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Nate Silver over at fiveThirtyEight has a new article entitled The 2014 Election Is the Least Important in Years.  Now I have a lot of respect for most of the work Nate Silver does, but I find this article rather peculiar.  I even have more respect for him since he stopped publishing those, don't worry be happy, articles about Climate Change.

Nate Silver has a very good reputation for taking a hard numbers approach to everything from politics to sports.  So I was bit curious as to how you could show hard numbers to demonstrate something so subjective as the importance of an election.

He starts out with this:
 

It would be easy to blame voters for their apathy, but perhaps they could use a breather. The past 14 years have featured a number of exceptionally exciting elections with control of the federal government at stake. This year, it probably isn’t.
So the basis of his argument is that because the Republicans hold the house and will probably keep it, control of the Senate for the next 2 years just isn't that important. He goes on to talk about the importance of the checks and balances of the congress and the White House.
The table below documents the disposition of the federal government after each election since 1980: which party controlled the White House, and whether the opposition party exercised a check on power by holding at least one branch of Congress.
Nate understand the role the Senate plays in confirming Supreme Court justices, but control of the Supreme Court just doesn't seem that important to him since he only mentions it once.
Furthermore, the Senate has the sole authority in Congress to approve Supreme Court nominations, along with Cabinet appointments and treaties. There’s the prospect of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or another justice retiring within the next two-and-a-half years.
I'm sorry Nate, but if you don't think control of the Supreme Court isn't every bit as important as control of the congress and the White House, you haven't been paying much attention lately.

Conservative courts have, Appointed a president, dismantled the Voting Rights Act, and all but legalized bribery to undercut our very democracy, just to mention a few of the pathetic rulings they've made lately.  I think you can easily argue that Conservative Supreme Courts have done more lasting damage to our country than the conservative congress.

If the Republicans take control of the Senate, they will deny President Obama the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, if the need arises.  They will hold BS hearings and drag them on until the Presidents term is over, if he nominates anyone other than another Roberts or Kennedy.

What else will a Republican victory do?

Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! It'll be the Republican Benghazi show 24/7 as the Senate nuts team up with the house crazies and the right wing propaganda machine to attack Hillary and the Democrats for the next 2 years.  And the main stream media will go along and report on the hearings no matter how ridiculous they become or how big the lies are.  And it will have an impact on the general public and the 2016 elections.

Climate change!  How loud do the constant warnings from scientists have to get?  How many Katrinas and super storms and 1000 year floods, and biblical droughts do we need before we take action?  Will a Republican Senate take action to save a future for us and our children?  No!  Every action President Obama takes to try and mitigate the effects of the train wreck we're heading for, will be met with legislation from a conservative group of scientific liars who's dishonesty is only trumped by their extreme greed and selfishness.

The ACA. No, the Republicans aren't going to repeal the ACA, that's not how they do the bidding of their Oligarch masters.  A death by a thousand cuts.  They'll cripple it by cutting the administrative budget, or by cutting into the subsidies for policies, or by cutting the coverage requirements of insurance companies.  They'll cripple it until it breaks, then they'll say, AH HA!  We told you it wouldn't work.  And one day when they gain full power, they'll transform the ACA and probably Medicaid and Medicare, into a wealth transfer program that transfer wealth from poor and middle class sick people to powerful giant insurance companies.

Local and state elections. The Koch brothers, through their mega Pacs and their private governmental arm ALEC, have been corrupting local and state governments to change the very rules of democracy so the Oligarchs can hold power without the annoying bother of the little people trying to vote their minions out of office.  And remember that it's the Republican governors and state legislatures that have denied Medicaid coverage to millions of Americans, that will result in the deaths of thousands.

So NO Nate, you're wrong!  Not only is this election important, it is literally a matter of life or death to some people living in Republican controlled states.  And it may determine the future lives and deaths of our children as they face a climate as radical as the Republicans that left it to them.

As long as the Oligarchs own an irrational, greedy, and heartless political party that undermines our very democracy, EVERY election is not only important, it's critical!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hasn't it been well established that Nate (27+ / 0-)

    has gone off his rocker (in general?).

    And more specifically, about this election - just like the past 7 or 8, it is indeed the most important one in a generation, if not  an entire lifetime.

    With the possible exception of 1966.  I mean really, who has even the foggiest idea what happened that year?

    •  I wouldn't be too rough on Nate (16+ / 0-)

      He really went a bit crazy with his Global Warming, soft denialism, but when he starts working the poll numbers and sticks to the numbers, he's quite good.  The question is, can he stick to the numbers or is he going to let his weird views get in the way.

    •  Not really... (9+ / 0-)

      He likes to be a bit contrarian.  And also he's got a libertarian streak to him. So when he strays from numbers, he sometimes likes to pick a fight and he sometimes likes to be a bit provocative.  Also once he's in a fight (per Twitter), he doesn't stop.

      Despite his quirks, I continue to pay attention to him for statistical analysis. For big picture political analysis and value judgments, he's no more an expert than the rest of us.  

      I think his numbers-based analysis is useful for understanding the enthusiasm gap, and for his take on the structural problems that may prevent us from winning or holding some southern Senate races, even if the Democratic Party is starting to show signs of a heartbeat in GA, KY, AR, etc.  He throws a little cold water on what seems sometimes to me to be excessive optimism. (Although this should not depress our enthusiasm for voting, donating, volunteering!)

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:08:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  1966 (10+ / 0-)

      There was blowback for Medicare, unpopular like Obamacare, and probably even more so blowback for civil rights. I think this was the election that suggested to Republicans that they could pick up all the conservatives by running on race, and that's still the essential strategy.

      We just can't tell in advance which elections are consequential. Nobody thought in 2000 that the election mattered much, and Bush and Gore let people think there was little difference between them. That turned into the most consequential election of my lifetime, though  there's a case for 1980.

    •  I don't think he's gone off his rocker (8+ / 0-)

      He's good with numbers and making predictive models.

      Where he's not so good is drawing conclusions about the numbers in fields he's not an expert in.

      There's no numerical model you can create to decide that "The 2014 elections won't be very important" so claiming that based on a numerical model is somewhat foolish.

      Krugman has some great analysis in that you can't just throw numbers out there - you have to provide context and understand why the numbers are important.

      Otherwise you get into ice cream sales spike in summer, crime spikes in summer therefore ice cream sales lead to crime.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In fact, he seems to know next to nothing about (0+ / 0-)

        anything except the numbers.

        Thus his tendency to insist that the numbers establish what must be, rather than what will be, unless someone does something to change it.

        Long ago, the tried to predict the weather this way.

        Then computers got powerful enough to model the dynamical systems that give rise to the weather -- and the statistics-based approach died. (I'm told, however, that it's experiencing a bit of a resurgence, now that we have enormous, high-resolution databases and computers powerful enough to deal with that data.)

        Silver's approach to political prediction is the same. He is indifferent to any changes in the characteristics of the dynamical system that is electoral politics.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:50:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Krugman right on as to why I dont like the new 538 (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, pollwatcher, Deep Texan, orestes1963
        Krugman has some great analysis in that you can't just throw numbers out there - you have to provide context and understand why the numbers are important.
        It really feels like a total data dump, with half-asses analysis at best.

