands dead because of rampant disease. Give Florida despotism, despotism, despotism. (Hell, then reality DOES matter a little, since the Big Lie wouldn’t be quite so Big.)

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We keep getting ‘advice’ that we need to chop off this or that group in order to appeal to this or that group. So, we should kick the rising generation out of the door to pacify more elderly white males? Um, what? Alienate the future to appease the dying past? That would be stupid.

    I think you hear that advice more than it is given. It definitely comes from the paid concern trolling columnists, but beyond that…

    Locally, Lounsbury definitely falls into that camp, and HL92 flirts with it, but Andy, Jim Brown 32, and Mu Yixiao seem to be more “Dems need to broaden their appeal” without suggesting kicking anyone out. I may be misinterpreting one or more of them — I use propensity to mention “identity politics” as my dividing line.

    Democrats do need to broaden our appeal. We take minority votes for granted too often, and we are seeing Latinos peel away. We have no plan for rural america and small cities — areas that have really been hurting for a generation or more (I don’t think NAFTA did as much harm as its critics have claimed, I think it just sped up what was already happening).

    If you see your home town doing worse and worse, and if your job prospects are poorer and poorer, you are vulnerable to someone offering you simple solutions (blaming the immigrants, and latte-drinking soy-boys, and saying that they will Make America Great Again — especially if that’s the only person who seems to notice that things aren’t great). Sure, four years later your hometown is still declining, but now you have someone to feel angry about, and that’s more than you had before.

    The title of Dr. Taylor’s post is “Facts over Feelings”, but the fact is that most people vote their feelings.

    I think that Covid may have worked in Trump’s favor in large parts of the country, despite the mounting dead. Biden is telling people what they need to hear — that we have to take our medicine and that things will still be grim for a while — while Trump is telling people what they want to hear — that it’s nothing and we can all go about our lives like normal. And while the media isn’t showing bodies stacked like chord wood, people can put their heads in the sand and believe what they want to hear.

    The classic “Fuck Your Feelings” photo is frequently misunderstood. It’s not “Fuck Your Feelings“, it’s “Fuck Your Feelings”.

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  27. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Russ Feingold hasn’t won an election since 2004. Jus’ sayin’.

    Last comment before I disappear for the weekend (weather’s gonna be good, and Mom has a list of things to get her house ready for winter).

    1) Russ loss to Ron Johnson in 2010 because of a smear campaign. Johnson operates in the same way as Trump–he riled up the far right and went on the attack.

    2) Russ (rightfully, in my opinion) hobbled himself before 2016 by refusing to accept any campaign funding from outside of Wisconsin. In his earlier campaigns, he capped his expenditures to $1/Wisconsinite–and still won.

    3) In 2016, he was challenging an incumbent Republican in the “Trump Tsunami”.

    He’s out of politics now and good for him.

    But a young version of him who is straight-forward, open, accessible, honest, and willing to work with liberal Republicans… I can see that candidate turning a lot of purple into violet.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    If they want to turn reds to blues, the Dems need a “Feingold 2.0”–a young, honest, casually charismatic, socially liberal, fiscally responsible, approachable, and actively engaged person who’s going to work across the aisle and understand the concerns of the middle.

    No one really gives a shit about “fiscally responsible” in terms of policies. They just like the sound of the syllables. We need people who can turn on a dime to explain that whatever crazy assed thing they are selling is “fiscally responsible”.

    Also, you can’t work across the aisle if the people across the aisle won’t work with you. We do need to break the expectation that Democrats will work across the aisle but that Republicans won’t. Right now, Republicans are rewarded for partisanship while Democrats are punished for it. We need candidates who can speak to that.

    Also, AOC appeals to Bernie voters. An independent, left-leaning group interested in economic populism. They aren’t likely to vote Republican, but they are likely to vote third party or stay home. AOC brings them into the party — better than Bernie does, and skewing younger than the ones that Warren brings in.

    If the Joe Manchins need to run against AOC, that’s fine*. But it’s a big tent, with tent poles pretty far apart.

    —-
    *: For now. In 2032 when AOC has the nomination for President, I expect them to fall in line with at least a “she wasn’t my first choice, but she’s a better choice than Barron Trump” (or whoever) endorsement.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Last comment before I disappear for the weekend (weather’s gonna be good, and Mom has a list of things to get her house ready for winter).

