Fivethirtyeight

Nate Silver wrote one of the best books on probability that will ever be written. The mariner reviewed it a couple of years ago paying tribute to Silver’s explanation of Baye’s Law of probability. It is a rich mixture of analysis, statistics, theory, and human nature. The book is titled, The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction. It was released as a paperback in March, 2015 and climbed to #4 on the best seller list. Silver’s original intent was to show how he had been successful as a handicapper in basketball and baseball but his methods were so pure and correct that he had no choice but to apply his skills to other fields – such as politics. Nate has astounded the world with the accuracy of his predictions. It is with that promotion that the mariner recommends using Nate Silver’s website as a key source of opinion and insight during the 2016 campaigns. His home website, where many articles and projections are available is:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/

An article on Donald Trump’s chances is at:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/donald-trumps-six-stages-of-doom/

Please add 538 to your favorites list. It is one thing to interpret the rhetoric of the politicians, another to suffer the TV pundits, and another to see the elections from your foxhole in the midst of it all. Instead, do a reality check with Nate’s website every once in a while. The information is current and has a freshness and accuracy about it that the reader will find nowhere else.

While poking around in 538’s many branches, the mariner came upon some statistics that just about lock Hillary as the democratic nominee (see:

http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-endorsement-primary/#endorsements )

Some of the older readers may have just a slight memory of the old precinct days when precinct captains had the important job of assuring that voter turnout was in favor of one candidate or another. Rolling up the precinct votes to local, county and state accumulations determined who would go to the party convention or, during the actual election, who may win (remember Joe Kennedy and the Chicago vote?).

These delegates were bound to their candidate for the first round of voting. If no one had a majority, then everyone got out their cigars and went in the back room. The nominee clearly was picked at the convention. After some long meetings, the mariner remembers delegations saying, “Mr. Chairman, the great State of so-and-so switches their votes to Candidate X, the next President of the United States!”

No doubt, the deal making in that smoke-filled backroom was closer to a cattle auction than a debate for the best candidate. Eventually, political parties were forced to yield authority to the primary system we have today.

A study was done in 2008 regarding candidates who were successful in past Presidential elections. It turns out there still is an “invisible primary” that has more influence than the primaries of the fifty states. If the reader thinks back to the last convention during the 2012 campaign, they may remember a few comments about Governors and Senators playing important roles because each of these elected “super delegates” had a vote politically comparable to a State delegation. This collection of super delegates acts very much like the Federal electoral college is intended: If there is a populist surge for a questionable candidate, the super delegates can directly influence the final outcome. The elected politicians and party leaders constitute the invisible primary.

A comparison of democratic candidates shows Hillary historically ahead in the invisible primary:

Candidate   Representatives    Senators      Governors

1 point each        5 points each   10 points each      Total points

Hillary Clinton     105                145                      70                       320

Joe Biden               1                                             10                         11

Martin O’Malley      1                                                                             1

Bernie Sanders                                                                                     0

The citizenry has a difficult time redirecting its nation when redirection is needed. What can be said? Power yields only to greater power – something not owned by the citizenry EXCEPT AT THE BALLOT BOX. Citizens truly must be determined to have the government do their bidding.

Ancient Mariner

 

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