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Fiendish Thingy

Fiendish Thingy's Journal
Fiendish Thingy's Journal
February 15, 2024

Rosenberg: Since Dobbs, Democrats Keep Overperforming, Winning and Republicans Keep Struggling

Go here now, read the whole thing, and subscribe (free):


Rosenberg provides evidence-based optimism to counter the hand-wringing doomerism that is so prevalent these days.

I started Hopium last March because I thought that we could do something historic in this cycle and get to 55 together. And look at what we’ve done since last March. We took away a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat with 56% of the vote, ending right-wing ideological control of the court in one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. We took away Colorado Springs and Jacksonville, two of the largest Republican held cities in the country. We took away the six week abortion ban in Ohio, getting 57% of the vote there in two elections. We took away the Virginia House, and ended the fantasy that the 15 week abortion could somehow give them an escape hatch from ending Roe. Governor Beshear grew his margin in Kentucky, we gained seats in the New Jersey legislature, and won cities, city council races and school board races all across the US. In 2023, like 2022, we overperformed and won. And they struggled.

And now this same basic dynamic - overperforming and struggling - is showing up in 2024 now too. We took away a critical state House seat in Florida last month, HD-35, Tom Keen.( Note: Rosenberg was the only one to project Dems would win this seat) We took away NY-3 last night, turning an 8 point loss in 2022 to a 8 point win, and outperformed public polls, as we’ve been doing repeatedly since Dobbs. Joe Biden had a higher margin of victory in NH than Trump as a write-in candidate, and got more votes than Trump in Nevada. Our party committees and candidates are outraising Republicans across the US, as we did in 2022. And look at them. Turnout in their Iowa Caucus was anemic despite $100m spent and lots of candidate time. Trump only received 56,000 votes of the 750,000 registered Republicans there - big yikes stuff. The heir apparent, DeSantis, flamed out, spectacularly. Trump underperformed public polls in NH by 10-15 points. Polling in these early states showed a very large number of Republicans very worried about Trump and willing to vote for Biden. The RNC is broke, and broken. State Republican Parties in the battlegrounds have atrophied under MAGA extremist leadership. Dozens of prominent Republican Party leaders in the states have been indicted for trying to overturn the 2020 election, many more are under investigation. GOP Party Chairs in Arizona and Florida just resigned due to epic scandals. Ugly MAGA candidates are winning primaries again. They tossed their Speaker. The new one is a coward and a traitorous fool. Trump’s putting his family in charge of the RNC. We keep overperforming and winning. They keep struggling.

MAGA is a failed politics. It lost in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023, and is losing 2024. And this struggle Republicans have seen could get worse for them in the coming months. Their nominee is far weaker than 2020. He is campaigning from the court house not the White House this time. He is far more degraded, extreme, dangerous. His performance on the stump more unhinged, erratic, distributing. Because of his decline and uncontrolled impulsivity, he is making huge traditional political errors - like coming out against the ACA - that cause candidates to lose elections all the time.

I think we are going to win the Presidential election in November. We should flip the House, and if we work really hard we should keep the Senate. The Democratic Party is a force for good in America and the world, Joe Biden is a good President and we are far better off today. We have a very strong case for re-election and the President will be laying out his agenda for his second term in the coming weeks. We keep winning elections of all kinds, all across the country, over many years now. And they are the worst group of political leaders our history. No one has deserved to get their asses kicked more than these cowardly betrayers of everything that has made America great. We should keep winning, and they should keep struggling.

More heart-warming goodness at the link, plus guidance on how to get involved and actually do something to beat the fascists at the ballot box this November.

February 11, 2024

NYT: He has a charming home, tomato garden, loves chocolate, gooseberry pie & naps

Some things never change at the NYT:

On 9/20/1939, NYT published an article about Hitler's charming home; tomato garden; love of chocolate, gooseberry pie & afternoon naps.This was 9 mos after Kristallnacht, 6 yrs after the Dachau Nazi concentration camp opened, 12 days before he invaded Poland & started WWII. pic.twitter.com/4aJotYivbk— 𝔅𝔬 𝔊𝔞𝔯𝔡𝔦𝔫𝔢𝔯 🌎 (@Bo_Gardiner) February 11, 2024


February 9, 2024

MSNBC: Melber and Maddow on SCOTUS disqualification hearings


Melber gets to the core issue -
The question SCOTUS is focusing on isn’t “Is Trump disqualified under the 14th amendment?” But rather “does one individual state have the authority to disqualify someone from a federal office?”.