    I’d say have fun… But I’ve had fun before and that weren’t it. But taking care of Mom has it’s own kind of rewards, doesn’t it?

    As for Russ, I’ve always liked him. Showing up at a gun fight with a knife? Not so smart. Honorable, but not smart.

    As far as working with “liberal Republicans”, well they went on the endangered species list back in 1994 and the last one spotted in the wild was somewhere around 2009/10. Last I heard they were extinct.

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I believe the person you want to describe is Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Huh, the new edit function seems to have disappeared this afternoon. Anybody else not seeing it?

    ETA Never mind, just doing the same old vanishing act that my ADD mind doesn’t always pick up on.

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  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Biden was +27 in the 18-29 age bracket. This improves over Hillary’s +19. (source: https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/11/politics/election-analysis-exit-polls-2016-2020/)

    Yeah, people often get more conservative as they get older, but this is quite the baseline, isn’t it?

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  33. charon says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think that Covid may have worked in Trump’s favor in large parts of the country, despite the mounting dead. Biden is telling people what they need to hear — that we have to take our medicine and that things will still be grim for a while — while Trump is telling people what they want to hear — that it’s nothing and we can all go about our lives like normal. And while the media isn’t showing bodies stacked like chord wood, people can put their heads in the sand and believe what they want to hear.

    Yes, exactly. The explanation of why Trump’s approval has held up in face of his inept handling of a pandemic.

    And while the media isn’t showing bodies stacked like chord wood, people can put their heads in the sand and believe what they want to hear.

    I wonder if that is sustainable in face of the current situation in the midwest (WI, IL etc.), in the northern great plains (ND, SD, NE IA etc.), northern rockies (ID, WY, UT, MT etc.). It is going to really suck having a heart attack or stroke while the hospitals are full and turning people away.

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  34. charon says:

    @charon:

    turning people away.

    Turning ambulances away, no edit function dammit.

    ETA: So too late an edit button shows up.

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  35. dmichael says:

    This comment might fit within Dr. Joyner’s post about Georgia or this one by Dr. Taylor. My wife and I went “off the grid” cabin camping in a remote location here in Oregon through Monday and Wednesday. It was to get away from the noise from the media (all of it) about this election. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long enough. The first “narrative” was that Trump was winning (as of Tuesday night), the second that the Dems did not have the “blue tsunami” that some had expected, and the third has been that while the Dems did not do as well as expected, Biden did quite well. As of right now, everyone posits that the Senate will remain under Moscow Mitch’s control. EXCEPT that it appears that both senate races in Georgia will have a run-off election that might change the control of the senate.

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  36. Matt says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m not young and I went “Russ who??”..

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  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Sure, and in that same record Blue turnout cycle you not only failed to take the Senate, you also lost seats in the House. If you’re fooling anybody with that tripe, it’s only yourself.

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  38. gVOR08 says:

    @mattbernius: From your 538 quote,

    Biden isn’t “pulling ahead at the last second”

    It’s been really bugging me when they say things like that. It feeds the Trump narrative that somehow Dems are creating these late votes. With any luck, Biden is sitting quietly in his basement sipping a well deserved glass of merlot.

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  39. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Locally, Lounsbury definitely falls into that camp, and HL92 flirts with it, but Andy, Jim Brown 32, and Mu Yixiao seem to be more “Dems need to broaden their appeal” without suggesting kicking anyone out. I may be misinterpreting one or more of them — I use propensity to mention “identity politics” as my dividing line.

    In my case, your description is accurate.

    The Democratic Socialist wing of the Democratic party is kind of like how Libertarians were to the GoP in the pre-Trump era. There’s always a tension between the true believers at one end and the moderates at the other. Move too close to the middle and the DSA people are gonna not vote or vote Green or whatever. Move too close to the DSA wing and moderates might swing to the other party, not vote or go third-party. I don’t think anyone knows what the optimal balance is, but it is a balance – it’s certainly not a zero-sum calculation as some have suggested.

    My personal view is that all else being equal, biasing toward the moderate side is likely to be the better course because it can not only gain moderate votes, but also deny those votes to the other party. People constantly debate about going after swing voters vs going after the base, but I think the reality is a successful party has to do both. And doing that requires some compromise.