        As a scientist, we see this all the time, especially with genetics.  Oh, let's sequence the entire genome of population with a disease and look for all the mutations in there.  Well, we'll find so many that we don't know what to do with them.  Data alone is just numbers.

        There needs to be context, as Krugman says, and I find it lacking on 538.  Despite the fact that Nate Silver thinks we can apply data analysis and statistics to everything, there are certain things were physical experiences and emotions mean more.

        "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

        by mconvente on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:16:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  some things you just can't quantify (0+ / 0-)

          And deciding the "importance" of elections may be one of them, at least for now.

          But it's kinda worse than that.  When a scientist, or a number cruncher goes out of their way to put a number on something you really shouldn't, how many in the general public are going to buy into it because it has someone with respect behind it?  Now if 97% of the professional political number crunchers tell me this isn't an important election, and they show me the data, I'll gladly change my mind and admit I'm wrong.

      •  i think you could make the argument (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher, bryduck

        that since it's almost certain to return divided control of the Congress that it's the election least likely to upset the status quo since forever, as even if Dems retain the Senate there's no chance of getting to overcome filibusters on legislation.  but that doesn't make it unimportant for the reasons the diarist laid out.  It does need, however, an extra argument that the consequence of 2 more years of Republican legislative veto points means Obama would be more aggressive at that point in pursuing executive actions, which is the only sense in which i can see it playing out.   Not a perfect substitute in any case.  

        I think Silver's usually pretty good at going beyond unimportant correlations and avoids inferring causation -- it was after all the subject of his book.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:42:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If they control the Senate (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mokurai, Garrett

          then the efforts of executive action will be MUCH harder.

          Every time the President issues and executive order, the house and Senate will attach an amendment to a very popular piece of legislation, and he'll be forced to either reverse his action, or piss off a lot of people.

          I'll guarantee this is how it will play out.  The President is going to be forced to make a ton of decisions like, sign into law something that cracks down on NSA spying, and stops all Solar/wind incentives offered by the government.  For 2 years the Republicans will reverse many of the gains of the last 6 by attaching a gazillion amendments to extremely popular pieces of legislation, and many here will blame Obama and the Dems for reversing course.

          You simply can't ignore the powerful, powerful politics that comes from controlling both the house and the Senate.  And you can't deny the willingness of the Republicans to do ANYTHING to regain power.

          (I don't mean "you" personally)

          •  true, but in the scheme of things, (0+ / 0-)

            obnoxious amendments are small relative to the fact any further progress is effectively stymied since the Scott Brown election.  Relatively unimportant isn't the same as totally irrelevant.  

            My point is simply that while the differences between the parties have never been greater, Nate's prediction is sensible if understood as a prediction of likely outcome.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Wed May 14, 2014 at 01:19:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Rachel Maddow just highlighted a Web site (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher, Garrett

        about that.

        Rachel Maddow 05/12/14
        Secret link between bed sheets and skiing?

        Rachel Maddow shares charts of questionable data correlations from the Spurious Correlations blog to make the point that while some correlations are coincidences, others are not.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:48:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nate's got some work (9+ / 0-)

      to do to restore any credibility with me. Stopping publishing the climate change denial bullshit is really not doing very much--now he needs to post some real science based reporting on climate change and after a while of that I may start taking him seriously. A numbers guy that ignores overwhelming evidence and science? Sheesh.

      You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

      by gnothis on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:43:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think he cares what you think. (0+ / 0-)

        He has his own site and you are on DKos discussing him. A clear win for him. And he is not alone on climate change. Check the polls and opinion pages.

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:54:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I care what I think (6+ / 0-)

          and I believe those who I think I can trust--based on what they do as well as what they say. I have no illusions about Nate Silver giving a shit about me or even knowing I exist. I'm a little confused about your comment: because there are other climate denial loonies I should take Nate as credible? Because he has a website and I'm just commenting on dkos he wins? What is it that he wins?

          You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

          by gnothis on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:03:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That you take him serious enough to take him on. (0+ / 0-)

            And we are losing the climate change debate/politics. Look around my friend. We can call them "loonies" all we want, but we are not winning elections on climate change nor the debate. Nate is more in the mainstream on this than we are. Most would consider us the "loonies'.

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:11:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well that maybe so (0+ / 0-)

              but I still get to decide who I think is credible or not. It's not my fault we have a horrible fourth estate that serves to misinform and confuse rather than to give people accurate information. One of the reasons I come to this site, and maybe you too, is to get valuable and accurate information. For now, I am not going to go to Nate's site because he's shown he's open to lies, misinformation, and distortion.

              But I agree that my political beliefs probably seem loony to many Americans. I'm certainly not mainstream--I keep to the banks so it's easier to go against the current.

              You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

              by gnothis on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:29:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are missing out on some good info. (0+ / 0-)
                For now, I am not going to go to Nate's site because he's shown he's open to lies, misinformation, and distortion.
                By the way, DKos has it's fair share of the last two, misinformation and distortion.

                New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

                by AlexDrew on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:32:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Fortunately Global Warming is not a question for (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gnothis

              public opinion. What counts is what technology and markets demonstrate about real money.  We do not need Congress to act in order to switch over from fossil carbon to renewables, because costs have plummeted and are continuing to do so.

              Investments in coal are now a losing proposition. The big analytical companies, most notably Goldman Sachs, and the financial press (apart from the Wall Street Journal editorial board) are all in agreement on this. Extraction companies are of course in denial. However, energy generating companies that do not own large mines or oil and gas fields are gradually becoming converts to wind and solar.

              We doubled renewable energy generation capacity in the last ten years, and will do it again and again until we reach carbon neutrality. That includes electric cars and trains, and biofuels for trucking and airplanes.

              Then we will have to go carbon negative for perhaps a century afterwards. Presumably by then we will know how.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Wed May 14, 2014 at 12:14:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed he's not (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher, CenPhx, orestes1963, gnothis
          And he is not alone on climate change. Check the polls and opinion pages.
          Fortunately science isn't settled by polls and opinion pages.
          •  But that matters when you are trying to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Alice in Florida

            fix the problem. Public opinion matters.

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:18:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I care what he thinks, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gnothis

          In my diaries, I care what everybody thinks, as long as they're civil to everybody here.

          I checked those polls and opinion pages, and a majority of people believe Global Warming is real, and it's man made.  When you're in the minority disputing something supported by 97% of scientists, good luck with earning any respect.

        •  Yes, he does care what we think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher, gnothis

          particularly when we go and post it on his site, not just here. The backlash on several bogus 538 pieces has been huge and on the whole remarkably well-informed.

          He also cares what Krugman thinks.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:54:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  1966 was the start of the rise of the right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher

      The New Deal/Great Society Era peaked during the two years the election of '64, when LBJ crushed Goldwater and the Dems won huge congressional majorities.

      Medicare, The Voting Rights Act, etc. soon followed.

      Then the R's made huge gains in the 1966 midterms. While the Dems began to splinter over Viertnam and Civil Rights, Then in 1968 Nixon was elected, ushering in 20 out of 24 years of GOP control of the White House.  