The implication being, if a single state can disqualify an individual for a federal office under the 14th, which can then be appealed to SCOTUS, that would mean SCOTUS would have to adjudicate an individual’s disqualification FIFTY SEPARATE TIMES.

Best case scenario is, SCOTUS overturns the Colorado case, leaving the door open for a suit in federal, rather than state, court to establish Trump’s disqualification, nationwide, for federal office under the 14th amendment.
February 5, 2024

Emptywheel: Stop treating rule of law like a Magical Sparkle Pony and get busy


Like everyone else, I anxiously await the DC Circuit decision on Trump’s immunity bid.

Unlike most people, I’m not yet convinced that the delay so far stems from Judge Karen Henderson deliberately stalling the decision.
That’s because the decision is more complicated than most commentators appreciate.

There are three decisions in front of these judges. First, whether or not the court has jurisdiction to rule at all. Then, whether they should just rule for unofficial acts, like launching a coup to get reelected, or whether they should rule, generally, that Presidents can even be prosecuted for their official acts, like pardoning Roger Stone to buy his silence. Finally, they need to decide how to release the opinion, possibly in a way to give Trump fewer options to stall further.

Because the American Oversight amicus — a pretty convincing one! — raised a question about whether the DC Circuit had jurisdiction, it caused a potential split between Florence Pan and Michelle Childs, both Biden appointees, who otherwise seemed to agree on the scope of their ruling. Childs seemed very persuaded by the AO brief, and so very cautious about their basis to rule at all.

As a result, there’s no natural majority, meaning whatever opinion(s) get written will be far harder to map out. It is simply a far harder opinion than most people think, and if they get this wrong, it’s going to lead to far longer delays at both the en banc and SCOTUS level.

Talk to me in two weeks. If we’ve got no ruling then, I’m happy to start entertaining theories about deliberate delay.

(paraphrasing the rest to avoid copyright violation)

Marcy goes on to express concern that “ the visible panic of a few TV lawyers who’ve been wrong every step of the way on the January 6 investigation” has caused a widespread panic among Democrats, resulting in a self-inflicted impotence.

She warns that every second we spend worrying about Karen Henderson is time we could be spending doing whatever we can to defeat Trump. She advises us to stop wallowing in false conspiracy theories about the January 6 investigation that ignore a significant amount of public information that TV lawyers don’t talk about:


I recommend reading the entire article, plus all the linked information.
December 1, 2023

Am I the only one thinking we should RatF*ck the GOP primaries?

NH is an open primary, anyone can request a Republican ballot, and vote for Haley. (Biden isn’t on the NH Dem ballot as the primary isn’t sanctioned by the party)

Not sure about the rules for the SC primary that follows soon after NH, but there might be enough time to change registration.

If Haley wins both NH and SC, it would create a seismic shift in the narrative, probably causing all others besides Trump to drop out, and dramatically increasing her support and fundraising.

The funny thing is, because the current narrative assumes Trump will win easily, that may actually suppress turnout of Trump supporters (primaries typically have much lower turnout than the general anyways).

Am I crazy thinking it would only take a relatively small amount of Dem votes for Haley, say 50,000 in NH, and maybe 100,000 in SC for her to win both primaries? (I’ll have to research turnout in recent primaries)

November 28, 2023

Molly Jong-Fast: Let's Stop treating polls as actual news events

In Vanity Fair:


And yet recent 2024 polls, which serve, at best, as snapshots of the electorate a year out, become news events unto themselves, generating reams of coverage and endless commentary. They’re not actually breaking news events, like, say, a train derailment, even if treated as such. They’re more creations of a media industrial complex that longs for easy data points, for things that feel like facts but are actually imprecise measuring mechanisms. 