    Back when we had coherent parties with actual leadership that had the authority to negotiate and then enforce compromises between inter-party factions, this is how winning coalitions were formed. Those parties don’t exist today – the parties are primarily brands and fundraising instruments that have no actual control over their members. And we live in a saturated media environment where there are no real gatekeepers anymore, so it’s difficult to give potential voters a tailored and appealing message. Plus the opposition has its own messaging.

    And partisan messaging by both sides often takes the most extreme views in the opposition camp and then paints the entire coalition with that brush. That’s just politics. It’s what appears to have happened with Trump peeling away Cuban, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and some Mexican Americans by focusing on the socialist parts of the Democratic party. That was smart and effective on their part.

    I’m actually not sure there’s really an answer to this. The Democratic party can’t force the DSA wing to play nice because the party has no actual authority and the DSA wing has its own constituency. The only real option that I can think of is better counter-messaging or going after other demographics. That requires really understanding those constituencies.

    If there’s one area where I think Democrats frequently make a mistake, it’s preferencing the opinions of elites and academics over the people working in the trenches at the local level.

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  40. @Michael Reynolds:

    Biden is ahead by 4 million votes so far. It could hit 5 million.

    Indeed, it will be at least 5 million and it likely to be quite a bit more. Some estimates I have seen go as high an 8 million. (Based on 52% of the pop vote and 155 million votes projected cast).

    We will have to wait and see, but this is exactly the kind of fact that I am talking about. People can construct narratives that this somehow bad for Dems or get snowed by the EC and it the binary way it makes us think about state populations, but the reality is that this is a remarkable gap and means a lot more positive things for Biden and Dems than it does negative ones.

    I am kind of amazed at the notion that the way things are shaping us is to construed as a near-disaster for Dems.

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  41. @Gustopher:

    The title of Dr. Taylor’s post is “Facts over Feelings”, but the fact is that most people vote their feelings.

    BTW: no argument from me on that.

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  42. @HarvardLaw92:

    you also lost seats in the House

    This is true.

    But, part of this is that 2018 was really, really good for House Dems in otherwise GOP districts.

    Also: Trump is the weird incumbent who really increased his vote share and vote total, but lost re-election. Given the projected amount of straight-ticket voting this cycle, plus the above note about 2018, this may not be quite as weird as it seems.

    We will have to have more data to make firmer conclusions, however.

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  43. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: This is a game–a high stakes game but a game nevertheless. In games there is a endless cycle of adaptation and recycling. We are coming up on 20 year of the “Turnout” strategy. When Karl Rove first deployed it–it was a successful adaptation to the previous “Persuasion” model and left the Democrats at a disadvantage. They first tried to continue persuading (because we always fight the last war at the beginning of a new war) until Obama went with a turnout model and beat the Republicans at their own game. Now, 12 years later its clear that no one Party can dominate the other with massive numbers or a string of winning cycles to entrench their vision.

    Both Parties have wrung all the juice out of turning out the choir to vote for their Pastor. The next innovation on a Persuasion model will provide the Party that develops and deploys it a 3-4 cycle run before its grows into a stalemate like we currently have. It will then be a window for a new innovation and a prize of dominance for the victor.

    Sure, it appears Democrats won the cycle–but they under performed. The heavy favorite wins in a split decision. Donald Trump 4 years ago was the 2nd most unpopular candidate to run for President ever and did nothing to expand his popularity. He was supposed to lose. The margins were too slim, Dems lose house seats and need OverTime to have a shot to win the Senate.

    As far as Democrat’s platform, here is the bottom line. The threshold for young people to make enough of a living to think about starting a family is far, far, far too high. If you are a responsible young person, it takes advanced Degrees (B.A’s are the new H.S. Diplomas) or advanced Trades which require significant resource investments that youngsters have to pay back. Shit, you can maybe think about starting a family responsibly and with the necessary resources around 30–that’s 2 freaking long. Kids are staying home with Mom and Dad until their late 20s now.

    The economic system we live is great for efficiently maximizing profits–it ignores the human factors of the people in the system. People need certainty, and a relatively short rung to climb to a comfortable income level where they can provide a quality living experience for their families and take a vacation every year. This should be the Democratic platform–you can build countless policy positions and story narratives off of it. Sure, mix in a little culture war stuff to taste–but this is basically what farmers and city folks want. There are simply too many rent-seekers and gate keeps in way guarding the current system.

