Confession

Nov 07 2012 Published by under General Politics

I actually believed, until recently, that the "our internal polling shows..." routine was just part of the spin machine. That at worst the campaign might keep the candidate fooled to keep his confidence up.

But that for realzies the campaigns wanted to operate on the best possible polling data.

So they could know where to devote resources, where to fly the candidate for speechifying and all that.

99 responses so far

  • neuromusic says:

    yup:
    http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/print/

    "The analytics team used four streams of polling data to build a detailed picture of voters in key states. In the past month, said one official, the analytics team had polling data from about 29,000 people in Ohio alone — a whopping sample that composed nearly half of 1% of all voters there — allowing for deep dives into exactly where each demographic and regional group was trending at any given moment. This was a huge advantage: when polls started to slip after the first debate, they could check to see which voters were changing sides and which were not. [...] The polling and voter-contact data were processed and reprocessed nightly to account for every imaginable scenario. “We ran the election 66,000 times every night,” said a senior official, describing the computer simulations the campaign ran to figure out Obama’s odds of winning each swing state. “And every morning we got the spit-out — here are your chances of winning these states. And that is how we allocated resources.”

    makes nate silver's approach look like kid stuff

  • DrugMonkey says:

    And the Repubs? Did the campaign know it was losing do you think? Did Romney know?

  • Dave Bridges says:

    Is it more the trainee who dosent want to tell the boss his hypothesis is wrong, or the boss using post-hoc rationalizations to feel that they were right all along?

  • Jim Woodgett says:

    I don't think Romney really knew that the data were so fundamentally against him. He presumably did realise that it would be close (hence the last minute scrambles) but he seemed truly dejected on the night. When you bend rules, you really don't know who to trust. Did anyone "give it to him straight"? If they did, it was likely a curve ball.

    It was (again) only the swing states that were relevant and that's where the GOP polls were so wrong. Kinda makes the rest of the information irrelevant.

    But delusion is a powerful thing.

  • Grumble says:

    "It was (again) only the swing states that were relevant..."

    This is why states need to enact the National Popular Vote law. We can end the swing state charade - it just takes enough states to enact the law. Many states have already done so - if your state isn't one of them, do your part and contact your governor and state legislators and tell them you want your vote for president to MATTER!

  • miko says:

    Not just campaigns... Rasmussen was wrong by about ~5% on average in contested states, always in Romney's favor. Hard to guess if this is an overt base-motivating momentum strategy, a more deluded right-wing attempt to create its own reality, a marketing tactic, or some kind of systematic incompetence.

    At any rate, there don't seem to be any consequences for pundits and pollsters being horribly wrong, though there are some benefits for being right.

    I heard that Rove's PAC lost every election in spent on, and he's their "smart" guy. Warms the cockles of my heart.

    I don't think anyone in Romney's campaign ever gave it to him straight. That's why he was so fucking confused about what he was supposed to think/say all the time.

    And yes, this might be the best time ever to convince innumerate Republicans to do away with the electoral college. They really think the popular vote would be as close without the EC as it is with it.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Grunbie-

    It's a Republic. We have States. Deal. If you want to "do something about it", move to a state opposite to you and make it more competitive. Jesus. you people. Read your damn highschool civics text.

  • miko says:

    Read yours. States can choose to assign their EC votes however they want. That's how our Republic works. Many states have already past legislation to assign their votes to the popular vote winner, providing enough other states do to make this number >270.

    This is great for liberals, because being in safe states makes people not vote. Liberal safe states are much, much more populous than conservative ones.

  • zb says:

    I listened to a public radio panel talking about the use of empirical data (somehow, the word "quant" is starting to bug me, since I used to use it to refer to the ex-theoretical physicists, who knew really hard math, and now it seems like its used to refer to anyone who calculates an average, or hey, a weighted average, and knows what that means). In it, the panel members argued that the Republicans first made use of this kind of info (really, it's an extension of marketing data), in the 2004 time range, but the Democrats took it up later and have since overtaken them. One of the main reasons the panel cited for the flip is that the panels thought the Republicans weren't willing to follow the data when it didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. That is, the flip in reliance on data occurred just around the time that all of us lefties were complaining about the Republican war on science (on climate change, on homosexuality, on drug use, on behavior, on poverty, on schools, . . . .).

