Where the Republicans and Democrats did well: a surprise

Yeah, I am still following the “spat” over whether or not Pelosi should be the speaker. Yeah, she knows how to get stuff done, and it appears to me that the opposition to her is scattered in select Congressional Districts where a conservative Democrat ran, in part, against those “Washington liberals”.

I do not expect it to amount to much, though, yes, we do need to groom new leadership.

Now there are 3 uncalled House races and it appears that the Democrat pickups will be 39 to 40 seats total. Where did the Democrats do well? This surprised me:

I remember a time when the Republicans did better in the higher income districts. Things change.

Paul Krugman has some thoughts and he is not optimistic that this divide will be bridged anytime soon:

here’s a cumulative, self-reinforcing process at work that is, in effect, dividing America into two economies. And this economic division is reflected in political division.

In 2016, of course, the parts of America that are being left behind voted heavily for Donald Trump. News organizations responded with many, many, many profiles of rural Trump supporters sitting in diners.

But this was, it turns out, fighting the last war. Trumpism turned America’s lagging regions solid red, but the backlash against Trumpism has turned its growing regions solid blue. Some of the reporters interviewing guys in diners should have been talking to college-educated women in places like California’s Orange County, a former ultraconservative stronghold that, come January, will be represented in Congress entirely by Democrats.

Why have lagging regions turned right while successful regions turned left? It doesn’t seem to be about economic self-interest. True, Trump promised to bring back traditional jobs in manufacturing and coal mining — but that promise was never credible. And the orthodox Republican policy agenda of cutting taxes and shrinking social programs, which is basically what Trump is following in practice, actually hurts lagging regions, which depend a lot on things like food stamps and disability payments, much more than it hurts successful areas.

‘I Have No Idea How to Tell This Horror Story’
Furthermore, there is little if any support in voting data for the notion that “economic anxiety” drove people to vote for Trump. As documented in “Identity Crisis,” an important new book analyzing the 2016 election, what distinguished Trump voters wasn’t financial hardship but “attitudes related to race and ethnicity.”

So this might be about Trumpism and not about traditional Republicanism.

November 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

Liberal outrage, antics, etc.

Mississippi is having a run off between a Democrat and the Republican incumbent. And something has been made of one of her statements:

In a video posted on Twitter over the weekend, Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi is seen complimenting a supporter by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Ok. Now, of course, a racial angle is being made of it but yes, for much of human history, public executions were a popular event, and still are in some parts of the world.

Now had Hyde-Smith been a high ranking official of a public business, she would probably get fired; collectively liberals have money to spend and the threat of economic boycotts carries some punch.
But this is an election in a southern Republican state and liberal outrage could well backfire; after all, much of current Republican appeal, at least to the non-well off, is “sticking it to the libs”.

I really think that much of our power for social issues rests with spending power; this is why many companies are more progressive than the law requires them to be.

Now about those elections: results are still trickling in and the Democrats DID so well. In terms of popular vote, this was an impressive result. In terms of number of seats gained, this isn’t what the Republicans had in their waves, but much of that was because the Democrats in Congress didn’t lose seats they way the Republicans did in 2006, 2008, 1992, etc. So there were fewer pick ups to be had.

And yes, we lost the “star elections”. But I was fully prepared for that and said so.

And yes, we have our kooks. And many liberals love our kooks.

Update: there is another interpretation to the last story I linked to. Oh, it is couched in the usual millennial “woke” bullshit but the thread makes a valid point: (follow the thread).

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Some thoughts on the midterms

Of course, not all of the elections have been settled. There are mail-in ballots to be counted in some states, some races that have gone into recount, etc. And right now we are looking at probably 37 pick ups in the House, and a loss of 2-3 sets (at most) in the Senate (brutal map for us).

Of course, there as been some “well, the Democrats would have done better had they been more…well, like me” remarks out there. And of course, said remarks are mostly nonsense. 🙂

Some progressives won in some places, and lost in others. In some districts, the successful Democrat ran AWAY from the national others, they ran toward it. Much of it depended on what the district is like, the skill of the candidate, the skill of the opponent, etc. And frankly, the type of region had more to do with it than anything else.

And please, enough of this “women are going to do this or that”. Women are not monolithic. In some cases, white women voted MORE conservatively than white men!

Now, I don’t care for all of the bullshit SJW terms in the article that I linked to, but I think the author’s point is a good one. I’d add that there is a disconnect between what a highly educated woman sees as important (say, a lawyer who got passed over for a partnership) and what an uneducated one sees as important. This The Nation article is from 2016 but I think makes a good point.