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  44. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Indeed, it will be at least 5 million and it likely to be quite a bit more. Some estimates I have seen go as high an 8 million. (Based on 52% of the pop vote and 155 million votes projected cast)…

    …I am kind of amazed at the notion that the way things are shaping us is to construed as a near-disaster for Dems.

    Sure, but when it comes to actual power, the popular vote doesn’t matter unless it results in winning actual seats.

    I think it’s undeniable that expectations weren’t met. Perhaps when all the data is in we can rationally debate whether those expectations were justified with the benefit of hindsight. But some things we can conclude now, such as the amount of time here spent debating the merits of things like packing the SCOTUS and adding DC and PR as states turned out to be irrelevant and academic.

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  45. charon says:

    Some setting of narrative:

    https://twitter.com/TheRealHoarse/status/1324914377552703488

    Rupert Murdoch is even more mercenary than Trump – and has never gone bankrupt.

    Trump is getting ghosted.

    https://twitter.com/RosieGray/status/1324911207279710208

    Laura Ingraham now saying, “If there is no path for Donald Trump’s second term, it doesn’t mean the end of the America First movement.” It’s clear now that Fox prime time has gotten the memo.

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  46. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    We will have to have more data to make firmer conclusions, however.

    This.

    Lots of strong conclusions around. Very little foundation.

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  47. Lounsbury says:

    @Andy: As the Democratic Socialist Wing seems to rack up votes in areas already quite Democratic, and is packed geographically, a cold calculus given losing votes elsewhere in your geographic electoral model, is they are a net loser. Getting ultra dominance in your urban areas loses broadly and serves little purpose.

    Cherry picking perhaps ideas and repackaging in moderate form to appeal to the centre is more likely structurally to win wider under the actual electoral model.

    But it entertains that the Left-Left commentariat who confidently opined socialist no longer scared, that riots were not impacting opinion and eventual vote were so typically in ideological affirmation land.

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  48. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Donald Trump 4 years ago was the 2nd most unpopular candidate to run for President ever and did nothing to expand his popularity. He was supposed to lose. The margins were too slim, Dems lose house seats and need OverTime to have a shot to win the Senate.

    @Steven L. Taylor rebuts your argument before you made it. Or prebuts, I guess.

    I would add that Trump did expand parts of his support, and lose other parts — it wasn’t as static as you are suggesting here, and you’ve pointed out parts of it elsewhere. Latinos went from 25% to 35% or so. That was matched by a loss of old people, and declining white male vote.

    Beating an incumbent is hard. We expanded the Senate, and lost a little ground in the House. And both Democrats and Republicans turned out a crapload of people.

    I still think the pandemic may have actually helped Trump. I don’t know how to test that hypothesis though. Were voters more motivated by Biden saying that with hard work we can beat this, or by Trump saying it’s not a big deal? If I didn’t know much about it, I know which I would rather hear — I don’t like hard work and sacrifice.

    The time when NYC had to dig up a park to bury the dead just to put them somewhere is past us, and there’s lots of space to put bodies in North Dakota, so it doesn’t make great news. The pandemic has become invisible to most people, even while the numbers are going up, up, up.

    So, Biden likely won, and we gained seats in the Senate, and lost a couple in the House, all while running on a message of shared sacrifice. “Elect me, and things will suck,” Biden says, and still likely won. That’s pretty good.

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  49. Gustopher says:

    @Lounsbury: Except there are a significant number of Bernie voters in the primary who then supported Trump, at least in 2016, when Trump was running on economic populism. And the current policies Democrats and Republicans have both embraced — free trade — has put a lot of pressure on small American factories, and resulted in a conservative backlash (despite the Republicans having the same basic policy — find the differences between NAFTA and USMCA…).

    So, we have some expectation that economic populism is not as toxic as you think, and some expectation that shifting to the center isn’t going to help. We just need to rebrand left leaning policies top make them more palatable. Socialist Redistribution becomes “industrial policy”. Etc.

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  50. @Andy:

    Sure, but when it comes to actual power, the popular vote doesn’t matter unless it results in winning actual seats.

    I think that the final percentage for Biden and the gap in popular votes will matter symbolically in terms of the oft-discussed repudiation issue. Which is not nothing because it will influence strategic choices by both parties going forward.

    And it will matter to the longer term narrative.

    I think it’s undeniable that expectations weren’t met.