      Nixon's election also began the transformation of SCOTUS away from the more liberal Warren era towards the Oligarchial nightmare it is today.

  •  1966. who has the foggiest idea what happened (26+ / 0-)

    I remember it very clearly. It was the first indication that the GOP was on its way back to regaining public approval after the shellacking it took in 1964. The GOP picked up 3 Senate seats, 47 House seats, and 8 governorships. Democrats still held both houses in Congress, though, which is a huge difference from the situation today.

    One of those new Republican governors was a guy named Ronald Reagan.

  •  Every election is important (24+ / 0-)

    even if the only thing you get out of it is the momentum for the next election.

    Every vote is important, for the same reason - a partisan district will never become winnable until enough people vote in a losing election to show there is a chance of winning it next time.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:28:06 AM PDT

    •  To add (0+ / 0-)

      it is also impossible to determine the importance of an election until it is over.  Even if there are no changes in control of congress, who sits in the congress can be a very important change.  If the moderate[sic] republicans are killed off for TPers, that would make this election very important.  

      My guess is this is just clickbait.  It's the first time I've seen his name mentioned in a while.  

  •  I'm afraid Silver might be a perfect example (34+ / 0-)

    of somebody who is a stellar technical specialist—in his case, data-crunching, to use an imprecise term—who nonetheless exhibits glaringly obvious blind spots once the question involves the bigger picture.

    •  Nate Silver = Rain Man (12+ / 0-)
      Doctor: Ray, can we try something?

      Raymond:
      Yeah.

      Doctor: Do you know how much 312 x 123 is?

      Raymond: [saying digit after digit] 3-8-3-7-6.

      Doctor: [amazed] He's right.

      Charlie: What?

      Doctor: He's right!

      Charlie: He's right?

      Doctor: Yeah.

      [the calculator shows 38376]

      Doctor: Ray... How much is 4343 x 1234?

      Raymond: [saying digit after digit] 5-3-5-9-2-6-2

      Charlie: He's a genius...

      Doctor: Right.

      Charlie: He's a genius!

      Doctor: Ray! Do you know how much a square root of 2130 is?

      Raymond: 4-6 point 1-5-1-9-2-3-0-4.

      [the calculator shows 46.15192304]

      Raymond: 2-3-0-4.

      Charlie: That's amazing! He is amazing! He should work for NASA or something like that.

      Doctor: [walking to Raymond] If you had a dollar... and you spent 50 cents, how much money would you have left?

      Raymond: About 70...

      Doctor: 70 cents?

      Raymond: 70 cents.

      -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

      by sunbro on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:46:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That strikes me as a bit ableist. Most people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FishOutofWater

        have strengths and weaknesses. There's no need to insult autistics here. It isn't autistics who are out there promoting dangerous ideas about voting and climate change.

        •  That is your interpretation. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueMajority, mconvente, CenPhx

          The point is that just because you are a genius at one thing does not make you a genius with regard to all things, even things that are seemingly related.

          For example, B.F. Skinner was a hell of a thinker in psychology and brought us advances in that field. But if you trusted him to create an entire society that worked well, he would not have fared so well. His ideas outside of behaviorism were a bit over the top and unworkable.

          -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

          by sunbro on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:02:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, what does that have to with autism, (0+ / 0-)

            then? Why bring autism into the picture at all? As you and I both agree, there are lots of people with strengths and weaknesses that aren't autistic. Sorry, but it looks a lot like you're mocking autistics there, and you haven't really disproven that point. It's also not that hard to say, hey, I wouldn't want it to come across that way, even if it wasn't your intent to mock autistics. Instead, you throw in a red herring.

            •  Mocking autistics? (0+ / 0-)

              That's a heck of an accusation.

              If you have a problem with the movie "Rain Man", the script, and Dustin Hoffman's loving portrayal of an autistic man, then give the producers, writers, and actors of the movie hell, not me.

              You are the one who believes that the script of the movie mocks autistic people. I do not agree with you.

              -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

              by sunbro on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:54:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "To mock" - definition: (0+ / 0-)

              "To tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner."

              scorn·ful
              ˈskôrnfəl/
              adjective
              adjective: scornful

                  feeling or expressing contempt or derision.

              con·temp·tu·ous
              kənˈtem(p)CHo͞oəs/
              adjective
              adjective: contemptuous

                  showing contempt; scornful.
                  "she was intolerant and contemptuous of the majority of the human race"
                  synonyms:    scornful, disdainful, disrespectful, insulting, insolent, derisive, mocking, sneering, scoffing, withering, scathing, snide;

              Therefore, my point is, I was laughing with someone, NOT at someone.

              Moreover, I like Nate Silver and I like autistic people too. One can recognize imperfections in others' thinking and still have a loving heart.

              -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

              by sunbro on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:34:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe the problem was that (0+ / 0-)

            your dialog did not illustrate your point. It showed someone who was good at complex math and bad at simple arithmetic, which is not at all like the Nate Silver problem--Nate is brilliant at number-crunching and not so hot at political/legal/social analysis. (Do autistic people have trouble with simple arithmetic? I don't know, but if they do, then your comment could be interpreted as making fun of autism).

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:09:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I did not prove my point with my analogy, (0+ / 0-)

              then poets are REALLY in trouble.

              Moreover, my post merely quoted the script of the movie "Rain Man", and by the way, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not seem to believe that it made fun of autism in a mocking way:

              -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

              by sunbro on Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:51:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The point is that he's really good (8+ / 0-)

          at quantitative but not so much at qualitative. He's smart, but not wise.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:09:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Best description of the new 538 I have read (0+ / 0-)

      Spot on.  Despite the fact that Nate thinks "data uber alles", it is simply not so.  Experiences, emotions, context -they all matter

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:19:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Which recent elections were less important? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjbleo, Mindful Nature, shrike, AlexDrew

    Silver mentions the past 14 years as being a timeframe that had many exciting elections, so which elections since 2000 have been less important?

    Silver isn't saying this election is unimportant, just that there is nothing special that makes this more important than recent contests.

    •  he says it's the least important, which is strange (8+ / 0-)

      He uses the switch of the presidency or the congress as a measurement of "importance", but I strongly disagree.  IF you can even measure the "importance" of an election there are FAR more factors that have to be considered and which he ignores.

      I think it's very peculiar that anyone would even write an article about this election not being as important as previous elections.

      •  Silver is entirely correct (6+ / 0-)

        Which other one is less important?  ONE of them has to be bottom of the league?  Only 2002 comes to mind.  

        The house won't change thanks to gerrymandering, the Senate seems unlikely to switch though it might.  President isn't up for election.  All indications point to a bloody stalemate.   Unlike 2006 and 2010 there is no suggestion of big changes coming.  None of the presidential elections were less important

        So frankly, is has to either be 2014 or 2002.  

        •  The Supreme Court is at stake (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude, pollwatcher

          It's hard for me to rank in terms of importance, but they are all important.  The likelihood of a Supreme Court pick and the horrible consequences that result from a senate in GOP hands make this a very consequential election.