    It's kind of cool if listening to data in the political experiment has reached the stage where the loop is closed and short enough that it'll turn into an entry drug for data, for anyone, including Republicans. Once they get hooked, maybe they'll be unable to ignore the data everywhere.

  • Susan says:

    'And the Repubs? Did the campaign know it was losing do you think? Did Romney know?'

    Apparently they baked their own data to keep themselves deluded:
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/11/romney-campaign-enlists-help-of-killer-whale-project-to-get-out-the-vote.html
    http://news.yahoo.com/analysis--why-mitt-romney-may-have-taken-so-long-to-concede.html

    Why they utterly ignored Nate Silver and all of his aggregate data is beyond me. It does reinforce my view of the GOP as heavily insular and not particularly interested in the real world or the real peoples.

  • Dave says:

    Yeh the Obama campaign schooled the pubs on how to win an election. Apparently the voter database that the Democrats now have is quite extensive and they can literally target individual voters and neighborhoods if they need to. They have data not just on a voters political preferences, but also on their social and economic activities etc.

    One interesting thing I read is that the pubs were using VOIP calling for their internal polling and were therefore massively under-sampling those who primarily use cell phones (i.e. younger people). This would have thrown their internal data in their favor and I think this is a big reason why some of the right-wing nutjobs were confident that they would get over 300 electoral votes. But if you actually looked at the large unbiased polls, it was never a contest and I think Obama's chances of winning never really dropped below 75%.

    This polling stuff is fascinating though.

  • Virgil says:

    I know its an anecdote, and N=1 does not make a trend, but really the only piece of "data" that mattered on Tuesday was that the GOP ran a billionaire investment banker as a candidate. No amount of fancy computers can overcome the ass-hattedness of that choice.

  • drugmonkey says:

    miko,
    It's stupid for smaller states to give up their Federal clout. Do you also argue the Senate should be proportional to population?

  • miko says:

    Several small states have already passed this legislation (VT, MD, HI), but it doesn't matter if all (or even most) of them do. Again, for it to work it only requires that states with a combined EC total of >270 agree to it. Yes, some states would be stupid to give up their highly disproportionate power in choosing the president...that doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken from them.

    The senate is separate branch of government that has little similarity to the role and responsibilities of the executive...don't see the relevance.

  • Dave says:

    the GOP ran a billionaire investment banker as a candidate

    But the GOP does not believe that was the problem. Even now they still think they had the right candidate and the right approach (conservatism). They are in denial and massively out of touch with reality.

  • Grumble says:

    "It's a Republic. We have States. Deal. If you want to "do something about it", move to a state opposite to you and make it more competitive. Jesus. you people. Read your damn highschool civics text."

    Jesus, DM, what is not stoopid about this entire paragraph? First, you tell me to move to another state, as if anyone is going to put this issue foremost in mind when deciding where to live. Surely you aren't such an idiot as to believe anyone would, or should, do that.

    Second, you exhort me to read my civics text - as if somehow a better understanding of the electoral college would lead me to love it more. Sorry, but I understand it perfectly well, and I think it's an absurd anachronism that hurts our nation.

    Finally we get a real argument from you: "It's stupid for smaller states to give up their Federal clout." But right now, the vast majority of small AND large states have no federal clout (as far as presidential elections go) because candidates pay attention ONLY to the swing states.

    This is dangerous. It means that vast amounts of money go into persuading just a few people. Before you scoff that this strategy didn't work because Romney and Rove lost this time around, please remember that Obama was also spending wads of cash, not just on advertising but on an intensive get-out-the-vote ground operation. Why is this better than having Obama and Romney spend their money to convince the entire population of Americans that they are qualified for the presidency?

    Maybe I haven't encountered all of the arguments in favor of keeping the electoral college, but the ones I've seen are utterly unconvincing.

  • miko says:

    "the GOP ran a billionaire investment banker as a candidate"

    The GOP's problems are much worse than this. I cannot even imagine a fictional GOP presidential candidate that could both 1) Win a GOP primary, 2) Win a national election. The GOP has spent the last 30-40 years building a coalition of different kinds of crazy, all of which need to be pandered to in a primary. Frankencandidates coming out of this process will either be empty suits like Romney, who believe in nothing but saying whatever it takes to win, or someone who legitimately advocate much of the more broadly repugnant social agenda of the zoo of ideologues that makes up their base.

