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Metaphorical's Journal
Metaphorical's Journal
December 1, 2020

Distrustful Republican Voters Spawning New Election Integrity Movement


Personally, I am happy to see this. I think there are systemic problems with the touchscreen voting machines, and the more that the rank and filel Republican gets exposed to the same issues that Democrats have been pointing out for years, the ones that are genuinely interest in electoral reform may come to understand why we have these concerns. There are a lot of ignorant people out there - not stupid, just dealing with a great deal of misinformation with no way of filtering it out, and any kind of education can only help to reduce that ignorance.
November 20, 2020

McConnell is in a far weaker position than most people realize

There is at least a 25% chance that the Democrats will take control of the Senate in 2021, if boh Orsoff and Warnock win, and as much as the GOP is spending in Trump's frivolous lawsuits, this is going to keep spending to support the GOP Georgian candidates down considerably. However, there is a 50% chance that at least one of the two candidates will be elected. At that point, the new Senate is 49/51 Dem/GOP. Worse-case scenario, the Dems are down two.

A lot of people are worried that McConnell will be obstructionist, but the reality in the second scenario is that he can't. He cannot afford a single defection in the ranks. He can't give Collins or Murkowski a "vote in conscience" without losing votes, and the chances that he can retain the fillibuster are now slim. He's also going to have to worry about someone in the GOP ranks choosing to caucus with the Democrats if crossed too many times.

What this means is that for the first time in a while, the GOP is going to have to do something they collectively hate - they are going to have to compromise in the Senate. Also keep in mind that Romney is waiting in the wings. He may end up going for the Presidency in 2024, but he may also decide that he may want to be Senate Majority Leader instead. I don't like Romney, but I think he is far more likely to build a moderate caucus in the process to undermine McConnell, and I think of the two, he is the more principled.

So, while not ideal for the Democrats, I don't think the situation is near as bad as some have portrayed it.

November 19, 2020

Has anyone noticed odd behavior with the Internet?

I'm seeing major domains suddenly throwing up DNS security errors - are we in the midst of a hack attack?

November 7, 2020

Why Hillary Clinton WON'T be on the Cabinet (nor should she be)

Most organizations that have been around for any length of time begin to develop a small pool of Elders, and this is as true in politics as anywhere else. Ben Franklin was an elder statesman, as an example - he was essentially an at large ambassador, a member of the government without actually formally being a part of the government.

Hillary Clinton is an Elder, as are the Obamas, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, one or two others. Such elders play a very important role - because of the gravitas of their station, they are well respected and have the actual authority to speak for the United States without having the formal authority or official sanction. They are often used in diplomatic roles where the US doesn't want to be seen as being committed but nonetheless has a vested interest.

It's one reason why any talk like that will go nowhere, especially with someone as seasoned as Biden (who essentially came out of retirement to run for president and was also an Elder). I don't think Biden ran because of ego. He ran because he realized it was necessary. I suspect that after he retired in 2016, he assumed that he was done with his political life, and would have been just as happy not doing it. That's what separates good people from bad ones. They do what they do because they see it as needing to be done. That was Trump's biggest failure - he looked upon the presidency as a means to enrich himself, to gain more power for himself.

November 7, 2020


Something's happening today, around the world. The balance of power is shifting.

Donald Trump brought the air of a Mafia Don to the White House, and with it the projection of how America was to be perceived. He ruled using fear and venom as his tools. Our allies came to realize, quickly, that America under Trump couldn't be trusted. It had gone fascist. The news was filled with cities on fires, protesters becoming vandals, an army of biker gangs openly threatened elected officials, supported by the President of the United States. Children were put into cages and separated from their families. Corruption had become the only currency, the rule of law no longer enforced. America had become infected not only with Covid-19 but also a creeping virulence, fear for the future, fear of association, fear of neighbors who had suddenly become enemies.

Power can be stolen. The problem with stolen power is that it does not confer legitimacy. This is an important concept but one that's difficult to put into words. Legitimacy is the idea that power was justly earned, and the belief that its wielder will use that power for the good of the country, not for his or her enrichment. It's the idea that a ruler has the support of all of the people in his demesne, not just the ones who adulate him or her. It also is a contract that says that a leader acknowledges that he is to be leader of everyone, not simply those who agree with him.

Donald Trump as president was illegitimacy personified. He was a narcissist who surrounded himself with sycophants, who use the power of his office to silence his critics, who "won" by rigging the rules while failing to gain the support of the majority of Americans. He installed his family into positions of power in a show of blatant nepotism, and then turned the instruments of power, from the immigration police to the Department of Justice, into his own praetariat and personal lawyers. As an illegitimate president, he subverted the Rule of Law.

The media in this country have a very odd role. They inform, the persuade, the coerce, and it can be argued that, like so much else, their privilege needs to be better kept in check. However, there is also something that they do every election cycle. They announce. The ballots have been cast and counted, the numbers have come in, but it isn't until the media calls the results of those numbers that a candidate is given legitimacy, or has legitimacy taken away.

Today, the mantle has been passed. Congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. You have been granted legitimacy.

Many will sigh in relief, from our allies to the millions of people who have watched this descent into madness take its toll on them and their families. Others will curse and plot and scheme, but will do so under cover of darkness, very much like their illegitimate leader, Donald Trump.

November 5, 2020

Perdue has slipped below 50%, here:


So it's looking likely that GA Senate will result in a run-off in January.