And I think that there are other factors as well. For example, Stacy Abrams appears (as of the time of my writing this) to have lost a super close election for the governor’s office in Georgia. And frankly, I thought her visuals were terrible; had she looked like say, my US Rep (an African American version) or like, say, Michelle Obama…she might have gotten that extra 1 percent to have won. That is very superficial but so many things can matter in such a close race. And there is some evidence behind the conjecture that the physical appearance of the candidates matters, even for male candidates. Yes, it SHOULDN’T matter. But in a razor tight race…every minor edge or handicap matters.

November 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

2018 midterms and letdowns…

I wrote this on October 30. It aged well.

Yes, Beto’s Texas campaign paid dividends for some in House races, and yes, the Democrats did pull off some upsets in House races and flipped some statehouses. Not every result is in, but we have at least 220 House seats and will realistically pick up 7-10 more.

But some have mentioned that there is sadness, and it isn’t about the “genuine political stars” going down in flames.

Gin and Tacos wrote a post “I know why you’re sad.” And no, that isn’t it for me.

For me, almost every election, I end up voting for people that, well, I’ve worked for much of my life to AVOID being like them. Some of it is serious (e. g. the corrupt Senator from New Jersey), some absurd ( the unqualified but mega-rich governor elect of Illinois) and some of it petty (obese and in debt) Yes, I voted for one of these (though not in the primary) and would have voted for the others, had I lived in those respective states.

I suppose the dirty secret is that I really don’t like many that I’ve made political alliances with. At times, it appears that some who vote the same way that I do celebrate underachievement. Many can be just as sanctimonious as any religious nutter.

But, ultimately..I’ll let a Brit describe how I felt:

Note: I do not pretend it is any better on the other side. And yes, when I complain how the Senate gives way too much power to small states (small in population), I have no desire to listen to someone with a business degree from Bo Diddly Tech “splain” to me that “We are a Republic, not a Democracy”.

Workout notes: glorious but slow 10K run through Bradley park; leaves, hills, morning sunshine.

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics/social, running, social/political | | Leave a comment

No, Nate Silver was NOT wrong about 2016 and forecasting the 2018 midterms

By the way, for what it is worth, I voted early in the 2016 midterms and participated in a GOTV for swing districts program. This program requires you to print out some form letters, add a note and mail letters; it takes about 15 minutes for every 5 voters and costs you 1 envelope and 1 stamp per voter.

This HAS been shown to make difference in terms of voter turn out; the good news is that you don’t have to plug a particular candidate; just urge them to VOTE.

And yes, I vote for those who I do not back enthusiastically. My state representative and US representative are “ok, whatever” level of support. And our gubernatorial race is a real eye roll fest; two very wealthy, highly unqualified men are facing each other. For me, it was “take an antacid and vote blue” moment.

And yes, it is always a bit discouraging to be a Democrat. You have to put up with lazy people who don’t show up to vote, the issue of “hey, they aren’t letting convicted felons vote” (we are the party of convicted felons?). chronic underachievers, clueless, sanctimonious social justice warriors, etc.

And we have idiots that don’t understand what it means to control the House or Senate: the majority leader or speaker gets to set the calendar, decide WHAT gets to the floor to be voted on, etc. So if it is the choice between a conservative Democrat who will disagree with me 50-60 percent of the time or a Republican, I’ll take the Democrat every time.

In short: this. I love the title of the article too.

But I digress. Now to the main point of this post.

I enjoy reading forecasts of the various races. But when I see people critiquing Nate Silver ( I often hear “hey Nate, you were wrong about 2016”. Uh, he wasn’t. Here is an old summary of the various models:

Upshot gave Trump a 16 percent chance of winning. Silver gave him a 34 percent chance. Let that sink in. (now if you want to bash Sam Wang, go HE was wrong (Princeton)).

To put in in perspective: Upshot (NY times) prediction can be thought of in this way: Clinton’s probability were roughly the same probability that a good NBA free throw shooter makes a free throw (and yes, the DO miss from time to time). Silver’s model put Clinton’s chances at roughly the same as a BAD NBA free throw shooter making the free throw…yes, they make them most of the time, but yes, they miss…a LOT.

In terms of point spreads, Upshot’s prediction was like saying that Clinton was the favorite in the election, to the degree that a college football team was a 14 point favorite. Silver would have made her roughly like a 7 point favorite (and yes, 7 point favorites often lose the game).

(source of football odds)

Yes, I know; point spreads and probability of winning are two different things, but there is a good correlation between the point spread and the probability of victory.

And so we turn to the forecasts. You can read the House forecast here.

Here is the best available model (the “lite” model gives a very similar output)

What does this mean?

