Thursday, November 10, 2016

post-game commentary

I'm going to write a long postmortem of the election, but not right now. To distract you, I leave you with some links.

Malcolm Pollack's morning-after reaction.

Styxhexenhammer666's gloating about being right—here and here. Pay special attention, all ye worshippers of that charlatan Nate Silver. I was astonished at how stubbornly stupid Silver's website's algorithm was in the lead-up to the election. Then, on Election Day itself, it seemed as though Silver & Co. had utterly abandoned the website, which still showed Hillary with a 71.4% chance of victory after everyone had called it for Trump. Kind of sad, actually, to see that site go so miserably down in flames.

At Instapundit: a post on the role of political correctness as a major impetus for the cultural backlash we're witnessing.

There's a lot of Schadenfreude and an equal amount of butthurt out there right now. Liberals are nursing their wounds and planning their revenge—or, as Malcolm darkly and dramatically puts it: "Let us defend the country we have retaken, and know that our Hydra-headed enemy still lives, is swollen with hatred, and never sleeps."


Nathan B. said...

In what is basically a two-party system, Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump still won the election.

I watched Obama's speech, and nearly teared up. He was such a good, gracious person and leader. He also spoke, movingly, of the need for unity.

I watched Trump's speech, too, and I appreciated the fact that he was gracious where Secretary Clinton was concerned. But I do not feel at all hopeful. That all-white group behind him looks like it stepped out of the 1970's, and yet it leads America now--but who can say where?

Charles said...

Bag on 538 all you want, but please at least be accurate in your criticisms. You are focusing on their pre-election forecast, which is based entirely on pre-election polls. It didn't change because that was where things stood when the last pre-election polls came in.

Did you go to the site yesterday, while the election was taking place? They had a live blog going on that covered the results in detail as they happened, along with a constantly updating chance of victory for each candidate. I watched throughout the day as Trump's chances improved, at times in drastic leaps and bounds. The pre-election forecast is not the only content on that site, but you act like it is. And the site did not "miserably go down in flames." Their prediction was wrong, but today the front page of the site is full of analysis of why they got it so wrong.

Also, I feel I should point out that 538 actually gave Trump the greatest chance of victory of all the poll aggregators out there. Having Trump in the 20% range was considered incredibly high, and in the days leading up to the election, Silver wrote a number of times to defend this prediction and explain why Trump had more of a chance than most people seemed to think. Yes, in the end they got it wrong, because the polls were terribly wrong, but the fact is they got it less wrong than the other aggregators. Sure, that doesn't change the fact that they got it wrong, but it does make it feel a little like you are picking on 538 and ignoring the other aggregators that were far, far worse.

King Baeksu said...

Kevin, be sure to mention /pol/ in your post-election analysis. It was ground-zero for the meme wars, and its influence cannot be denied.

King Baeksu said...

He was such a good, gracious person and leader.

What planet are you living on, my friend? Obama is a warmongering puppet of the oligarchs. He gave trillions in taxpayer dollars to Wall $treet, and effectively screwed the American middle-class. He destroyed Libya, Syria and Ukraine, and is responsible for the rise of Isis. His endless drone strikes are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent women, children and other civilians in the developing world. Gitmo is still open after all these years, despite his promise to shut it down way back in 2008. And his single "greatest" accomplishment, Obamacare, is a complete disaster, with premiums shooting through the roof and many insurers now fleeing for the exits.

He also spoke, movingly, of the need for unity.

Obama speaking of the need for unity is the sickest joke of the day. His shameless racial pandering over the past eight years is largely responsible for what many agree is the greatest racial division and acrimony we have seen in decades.

I'm trying to be polite here, but I personally do not see why foreigners feel compelled to piss all over our day of triumph. Don't think I can't see you playing the "identity politics" card in your above comments. In fact, not all the people on the stage last night were "white." There were African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Latino-Americans and others. Did you know that his children are married to Jews, and his chief media strategist and speechwriter are both Jews, who as is well know are not Caucasian but rather Semites? And did you know that his chief spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, is herself half-black, just like Obama? In any case, I suggest you have a look through the Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks, because it is clear that for the Democrats, identity politics is much more about the cynical exploitation of "optics" than any more noble goal of "social justice and harmony." And you are simply naive if you continue to think otherwise.