On the other GA Senate Race:
Raphael Warnock (Democratic) 1,589,353 32.8%
✓ *Kelly Loeffler (Republican) 1,262,182 26.0%
Doug Collins (Republican) 972,254 20.0%
Deborah Jackson (Democratic) 317,975 6.6%
Matt Lieberman (Democratic) 134,302 2.8%
Tamara Johnson-Shealey (Democratic) 104,756 2.2%
Jamesia James (Democratic) 92,392 1.9%
Derrick Grayson (Republican) 50,910 1.0%

If Ds and Rs are considered as a block: Rs at 47%, Ds at 46.3% -- We're not dead yet w/ Warnock either.

November 5, 2020

Trump was never ahead - in his entire term, he was a loser

Unsaid but significant - during this election cycle, Trump was never ahead of Biden after March. He never broke 50%, was underwater in ratings throughout his presidency, was never ahead or even tied with Biden for electoral votes or popular totals. Yes, he was (and still is) ahead in individual states), but never to a point where he could claim that he was winning. He did, of course, election night, but I cannot remember a politician in the last forty years who was so arrogant and clueless as to claim he was the winner when he was losing badly.

November 4, 2020

Not ideal, but I'll take it

We regained control of the White House, gained at least one Senate seat, and picked up a few more in the House.

Here's what didn't happen last night:
* Trump didn't receive a second term as President, possibly ending the country as a Democracy.
* The House didn't revert back to the Republicans, which would have just hastened the process
* We didn't have riots or looting or armed thugs attacking voters
* The Republicans didn't gain more seats, making it even harder for them to turn the country into one-party rule, and forcing McConnell to compromise more.

With Biden,
* we throw out the Barrs and DeJoys and the Salazars and replace them with people who are neither corrupt nor incompetent,
* we stop the hemorrhaging of civil service people,
* we restore the CDC and sort out real responses to the Pandemic
* we rejoin the Paris Accords
* we clean up the damage done to the EPA, get rid of all of those Trump EOs and start sane Climate Change responses
* we no longer conduct important governmental business on Twitter
* we no longer have to deal with abusive MFers gaslighting us

So, yeah, I'll take it.

(Had someone recommend I repost this as a thread).

November 4, 2020

Were the polls wrong?

I am the Community Editor for Data Science Central, so looking at statistics is both my passion and my job.

I've been pondering the comments that many people have said here at DU about never trusting the polls or pollsters again, because they were so off. My answer is simple - no, the polls were actually pretty accurate.

Most polling looks at distributions - the variations among the way that people will behave, with the idea that you can make models that test a lot of different variables and that in turn make it possible to combine or simulate the likelihood of a particular event occurring.

This year has been a real test for many pollsters and modelers, such as Five thirty eight. Between Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown, the economic impact of that, racial protests and the like, there were a lot of factors that went into the models that were simply not knowable beforehand, because we've not had a widescale pandemic in modern times (the last one of note was the Spanish Flu in 1918-1920). Several modelers all made the same point - Biden will probably win but it could be by 5 electoral votes or 200. Florida was likely a toss-up, and outside of Miami-Dade country the numbers were in line with expectations, the same with Ohio (note that Ohio and Florida seem to be increasingly in sync, perhaps because Florida is where Ohioans retire to).

Similarly, Georgia and Arizona (and quite possibly North Carolina) were considered as being slightly leaning towards Biden, in part because all three of them are seeing growing college-educated populations in critical tech and media hubs offsetting retirees, and all three had similar probability distributions because of that (note that this becomes clearer looking at Omaha, which went for Biden, it too is becoming known as a technical hub. If Nebraska had a winner-take-all system, this detail would have been lost, as most of the rest of the state is agricultural and rural.

The same point can be made for most of the rest of the electoral map. The map that's emerging now is remarkably close to what most pollsters were projecting, Biden taking the Pacific West (including Colorado). Texas and the Interior West went to Trump (though it was closer than expected in Texas), and so forth. If you read beyond the headline numbers, however, what also emerges (and what's not always obvious beforehand) was that the likelihood of the Democrats capturing the Senate was above 50%, but not by much. They picked up two and lost one, and there are three more outstanding due to run-offs, so it's still possible.

What data analytics tells you are probabilities. and moreover probabilities after all the dust has settled. With network television, people became conditioned (perhaps too conditioned) to believing that elections would be over by the time midnight rolled around, but in reality, elections take time, though the use of mail-in ballots and a relatively long lead time, along with rules about secrecy, mean that we're now moving away from that model, for the better I believe. Government is a deliberative process, because it requires that we think about the choices that we make. In the era of quick gratification, the flashy TV graphics and horse-race pacing of coverage may garner more eyeballs, but it robs us of the opportunity to choose the best candidates or propositions.

So, before you condemn pollsters and data scientists as charlatans, wait a bit and get a clearer picture of the whole results, not the results in the moment. In 2020, the results followed the polls quite well, but only if you don't interpret them with additional expectations (a second blue wave, as an example).

November 3, 2020

Trumpers Over the Road

A contingent of Trumpers were on one of the walkway overpasses on I405 in Kirkland, WA this afternoon. A couple of dozen people, waving signs for Trump and Culp, Trump's Mini-Me running for governor. None of them wore masks or distanced, and I noticed that there more drivers giving them the finger as they passed underneath than were honking in support. The irony is that this was the first time I had actually seen a Trump sign here in Seattle, especially given mail-in ballots went out on October 15 here. If an oversized semi- had taken out that bridge, I suspect Seattle would end up with no Trump supporters whatsoever.

Profile Information

Name: Kurt Cagle
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cascadia
Member since: Sat Dec 3, 2016, 01:02 AM
Number of posts: 1,565

About Metaphorical

Contributing Writer, Forbes Magazine

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