          But maybe you are right.  I just think that the concept of ranking the elections in terms of importance is odd... which is not your problem, it's Silver's.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:49:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Silver is entirely wrong :) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          orestes1963

          There simply is no way to measure something as subjective as an election.  The consequences of elections can last for decades (we're still paying for Reagans mistakes).  And the opportunity costs are impossible to measure (how very different might things be today if John Kerry had won?).

          It's like trying to argue, what number is more important, 5 or 15?

          •  It's not about consequences with him, (0+ / 0-)

            it's about setting odds. From a betting person's perspective, this is not a particularly exciting year.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:25:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  2002 is the only one that could possibly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher

          be called "less important" of the ones since 2000

          but even 2002 was important because people were so stunned after 2000 and 9/11 and the beginning of the afghanistan war and the run-up to the Iraq War

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:37:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  2002 is close (0+ / 0-)

          Dems lost the senate though, remember?  1998 comes to mind, except that was a total referendum on impeachment.
          1990?

          However, the problem is in discussing this as a single election.  Several consequential governors races and senate races, in states not used to them, GA-Sen and Gov, TX-Gov, KY-Sen, PA-Gov . . .

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:45:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  2002 was huge (0+ / 0-)

            George W. Bush used his post 9-11 popularity to campaign for GOP candidates and win control of the Senate. It was unprecedented in a first midterm.  With that total control of government, the GOP passed additional tax cut bills, other conservative legislation, and was able to build momentum for the Iraq war.  Also, without any control, Dems were powerless to hold committee meetings and hearings on the war.  The GOP held that control in the 2004 election, and used it to appoint Roberts and Alito to the Court.

            If the GOP wins the Senate in 2014, you can be assured that Ginsburg will either have to stay on the court for another 2-3 years, or she will be replaced by a justice less liberal than her.  A GOP Senate will never allow a justice as liberal as Ginsburg to even get out of committee (that said, I think they would filibuster anyway, so maybe Nate is right, and 2014 does not matter for the Court).  And, you can be certain that they will not permit Obama to appoint the replacement for one of the GOP justices, should something happen to one of them.  They will delay, filibuster, and/or run out the clock.  My guess is that they'd rather pick the poison of a Hillary appointment than an Obama appointment.  Hillary is much more easily bought.

            This is a big election.  When you have the kind of partisan, narrowly divided politics that we've had since 1992, ALL elections are huge.  A side note:  every election is an opportunity for someone to step into the limelight (Obama in 2004).  If either party finds the next Ronald Reagan, a candidate with great charisma and cross-party personal appeal (and no, despite "rockstar-like hope and change" Obama was not that person), they will fundamentally change this country for a generation.  That person could rise and shine in any national election.

    •  each election since 2000 has been, in turn, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher

      the most important election of our time

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:35:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps his comment is better understood (0+ / 0-)

      as describing the election from a sporting point of view, which is essentially his way of looking at politics. He doesn't care about the government functioning, just about whether the data show somebody looks likely to beat expectations, something that the data shows but the pundits seem unaware of....the way it was with Obama's re-election, which was not at all assured early in the year.

      The fact that Congress as presently constituted is broken and dragging down the economy, not to mention blocking action on climate change and a raft of other important issues, is not Nate Silver's department.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:18:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nate put in print what rank-and-file (15+ / 0-)

    Democrats have been behaving like in the lead-up to this year's elections. Hell, even some candidates and leaders have been sitting back on their laurels believing that magically (at least here in Texas) the state will turn Blue. Our county party is shifting focus to Hillary in 2016 and the Dem Govs are squirreling away money for "later."

    It's starting to piss me off how stunningly lackadaisical Team Blue is behaving. It's almost as though they prefer letting the GOP win now so they can grab a presidential election down the road. To hell with the current situation and the need to win back BOTH houses with that victory.

    Ugh.

    •  I looked at those numbers (4+ / 0-)

      and they're pretty disappointing, BUT, those numbers have changed a lot over the summer before an election, so it will take a lot of work, but we can turn those numbers around and have a real surprise in Nov.

    •  yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      The sufficient 2012 election results let a lot of Democrats ignore the substantial number of older, economically conservative-ish voters who were in the 2008 Obama voter coalition but balked or walked away from the Party in mid/late 2010.

      Right now there seems to be an attitude within the Party election apparatus of not quite accepting this to have been real.  If Democrats soft-pedal, maybe like in 2012 we'll get lucky and/or these people won't vote, or vote our way.  Of course, to believe these people gone and about to show up again as Republicans in 2014 means the election outcome will be painful, and if they do in 2016 the election outcome then will be narrow and hard-fought even if the numbers favor Democrats overall.  

      Long story short, I think some major Party insiders aren't emotionally over the 'centrist' voters.  It'll take the kick in the teeth the insiders get from these voters at the ballot box, either this fall or in 2016.  But a lot of Democrats vaguely sense it coming.  We haven't quite gone on to the next thing, though, which is getting more young, new, and female voters.

  •  I Soured On Nate Silver In 2010 (8+ / 0-)

    He was starting to become more conservative after President Obama was elected.  He got the numbers right in 2012, but so did PPP and Huffington Post pollster.  Nate Silver has never been a democrat.  There were more right leaning comments on his blog than left leaning.  I knew something was up then.  If he wants to stay relevant for polling than he will stay with the averaging of the polls which we know ends up being right in the end even if the polls are skewed.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:37:39 AM PDT

    •  It's Not Unknown for a Conservative Voice to (4+ / 0-)

      emphasize Democratic prospects for the purposes of getting the attention of rw strategists and tacticians. I don't know that there was ever any evidence Nate was non rightwing, only non-evangelical-publicly-batshit.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:51:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  lolwut? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dksbook, AlexDrew, MKinTN

        Nah, it's not like he didn't get his start on some liberal blog we all know and love.

        This kind of crap is getting ridiculous.  Purity tests ahoy!

        Everyday Magic
        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
        -- Clarke's Third Law

        by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:42:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's said he would have voted for someone with (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dksbook, happymisanthropy, mconvente

          qualities of the last Libertarian candidate and Mitt Romney. That makes him conservative-leaning, no matter where he started off writing. It's not a purity test when someone is openly supporting other parties. That doesn't mean he's an impure Democrat; that means he's not a Democrat at all.

          •  Which is relevant to statistical analysis... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ivorybill, AlexDrew, Loge, CenPhx, Deep Texan

            ...how?

            Everyday Magic
            Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
            -- Clarke's Third Law

            by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:15:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If he stuck to statistical analysis (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stude Dude, mconvente, CenPhx

              it wouldn't be relevant.

              His blog is posting stuff like the "global warming isn't going to be expensive" and "2014 election isn't going to matter" crap.

              He's gone from creating models to punditry essentially. Because his numbers accurately predicted Democratic wins people think he must be a liberal.

              It's very important to out fake liberals because otherwise lazy orgs like CNN or biased orgs like FOX will point to people like Silver and say "see, even liberals think climate change isn't that bad."

              When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

              by PhillyJeff on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:34:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tell ya what. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AlexDrew, CenPhx, Deep Texan

                Go back to wayback.org and read the old articles from pre-NYT 538.  There was never a time he didn't engage in punditry -- he just used data that we liked to make points we mostly agreed with.  Again, I agree with the point of pollwatcher's diary that he's wrong, and pollwatcher uses as much data as he possibly can to make the point of why Silver is wrong.  But this bullshit in the comments about "Silver's wrong because he's a libertarian/conservative/some-category-of-people-I-dislike" is...well, bullshit.  You know it, I know it, and I hope that the otherwise intelligent people posting said bullshit know it as well.

