Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Who's Gonna Win 2016?

Somewhere Howard Dean Is Going "Oh, C'mon . . ."
Jonathan Chait goes all-in declaring that Hillary is set to win the presidential election next year. His reasoning?
  1. The Emerging Democratic Majority is real! He cites the new Pew survey which shows, yeah, more people identify as Dem/Lean Dem . . . by like 9pts (that's a lot).
  2. Youngsters are NOT going Republican. He cites Pew again.
  3. Clinton isn't THAT unpopular. He shows the polling.
  4. Obama is trending UP! He shows more polling.
  5. Is it REALLY time for a change? He takes on the no-three-in-a-row theory with the idea that today, with massive polarization, things are 'different.'
  6. There's no alternative! Republicans are crazy.
FiveThirtyEight throws cold water on this theory (and Nate Silver throws an additional elbow, adding that when a pundit declares a minor-misstep a 'game changer' it's time to find someone else to follow on Twitter) and finds 2016, right now, an even-odds toss-up.
  1. Obama's approval rating has been more or less fixed his whole term. It ain't going anywhere and it stands at roughly 50-50 (a little less).
  2. The economy isn't ALL that matters--but it matters--and there's no saying where it'll be in 2016.
  3. That Democratic "Blue Wall" is more a function of Obama winning than the mechanism of Obama winning. It's not as hard-and-fast as people make it sound.
  4. The Graph. FiveThirtyEight always includes a graph--which Vox then promptly steals. In this case? THIS IS THEIR GRAPH!!
Pretty Sure Ezra Klein Made This. Let Me Link It . . .
Their argument is that Hillary is well known--but no one is especially well liked (maybe Carson?). So, hey, no advantage to anyone.

Princeton Electoral Consortium takes The Graph, turns it ON ITS SIDE and ... uh ...
Okay, A Little More Modification Than On. It's. Side
Note that I have not done the cute 45-degree rotation that was the signature of the original FiveThirtyEight graphic. That was clever…maybe too clever, because it obscured important features in the actual data. When the analysis is the story, that can be a danger sign.Here are three major features I see in the data set.
  1. Hillary Clinton has massive name recognition. She is as well-known as a sitting President.
  1. As of today, Hillary Clinton’s favorability is 13 to 22 points higher than every Republican in the race.
  1. The best-known Republican, Jeb Bush, matches Hillary Clinton’s unfavorability, but lags her in favorability by 15 points. To match her net favorable-minus-unfavorable number, he would have to win over people who don’t have an opinion by a ratio of 1.7 to 1. That is a huge challenge.

The Omnivore positively swoons.

Dr. Sam Wang then charts the extrapolated 'trajectory'  of Republicans gaining name-recognition and it's this:
That directional line? Not exactly a winner.

What Does The Omnivore Think?
The Omnivore isn't nearly the math nerd that these guys are--but he thinks Vox kind of unintentionally nails something with this article: TV has been readying Americans for a Hillary Clinton presidency for a decade:
When Hillary Clinton announced (for the second time) her candidacy for the presidency, she joined a lengthy line of predecessors, other women who had heard her call and stepped into public service, sometimes attaining the highest office in the land.
Of course, that's not what happened in our reality. But it was what happened in pop culture, where the US often workshops and tries out ideas that will eventually become reality. The growing rise of gay rights in the country, for instance, neatly tracks with the growing depiction of gay people as fellow American citizens on television, and fiction has a long history of black presidents preceding Barack Obama's election.
Vox also notes that the list of TV female presidents are far more calibrated towards Hillary than the TV and movie black presidents were specifically about Barack Obama. The Omnivore thinks this is huge--and important--and that Republicans generally do understand this and recognize how dangerous it is.

This article from the so-far-right-it's-almost-something-else Takai's Magazine, is from a person who was a member of the Hollywood Conservative Cabal The Friends of Abe (named, of course, after Lincoln). He details the difficulty and drama of a bunch of politically 'aware' (in scare-quotes because he found that a lot of Hollywood conservatives might have been, yes, conservative--but were not exactly 'aware' in an intellectual sense) of trying to make good conservative media. It was more or less a disaster.

When it worked, where it worked, was when the message was organic to the story, rather than driving it. The Friends of Abe were never able to put that together--partially due to being, most of the time, heavily drunk (it sounds like a fun group regardless of their success record). His takeaway is that trying to make conservative media is putting the cart before the horse and is more or less doomed. If you can manage to make entertaining, gripping, meaningful art--and it has conservative values? You get stuff like American Sniper.

When you try? You get garbage.

The female presidents list that Vox hits hasn't all been top-drawer shows--and (and very importantly) they are not always friendly to Hillary Clinton--but the fact that Vox's play list exists at all serves to Inception-like plant the idea that it's reasonable to put a woman--in general--and Hillary, in specific--in the White House.

In other words, we've all been told someday we'll have a female president. We've also been kind of subliminally told that Hillary is, at least, a reasonable fit.

Now, you may or may not believe this is true: a lot of conservatives on The Omnivore's Twitter are fine (or say they are) with a woman president--just not Hillary. Whatever the merits or not of the charges against her or it is pretty clear to The Omnivore that despite scandals, allegations, and innuendo, Hillary is still seen by most people as a reasonable pick for POTUS.

Were The Omnivore a conservative messaging consultant, that would be . . . cause for alarm. Considering the amount of effort--not to mention money (forget the PACs, what about millions in Congressional inquests)--put into showing the world that Hillary should be completely disqualified from seeking the highest office, the results have been, well, kind of the opposite. It appears a small minority might think she's the best pick.

The Omnivore thinks there's got to be some serious cognitive dissonance going on around the failure to re-evaluate the strategy.

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