In the two weeks since Election Day, the theme around here has been "Ha, ha! You thought you had a shot. But Nate Silver was right -- you didn't!"
Yes, Nate Silver was absolutely right. I wasn't surprised. I woke up Election Day thinking "Barack Obama is going to win a second term," and went to bed knowing I was right.
But, it's hardly surprising that Republicans -- politicians and voters alike -- thought they had a shot at winning. They have to think like that, or why bother getting out of bed on Nov. 6?
The first time my side won was Bill Clinton. I picked the wrong candidate consistently from the time I was old enough to vote, until an obscure Arkansas former governor won the White House in 1992.
I remember all those disappointments clearly. I voted for McGovern over Nixon -- and thought my side had a shot. I voted for Carter over Reagan -- and thought my side had a shot. I voted for Gore over Bush -- and thought my side had a shot (well, in that case, we actually did). I voted for Kerry over Bush -- and thought my side had a shot.
I thought my side had a shot because I'm fundamentally an optimist, and what's the point of holding an election if the outcome is determined before the polls open?
The only way Obama could have been absolutely assured of victory would be if the election were rigged Saddam-style. (Saddam got more than 100% of the vote in his last election. The whole election process was a bad joke.)
The losing side has to have a rational for saying it's still a tossup, even though a majority of polls show them losing. They HAVE to find a way to believe they can still win. Part of that is human nature, part of it is the simple fact that if they appear to have lost hope their voters won't bother to go to the polls.
So, they convince themselves that the polls are skewed. They say the guy who is saying they're going to lose is biased for the other side. They close their eyes and plug their ears and sing "La-la-la-la-la-la!"
But, at the end of the day, besides what all but imperceptible influence Election Day confidence has on the electorate, it doesn't matter one little bit.
So, why are we so obsessed with rubbing their faces in the fact they were wrong.
They were wrong. We know it because we won the election. Their protests that they should have won mean nothing.
I personally congratulate Nate Silver on an election well called. But I don't think the fact that he called it is particularly significant.
Pollsters don't decide elections. Voters decide elections.
The focus on Nate Silver is just a distraction.
So, Joe Scarborough was wrong? When was he right?
Carl Rove was wrong? You're surprised?
Sean Hannity was wrong? Yeah, that's the way it usually goes...
Newt Gingrich was wrong? Since 1979, baby!
Mitt Romney was wrong? You're surprised the guy who strapped the dog to the roof of the car doesn't know what's happening?
Nate Silver was right. But if he had been wrong, would the election have turned out differently? Of course not. He reports what he sees in the data.
So, can we move on now? If we want to be on the winning side in the 2014 midterm elections, we need to concentrate on developing viable, progressive, Democratic House candidates to challenge every single incumbent Republican. We won't win all those seats, but we need to take as many as possible --and try to take over the House.
I've seen pundits predicting we won't be able to do that already. But the pundits don't matter. We still have to try.
The only poll that matters will happen in November 2014. Gallup, PPP, Quinipac, and even Nate Silver are just window dressing.