    If one’s expectations were Florida and Texas going blue, sure.

    The 8 point pop vote gap, for sure.

    But here is where we are headed: Biden by the pop vote margins described and it is looking like 5 states flipped in the EC, to include two previously long-term red state (one in deep south).

    Biden will have won the presidency and retained control of the House (but yes, with fewer seats, which really doesn’t matter). The only material shortfall will be the Senate, and the outcomes in those races don’t represent some weird outcome.

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  51. Tony W says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    “Feingold 2.0”–a young, honest, casually charismatic, socially liberal, fiscally responsible, approachable, and actively engaged person who’s going to work across the aisle and understand the concerns of the middle.

    Sounds like Mayor Pete to me.

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  52. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There seems to have been some serious polling misses in Senate races, notably Maine, Iowa.

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  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would suggest comparing the results in Georgia, specifically the comparative between Trump / Perdue and Biden / Ossoff as a starting point. It’s illuminating.

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  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It actually does matter, a great deal. To see why, you need to remove Trump from the equation and ask yourself how the election would have gone with respect to Congressional seats without Trump in the mix.

    I’ll maintain that if the party continues over the next two years as it has over this cycle, you’re going to get an answer to that question in 2022 – and you will not like it.

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  55. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I see your Biden/Ossoff vs. Trump/Perdue and raise you Florida’s $15 min wage (61-38) vs Trump (51.2-47.8.)

    The only reasonable approach at the moment is to wait and see how things turn out. Otherwise, preferences guide your interpretation.

    It actually does matter, a great deal. To see why, you need to remove Trump from the equation and ask yourself how the election would have gone with respect to Congressional seats without Trump in the mix.

    And do what with this unknown other than assume?

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  56. Unsympathetic says:

    Bernie Sanders: “We need a federal minimum wage of at least $15/hr”
    Joe Biden: “I beat the socialist”

    Florida: Votes for $15/hr statewide minimum wage and not Joe Biden.

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  57. @HarvardLaw92:

    you need to remove Trump from the equation and ask yourself how the election would have gone with respect to Congressional seats without Trump in the mix.

    But that’s kind of impossible, yes?

    Unless I am missing your point?

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  58. @HarvardLaw92:

    I would suggest comparing the results in Georgia, specifically the comparative between Trump / Perdue and Biden / Ossoff as a starting point. It’s illuminating.

    As of 7:50pm eastern, the results are currently:

    Biden 49.5%
    Trump 49.3%

    Perdue 49.8%
    Ossoff 47.9%

    Care to elaborate on what you find especially illuminating? Are you suggesting that the 1.6 point difference between Biden and Ossoff means something profound?

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  59. @charon:

    There seems to have been some serious polling misses in Senate races, notably Maine, Iowa

    There appears to have been a number of misses. I say “appears” because to really know if there was a miss, and by how much, we will need to know the final vote totals.

    A reckoning will come, the exact nature of which will have to be based on data.

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  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    They’re actually

    Trump 2,454,552
    Biden 2,462,099

    Perdue 2,455,477
    Ossoff 2,362,705

    Trump and Perdue are essentially identical, while Ossoff received 99,394 fewer votes than Biden. The difference appears to be comprised of Democratic voters who bit the bullet and voted for Biden in the presidential race, but either voted Libertarian (52,637 differential Presidential to Senate) or just didn’t bother voting at all (45,832 differential Presidential to Senate) in the Senate race.

    I see two possible reasons for that: either Trump was so uniquely bad that voters turned up specifically motivated by that race alone, or Republican messaging successfully turned them off to Ossoff. Probably a little of both, but the salient point is this: You had a more than sufficient number of motivated blue voters at the polls to take the Senate race, but they either rejected your candidate or didn’t care enough about the race to vote in it at all.

    There was no appreciable defection or loss of motivation at all with regard to Republican voters in both races. The data makes it clear that essentially every Republican voter who turned up to vote for Trump also voted for Perdue, so your voters and your voters alone lost that one for you.

    If you expect to avoid getting shellacked in 2022, you’d do well to start asking yourselves why instead of interpreting this election as a validation of farther left politics.

    Jim has it correct – in an election with a uniquely unpopular incumbent, Dems barely, and I do mean barely, squeaked out a win. I’m glad that they did, but let’s not pretend that this was a validation of Democratic politics. This was a rejection of Trump. You guys have a lot of work to do.

