Nate Silver: Clinton Campaign Strategists Were ‘Huge Dumbasses’

There are many myths about the 2016 election. On the left it is an article of faith that Donald Trump could not have won without illicit coordination with the Russians. On the right, there is the pervasive notion that because Trump beat the odds to win the presidency, all polling is wrong and should be disregarded. Yesterday Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight managed to blow up both of these theories in a single tweet.

The exchange began with a tweet from Ben Collins of NBC News that asked, “What did the Kremlin’s cutouts know about targeting MI and WI? How did they know it? And is there data to show they took action on it?”

https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1082750493842173953

Silver, the head of the FiveThirtyEight polling analysis site, responded quickly with a tweet that slammed the door on that particular aspect of Russian collusion. “The 538 model, which was based on publicly-available polling data, said the campaigns should target WI and MI,” Silver wrote. “You didn’t have to have any proprietary info to know they were important states. You just had to look at the data and not be huge dumbasses like the HRC campaign was.”

https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/1082777389460004864

Silver followed up with a link to a FiveThirtyEight article from February 2017, “Donald Trump Had A Superior Electoral College Strategy.” The thrust of the article, subtitled “How Hillary Clinton and the media missed the boat,” was that Hillary made two key errors in the campaign. First, she focused on states where the race was close rather than states that had the potential to tip the race. In particular, the article points out that Clinton did not set foot in Wisconsin after the Democratic primary. Second, she was overconfident and limited her focus to a narrow range of states. Hillary’s main focus was on Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio.

Silver didn’t explicitly address the idea that because the forecasts were wrong in 2016 that all polling is wrong, but it is implicit in his statement that the Clinton campaign was made of “huge dumbasses” who ignored polling data that showed that Hillary was in trouble. Many Republicans claim that the media gave Hillary a 99 percent chance of becoming president on election night, but FiveThirtyEight’s forecast, which is still posted, gave Donald Trump a 29 percent chance of winning. Under those circumstances, Trump was an underdog, but not prohibitively.

With respect to the two states in question, FiveThirtyEight gave Trump a 21 percent chance in Michigan and a 17 percent chance in Wisconsin. Many polls were within the margin of error in Michigan, but Wisconsin polling was further off, showing a consistent albeit single-digit lead for Hillary.

As I pointed out a few months ago, polls are snapshots rather than predictive. One good technique for examining polls is to look for trends in the big picture. The big picture of the polling average from 2016 is still available on Real Clear Politics in convenient graph form. If we look at the trend, we can see Trump plunging in the polls about Oct. 10 then starting a slow rise on Oct. 20. There is a sharp increase between Oct. 28 and Nov. 2 that brought Trump to within two points of Hillary, well within the margin of error of most polls. Going into Election Day, the national polling average had the two candidates about three points apart, a close race by any standard.

If we look at key events that occurred in the campaign, we can see exactly what caused these movements in the polling. Keeping in mind that polls are lagging indicators, we see that Trump’s decline in early October followed the release of the Access Hollywood tape on Oct. 7. The final presidential debate was on Oct. 19 and Trump’s performance seems to have helped him in the polls, but not enough to close the deal. The event that sealed the race in Trump’s favor occurred on Oct. 28, the release of FBI Director James Comey’s memo to Congress that detailed the discovery of thousands of emails that related to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. In a May 2017 article, Silver also made the case that Comey’s memo cost Hillary the election.

There are lessons for both parties in Silver’s tweets and articles. For the Democrats, candidates should not take the Rust Belt states for granted. Traditional party loyalties may not be enough to carry a state, especially in an election where everything seems to be going wrong for your candidate. There is no substitute for getting into the field and making appearances. Charisma, broad appeal outside the party, and the stamina to campaign should be factors in nominating a candidate.

For Republicans, the lesson is also that the Rust Belt states should not be taken for granted. Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were all decided by about one percent of the vote after being all but ignored by the Democrat candidate. Just because they voted for Donald Trump once does not mean that they will do so again. The Clinton campaign made mistakes that will probably not be repeated by the next Democratic candidate. Even with these mistakes, however, Trump still lost the popular vote and would most likely have lost the electoral vote had it not been for James Comey. Donald Trump has the stamina to campaign, but he lacks charisma and popularity outside the GOP.