For every piece that is directly about polling, like one from Politico proclaiming “the polls keep getting worse for Biden,” there are others based on the suppositions gleaned from poll results, such The Washington Post examining “Trump’s improved image.” Even pieces downplaying some headline-grabbing polls as the “wrong” ones, may seize on others to make a point.
“The odd thing about media polls is that they are reported as a newsworthy event, but this kind of event ‘happens’ only when a newsroom decides it’s time for one—and when it has the money,” NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen wrote in an email.
Polls may fall into the category of pseudo-events, a term coined in 1962 by Daniel J. Boorstin and defined as something that “planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced.” Just like polls, a pseudo-event’s “relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous.” (This idea was recently discussed by on John Dickerson on Slate’s Political Gabfest episode on polling episode). In this way, a poll may be more like a press conference, something that is created to shape a narrative.


Rosen has been out front this presidential election cycle with an “organizing principle” for journalists: “Not the odds, but the stakes.” The focus, he argues, should be “not who has what chances of winning, but the consequences for American democracy.” Placing too much emphasis on polls can shift the political conversation from critical reporting about what’s happening—such as the impact of Biden’s administration’s policies or Trump’s authoritarian plans for a second term—to predictions about what may happen a year later. 

More at link.
November 8, 2023

Daily Kos: Why polling is dead, Dead, DEAD.

Diary by a former professional pollster:


So, what they apparently rely on now is “weighting”. Weighting is nothing new. It has been used in polling forever to cure some faults in sampling. If you find that your sample is under-or-over-supplied with people who fall into some known demographic category, you correct for that in the analysis phase. Up to a point, that can work.

Up to a point. But from what is leaking out of polling organizations now, that point has long been passed. According to an insider who made a comment here some months ago, now it’s basically ALL weighting. They try to line up the results according to a predetermined idea of what would likely be said by a truly random sample, by aligning as many demographic factors as they can with an abstract idea of how those measurements would line up in the real world.

Yet they can have less and less idea, as time goes by, of how the population actually falls according to any of these factors. There are no real base lines. They can say, “We don’t have enough Catholics”, or “We have too many people with college degrees”, and then try to align the results accordingly. Yet they are further and further from actually knowing how many Catholics there really are, or even how many people with college degrees live in given areas. On some factors they can try to align with the most recent Federal Census, but that’s extremely limited because the Census no longer collects any more than the most basic, meager information. On other possibly relevant factors there’s no data at all. In fact it’s reached the point where it’s not actually possible to know about many factors that might be relevant—new ones that have cropped up. It’s just too long now since there was any reliable base data.

So they may try to correct for a multitude of factors, without having any sort of base-line for those factors. Then on top of that, according to the person who wrote that comment, there’s a final “hand-waving” stage where they say in effect, “That just doesn’t look right”, and try to adjust the figures until it does.

November 5, 2023

Numerous Fall 2011 polls showed Obama losing the election


(Scroll down to “before convention nominations”)

At least one poll showed Obama losing to Romney by 6 points, and several other by smaller margins.

In addition, several polls showed Obama losing to Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and Herman Cain.

You’re welcome.
October 19, 2023

Beware of new Morning Consult swing state poll showing Biden losing 5/7 states

Just a heads up to those with highly flammable follicles that Morning Consult has just published a poll of seven swing states showing Biden losing to Trump in 5 out of 7 states, by an average of four points.

Many issues with this poll, first of which is a troubling lack of transparency on the sample:

This survey, which identifies key issues in the 2024 election and measures how much voters trust Biden vs. Trump on these issues and how Biden vs. Trump perform on a ballot in swing states, was conducted from Oct. 5-10, 2023, among a sample of 5,023 registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of swing state registered voters based on gender, age, race, marital status, home ownership, 2020 presidential vote and state. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/-1 percentage point.

Notice what’s left out? No mention of the sample’s weighting of R vs D (although they did disclose there were about 1300 Independent voters, IIRC. And weighting by 2020 vote? Who does that? Wouldn’t that leave out young voters who weren’t eligible to vote in 2020? (PS MOE for each state was 3-4 points)

Stinkier than a fish market on a hot August day…

For the masochists, here’s a link (must be a subscriber to see cross tabs and detailed methodology):


Here’s a more balanced and contextual examination :


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