Tag Archives: nate silver

They Fought the Math, and the Math Won

I wrote this about Nate Silver four years ago, shortly after Barack Obama was elected president for the first time. Four years have dimmed a lot of the optimism and starry-eyed hope on display within it, as I think it has for many people. Still, I stand by every word of that post, especially where it pertains to Silver.

Looking back on it, what I find most amazing is how you could apply nearly everything I said about him in 2008 to this year’s election. Four years ago, Silver made electoral predictions that were mocked and downplayed by professional pundits who didn’t like the outcome they pointed to. This year, with Silver’s profile much higher, the attacks were more pronounced, but the results were the same: When you fight math, you lose.

I supported Obama with reservations. I wish he’d close Gitmo, like he promised. I wish he’d stop sending drones out to kill people–both for basic human reasons and because it creates more terrorists than it eliminates. I wish he’d do more to end our reliance on fossil fuels, and to stop a pointless and destructive “war against drugs.”

However, none of these issues would have been improved by Obama’s only viable alternative. If anything, they would have worsened, and nearly all of the tangible good Obama has done (marriage rights, affordable health care) would have been reversed. For me, it came down to this: The party that opposed Obama spent much of the campaign season trying to rationalize rape, and their presidential candidate did absolutely nothing to distance himself from fellow Republicans who did so. As the father of a daughter, as a husband, and as a human being, I do not want that party making laws, let alone appointing Supreme Court justices.

Another reason why I couldn’t bear the thought of Mitt Romney becoming president was Nate Silver, the man who spelled out Mitt Romney’s demise months in advance. Or rather, how Silver was treated by people who perceived him as The Enemy.

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The Talented Mr. Silver, You’ve Done it Again

Nate Silver’s predictions for the 2009 baseball season are here, and they predict the Mets will win 93 games and the NL East crown.

Now, I am way too superstitious and emotionally traumatized by the last three seasons to make anything remotely close to a prediction about the upcoming season. But I would like to point out that when we last heard from Mr. Silver, he predicted the outcome of the Presidential and Congressional elections spot-on.

Actually, calling it spot-on would be understating the case. More like, he came as close to calling the exact results as you can without a crystal ball.

So I’ll just say the man’s math needs to be respected, and we’ll leave it at that.

The Election Gods Bow to Math

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Election Day was great for baseball. And baseball was great for Election Day.

After the Mets collapsed yet again, I took all the emotional/spiritual/perspirational energy I poured into their hopeless cause and channeled it into following the presidential election. I also focused some of that chi into rooting against the Phillies, which didn’t work out nearly as well.

Like any other good lefty, I read Daily Kos, watched Keith Olbermann, and tsked at Fox News ass-hattery. But it’s easy to overdose on Smug when you live in a liberal bastion like New York and only consume media with which you agree. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you know what your fellow Americans feel and want.

I fooled myself in 2004. I never deluded myself into thinking that John Kerry was a magnificent charismatic agent of change because, duh. But considering the state of the country at the time, and the obvious (to me) evil represented by Bush, I concluded that Kerry would prevail. I told myself there was no way Kerry could lose because…well, he couldn’t, could he?

And then I found myself up at 2 in the morning, watching Ohio go to Bush, sucking down beer and wishing I was drunk enough to pass out and forget any of it had ever happened.

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