                I'd also like to see even anecdotal evidence that "out[ing] fake liberals" stops Fox or CNN from being shitty news orgs.  MInd you, I'm not saying that rooting out false flag type stuff isn't something that we should be doing, but it's not like every news org everywhere doesn't still refer to people like Dick Morris and Lanny Davis as liberals or Democrats.

                Everyday Magic
                Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                -- Clarke's Third Law

                by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:51:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  You just said he wasn't a conservative. You (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, CenPhx

              were wrong. Then you create a strawman. Did I ever say it was relevant to statistics? I'm sorry if I sound grumpy, but you've argued a falsehood over and over in this thread. It's gotten old.

              •  Because his views generally aren't conservative. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CenPhx

                By your logic, every Democratic candidate that calls themselves a Democrat is one (like those state Senators in NY), never mind the fact that the reason why we say "more and better" is because not all claimed Democrats are actually Democrats.

                If I'm wrong, it certainly wouldn't be the first or last time I have been so or will be so, but you've done absolutely nothing to show that I am wrong.  If what I'm saying has gotten old, nobody's forcing you to read or respond to me.  Like I just said -- just because someone says something, doesn't mean their actions state something completely different, unless you enjoy reading and responding to things that are "old".

                Everyday Magic
                Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                -- Clarke's Third Law

                by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:49:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  He's trying to build his new website (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv, dksbook, TrueBlueMajority

      He's still feeling his way through what needs to be done to make a legitimate political website.  No matter what his personal views, if he starts going right wing in his columns, I think he will be severely disappointed with the respect he may want.

      But I don't think this column is really political, it's just extremely naive.

    •  Libertarian (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, mconvente

      I get a rather Libertarian vibe from him. Didn't he once describe himself that way?

    •  I wouldn't call him all that conservative... (13+ / 0-)

      He's a little more of a left-of-center libertarian.  Also he's a U of C grad, and they pump that Milton Freedman crap into them with such force that it takes decades to dissipate all of it.  He's always going to look for market rationality in the way he interprets data.

      I think we should be very careful of the assumption that he messes with outcomes in order to promote his brand.  I think he's fundamentally honest, particularly when it comes to numbers-crunching.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:17:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (6+ / 0-)

        Dude was a liberal superpower when we liked the numbers and he posted here as poblano.

        The second he says something we don't agree with, well, he's always been a conservative/libertarian and he's wrong, of course.

        Leave the unskewing to the Republicans, people.

        Everyday Magic
        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
        -- Clarke's Third Law

        by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:43:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's not a Democrat anymore. He said in the last (4+ / 0-)

          election that, ""I'd say I am somewhere in-between being a libertarian and a liberal. So if I were to vote it would be kind of a Gary Johnson versus Mitt Romney decision, I suppose."

          Why the heck are people in this thread refusing to believe his own words? Your guesses are not more meaningful than direct quotes from the man himself.

          •  And who gives a sh!t? (4+ / 0-)

            I read him for his statistical analysis, not because I need a new best friend.

            As many have mentioned, his opinions on issues that cannot be statistically proven are of no more value than any of the rest of us.

            What bugs me is the way we take someone's actual or imputed position on some left-right spectrum and decide based on that, whether we agree with matters of evidence.

            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

            by ivorybill on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:09:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Uh, apparently the people who said he (3+ / 0-)

              wasn't a conservative give a shit. I didn't raise the issue, so you could stand to be a little less insulting. Or, perhaps, you could insult the people who brought up the issue instead of me.

              •  I was unnecessarily harsh to you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CenPhx

                and I apologize.  

                I get frustrated though when some (perhaps not you) call into question empirical evidence based on the ideology of the person presenting that evidence.  To be clear, I don't necessarily agree with Silver's big picture analysis - but he has a history of accuracy in terms of prediction and methodology.  

                And sometimes I read people with whom I disagree or claim to be conservatives, if they are not too doctrinaire and if they are at least somewhat open to evidence - Andrew Sullivan would be a good example.   Some on the left - not necessarily you - tend to close themselves off to others due to ideology, and it pains me to see Silver dismissed in this way rather than parsed to see what he has to offer that is useful, versus what is pure opinion.

                But my comment was a bit rude, and I did want to apologize for that.

                “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

                by ivorybill on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:09:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  None of which... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AlexDrew, mconvente, CenPhx, Deep Texan

            ...changes whether or not he's correct on his data-backed points, which is the argument many here are making.

            Everyday Magic
            Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
            -- Clarke's Third Law

            by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:15:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Did you read the diary? The diary is not about (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy

              his data points. If he's promoting a dangerous message, that should be addressed. The diary wasn't about his data points, so why are you responding to the strawmen you've created rather than responding to the actual diary?

              •  Read the article the diary is addressing. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AlexDrew, CenPhx, Deep Texan

                Nate's backing his analysis with data.  pollwatcher does the same -- showing why Nate is wrong using data.  Nate's political leanings have nothing to do with it.

                I was specifically addressing the posts I was responding to, and no intellectually honest person could disagree with the fact that those responses are saying that Nate is wrong because he was never a liberal, which has nothing to do with why he's wrong.

                Everyday Magic
                Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                -- Clarke's Third Law

                by The Technomancer on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:44:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  every econ department in the country (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        teaches at least some Milton Friedman.  U of C has more conservative leaning professors than others, but the school as a whole is not that way.  Students are too diverse and individualistic -- if he went to George Mason, i'd buy it.  His poll aggregation does reflect, however, something of a weak version of the efficient market hypothesis (no one firm can beat the market over time but can in the short run), but he's also of the view that most baseball teams had no idea what they are doing.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:52:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Guess he's turning into another hack (15+ / 0-)

    who will post outrageous stuff just to get page hits.

    Here in Texas, I can guarantee you that the Republicans know exactly how important the 2014 elections are.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by nomandates on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:44:00 AM PDT

  •  Every election is important (13+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:47:22 AM PDT

  •  Signs He's a Conservative or Libertarian Are As (7+ / 0-)

    old as his activity on this site. But since he was accurately predicting Democratic electoral prospects people seem to have overlooked the relatively few philosophical remarks he would make from time to time.

    To the right, this year isn't terribly important nationally because they can't regain the White House, nor can they gain impeachment conviction strength in the Senate.

    On the other hand the Court is already rightwing, and they have enough strength to prevent a Democratic nomination being confirmed to the Court. There is no prospect anyone can forsee about the right losing so strongly nationwide as to allow importantly progressive national economic legislation to pass any longer. So the right has no progressive change to fear very soon.

    Any time a public figure seems confusing, frame them as a conservative if that's not already the broadly agreed diagnosis of them, and generally speaking it will become easy to explain their messages and policies.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:48:54 AM PDT

  •  nate understands numbers (21+ / 0-)

    he doesn't understand politics or policy. he's embarrassing himself.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:52:55 AM PDT

  •  Don't forget impeachment! (4+ / 0-)

    The house could impeach Obama for being president while black, and a Rethuglican Senate could convict.  (I'm too lazy to look it up, though:  does a conviction require a simple majority or a 2/3?)