1. The Democrats ARE favored to retake the House (about 80 percent) but this is akin to one team being a 10-12 point favorite in football, or a strong NBA free shooter making a selected free shot. Yes, they DO miss from time to time, and teams that are favored by 10-12 points DO lose from time to time.

2. The range of plausible outcomes (80 percent confidence interval) is very broad; they include a 50+ seat landslide for the Democrats to ..yes, the Republicans retaining control. Neither “extreme within likeliness” is the most likely outcome, of course, but the bell is rather flat; there is quite a bit of possible variation in the outcome. The expected outcome is about a 38 seat pick up, but again, there is a ton of variation this year.

I WISH it were hopeless for the Republicans, but it isn’t. But in the House, I’d rather be where we are than where they are.

Here Silver attempts to explain it. I think that he does a good job but..well, some (many? most?) just can’t (won’t?) get statistical reasoning or understand its limitations.

3. Senate: tough map for us. Republicans have about an 80 percent chance of keeping control; it is almost the dual to the House situation.

Ah, it has been a long time since I wrote one of these posts. 🙂

Off to run in some beautiful weather. I had thought about a 4 mile race, but I am just not in a mood to push myself.

November 3, 2018 Posted by | 2016, social/political, statistics | , | Leave a comment

Many angry women do not respond positively to “woke rhetoric”?

Ok, right now I am mixing some conjectures of mine (and I’d welcome facts that either reinforce or shoot down my conjecture).

This is based on my personal relations with women, many (NOT all) who oppose Trump and cannot stand him. Some have told me that they do not identify as being feminist; that feminist rhetoric does not “speak to them”.

I think that I get this. So much of feminist rhetoric, or at least what gets publicized, speaks of “rape culture”, “patriarchy” and the inherent misogyny of our society. And any statistical difference between men and women (say, males being more likely to be interested in mathematics or engineering) is viewed as being, well, due to sexism or misogyny. Much of this attitude is discussed in Pinker’s book The Blank Slate. And yes, Steven Pinker was elected to the National Academy of Science.

The interesting thing is that some of these women ..many(?) actually believe Dr. Ford over Kavanaugh. They have no tolerance for sexual harassment nor sexual assault.

So what is going on? Maybe, just maybe, they share my attitude: sexual harassment is the fault of the person doing the harassment and those in authority who tolerate it. Maybe some males are serial harassers.
And yes, some are disgusted by the Kavanaugh confirmation STILL think that Al Franken should not have resigned (I am one of them).

Politically speaking, I think that the Franken resignation hurts us: it shows a party that is controlled by those with a hair trigger, and I don’t see how that makes us Democrats attractive to anyone but the most “woke” people, who really do not comprise a large percentage of the voting bloc.

And the woke feminists do not even come close to speaking for all women...not even all white women. And responses such as “those who don’t go along with us have internalized patriarchy” isn’t going to win anyone over.

Moving forward:

I think that this is spot on: screaming at Senators in public places isn’t going to do a thing; I doubt very seriously if it will bring any new votes.

Wait..what about the Tea Party in 2010 and those townhalls? I crunched the numbers:

52 Democrat incumbents lost their seats. Half of those were held by Democrats in districts which voted: Bush, Bush and McCain. And

I’ve listed the CD’s along with the Presidential winner in 2008, 2004, and 2000. The last number is the number of times that a Republican president won that district (data from here)

So: 26 of these losses came from districts in which 2008, 2004 and 2000 by the Republican presidential candidate.
14 of these had the Republican president win 2 out of the 3 times
6 of these had the Republican president winning once
6 had elected the Democrat every time.

Or, put another way, 40 of the 52 Democratic incumbents who lost represented “red” or “reddish” districts.
This does not include the currently undecided seats nor those in which the sitting Democrat didn’t run for reelection and the seat switched hands.

Now, how many Republicans hold Democratic voting Congressional Districts?

That is the asymmetry of the situation, as I see it.

Now as far as how it will go: it is unclear as to how the House races will go. Will you see a lot of Democrats in deep blue CD’s and see Republicans barely winning in red CD’s?

October 7, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | Leave a comment

Kavanaugh fiasco and the fissures in our country

Oh, did this fight over Kavanaugh open up a can of worms.

For one, the discussion of “ok, exactly how do you treat the testimony/stories of the alleged victims? The answer really can’t be put on a bumper sticker. And no, it isn’t as simple as “few allegations are false”…for many reasons.

And what was going on in THIS case? No, it isn’t always as simple as “one of them is lying” or “one of them got it wrong.”.

And as to who you believe or who you trust more or who you trust more to be accurate depends on many prior assumptions.
Liberals tend to see this as “yet another case of a powerful man getting away with it” whereas conservatives see this as yet another case of liberals besmirching a fine man for political gain.

