Best intentions waylaid by blogging: Dawkins, Scalia, Clinton and Trump

I had a good morning; long run and a delightful lunch with a dear friend, where we caught up on our personal lives and discussed the events of the day.

So, I figured I’d study some, and yes, it isn’t evening yet. So I might still do that. But for now, some on the events of the day:

Antonin Scalia has been found dead in West Texas. No, I didn’t like his rulings nor his politics nor his social views. But he had friends and loved ones, and there is no doubt that he was a very smart, successful man. I’ll never see anything close to that level of success. So I’ll leave my remarks at that.

Richard Dawkins had a stroke, but his prognosis is excellent. Here he gives a public update.

Politics The uproar over Hillary Clinton’s e-mail is mostly political nonsense. I am NOT saying she handled this optimally (politically speaking) but it really is a non-issue.

Republicans Ok, it is down to Trump, Carson, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, and Bush. Who will prevail? Right now, Trump is in the driver’s seat. Sam Wang discusses this here, in terms of delegates and how the GOP assigns them after a primary election:

Given the results in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as national polls, if the Republican front-runner were a more conventional candidate we would be writing about near-inevitability. Donald Trump is in a very similar position to Mitt Romney’s at this point in 2012 – if anything, a somewhat stronger position. In 2012 Romney lagged at various points to other candidates. For Trump, this has not happened since he entered the race.

Nonetheless, what would it take for Trump to fail to get the nomination?

With the Republican field so divided after New Hampshire, the path for anyone other than Trump requires nearly all candidates to drop out. Multiple candidates want that to happen. For example, Ted Cruz thinks it is time to unite around one candidate: Ted Cruz. And so on. However, after getting 3 or 4 convention delegates each on Tuesday, Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio all have reasons to stay in. Under these conditions, Trump wins.

Many political journalists have a wrong understanding of the early-state delegate process. It is not proportional at all, but what I call pseudo-proportional. As suggested by my computational simulation of the delegate process [the code is here], in a field of four candidates, an average-across-states vote share of 30% is enough to get 50% of delegates through Super Tuesday. That’s an average: the winner could get 20% of the vote in Texas and 40% in Georgia, and so on. Donald Trump is well on track for this scenario: he won 24% of the vote in Iowa and 35% in New Hampshire. As of today, he is at 36% in national surveys.

The not-Trump scenario occurs if Republicans cull their field, fast. […]

Surf to the article to read the detailed, but highly readable analysis. It is interesting.


February 13, 2016 - Posted by | Friends, political/social, politics, science | , , ,

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