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  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. A significant chunk of Florida’s population earns less than $15 per hour now. If you ask someone – regardless of their political leaning – to vote on whether they should be paid more, only a fool would expect them to vote no.

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  62. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:
    @mattbernius:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    In the mortgage process we collect an enormous amount of data. Old address, new address, income, past income stream, assets, debt, liens, legal proceedings as currently apply to the address, FICO score, FICO score history. Granted, it is a point in time snapshot – a very rich snapshot.

    The amount per transaction is enormous. I cannot think of a transaction that generates more verified data associated with one individual. Bank loans maybe. Retail banking.

    Yes, a super self-selected set, but so juicy. Wealthy enough to solicit. Exploitable.

    It is daunting. It is scary from security and privacy concerns.

    It is *extremely* valuable to data vendors, miners, and aggregators.

    The enormity made my job interesting. The complexity made it fascinating. Integration, presentation, creating the appropriate structures to support the presentation layer.

    We hardcore separated personally identifiable elements from analytically useful data under threat of law and half a dozen US gov’t agencies, and our our own legal department.

    What marketing did with it was so banal. Rightfully so. We sold mortgages. If you received a solicitation to refinance in 2006/7 part of that was my doing.

    We made more money off selling data than we did off the transaction or the servicing. That is the dirty secret. But the real money is in the secondary market. Trading MBSs.

    It was an odd month if I had not been solicited to jump ship to an aggregator. ChoicePoint no longer legally exists so I can say a hearty Fuck You to you and screw your business model.

    I was party to the US financial collapse in 2008. Trading in dicey MBSs was a direct downstream effect of my efforts.

    I was a party to the collapse of one Icelandic bank in 2009.

    Neither was intentional.

    Data without narrative is noise (and a metric shit ton of busy work). Data without proper restraints can be and has been a means for capitalism to cannibalize the citizenry to the point of economic disaster.

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  63. @HarvardLaw92: I am not sure why you think the raw totals tell a different story. The math that leads to the percentages is still the same. In fact, I think the fact that you focusing on raw numbers and not percentages is skewing your interpretation.

    The notion that an incumbent Senator running less than 2% than the Democratic challenger in the presidential race is a harbinger of anything doesn’t really make much logical sense.

    It is hard for me to see how that gap translate into

    If you expect to avoid getting shellacked in 2022, you’d do well to start asking yourselves why instead of interpreting this election as a validation of farther left politics.

    All you may be proving is that another Republican likely would have won GA’s EVs. No argument from me here. But what the Senate vote shows, actually, is that the Democrats have made significant ground in GA beyond the presidency. I don’t expect the Dems to win those Senate seats, but the run-offs will be competitive. If that ends up being the case, is that not evidence of Dem growth in position in a previously red state? The fact that the Reps are going to sweat these contests suggests yes.

    And I expect the Dems to lose House seats in 2022, at least that’s the safe bet going on historical patterns, but so much depends on how many competitive seats there. The Senate will boil down which seats are up for grabs (I haven’t looked yet).

    Due to polarization and especially our institutions, power is going to ebb and flow between the two sides. And it often a lot more about institutions and rules (the EC, the Senate, gerrymandering) than it is about whose message resonates with the public on the margins.

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  64. @HarvardLaw92:

    in an election with a uniquely unpopular incumbent, Dems barely, and I do mean barely, squeaked out a win.

    The notion that this is a squeaker is, in fact, narrative over data. You are, I would argue, substituting the time it took to get a win (or focused too much on a given state) and ignoring the overall reality.

    It is not an overwhelming win, but it is shaping up to be not close at all.

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  65. @HarvardLaw92: Let me put this another way: the only way to know if ~99,000 votes is a lot is to put it in context of the population you are examining, which is why percentages are a better way to assess the relative and comparative significance of the number.

    Beyond that, you are imbuing an awful lot of significance and guidance into less than 2% of the vote.

    You may be right, but the notion you can undergird your conclusions with these data is quite tenuous.

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  66. de stijl says:

    The reason many are calling it a “squeaker” is that PA was legally prohibited to count mail-in votes until election day.

    It is system delay caused by law (a really stupid law IMO).

    Biden won convincingly even by EC metrics, but it took days to tally.

    A slow big win is a big win.