    "In 20 years, the GOP will be small enough to drown in a bathtub." - me

    by estamm on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:59:26 AM PDT

  •  Just call me Cassandra (5+ / 0-)

    On Nate Silver writing about the 2012 election the weekend before it took place: "Is Obama Toast?" A diary that got NO recs.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:12:52 AM PDT

    •  It's got a couple now. eom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, mconvente
    •  The weekend before it took place? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yang Guang, Deep Texan

      Sorry to burst the bubble on this one, but that diary is dated Nov. 4, 2011 -- not 2012 -- and the link goes to an article published by Nate Silver on the previous day, Nov. 3, 2011. That is, one full year before the election. I also followed the link in the diary to the original article, which makes this bold claim:

      Obama has gone from a modest favorite to win re-election to, probably, a slight underdog. Let’s not oversell this. A couple of months of solid jobs reports, or the selection of a poor Republican opponent, would suffice to make him the favorite again.
      This was not at all a far out thing to say at the time. I recall in late 2011 a lot of people were predicting that, because of what was widely perceived as Obama's terrible performance in the budget battle, along with other disappointments, he could be vulnerable in 2012.

      I'll agree it's not a great article ... rather pointless space filler it seems to me. But not wrong or extreme (with the exception of the headline). And mostly, it was not a week before the election. In fact, by October of 2012 Nate Silver's model had Obama winning as in the high 90-someting percent range. He was clear that barring some major unlikely event, he would win easily. Which was correct. I remember because just like in 2008, regular visits to his site helped keep my panic moments low.

      It's interesting to me too how much "attacking the messenger" has been going on lately regarding Nate Silver. When he was saying things we liked hearing, he was very popular. Now he's persona non grata and picking apart his predictions, his writing, his politics, etc. have become very popular. Of course he has chosen to expand the range of issues he comments on and that his site publishes about, so some of that is to be expected. But the animosity directed at him personally has been surprising.

      •  So much for commenting before coffee. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ivorybill

        Thanks. It was still a waste-of-time article because elections don't work the way the thought they did.

        Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

        by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:17:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nate Silver knows how elections work (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dave in Northridge, Deep Texan

          OK, Dave, you made me go read the entire boring six pages of Nate's old article. :) Let me say first, I agree that the article appears to be space and time filler in November of 2011. Six pages of analysis to come up with "we don't know what's going to happen" is not really meaningful to most readers.

          However, your idea that Nate Silver of all people doesn't know how elections work is clearly incorrect. His models have been extremely accurate, which is why he became so successful, and he could not do that without a detailed understanding of how elections work.

          A couple of things you seem to have missed in those six pages:

          Figuring out how Obama is performing in individual states and how this translates to the Electoral College, for instance, requires a fair amount of attention to detail. But it is premature to do that now.

          ...

          By combining these factors — approval ratings in the year before the election, G.D.P. growth during the election year itself and the ideology score of the opposition candidate — we can come up with a forecast of next year’s election. By design, it is not an exceptionally precise forecast. There are all types of factors that the model does not explicitly consider, among them the possibility of third-party candidates or differences between the popular vote and the Electoral College.

          The article was clearly identified as presenting an analysis that was "not particularly precise" in terms of  the ultimate outcome, and he said  it was intended as a 'big picture' look at certain factors that could impact the next election. Again - boring, yes. Pointless, yes pretty much. No arguments there. But Nate Silver certainly does understand how elections work. There is really no question about that.
  •  So Republican attempts to destroy voting (9+ / 0-)

    rights in the states they control doesn't matter?

    The Republican War on Women doesn't matter?

    Climate Change, our crumbling infrastructure, the composition of the Supreme Court, etc, etc, etc, none of it matters.

    The respect I had for Nate, is gone. Just gone.

    As far as I'm concerned, this election is one of the most pivotal of my long life.

    What Republicans have been doing in the states they control, (Kansas, comes screamingly to mind), they will do everywhere they have the power to do so.

    Getting out the vote is absolutely crucial to prevent them from doing so. It could not be more basic than that.

    Nate's prescription of yawning and saying " never mind"  in the face of what is on the line is stunningly divorced from reality.

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:23:10 AM PDT

    •  I see all of this commenting about his political (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, Deep Texan

      views and it may be that what actually ISN'T important to him IS important to us.  If you are a slightly right libertarian then climate change, voting rights, the war on women and the Supreme Court might not be important.  Thus, he truly doesn't see this election as important.  If you care passionately about those issue it is clearly important.

      "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

      by stellaluna on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:33:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Again, you're saying this assuming (0+ / 0-)

      Nate is a liberal.  He is not.  Just because he accurately predicted Dems to win in 2008 and 2012 does not make him a liberal.

      Since he's not a liberal (rather, more of a technocratic libertarian), then of course he won't care about climate change, or the Supreme Court, War on Women, etc. etc.

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:27:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I take Silver's point and agree to a certain (3+ / 0-)

    extent, but the problem is that national politics is a dynamic affair and it is a miscalculation to think of any one election completely in isolation.

    And in this example, when Dems have excellent prospects of adding seats in 2016, just a few wins in 2014 could help set up a super-majority in 2016.

    That said, I don't think Dems will GOTV sufficiently in 2014 for this to happen.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:26:24 AM PDT

    •  won't GOTV enough? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Satya1

      I'm not sure the Dems won't put in a really big effort to get their people to the polls, but how do you convince people they have to get out and vote?  We've come a long way in identifying who our supporters are and we've got the people to knock on the doors, but we really need to take a hard psychological look at what we can say to get people to get off their butts and get to the polls!

      •  About... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher

        "what we can say to get people to get off their butts and get to the polls".

        I think that's what the beauty of canvasing is largely about.  I've never been at a loss for how to talk to my own neighbors locally.  And I believe most people going door to door, even if somewhat inexperienced, will soon find the narratives and issues to discuss that will get a positive reaction.

        Part of it is civics education too.  

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:22:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nate Silver is an idiot. (6+ / 0-)

    Nate Silver begins his analysis with the supposition that all periods of divided government are essentially equal for statistical purposes. Statistics without context are meaningless, and trying to equate divided government in the 1980's with divided government of the last 4 years is like comparing fire and water.

    For statistical purposes, a more meaningful data comparison for divided government would be examination of the periods when we had a president of one party and a body of congress controlled by the other party determined to undermine and obstruct every appointment and initiative of the president, lie about their intentions, have have no regard for their impacts on the economy of lives of the majority of our citizens. Let's see that comparison Nate.

    Nate's conclusion that this coming election is essentially meaningless demonstrates that while he may be good analyzing the aggregate polls of others he is utterly blind to the political and social contexts of what gives 2014, and every election going forward, meaning.

  •  That's what we were told about 2010. (7+ / 0-)

    How'd they work out for us, Nate?

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:38:44 AM PDT

  •  If Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves the SC, and the GOP (5+ / 0-)

    controlled the Senate, the Conservatives could win every decision by just blocking any replacement.