Despite claims from both sides, the 2020 election is far from a sure thing for either party. The outcome will be determined by which side better learns the lessons of the 2016 election and adapts their strategy to a changing electoral environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden Reveals His Fear of the Clinton Machine…And His Presidential Regret

In his new memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, which drops next week, former Vice President Joe Biden has made some interesting revelations. The Daily Mail reports that America’s Crazy Uncle chose not to run for president in 2016 because he feared the vast Clinton machinery.

Biden reveals how he wrestled with the idea of running for office before and after his son Beau’s death, and even admits he did not want to be Obama’s vice president in 2008…

Clinton was the only opposition to him – and what he does not say in the book is what ‘stop at nothing’ would mean.

But at the time his bereaved family was being torn apart by his surviving son Hunter’s bitter split from his wife amid accusations of blowing a fortune on drugs and sex with prostitutes.

Biden believed that the difficulty of his family life at the time would have provided plenty of fodder for Clinton and those in her orbit to go after him. (It’s not much less of a soap opera now: Hunter Biden is now in a relationship with Beau’s widow.)

Biden still holds that he could have beaten Trump had he become the Democrat’s nominee.

‘My numbers on trustworthiness, honesty, and empathy were as high as they had ever been. And I was strongest where the most formidable candidate, Hillary Clinton, was weakest: the key swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida,’ he writes.

The former VP is making the talk show circuit, including interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

‘I have a regret that I am not president,’ Biden candidly told Oprah, for an interview with OWN, which airs Sunday. ‘Because I think there’s so much opportunity. I think America’s so incredibly well-positioned.’

On Ellen, the comedian pleaded with the ex-vice president to run for the presidency in 2020.

‘Just remember, that is what I’d like to see,’ Ellen said. ‘I don’t know if it’s going to be myself or Oprah as your running mate,’ she said, grabbing his hand.

Ellen can keep ruminating on what could be – and Biden can keep speculating on what might have been. But just remember: we may be saved by the fact that Biden will be 77 in the run up to the 2020 election, so we may not have to see his hair plugs and shiny veneers on the campaign trail next go ’round. And that’s a good thing.

Meet James Comey, The New Benedict Arnold

James Comey wants his legacy to be as Superman, standing up to a despotic President Donald Trump, who demanded his personal loyalty above his duty to the law. But really, his legacy will be as the FBI director who put politics above the law, pandering to the Obama administration and the Clinton gang.

In early drafts of Comey’s public statement, the one in July in which he said no prosecutor would prefer charges against Hillary Clinton, he used the words “grossly negligent” in respect to her handling of classified material. This was later changed to “extremely careless.”

The facts in the investigation did not change. No special exonerating information emerged between the early draft and the final announcement. In fact, later evidence clearly supported criminal charges, especially after emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

This is why the words “grossly negligent” matter:

A federal statute provides criminal penalties for “gross negligence,” but Comey in his public statement on July 5 instead called Clinton “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information when she was secretary of state. He said no prosecutor would bring a criminal case against her.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley put it more succinctly. Clinton “violated the statute.”

“Although Director Comey’s original version of his statement acknowledged that Secretary Clinton had violated the statute prohibiting gross negligence in the handling of classified information, he nonetheless exonerated her in that early, May 2nd draft statement anyway, arguing that this part of the statute should not be enforced,” Grassley said in a letter to Wray.

Meanwhile, Democrats want to keep the focus on any link between Trump and the Russians, no matter how many links there were between the DNC, Clinton campaign and the very same Russians.

They want Comey to be their hero, when he’s not being blamed for Hillary’s loss. The loser here is, of course, Comey, who will go down in history as less appealing than Benedict Arnold. But his book will sell well.

Comey should have gone with the law all along. He should have prosecuted Clinton. Donna Brazile would have gladly made Joe Biden the nominee (or Bernie Sanders would have lost by at least 79 more electoral votes than Clinton). The outcome would not have changed, since Trump would have probably pardoned Clinton anyway. As a matter of fact, things would have been much smoother.