    Chickens, roosting... something like that.

  • theshortearedowl says:

    The GOP don't believe in statistics - too much like science.

  • eeke says:

    What's really hilarious is the fury of the billionaires who supported Mittens: they supported a guy who would lie to the people and say anything to get elected. Is it not ironic that these billionaires are now pissed because they feel that they were duped by someone who they paid to lie?

  • DJMH says:

    Red states run the size gamut from Montana to Texas. Blue states run from Vermont to California. Swing states run in size from New Hampshire to Florida. So explain, exactly, how the electoral college protects the voice of small states?

  • neuromusic says:

    "And the Repubs? Did the campaign know it was losing do you think? Did Romney know?"

    +1000 for Susan for those links

    Also, I can't find the link, but I remember reading an article during the GOP primaries discussing the irony of the anti-science rhetoric by one of the candidates (was it Perry? can't remember) given that this particular candidate had a team of social scientists optimizing their appearances based on predictive data. e.g., they had them skip out on appearances in traditional locations in favor of showing up at a high school football game in some podunk county b/c the models said that that was a more critical place to be.

  • drugmonkey says:

    You've answered your own question DJMH. It'll come to you in a minute...

  • drugmonkey says:

    Grumble-

    You need to recognize your own apparent lack of commitment to a Federation of States .

    You too miko.

  • drugmonkey says:

    and wrt your imagination miko, 2000 was so long ago?

  • Grumble says:

    Miko: "I cannot even imagine a fictional GOP presidential candidate that could both 1) Win a GOP primary, 2) Win a national election."

    I can imagine such a candidate, and his name is Chris Christie. What the GOP needs is someone who comes across as non-elite - someone people can relate to. People will ignore all kinds of failings in such candidates, as long as they think it would be fun to have a beer with him. Just look at GW Bush. No one would want to have a beer with Mittens, so he lost.

    DM: "You need to recognize your own apparent lack of commitment to a Federation of States"

    And why should I or anyone be so committed? The Constitution is just a piece of paper with words on it. Those words can and should be re-written when the circumstances call for it. They do.

    (And by the way, I also support the call for an amendment to retract the Citizens United decision.)

  • miko says:

    Grumb, Chris Christie is pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, and pro-government. No chance in a GOP primary. He'd have a great shot in a national election, though I think he'd have to lose weight.

    DM, the GOP is already radically different now than it was in 2000, thanks to the teabaggers and funerals/retirements of the old waspy pre-neocon, pre-xian right conservatives. We're seeing the culmination of a long-term trend.

    A federation of states... LOL. We've got 200 years of supreme court rulings, a civil war, and huge expansion of federal powers that have done away with that nonsense. Even so, if state legislatures choose to assign their EC votes that way, states rights folks have nothing to complain about.

  • Dave says:

    ...though I think he'd have to lose weight.

    yeh because the anti-obesity lobby is strong LOL. No fatties in the GOP. Old Newty-Boy is a little plump, as is The Herminator (must be the pizzas).

  • drugmonkey says:

    Two highly topical (and opposing) examples of why a Federation of States is better than a politically and legally homogenous Democracy.

    1) gay marriage
    2) marijuana policy

    I'll let you do the math for yourselves.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Recognizing that some things (slavery, miscegenation and sodomy laws) trump States Rights is not saying that all instances of Federal overreach are good.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The notion that Individual States are the laboratories of our democracy is not attractive to you scientists? Really?

  • miko says:

    Yes, that's fine. Works great sometimes. Don't get why it's an argument for a particular method of states assigning their electors.

  • drugmonkey says:

    It diminishes state clout

  • becca says:

    "He'd have a great shot in a national election, though I think he'd have to lose weight."

    C'mon, "get on the raft with Taft"? Doesn't do it for you? Though Taft did have an impeccable mustache. Ah, the good old days.

    Anyway, I have no extremely strong opinion on the electoral college, but "federation of states" is why gay marriage and other RIGHTS are being "decided" piecemeal, why we systematically disenfranchise minorities via monstrous amalgamations of different voting laws (totally violating the spirit of "one person one vote"), and why you, DM, of all people, should have allowed Isabel to celebrate cannabis decriminalization in Washington and Colorado as full-on victory for those states. Honestly DM, who do you think you are, MittensTheNeuroscientist? Talking out of both sides of your mouth on this issue and pointing out "well some states actually believe in rights for minorities!" does not become you, DM *tsk tsk*

    "laboratories of democracy" made sense when our country started-but now we have literally dozens of other countries we could learn from, if we could get over our jingoistic non-sense of being the Best and Only United States of Americka!. Can we get the outcomes of Finland's schools from our more diverse population? No, but we could learn from lots of their approaches Can we do socialized medicine in the way the UK does? Not exact, but again we could learn from that. Is the US precisely like Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, or Sweden? Nope. But we're not so blatantly otherworldly that we can be Sure! The! Republic! As! We! Know! It! Will! Come! Crashing! Down!!!11!!1!!!!!1!! If we give Teh Gays their rights.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    What assumption are you making re "both sides of my mouth" becca?

  • becca says:

    DM- my point was on your I Voted post you were more than happy to rain on Isabel's weed-day parade with the snide "little matter of federal law" comment.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Discussing States Rights and the Federal compromise is "snide"?

  • Isabel says:

    "Two highly topical (and opposing) "

    Opposing??? Especially considering your slavery example!! The drug war against the American people is the most racist federal policy EVER. Why do you support it? We have learned that Washington and the MSM fully support the drug war, which is a much bigger social crisis than opposition to gay marriage, sorry. State initiatives are the only way to end the evil, racist drug "war" that you support.

  • Grumble says:

    DM: "It diminishes state clout."

    It seems that this is the best, and in fact ONLY argument you can come up with for keeping the electoral college. Yet I've already debunked it. Because people in only a tiny handful of states actually determine the outcome of the presidential election, the "clout" (i.e., ability to influence who will be president) of the vast majority of the people is much less in the current system than in a system in which the popular vote determines the outcome.

    Doing away with the electoral college is not going to hurt states' rights, or the rights of minorities, or even the move to legalize MJ. Heck, the majority of Americans support MJ legalization, so perhaps if presidential candidates cared less about Ohioans and more about the rest of us, this issue would actually get support (or at least debated) at the presidential level.

    (By the way, most Americans agree with me that the electoral college should be abolished.)

  • drugmonkey says:

    Isabel-

    As always you have no idea what I support. But the "opposing" referred to the fact that te Fed right now chooses to respect States on the one by not to on t'other.

    I would think this would make my point about the value of states as laboratories. It permits things to be tried before they would ever get national support. Having examples where the world fails to end, as predicted, then supports broader adoption. This is not complicated stuff and there are numerous historical examples.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Grumble you are making no sense and you have no idea what a Federation of States means.

  • Grumble says:

    DM, accusing your opponent of ignorance is a time-honored method of dealing with losing a debate. It's OK, I understand and forgive.

    As for Federation of States itself, there's no need to do anything but repeat what miko said:

    "A federation of states... LOL. We've got 200 years of supreme court rulings, a civil war, and huge expansion of federal powers that have done away with that nonsense. Even so, if state legislatures choose to assign their EC votes that way, states rights folks have nothing to complain about."

    Yet you are complaining. Why? What bad things, specifically, do you think will happen if (no, WHEN) the National Popular Vote movement succeeds and the popular vote elects the president? I'd really like to know, because as I said, I've yet to hear a convincing argument in favor of keeping the College. But I'm open to persuasion.

  • drugmonkey says:

    A "convincing" argument, eh? Nice trick.

  • Alex says:

    So, DM, if you don't oppose legalization, why is it that in your blogging about the subject of drugs and public health you aim 99.999% of your fire at the legalization camp, and little or none at the prohibition camp?

  • Alex says:

    Maybe I should rephrase:

    You say that we have no idea what you actually support. However, in all of your discussions of this subject, you aim your fire exclusively in one direction. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to draw some reasonable inferences...

  • Isabel says:

    The Fed's will be respecting states rights on ending prohibition soon. As it becomes more popular they will not have the resources to oppose whether they want to or not.

  • drugmonkey says:

    why is it that in your blogging about the subject of drugs and public health you aim 99.999% of your fire at the legalization camp, and little or none at the prohibition camp?