  •  Nate is shifting his business model to cash in. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente
  •  I agree with Nate (3+ / 0-)

    I also have to laugh that now that he disagrees with the DK community from time to time, he has somehow 'gone off his rocker.'

    As for this election, all it will do, if the GOP takes the Senate, is extend the last two years of bullshit and make Obama buy more veto pens.  It will be awful as a spectacle of Republican lunacy and media nonsense, of course.

    But we retain the WH in 2016 (unless HRC bows out in which case we are hurtin').  And we will win big Senate seats then also.

    •  You may underestimate the "spectacle" (2+ / 0-)

      Look at the popularity of the ACA.  It is still more unpopular than not, why?  Why would anyone not want other people to have health insurance and even get some benefits themselves?  The years of "spectacle" from the right wing propaganda machine and the Republican liars in congress, has taken it's toll.  And when the propaganda machine and House and Senate hearings are constantly pounding Hillary and the Dems for 2 years, their lies may very well make your 2016 predictions FAR less certain.

    •  Tuffie, I agree and have been saying this for some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      time.  While I will do all I can to prevent the Senate from changing hands, even if it does, I see no great upheaval.  The minority (GOP) party is already blocking every important thing.  Except for immigration which they had to pass for their own viability.  After 2014, the House will need to act on immigration as well or they will suffer dire consequences in 2016.

      So if all President Obama gets for his last 2 years is immigration, COOL BEANS!!  The rest of his and the Democrats' time will be spent preventing the GOP from enacting their destructive policies.  They will also spend time paving the way for the next Democratic president in 2016.  

    •  Two more years' delay on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher

      if not regression on the Class War and Climate Change will be HUGE.

      With the help of turncoats and Tories, the opposition could enact disastrous policies and construct enormous barriers to future change in that time.

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:12:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's going to be the case anyway, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        since by all accounts we are nowhere near close to taking back the House.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:31:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You think it's no difference if they have BOTH (0+ / 0-)

          the House and the Senate?

          While I don't expect much if any progress with what we have now, I know that it could be worse.

          I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

          Trust, but verify. - Reagan
          Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

          by Words In Action on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:45:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Only if Obama (0+ / 0-)

            refuses to use the veto power. Then, obviously, it matters a great deal. Otherwise, no. He doesn't have to nominate anyone to the SC if tragedy strikes one of the less-crazy justices, and he doesn't have to do anything other than veto anything that comes to his desk. That kind of thing used to happen a lot in our history . . .

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Wed May 14, 2014 at 02:00:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Impeachment (0+ / 0-)

    Let's face it, if Republicans gain control of the senate, every minute of their time for the next two years will be holding impeachment hearings.  

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:52:58 AM PDT

    •  Even if they don't gain control of the Senate, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, Deep Texan

      the House will probably proceed with impeachment.  They simply cannot help themselves.  It will, of course, doom them in 2016 but they are unable to see that.

      It will not succeed in the Senate, regardless of which party is in control.  A 2/3 vote is required and that will not happen.

      The backlash, however, will be stupendous.  

  •  Silver's genius at quantitative analysis (7+ / 0-)

    is matched only by his sheer idiocy at qualitative analysis. Talk about a one track inside the box mind! He's good at one thing and one thing only.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:02:50 AM PDT

  •  the S.Ct. did legalize bribery in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, happymisanthropy

    McCutcheon, approving bribery of parties. Senator Whitehouse was going to hold hearings. Lose the Senate and there would be no defense of its powers under Art. 1 Sec. 4 and 5. The Senate hasn't responded, but the opportunity would be foreclosed if controlled by GOP.

  •  Krugman posted several excellent takedowns (6+ / 0-)

    of Silver in the last few months.

    Nate is great at making predictive models. I haven't really followed his sports statistics but I presume he was and is great at that too.

    The key with politics is that the pundits didn't understand the statistics. There were plenty of numbers but no one understood them. Nate and a few others were some of the first to really get a handle on them.

    When you go into fields like climate science where people DO understand the statistics, it's different. If you're going to come up with some new breakthrough analysis you'd better know what you're talking about and understand the field a little bit.

    When you're analyzing the effects of an election . . .

    When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

    by PhillyJeff on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:39:10 AM PDT

    •  There are hundreds of brilliant physicists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher

      who are experts at math and statistics involved in climate science. Research meteorology is atmospheric physics. There's a huge gap between your TV meteorologist, who may be an expert on weather forecasting, and a research meteorologist like MIT's Kerry Emanuel. Prof. Emanuel discovered and published the detailed physics of hurricanes.

      Prof. Emanuel is an intellectual conservative who has been forced out of the Republican party by climate change denying bullies. Good scientists don't let politics color their scientific research. Science comes first.

      Nate Silver isn't in Kerry Emanuel's league. Nor James Hansen's. He has nowhere near the intellectual heft of hundreds of the most prominent climate science researchers. Nate should have been smart enough to recognize that he was in over his head in climate science when his opinions differed from Kerry Emanuel's.

      “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

      by FishOutofWater on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:54:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Likewise, there are also statisticians (0+ / 0-)

      who aren't good as pundits.

      I agreed with Silver's numbers/statistics and projections while he posted here but his commentary always showed that he didn't think of them as having meaningful substructure with political consequences.

      That's fairly consistent with a libertarian outlook, i.e. to resort either to the excessively empirical (what is this "social contract" you speak of, which I never signed?) or excessively abstracted (It's not in the Constitution, so it can't be legit) analysis.  

  •  I guess I have to be the contrarian here (7+ / 0-)

    If you actually read his post carefully, his main argument rests on the operation of the chamber, not the politics of it.

    The very high likelihood that the GOP will continue to control the House means that Republicans will be able to block Obama's legislative agenda regardless of who controls the Senate.  Furthermore, even if the GOP takes control of the Senate, it is highly likely it will only be by one vote if at all, and they won't have that many votes to give to push legislation through what would likely be an essentially divided chamber.   Neither party is likely to have a strong ability to push legislation.  The most likely scenario operationally for the Senate in the next legislative session is worse gridlock than exists now.

    You also claim he doesn't think the SCOTUS is important, and yet he has this to say in the article you linked to.

    Furthermore, the Senate has the sole authority in Congress to approve Supreme Court nominations, along with Cabinet appointments and treaties. There’s the prospect of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or another justice retiring within the next two-and-a-half years.
    I'm not saying he's right.  I think it really does matter for some of the reasons you cite, but you're really overstating his main point, which was not a political one.

    Regardless, operational concerns aside, his view on this matter is irrelevant from a purely political standpoint, since any lost seats represent gains for the GOP, and losses for the Democrats.  That's reason enough to think the election is important.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:18:58 AM PDT

    •  I agree with your assessment. I would even go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryduck

      a step further and posit that GOP control of the Senate may actually help the Democrats.

      With GOP control of both the House and the Senate, they will have no excuse for not passing their "agenda".  They will be forced to put their plans on the table.  The Ryan budget?  They will have no excuse not to pass it.  Their base, which they have been attempting to pacify for so long, will demand that a "conservative" agenda be rammed through.

      They will actually have to govern!  The country will finally be able to see the GOP vision for this nation.  I'm betting they won't like what they see.  

