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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.




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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm guessing you missed one: If you voted for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elsaf, Dave in Northridge, dskoe, Smoh

    Senator McGovern over Nixon and President Carter over Reagan you may have also backed Jimmy over Ford?

    I think a political party's confidence can be as predictive as a place kickers' or someone shooting a free throw. In 1984 I really wanted Vice President Mondale to unseat the incumbent, but I thought he would be punished for being too honest (score one for me that I'd rather have been wrong about!). In 2000 and again in 2004 I was sure the United States would see things clearly enough to pick the better leader. The earlier loss hurt, but the later ones were honestly crushing. By 2008 I was almost afraid to hope.

    It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

    by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 05:53:22 AM PST

    •  I'm not proud of this, but... (5+ / 0-)

      I voted for Ford over Carter. At the time, I felt I had no idea who Carter was. He was Southern. He was an evangelical Christian.

      Boy was I wrong! Jimmy Carter has been my personal hero for the last 30 years or so. I voted for him against Reagan.

      I learned something about looking beyond labels in that election.

      But, like all my other votes up until Clinton, I picked the loser in the Ford/Carter matchup.

      Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

      by elsaf on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:06:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For a lot of people Reagan made the contrast (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elsaf, a2nite

        between the parties unmistakable. I've never considered voting for a Republican for president ('76 was my first vote), but even into the 1980's in local and state wide elections many times the more progressive candidate was in what I now call the once upon a time GOP. Think Senators Mark Hatfield or Bob Packwood, and sure they came with positions I didn't always agree with (and that was true even before learning things that weren't known then), but they were at least reasonable alternatives.

        It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

        by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:36:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well stated Elsaf! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elsaf

    My first election I could vote in was Mondale-Reagan.  I voted for Mondale, and have voted Democratic in every election since, except in 2000 I voted Nader/Green  ( I know! I know!  My excuse is it was  "safe" Washington State!).

    In every single election I went into voting day thinking that my candidate had a good shot, regardless of what I knew about what the polls or the pundits said.  Well, in 2000, I did not think Nader had a shot at winning, but I thought he had a shot at the coveted 5% popular vote needed to win Federal matching funds in the next election (he didn't even come close to that in a single state), and I thought Gore (who I was rooting for) was a slam dunk over that moron George Bush.

    I think that is just natural human psychology.

    Although most of the polls, and the aggregate did no bode well for Romney, they had Gallup, which historically has been the poll of record, and they had THEIR perceived feeling of momentum.

    I don't think it's that outlandish that they were able to fashion optimism out of these elements.

    Thanks for helping me realize this!

  •  Why? Because it works...at least to some extent (0+ / 0-)

    Why do Republicans insist on this game of psychological warfare of trying to virtually con their way into office? Because, at least to some extent, it works.

    It worked this year to get the national news media to do their bidding, by willingly buying into a blatant con that helps their ratings and readership...and they can just claim they were merely trying to be "objective" by presenting the Republican's claims.

    One thing that hasn't been discussed much here or elsewhere is whether this was at all successfulf for the Republicans.

    In my opinon, it was highly successful for Mittch-A-Sketch Romney. His blatantly obvious con game of a campaign was extraordinariily successfuly in allowing him to con his way into contention.

    If the national media hadn't bought into all of his claptrap, my guess is that the election would not have been anywhere near as close as it ended up being in the end and would not have been anywhere near as close as it appeared to be in early to mid-October, where the national news media, coming off of Romney's debate performance, were reporting all of the spinning and conning by the Romney campaign as if it were the facts.

    President Obama did win, thankfully. However, it's still somewhat scary to me to think how successful Mittch-A-Sketch Romney was in actually conning his way into being a contender. That fact will not be lost on Republicans who, no doubt, will take all of the lying, the distortions the spinning and over-confidence of the Romney campaign and simply try to do it all much more effectively next time.

    Romney may have lost, but he did this country a great disservice is showing how far you can actually get in politiics with nothing but a giant con game.

  •  The pundits said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh

    that we would loose seats in the Senate in 2012.  Superior effort prevails.

    Bene Scriptum, Bene Intellectum.

    by T C Gibian on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 09:19:42 AM PST

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