    I don't. I do in the comments because 99.999% of the idiotic anti-science commentary comes from this direction. If I had a lot of kneejerk, mythspouting, fuzzy thinking on the "prohibitionist" side, perhaps there would be more balance.

    But if you think my blogging is exclusively directed at legalization fans then you are simply not reading carefully. Here's one hint- the "conditional probability of dependence" stuff does not hew super closely to the simple messaging of prohibitionists.

    You say that we have no idea what you actually support.

    and you still do not because you simply cannot grasp that one might stand up for the science, bash away at anti-science rationales and still be able to incorporate a range of reasons that may have nothing to do with the science in one's own judgement on a public policy topic. This is, for the millionth time, not a public policy of drug abuse blog. This is, in small part, a science of drug abuse blog.

    The Fed's will be respecting states rights on ending prohibition soon.
    That's the question, isn't it. Like I said, the States are laboratories. They generate pilot data for deciding whether we should broaden the experiment or shut it down. This is a good thing which we should all endorse irrespective of our positions on specific policy experiments.

    We've got 200 years of supreme court rulings, a civil war, and huge expansion of federal powers that have done away with that nonsense.

    This would be one reason I've called you ignorant. The examples are topical, highly salient this week and provided to you here by me. The fact that the Fed has expanded and the States diminished compared with the founding of this nation does not mean that States Rights are not still present and important. Nor that the pendulum can never swing backward on any issue.

    What bad things, specifically, do you think will happen if (no, WHEN) the National Popular Vote movement succeeds and the popular vote elects the president?

    The States*, qua States, have less influence**, period. This is bad. You may think we should not be a Federation of States but rather an amorphous democracy. Fine, you are welcome to that opinion but I do not share it, neither did the Founders. And, repetitively, there are excellent and highly current reasons that the Federation is the superior approach.

    *yes, in practice this works out to smaller-population states having more influence than they would in a purely population-based model. That's kind of the point.

    **and to be clear, I'm not suggesting States can't decide to allocate their EC votes proportionally***, either. I'm suggesting we don't take away their choice to use all-or-none allocation to enhance their punch in the Presidential elections.

    ***I am suggesting that many of them would be insane to do so.

  • Isabel says:

    "and still be able to incorporate a range of reasons that may have nothing to do with the science in one's own judgement on a public policy topic."

    This is exactly what you are NOT able to do. Otherwise why continually (in the OPs btw not merely the comments as you assert) do you disparage those who favor lifting prohibition? You paint anti-prohibitionists as having extreme views which you never provide evidence for, despite my repeated requests. Then you lie repeatedly about me, saying I claimed "pot is harmless" and other lies.

    Your research has nothing to do with public policy. So why do you keep bringing up public policy here?

    And why ignore the racist aspect? Especially as you spend a large percentage of your on-line presence (especially twitter) denouncing racists! I repeat that nothing is as racist as the drug war at the moment.

    " They generate pilot data for deciding whether we should broaden the experiment or shut it down"

    The Feds will have no power to shut it down. It's the beginning of the end of this horrific war on our own citizens. There will be more battles, because the Feds are in bed with law enforcement and other lobbyists.

    "This is, for the millionth time, not a public policy of drug abuse blog. This is, in small part, a science of drug abuse blog. "

    try to remember that please the next time you open a post with "wait til the legaleezeit folks hear about this research".

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I disparage people such as yourself who are unable to discuss the science without screaming about racist Prohibitionist drug laws. It's just a plain fact that you are unable to deal with your issues without combining it with false assertions about pot's (lack of) harms. All your revisionist history about your positions on this does not convince anyone with an intact long term memory store.

  • becca says:

    Discussing federal vs. state jurisdiction isn't snide. However, given the history with Isabel, and the fact that she was quite understandably pleased with the cannabis related outcomes of the election, your comment was- how do they say?- oh, let's go with "being a wet blanket" (or perhaps even "sour grapes"... in fairness to you, if the comment had come from someone else, "snide" might have been dead on, but you are oh-so-capable of eversomuch more snarkery- it's too understated for your work).

  • Isabel says:

    Yawn. Please show one example of me saying it's harmless. I have asked this repeatedly and you have failed to provide one single link to me saying anything of the kind. That's because I never did. Stop lying! Although I agree with your Drug Czar buddy that it is less harmful thank alcohol.