And, the Republicans used the latter feeling, along with a discomfort with the “me too” movement to further political support. And given the make up of the Senate, the did not need as much total support as liberals would have needed.

Republicans aren’t going to be intimidated by “vote ’em out”, etc. Now about those midterms, here is the 538 forecast (Wang has the House as 50/50, Senate favoring the Republicans).

House forecast

Senate forecast

Senate composition

October 6, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

No Sarah Palins but…

No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not the “Sarah Palin of the left”. Sarah Palin was a sitting governor (almost served a full term) and was the GOP nominee for VP in 2008.

Ocasio-Cortez won a PRIMARY election in a Congressional District that few have heard of until relatively recently. I am not going to say that she has deep policy knowledge; she doesn’t. I don’t know if she will grow into a seasoned politician or not. I do not know if she has the underlying humility to realize that she needs to learn more about many things. But for right now, she is someone to keep an eye on, nothing more.

From video that I’ve seen of her, she seems to have some political talent. What that will eventually translate to is anyone’s guess.

Georgia Governor This race is very tight; the two polls I’ve seen: one has a 2 point lead for Kemp and the other has a 2 point lead for Abrams. Real Clear Politics calls it a “toss up”.

This surprises me for a couple of reasons: 1. Georgia is a Republican state that even Obama couldn’t carry (though he did well) and, well, the optics do not look good to me:

1. She is deeply in personal debt.

2. Optics:

Ironically, this comes from Cheri Bustos’ Instagram site, and if anything, Bustos is the “fitness model” Congresswoman (see below if you are unfamiliar)

BUT…perhaps obesity and being in debt is what many people in Georgia can relate to? Yeah, I remember that Christ Christy is obese..(not in debt, at least to my knowledge) but the sad fact (I think) is that physical appearance matters more for females than males.

We shall see..perhaps I am seeing this through my own warped prism.

August 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Uniting with those you do not like: 2018 midterms

Ok, I have no political science credentials. But at least lately, it seems that we are in the following cycle: Republicans govern (or attempt to). Republicans crash the economy (or at least make things worse). People get disgusted. They vote the Democrats in. Things get better but a combination of Democratic infighting and the Democrats championing unpopular stuff gets them voted out of power and the Republicans take over again, only to run things into the ground, again.

I’ll talk about the Democrats championing unpopular causes at another time (but IMHO, this is a combination of the Ant and the Grasshopper and “Beggars can’t be choosers” in action)

But right now I will just say this: I find my fellow Democrats to be very annoying. For one, we are as prone to “argue by slogan” as anyone else. For example, take the current debate as to whether to keep Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the House Democrats.

As I see it, there are many pros and cons: she is a good fundraiser and she has had some great accomplishments (e. g. getting the ACA through the House). On the other hand, the House Democrats have steadily lost seats and many feel that her time is past. And it is clear that the GOP thinks that she is a good thing to run against in the red Congressional Districts that are closely contested.

You’d think that this is worthy of debate, right? Well, no..not for some:

You see: it is all misogyny. (eyeroll).

Never mind that many Democrats who don’t want Pelosi would be happy with another female. Now if you want to talk about ageism…maybe that could be PART of it.

But in the upcoming midterms, none of this really matters. If you oppose Trump, vote for the Democrat, period. Opposing Trump IS enough (and yes, one Jill Stein backing idiot tried to tell me it wasn’t enough).

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Getting the formula right…

So, what to do? I did have 196 miles of running/walking for July, so perhaps it wasn’t an accident that I did 4 today.

weights: rotator cuff, 5 sets of 10 pull ups, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, decline: 7 x 170, military: 10 x 50 standing (ugly), 10 x 45 standing (better..these are dumbbells, one 45 in each hand), 10 x 140 Hammer Machine, rows: 3 x (10 x 110) machine, 2:30 plank, headstand, side plank, shoulderstand/plow.

running: 21:50 run, .5 walk, 1.7 mile outside walk. The run felt GREAT …of course it was easy and short…

Fun: If you “get” this, you might be my kind of person.

Assumptions: everyone tells the truth, there is only “want/do not want” and only the three logicians count as “everyone”. What is subtle: the first two answers convey information: why?

2018 Midterms: I get the feeling that in every competitive district, the Republican will say that Ocasio-Cortez is the Democratic candidate’s “best friend”. You haven’t heard of her? Well, she won a primary against an establishment Democrat and aligned herself with Bernie Sanders, wants to abolish ICE (which didn’t exist prior to 2002…and I think that we had borders prior to then, but whatevers…)

As it sits, things are looking reasonably good for the House Democrats *at the moment* but things change, and the November elections are a political eternity away.

July 30, 2018 Posted by | politics/social, running, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment