Tag Archives: Nate Silver

My invitation to the right-wing media

If I was a Republican and sat and watched the absolute destruction of my fantastical dreams of defeating President Obama and overtaking the Senate, I’d be pretty angry at the media that sold me the faulty stories.

Last night when it was clear the president would win, I couldn’t help but turn the TV to Fox News. I needed to know how they’d take the news that everything they’ve been reporting was wrong. I watched as Karl Rove attempted to prove on a piece of paper that his Ohio math was more factual than the calculations of a roomful of number crunchers. This moment of disbelief in the real-world facts epitomized the last four years of the Republican Party and its Republican media machine–an entire industry based on gut and emotion instead of facts and data.

While us on the left visited RealClearPolitics.com daily and saw consistent Obama leads in all the swing states, including Florida at the end, those on the right obsessed over the gut feelings of Rove, who predicted, based on his experience with George W. Bush, that Mitt Romney would win. And the GOP media also focused on the predictions of pundit Michael Barone, who proudly wrote that Romney would win, 315-223–almost the exact opposite of math god Nate Silver at 538, who predicted a 313-223, Obama victory. (By the way Silver nailed each state in his final electoral map.)

If I was a Fox News watcher this morning, I wouldn’t trust a word coming out of any of the newscasters’ mouths from here on until they make a fundamental change in how they conduct business.

Some facts Fox News might need to fix immediately in order to save some credibility:

  • America likes Obama. His approval rating has been around 50 percent leading up to the end of his first term. Bill Clinton, before he was re-elected, had an approval rating hovering in the 40s with a low-point at 37 percent.
  • Obama’s healthcare plan is not a “government takeover.” It’s a practical plan based on the private markets. Simple. Basic. Capitalistic.
  • Most Americans believe in science. Man-caused climate change is real, not a theory.
  • Most Americans don’t blame Obama for the economy. Most of the blame still falls on President George W. Bush. Don’t get me wrong. The president still has the bulk of economic responsibility to get the country growing faster, but he was handed a really difficult task. Oh yeah, Congress is a bit responsible too since they pass the damn laws.
  • On the economy, it’s not as weak as Fox and right-wing pundits claim. Could it be growing faster? Yes. But is it growing? Yes, unlike the economies in Europe. The United States is no longer in a recession and not really a risk of falling into another one. If Obama and Congress do NOTHING the next four years, economists expect 12 million jobs to be added.

Most importantly though, last night proved one thing that I’ve been thinking for a while: Fox and right wingers continue to use “Americans” and “American people” to refer to the electorate. Romney would have won the election if Fox News’s America — white, middle-class men — would have been the only ones to vote. But that isn’t America anymore–Obama won with the lowest percentage of the white vote in the history of this country.

America is different now. America is darker. America also includes working women. It also includes a majority of people who support gay rights. America is like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago. It is not like Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Last night after the election was well over, I sent this tweet:

Republicans, the message is this: America has changed. We are minorities, women, gays, science believers. Adapt or be irrelevant.

The two-party system in this country is essential. Just like this country wouldn’t survive if we moved all the way to Ron Paul’s right, we wouldn’t survive if we moved all the way to MoveOn.org’s left. Ideological battles are necessary and helpful and keep the country on a healthy balance.

But the battles fought by the right-wing media the last four years was not a healthy one. It was a battle based on extreme ideology and an appeal to the basest of Republican thought. This must change.

Fox News employs the sensible Juan Williams. Maybe it’s time to give him a larger role. Maybe it’s time for them to say goodbye to their fear-mongers. Keep Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and we’ll keep Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are healthy for political dialogue. But do away with your demagogues: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Karl Rove.

Join us, right wing. Join the fact-based world. Join the Americans who re-elected Obama. We need you. Your viewers and readers need you.

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Welcome to the Republicans’ 21st Century Jim Crow voting laws

All the signs look good:

As of Sunday night, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight gives President Obama an 85.5 percent chance to stay in The White House. Princeton Professor Sam Wang gives the president a better chance: 98 percent. The president has yet to trail in Ohio in any legitimate poll (sorry, Rasmussen) for months and leads in Florida in a few of the latest polls. Obama is even ahead in nearly every national poll despite trailing for most of October.

Even some Republicans, like Matt Lattimer, who worked for Newt Gingrich’s campaign, wrote that the entire right-wing punditry have deluded themselves into thinking the Romney has a chance:

What is propelling Team Romney and their cheerleaders in the media appears to be wishful thinking, not empirical evidence.

With all this data, I should feel like this election is game, set, match. But I don’t.

It’s not because Obama is a “weak” candidate, as Michael Medved suggested in an asinine column, “Why the Long Face, Democrats?

Not even the Romney campaign’s decision to start airing ads and having rallies in Pennsylvania and Michigan is making me nervous. These are signs of desperation and suggests that Romney & Co. are preparing to lose in Ohio, Nevada, and, possibly, Florida and Virginia and need to find a new pathway to victory.

I am worried because 12 years ago, an election was stolen and the political run-up to this one has some similarities.

I’m OK with Al Gore defeating President Bush in the popular vote, but losing in the electoral college–that’s the U.S. electoral system. And the Republicans didn’t really “steal” the election when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was too late to start a recount. That election was stolen when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had purged tens of thousands of voters who should have been able to cast ballots and, statistically (most would have been from Democratic constituencies) at least, would have reversed the outcome of the entire election since Gore lost Florida by only 537 votes.

Voter suppression is happening again.

Earlier this election season, Florida representatives purged eligible voters from the rolls. The Florida secretary of state tried to cut early voting hours. So did Ohio. The Buckeye State and Pennsylvania have tried to implement Draconian voter I.D. laws that would prevent mostly Democrat voters from casting ballots. At least 14 other states have attempted to suppress turnout with new laws meant to prevent the mythical voter fraud.

Just this Friday, Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a declaration which could invalidate some provisional ballots. In Florida on Sunday, early voters needed a court order to cast their ballots because the Republican secretary of state had ordered polling places closed despite long lines of waiting voters Saturday night. The longest lines were primarily at “polling sites in urban areas and locations most convenient to college students, senior citizens and minority voters.” All of which are Democratic constituencies.

The Republican strategy for winning an election is clear. Republicans who rule in several states are enacting the 21st Century’s versions of Jim Crow’s literacy tests and grandfather clauses: Voter ID laws and voter roll purges. These voter suppression laws create low turnout, especially among minorities and college students, and have been the driving force behind Republican efforts to rig elections for more than a decade.

These measures also seem to be the only way Romney wins.

However, for Romney to win, with state polls as they are, the GOP must undertake a gigantic conspiracy. There has to be massive voter suppression and other funny business (like losing boxes of ballots) in multiple states with no one whistle-blowing. I can’t see that happening…

Still, you never know.

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