    "I disparage people such as yourself who are unable to discuss the science without screaming about racist Prohibitionist drug laws. "

    This is ridiculous! YOU keep bring prohibition into the scientific discussions. The question of what the best course of action for society has been decided. Stop lying about me. The science you are posting about is not relevant to prohibition, which should never have occurred in the first place.

    Plus your science is weak and needs to be put into better context in this time of drug war crisis. Every study is tiny, or doesn't correct for other drug use, or shows a very small effect that is contradicted by other studies, etc. Yet these end up as scare stories on MSM sites eg "long term cannabis use causes x" when the study actual says that "a study of 17 heavy users of five joints a day for at least ten years show a small correlation with x".

    The result of the scare stories is that prohibition is more difficult to overturn. Like I said, you are part of the problem. To get your grants you need to play up the dangers, how vital the research is to society before the evil weed is legally unleashed on the masses etc. This contributes to the false perception that cannabis is a scary drug but alcohol is a friendly social lubricator or accompaniment to fine food.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Oh is that what an entire NIH Institute devotes to alcoholism is there for Isabel? To study it as a friendly social lubricator? Do you have the foggiest notion how the NIAAA budget and the tiny fraction that NIDA devotes to marijuana research compare?

  • anonymous postdoc says:

    In fairness, I would argue that the proportion of alcohol to marijuana funding is due to the fact that etoh is legal and cannibis is not. I could imagine that the meager amount of cannibis research even being done is due to the fact that (SIGH) it turns out there is an endogenous system and I GUESS we should study this obviously totally bad Schedule 1 substance that no one should ever ever self administer so we shouldn't even have to look at the effects....[kicks can dejectedly]. No point in collecting data if you're not going to be responsive to it.

    I support legalization for a number of reasons, one of the most important being that I believe this would have a thawing effect on research priorities. That is, I don't think pot is harmless. Certainly my father has been addicted to pot my whole life. On the other hand, marijuana can clearly be consumed on a social basis without immediately triggering addiction in much the same way as alcohol can. How do we know who is vulnerable to addiction to this particular substance? How do we know what medications are going to negatively interact in habitual marijuana consumers? Are there perhaps (heaven forfend) possible health benefits to cannabis consumption? How do they weigh against the risks? Sure, there's already some cool basic research on the endocann system. I want more. This isn't even my field and I am not seeking grants on this topic at all.

    Anyway this is far off field from the OP, but I just wanted to throw in 2 cents to say that someone can be pro legalization without needing to also believe that pot is harmless or a wonder drug.

    As far as the Republicans and their data woes...no point collecting (high quality) data if you're not going to be responsive to it.

  • Isabel says:

    " That is, I don't think pot is harmless."

    NO ONE DOES. What does that even mean? Who cares? Sorry for shouting, but people really need to stop proclaiming this.

    "but I just wanted to throw in 2 cents to say that someone can be pro legalization without needing to also believe that pot is harmless or a wonder drug. "

    This is a red herring that we should not be wasting time discussing. Coffee is not a totally harmless wonder drug either! Go to the website of NORML. Where do they say it is harmless, a wonder drug, magical?? I have also asked DM repeatedly to offer some examples of organizations working for legalization who claim it is harmless and magical.

    And DM I don't see scary headlines in the MSM about alcohol use *ever* - why is that? An occassional dry article, but never the sensationalism (pot use lowers IQ!) that we see with cannabis. This neurotic need to find every possible harm is crazy. Millions of people have used it for thousands of years.

    here's something positive, from a comment thread on Phil Plait's blog celebrating Carl Sagan's birthday.

    “The Illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in the increasingly mad and dangerous world.” -Carl Sagan

    Bottom line: practically every adult in this society is on some drug or another- caffeine, alcohol, cannabis. This is normal.