      •  Respectfully disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orestes1963

        Why do they have to put their agenda on the table, especially knowing that the President will veto it?  I'll bet they won't do anything of the sort.

        Here's how it will play out.

        They pass a pretty normal budget, except it cuts all solar/wind subsidies and it frees up the KXL pipeline.  What's the President going to do?  Shut down the government?

        They pass a farm bill that increases subsidies to small farmers and cuts more of the SNAP program.  Sign or no sign?

        They pass a tax cut for the middle class and opens up most public lands to oil and gas drilling.  Sign or no sign?

        This is what the next 2 years will be like.  And after 2 years of Obama having to veto very popular legislation, the public is going to be really mad at the Dems, and 2016 is going to be a hell of a fight for everyone.

        •  You are exactly right (0+ / 0-)

          They can put Obama in a very bad position.  Obama is not Bill Clinton.  Clinton was simply more popular and likable by lunch-pail Americans.  Maybe it was because he was white.  Maybe it was because he was a "bubba".  Regardless, when he stood up against the radical Gingrich Congress, he was seen as a hero of the people.  

          Obama will not be afforded the same deference by the people.  He is still seen as "other" by many of them - even some of the ones that voted for him because the GOP tanked the economy, and Romney was so unlovable.  And, perish the thought, Obama will probably not veto popular GOP legislation.  He'll triangulate like Clinton did, and then sign it.  He wants to be loved by the Powers that Be, and to get those big paychecks from the insiders after he leaves office.  He probably wants to play at Augusta National.  Remember, that is how we got welfare reform, NAFTA, glass-steagle repeal, etc..  The Clintons sold us all out, because they wanted to stay president and reap the benefits afterward.

          If the GOP controls both houses (and does't let the crazy run the show), they can use that as a platform to either force stuff down Obama's throat, or build an argument with the people for total control in 2016.

    •  You can't separate the politics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963

      There is a lot more to an election the legislation that might get passed following the election.  The Republicans can't pass anything, and they can and have obstructed anything the Dems want.  But look at the hearing on the IRS or Benghazi, or the legislation the house passes knowing it will get stopped in the senate.  The Republicans know how to use the house as a giant microphone to reach the public for the next election.  If they control the Senate, that microphone will be more than twice as big.

      And for all the reasons I listed above, I simply don't believe you can say that this election is any less important than any other election.  We just don't live in those kind of times anymore.

      •  For analysis sake, I think you can, but I do (0+ / 0-)

        agree that avoiding the politics opens him up to criticism.  As I said, I agree with much of what you said.  I just think you were overstating his argument, and leaving out some important details.  I wanna hold the Senate just in case Ginsberg retires.

        The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

        by ecostar on Fri May 16, 2014 at 07:39:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're assuming Nate is liberal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher

    I think that's why you wrote the diary as it is currently written.  You probably think that Nate actually cares about the ACA being strengthened or climate change or the Supreme Court or government paralysis.

    That assumption is wrong.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:11:32 AM PDT

  •  Are There Unimportant Elections? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, orestes1963

    Kind of like a butterfly flapping it's wings setting off a chain reaction. He shouldn't discount the crisis that would result with most likely the inability to have any Supreme Court nominee approved if the GOP gets the Senate. Does anyone know what happens if SCOTUS produces a 4-4 non-decision?

    He is right as far as legislative gridlock contining. Difference will be there will be hundreds of vetos rather than bills getting passed in one house and not in the other as it is currently. The election will be important as the election of 2016 will occur in the atmosphere set in 2014. That is one big butterfly.

    •  How about a constitutional crises (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo Flinnwood

      What if the President decides to go with a recess appointment to the Supreme Court?  It would get challenged and end up at the Supreme Court.  Now you've got a SCOTUS that decided who the president was in 2000, and now is deciding who will be on the court with them.

      Can Obama simply let the Republicans deny him the ability to constitutionally appoint a member to the Supreme Court?  What kind of precedent would that set?

      This could get really messy.

  •  He's got a point about Obama already being (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher

    a lame duck, because the House constitutes a veto already.

    He's not considering two things:  1)Impeachment and removal requires both Houses; 2)whatever batshit crazy things the House wants to do will get passed by a Republican Senate, so Obama better have his veto pen handy. And I have a hard time imagining him holding the line against Congress with repeated vetoes.

    If there is any good in life, in history, in my own past, I invoke it now. I invoke it with all the passion with which I have lived. --Elizabeth Kostova,

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:21:44 AM PDT

    •  The veto thing is really important (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      As I mention above, it won't be an up or down veto on some bat-shit crazy piece of legislation.  No, there will be a gazillion pieces of very popular legislation with Amendments that reverse the past 6 years, or just push the Conservative agenda.  Obama will have a lot of tough choices to make and a lot of the people here are not going to like some of his choices, and a lot of the American people are not going to like the choices, and 2016 is going to get a LOT harder.

    •  There is no way to get 2/3 of the Senate to vote (0+ / 0-)

      for removal. As for repeated vetoes, I don't see why he can't do it. Possible retirement of one of Supreme Court justices is the only thing that makes this election important. Which can be quite significant, of course. However, we shouldn't forget that Republicans may veto a SC nominee even with the current Senate.

      •  Depends on how many Republicans win seats (0+ / 0-)

        in the Senate, doesn't it?

        If there is any good in life, in history, in my own past, I invoke it now. I invoke it with all the passion with which I have lived. --Elizabeth Kostova,

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 14, 2014 at 02:40:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's talk about realistic scenarios. (0+ / 0-)
          •  At this point, not sure what that would be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FG

            I guess they're not going to win every race. The South appears to be looking more or less OK, and I suppose even Third Way Dixiecrats won't vote to impeach a Democratic president, even if he is black.

            If there is any good in life, in history, in my own past, I invoke it now. I invoke it with all the passion with which I have lived. --Elizabeth Kostova,

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu May 15, 2014 at 12:40:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even if things go very well for them, they may end (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD

              up with 52-55 seats. That's very far from 67.

              •  GOP will have 51 votes in 2015, no more (0+ / 0-)

                WV, MT, ND are already in the bag.  NC and LA are looking good for them.  Mitch will survive in KY, and GA will stay red.  That means they need to win one of AR, AK, MI, CO.  They won't win them all, unless Obama is caught on tape raping children.

                It's either going to be a 50-50 Senate with Biden breaking ties or Angus King defecting to the GOP and giving them the 51st vote, or it will be GOP 51-47-2.

                So, there won't be any impeachment removal or veto overrides, except maybe on Keystone XL.  

  •  "... at least one branch of Congress." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher

    Um Congress is the branch.  It is the Legislative Branch.  If Mr. Silver doesn't understand the concept of a lower chamber and an upper chamber, then he should stick with the numbers and leave  the analysis of everything else to others.

    Every election is important.  It isn't every 4 years anymore.  We have to get out the vote every 2 years.  As the diarist points out this one especially so as it concerns who will sit on our courts (which have been stymied due to noms not being considered) and who will take Ginsburg's place.

  •  Nate Silver has begun.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...his slow slide to Dick Morris-land.

  •  So it looks from on high, i guess. (0+ / 0-)

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