I don't go around telling Canadians how they should run their country or which of their politicians are better for them than others. A little respect, please. The American people have spoken, and they have made the correct choice!

Kevin Kim said...


Nate Silver & Co. were stubbornly inaccurate even on Election Day. There's a November 8 article on his site titled "Final Election Update: There's a Wide Range of Outcomes, and Most of Them Come Up Clinton." The point is that his algorithm turned out to be garbage, but he remained blindly faithful to his project until the bitter end.

And it's definitely a crash-and-burn. What was the point of the front page of his site, for months and months, if not to broadcast his updated optimism about Hillary's chances? Suddenly, at the end, he's hedging with a flurry of announcements and updates? What, really, was the point, then? His algorithm was a gimmick, and he was using his site to sell it and, by extension, to build his reputation as a guru. That's up in smoke now, or so I hope.

I mentioned "optimism about Hillary's chances" above, and that's certainly the case: bias entered Silver's system. As one commentator put it, Nate Silver is "math-smart but people-stupid." The other doxastic practice, which involved not getting caught up in numbers but in coldly reading the human factor as Scott Adams did ("facts don't matter in persuasion"), proved a far better predictor.

You're probably right that I shouldn't pick on Nate Silver, but he was one of the sources I had been relying on, and he thoroughly let me down. Now I know better. Anyway, since I didn't make a definite prediction of my own—because I honestly couldn't—I can't say "I told you so" regarding Silver's monumental failure. I do, however, think that this failure has tarnished Silver's brand for a while, if not for good. And that's something I plan to talk about further in my postmortem: my own failures of doxastic practice. As for Silver: I think my take on him is essentially correct, and we won't hear from him until the public has had time to forget how bad his algorithm was.

Here's an article that dovetails with my thinking, and this was written before the election.

Kevin Kim said...


re: your reply to Nathan

I appreciate your passion, but let's not make this personal. Nathan made points that you're of course free to rebut, but I'd rather this happen without "What planet are you living on?" and "Don't think I can't see you playing the 'identity politics' card."


King Baeksu said...

Kevin, as I said I am trying to be polite, but the commenter clearly sees it as problematic that Trump's family is "white." America is a majority white nation and there is nothing wrong with being a white American at this point in our history. To say or imply otherwise is flat-out racist, full stop.

Trump's message is that we are all Americans, rather than a disparate aggregate of competing identity blocs. We tried the latter approach for the past eight years and it does not seem to have worked very well. Pushing an anti-white narrative, especially when one is not even an American, warrants being called out for the toxic rhetoric that it is.

I have African-American and Native-American friends who were fully on board the Trump train. They, too, see identity politics are needlessly divisive and a cynical means of social control by TPTB. It is indeed possible for us all to "get along," but it first requires respect for others as individual human beings, rather than as ideological or racial category types in some artificially ranked hierarchy.

I was previous called a "racist" and a "bigot" on another thread here, and when asked for proof was answered with silence. It's total BS and I've had enough.

Kevin Kim said...


"You're probably right that I shouldn't pick on Nate Silver"

Should read:

"You're probably right that I shouldn't pick on Nate Silver in particular"

—but the truth of the matter is that I maneuvered myself into a position where I really don't have the right to shake my finger at anybody.

King Baeksu said...

A lot of the SJWs seem singularly fixed on race, gender and other social identities. Indeed, fighting "privilege" is what they are all about. And yet you rarely hear them calling out Obama and Hillary for their evil wars of aggression and imperialistic foreign interventionism, which have resulted in the deaths of millions around the world.

I think it is the height of "privilege" to focus so obsessively on one's personal identity, while remaining largely indifferent to the bloody murder of literally millions of innocent men, woman and children in the developing world. If that is what "social justice" means to these people, then they need to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask themselves how "just" or "righteous" they really are.