Now Comey’s legacy will be as the man who began the sad march toward American chaos, where the Russians laugh at us. All because he went for politics over the law.

Donna Brazile Denies Primary Was Rigged

Donna Brazile, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called Hillary Clinton staffers who criticized her take on the 2016 campaign out of touch. Brazile, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” defended her claims that Clinton control of the DNC tied the group’s hands and made it difficult for the group to be involved in the campaign, but denied that the primary was rigged against Bernie Sanders.

“Here’s what they don’t know. What it was like to be over at the DNC during the hacking. What it’s like to bury a child. I did, Seth Rich. They don’t know what it’s like to protect a staff from further harassment,” Brazile said.

“They don’t know what it’s like because they’re — the high command of Brooklyn,” Brazile added. “The people making the decisions, even for the DNC, they didn’t come and work with us. They told us to shut up. And basically let them win the election. When we tried to intervene, we had to spend money we raised to try to help them win. That was my job as chair of the party.”

In a racially charged comment rarely applied to fellow Democrats, Brazile also said that she had to tell the Clinton campaign that she was no slave. “Yeah, I’m not Patsy the slave because I got sick and tired of people trying to tell me how the spend the money,” Brazile  said. “I wasn’t getting a salary. I was volunteering my time. I was trying to increase the level of enthusiasm and passion for Hillary Clinton and the rest of the ticket across the country.”

In other comments, Brazile denied that the Democratic primary was rigged against Bernie Sanders. “I said I would get to the bottom of everything, and that’s what I did,” Brazile said. “I called Senator Sanders to say, you know, I wanted to make sure there was no rigging of the process … I found no evidence, none whatsoever.”

“The thing, the only thing, I found — which I said, ‘I found the cancer, but I’m not killing the patient’ — was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation,” she added.

Brazile’s claim that Hillary Clinton colluded with DNC long before Clinton won the Democratic nomination is ethically questionable, but falls short of actually rigging the election. In Brazile’s version of events, she discovered the Clintonian control of the DNC after the convention in July. Per Brazile, Bernie Sanders agreed to campaign for Clinton even after he was told of the party’s duplicity.

In spite of the result of the election, Brazile stands by her actions. “Do I regret taking on a job the second time in my life as chair of the party? Cleaning up everyone’s mess? Taking all of the income in? Being unable to spend funds that I raised? Do I regret being on the road 100 percent of the time? Being hacked by the Russians? Being — being harassed, getting death threats? Do I regret any of that?” she asked rhetorically.

“Do I regret standing up for what is right? Helping Hillary Clinton? Helping the Democratic Party? … No, I wish I could have done more.”

Donna Brazile Points the Way Left – Far Far Left

An excerpt from Donna Brazile’s soon to be released book “Hacks – The Inside Story of Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House” garnered a huge amount of attention this week. To say it came as a surprise to Democrats is an understatement, with the Bernie supporters saying “I told you so!” and the centrist Clinton Democrats shrugging with “This is in the past, nothing to see here, lets move on.”

This short excerpt has been dissected seemingly from every angle; however there might be a couple of take-aways worth discussion. But it is instructive to briefly recap Ms. Brazile’s background. A native of New Orleans, and an early 80s Poly-Sci major from LSU, Donna began in politics right after college. She was an advisor to both Bill Clinton presidential campaigns, and was the campaign manager for Al Gore’s presidential campaign. She was the interim DNC Chairwoman following the ouster of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and  has been described in the 2002 book Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook as  “openly lesbian”.

Suffice it to say, Ms. Brazile is a party loyalist and insider at the very top levels. Which is what makes all of this so startling. The three observations which cannot be ignored are:

  1. Hillary Clinton has been put out to pasture. The party is moving on, and the Clinton family isn’t invited.
  2. Donna has set herself up as the moral compass for the Democratic Party and as the bridge to the minority south.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, the Bernie Sander’s progressive Socialist Neo-Left is on the ascendency, and is THE force to reckon with.

Don’t underestimate the third point. Ms. Brazile has made her living as a southern centrist. When she speaks, people listen, and she has always understood the pulse of the party, and where it is headed.