    Steven describes the nonsense of the EC in another thread.

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  67. Har says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    No, I am calling it a squeaker because it was one. Biden won based on flipping some combination of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona. Four of those five he carried by less than a 1% margin.

    WI 0.64% 20,540 vote margin
    MI 3.29% 146,123 vote margin
    PA 0.62% 41,223 vote margin
    GA 0.21% 10,195 vote margin
    AZ 0.60% 19,348 vote margin

    Whether it takes 20 minutes or 20 days to arrive at those numbers, they are the definition of a squeaker.

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  68. @Har: If 2020 is a squeaker, what was 2016?

    And why does 2020 mean to you that the Dems have a ton of soul-searching to do, when I don’t see you harping on the Reps in similar fashion.

    And yes: the EC turns a clear majority in a more narrower contest.

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  69. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The raw totals prevent you from ignoring the truth that’s hidden behind percentages.

    In a year of record blue turnout, in which you had more than sufficient blue votes to flip a Senate seat, your own voters basically said “FU” and walked away. Republicans didn’t deny you the seat. Your own voters denied you the seat. Tapdance around that all you like with percentages, the numbers do not lie.

    And sure, I expect Dems to lose House seats in 2022. What shouldn’t have been expected in this cycle was for them to lose as many as they have (projections are now running to as many as 12).

    In any case, I’ve devoted more attention to enabling your pontification than I probably should have (I’m quite sure there will be any number of child threads spun off from this one in which you reset the playing field by repackaging the same argument into a new container.). If you think this cycle was a validation of Democratic policy perspectives (as opposed to a rejection of Trump) and you consider it to have been a victory, by all means keep running the same playbook. When you lose the House in 2022, perhaps that’ll motivate reconsideration.

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  70. @HarvardLaw92:

    The raw totals prevent you from ignoring the truth that’s hidden behind percentages.

    That’s not how math works.

    In any case, I’ve devoted more attention to enabling your pontification than I probably should have

    My apologies for having forced you to read my writings and for engaging with you in good faith.

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  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    A squeaker in the other direction. Trump won based on similarly tiny margins in WI, MI, and PA.

    I don’t need to harp on the Reps. Despite having the worst incumbent imaginable hung around their necks, they still overperformed in this cycle and their electorate displayed pretty concise solidarity. Dems outspent Republicans by 5 to 1 in some races, and still managed to lose them.

    You may not like their messaging. Hell, *I* don’t like their messaging, but I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t – and isn’t – effective. At the end of the day, simple, targeted messaging is effective. The wonky, complex explanations Dems try to sell as policy initiatives are 1) lost of most voters who have neither the time nor the interest in wading through them, and 2) immediately drowned out by Republican messaging.

    Basic problem? Democrats are dominated by a cadre of intellectuals, who package their messaging to convince people like themselves, and a cadre of far lefties, who either can’t or won’t grasp that by pushing themselves to the front of the stage, they’re giving the GOP the ammunition it needs to decimate the party as a whole. Coordinated strategy is nowhere to be found.

    Short version: Democrats have forgotten how to speak to Middle America. The messaging is by turns either arrogant or inflammatory, and neither of those win elections. I’ll be honest here: Trump alone won you this election by being as bad as he is. Had he not been on the ballot, you’d have lost it. It’s really that simple.

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  72. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It’s difficult not to. You generate so many threads, and the others so relative few these days, that if one wishes to engage here at all, it’s difficult to do so while still avoiding you or your content. I’ll be perfectly honest in saying that the primary reason that I’m rarely here that much any longer is the degree to which it has become the Dr. Taylor show. Take that for what it’s worth.

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  73. @HarvardLaw92:

    Take that for what it’s worth.

    I suspect I do.

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  74. @HarvardLaw92: If you want to argue that Democrats need to work harder because the institutions are stacked against them, you would be correct.

    But to argue that the party that has now won the national popular vote seven out eight times since 1992 is out of touch is problematic. Especially when you are implying that the party that has lost the popular vote 7 of 8 times is in touch with America.

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  75. @Har: In fairness, yes, those states are close, so let me acknowledge this. And yes, they could have gone the other way. So you have a point there.

    But your position seems to be that that party that lost 3 million votes in 2016 and will lose 5 million or more in 2020 is the one that is in touch and the one that has more national support is out of touch.

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