By the way, I was recently in Russia, which has been suffering from US-led sanctions for several years now. The ruble has lost half its value, meaning imports are twice as expensive now, and people are hurting across the board as the economy craters. And what was the justification of such sanctions? Because Putin basically refused to bend his knee to US imperialism, which has specifically resulted in the overthrow of the government in Ukraine and devastated the previously peaceful nation of Syria.

Next time you bleat on about "white privilege" or "transphobia," spare a thought for the millions of ordinary Russians who are suffering as a direct result of our current president, and the millions more who have lost their lives in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine and so many other places around the world. Both Obama and Hillary are but puppets of the neocons and military-industrial complex, who profit obscenely from the destruction of other nations. They may present a smooth and polished facade, but I really do believe that they are agents of pure evil.

At the very least, they are the very opposite of "justice" as any reasonable person would define it.

Nathan B. said...

You know, Kevin, I don't put too much trust in polls generally. I've seen "scientific" polls misread elections in my native Canada more than once, and I've seen them get at least one national referendum wrong, too. I put even less stock in online polls.

Part of the problem with polls is that if they show one side slightly ahead, the other side will be more motivated to get out and actually vote. I was on the record as worrying about this, and it came true--Trump's supporters turned up in the states where they needed to, and Clinton's didn't.

But last night, well after it became apparent that Trump was going to carry the day in the Rust Belt, I was surprised to read headlines like "Trump victories in NC and FL make Clinton's path to victory narrower." I think that's one of the kinds of things that Trump's supporters have a legitimate gripe about when the criticize the "mainstream media." That said, I am horrified that Trump won--and even more horrified that he won despite the fact that he lost the popular vote in a two-party election. To take just one example, he has the potential to accelerate climate change for the whole planet at worst, and to retard carefully-negotiated, multilateral efforts to reign in climate change.

John from Daejeon said...

Kevin, you forgot to mention Michael Moore as getting the election right as evident by his latest documentary, "Michael Moore in TrumpLand."

And I also have to agree with King's feelings on Obama, especially over the last few weeks in particular as his venom readily spewed forth, and he was nowhere near being good, gracious, or a leader as he spent millions of our (United States citizens) "taxpayer" dollars flying around on Air Force One tongue-lashing and bullying anyone thinking of not voting for his truly vile undemocratically nominated, (ask Bernie's supporters) and not-so, ex-lawyer.

King Baeksu said...

And is it not the height of "privilege" for upper-middle-class SJWs in college, with their purple hair and designer frames, to be able to tar working-class Middle Americans as "racist," simply because they are unhappy about having been left behind by the past three decades of globalization?

The Democratic Party once stood for the working man and woman, but since they abandoned the working-class and embraced neoliberalism from the time of Bill Clinton in the 1990s, they have weaponized identity politics as a means of distraction and social control. It's as clear as daylight to anyone who actually has a clue.

If you are a genuine progressive, you stand in solidarity with the working man and woman, and are opposed to imperialistic wars of aggression abroad. But if you only care about being able to use your preferred bathroom, or forcing shopkeepers to bake you a cake for your same-sex wedding, then that is indeed "first-world privilege" of the highest order.

Colin Kaepernick, to name just one example, was raised in an upper-middle-class family and makes millions of dollars a year just to throw a ball around, which is to say do what most red-blooded American boys and girls happily do for free. In other words, he is living a life of the greatest privilege, of the kind that most other people in the world could only ever dream about. Does he even care about the working-class? Does he care about dead children in Libya and Syria, or starving children in Russia?

No, he only seems to care about "police brutality' against blacks, even though statistics show that whites are actually gunned down by police at a higher rate. Sorry, but whatever he is, he is the very opposite of a "progressive" in my estimation. By all means, idolize and praise him all you like, but do not pretend that he is something he isn't. His vision of "social justice" is extremely narrow and self-interested, limited largely to his own "tribe," and is certainly itself quite privileged no matter how you slice it.

If you are a genuine progressive, you understand that class matters far more than skin color or gender. Donald Trump may be a billionaire, but he has spent the past half century employing and rubbing shoulders with the average working man and woman. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he actually seems to care about them, and that is why the American people have given him the presidency.

I wish him and the American people the best of luck.