The discussions about the civil war within the Democratic Party will continue. Obama, Perez and the Clintons’ will continue to attempt to exert control, but in realty for the immediate future, this fight is over. Obama left the party so decimated it has nobody in the wings with the gravitas to combat the Neo-Progressive’s inexorable rise.

This leaves the DNC as a shell of it’s former self, in debt and out of favor. Congressional democrats are in the minority, and almost every pundit predicts this will remain the case for a decade or so.

Putting it bluntly, the Democratic Party is a spent force, with power on each coast, and in a few urban cities. They are fixated on “identity politics” with no inclination to even begin an internal discussion on policy.

This is the culmination of seven decades of rule, each decade becoming increasingly liberal. The result? A Socialist-Democratic Party, armed with a violent military “Antifa”, bleeding labor support at an alarming rate, and increasingly losing at the federal level.

For all of their problems, these Neo-Socialist cannot be taken for granted. The truth is foreign to them, American exceptionalism and patriotism is an anathema to them, and the “ends will always justify the means”.

 

Dems Embrace Conspiracy GA-6 Was Rigged by Russians, Ignoring DNC Actual Rigging

Democrats poured something like $50 million dollars last spring into Georgia’s 6th CD special election to replace–ahem–Tom Price. The young guy who nobody now remembers, Jon Ossoff, lost to veteran Karen Handel, who was quickly sworn in.

Back then, there were conspiracy speculations by various unreliable and nefarious left-wing publications, notably the Washington Post, that the only reason Handel won was because the Russians hacked the election (and the November 2016 election too).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when it was revealed that a compromised server containing Georgia election records was wiped by IT staff. This prompted Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens to quit his defense of Secretary of State Brian Kemp (who is running for governor)’s office in a lawsuit involving the server.

The lawsuit by accountability group Coalition for Good Governance and the Constitution Party of Georgia alleges that the state’s electronic voting machines are hopelessly vulnerable to hacking. As part of that suit, a server run Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems was cited as having “a gaping security hole” that wasn’t fixed for six months after it was reported.

Now that server is, umm, blank, like Hillary Clinton’s. Except the FBI seems to have an “image” of the server. And Kemp claims that KSU’s IT staff doesn’t work for him, and were following their own procedures dealing with vulnerabilities. I guess nobody told them the server was needed for a lawsuit.

Anyhow…

Rep. Hank Johnson has told local Atlanta TV station 11Alive that Ossoff’s loss must have been Russian hackers throwing the race to Republicans.

“A difference of about 3200 votes,” recalled US Rep. Hank Johnson. The Democrat had employed Ossoff as a congressional aide. Ossoff stayed consistently ahead in most polls leading up to the runoff – then lost on election night.

“I think it’s quite possible that Jon Ossoff won that election and the election was stolen from him. That’s my suspicion,” Johnson said Monday.

Russians messed with fake news and both presidential campaigns, Ossoff lost in a district that has a massive GOP tilt and an election data server was wiped: Ipso facto, the election was rigged. And Pizzagate is real. And they’re turning the frogs gay.

But in fact, for real rigging they need look no further than the DNC, which rigged Hillary Clinton’s nomination tighter than a racing yacht in a regatta.

Jon Ossoff lost because he wasn’t a good enough candidate to beat Handel. He couldn’t overcome “dude, you don’t live in the district.” Handel has lived there 25 years, won an election as Georgia Secretary of State (ironically, the position held by Kemp), lost a race for governor, and a race for U.S. Senator. Ossoff’s greatly padded resume only beat George Papadopoulos’s by a hair (Ossoff was an actual Congressional intern versus a model UN participant).

Hillary Clinton bought and paid for the DNC, and by extension she bought and paid for the nomination. She and the DNC bought and paid for the Trump “dossier.” There’s more evidence to speculate that Hillary bought and paid for Loretta Lynch to rig her non-indictment than there is that GA-6 was thrown by the Russians.

Hell, there’s more evidence that Maggie Hassan stole the NH Senate seat from Kelly Ayotte than there is of Russians handing Handel the Georgia race.

But truthers are gonna truth, and Democrats are going to scream “Russia.” That is, until they are in the White House to do their own Kremlin deals.

SPOOKY: Hillary Clinton Plans to Dress as “The President” for Halloween

Alex Seitz-Wald, a reporter for NBC and MSNBC tweeted out last night that when asked what she will be for Halloween this year, Hillary answered “The president.”

Obviously, Hillary can’t go as herself because she is not, was not, and never will be president. So the question that naturally presents itself this Halloween is “which president should she dress up as?” I’ve done a lot of thinking on this and have come up with a few theories.

The first one to come to mind is the only Clinton to ever be president: Bill. I’d say this is unlikely though because they’re reportedly not getting along at the moment over their spat regarding Hillary’s “What Happened!?!” failure tour. So strike that one off the list.

Next would be Barack Obama, but that would just be culturally inappropriate.

If Benghazi is any reference, her foreign policy skills closely align with those of Jimmy Carter.  But Jimmy’s into building houses for needy people these days, and construction is more of something that Deplorables would do, so rule him out.

Andrew Jackson loved a good genocide, so her radical views on exterminating vulnerable people groups would jive pretty well with his. Unfortunately though, Old Hickory hated banks, and we all know about Hillary and banks, so nope.

JFK can’t even be considered because Hillary is too good at dodging sniper fire. (Too Soon?)

Also Considered:

Abraham Lincoln– Too tall

FDR–Wheelchair jokes are not cool

Nixon–Too ironic

Washington–Can’t ride a horse to a party (unless it’s a pony party)

Teddy Roosevelt–Because “toxic masculinity” of course!

All the rest: Too boring

FINALLY…Drum-roll Please……After much soul-searching and contemplation, I decided that Hillary Clinton should dress as Millard Fillmore. Why? Because no one, literally no one remembers anything about him, and 100 years from now, her fate will be the same as his. Happy Halloween Everyone!

 

Papadopolous Guilty Plea Is Bad News For Trump

With all the attention on Paul Manafort, the guilty plea of former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopolous has largely escaped notice, but it is Papadopolous that may prove to be a bigger threat to Donald Trump. The Papadopolous indictment, especially taken together with previous revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney, seems to indicate that at least some elements of the Trump campaign were actively seeking assistance from the Russians.

The indictment against Papadopolous alleges that the campaign advisor met with two Russian agents, the “Professor” and a Russian woman who Papadopolous believed to be Vladimir Putin’s niece. Per the indictment, Papadopolous had numerous contacts with the Russians and kept the campaign up to date with his outreach. In April 2016, the Professor told Papadopolous that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the firm of “thousands of emails.” This information was apparently passed along to the Trump campaign.

Many of the contacts involved a potential meeting between Donald Trump and the Russian government. The Trump campaign supervisor encouraged Papadopolous to make an unofficial visit to Russia, but the trip never took place.

The information in the indictment is not incriminating in and of itself. It isn’t illegal or unusual for a presidential campaign to be in contact with a foreign government. What is unusual and incriminating is for a member of a campaign to lie to FBI agents about such contacts. Yet, in the Trump Administration, there seems to have been mass amnesia about contacts with members of the Russian government.

Aside from the trail pointing toward the Trump campaign, Papadopolous’ guilty plea also indicates that he may have struck a deal with Robert Mueller. The bigger danger to Trump campaign officials is that Papadopolous may be providing information to Mueller’s team that will lead to more high-level indictments.

To be fair, the Russia amnesia seems to have spread across party lines. The Clinton campaign apparently paid for the infamous Trump dossier, at least part of which seemed to stem from Russian informants. At this point, it seems likely that both campaigns were attempting to to collude with the Russians with varying degrees of success.

For their part, the Russians seemed to be playing both sides. By summer of 2016, however, it was apparent that they were working against the Clinton campaign as emails stolen by Russian hackers were dumped online. It is possible that these emails were the same ones that the Professor offered to Papadopolous. With attempts made by Papadopolous, Donald Trump, Jr. and the candidate himself to get access to the stolen emails, if the Trump campaign did not collude with the Russian government, it was not for lack of trying.

Whether the collusion was successful and whether it rose to the level of criminality remains to be seen, but the smart bet is that Mueller has cards left to play. The arrests of Manafort, Gage and Papadopolous are likely only the beginning.