  • Isabel says:

    "but I just wanted to throw in 2 cents to say that someone can be pro legalization without needing to also believe that pot is harmless or a wonder drug. "

    Also I don't mean to jump on you, but this is a waste of time. What we should be discussing is

    1. Why does DM lie about me?

    2. Why does he disparage those trying to end the drug war against our own, otherwise law-abiding citizens

    3. Why does he hold cannabis to a higher standard than a more harmful drug, ethaol?

  • Isabel says:

    "but I just wanted to throw in 2 cents to say that someone can be pro legalization without needing to also believe that pot is harmless or a wonder drug. "

    Also I don't mean to jump on you, but this is a waste of time. What we should be discussing is

    1. Why does DM lie about me?

    2. Why does he disparage those trying to end the drug war against our own, otherwise law-abiding citizens?

    3. Why does he hold cannabis to a higher standard than a more harmful drug, ethanol?

  • Isabel says:

    oops, sorry for double post:)

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Anyway this is far off field from the OP, but I just wanted to throw in 2 cents to say that someone can be pro legalization without needing to also believe that pot is harmless or a wonder drug.

    Of course they can be. Many people are. Just as they may be opposed to criminalizing alcohol or tobacco or cars that double the speed limit or pitbulls for reasons detached from the obvious dangers that they pose.

  • There should be a law against a blogger posting more comments on his own blogge than any real commenter.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    You don't understand blogging

  • AcademicLurker says:

    There should be a law against a blogger posting more comments on his own blogge than any real commenter.

    Someone should propose a ballot initiative. The states are laboratories of democracy after all.

  • Grumble says:

    In response to: "What bad things, specifically, do you think will happen if (no, WHEN) the National Popular Vote movement succeeds and the popular vote elects the president?"

    DM writes:

    "The States*, qua States, have less influence**, period. This is bad. You may think we should not be a Federation of States but rather an amorphous democracy. Fine, you are welcome to that opinion but I do not share it, neither did the Founders. And, repetitively, there are excellent and highly current reasons that the Federation is the superior approach."

    You didn't answer my question. Maybe that's because you can't actually come up with a list of specific bad things that will happen when the states finally decide to elect the president by popular vote.

    And you have repeatedly failed to answer my assertion that the states do not in fact gain power with the current electoral college system. The states that have the power to decide the outcome of presidential elections do not have that power because they are large or small, or economically strong or weak, or any other reason the founding fathers might have envisioned. Instead, they have that power solely by virtue of having nearly equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. So, by purely random chance, some states are more powerful than others. How is this POSSIBLY beneficial? Then, add in the vast amount of money that candidates have, all of it aimed at convincing a small handful of Ohioans to change their votes. What's the result? That elections are more susceptible to being bought by the wealthiest party or coalition. This is fundamentally harmful to our nation. It would be better to elect a President by throwing darts at a board.

  • I understand a lot more about bloggeing than you do.

  • Grumble says:

    You forgot to say "neener neener neener," CPP.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    My legendarily excellent comment threads suggest that you are incorrect Comradde.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Grumble- you are excessively fixated on one slice in political time. You would no doubt feel very differently if the EC was all that protected your political side from the other. It could happen.

    You are also continuing to fail to recognize, how I do not know, that State power is a critical bulwark against gutter democracy. Again, the bicameral legislature section of highschool civics covered this.

    If you think elections couldn't be "bought" under a majority-vote selection process, or that particular high population regions wouldn't supplant the current battleground states as the new deciderers, you are high as a kite.

  • miko says:

    I think having a massively disproportionate representation in the Congress ... the body that actually legislates ... is more than enough to counterbalance the cost to small states of having merely proportionate representation when choosing the executive. This works out really, really, well for small states, who receive a massively disproportionate amount of federal largesse in the form of earmarks.

    Direct election of the president goes no where near any kind of federal absolutism, nor does it undermine states' rights to experiment in their democracy labs (looking at you, Shelby County, Alabama). I don't see the relevance.

    Unicameral legislatures, parliamentary systems, direct elections of presidents ... all of these exist in the world and none are variables that determine the success or failure of a democracy. The stupidity of the EC is, however, unique to the US among modern democracies and is one of the last and most absurd vestiges of the traditions of European nobility left in our country.

  • Eli Rabett says:

    Miko: I don't think anyone in Romney's campaign ever gave it to him straight. That's why he was so fucking confused about what he was supposed to think/say all the time.

    Now some, not Eli to be sure, never thought that Romney was the kind of boss you wanted to bring bad news to.

  • Grumble says:

    "Grumble- you are excessively fixated on one slice in political time. You would no doubt feel very differently if the EC was all that protected your political side from the other. It could happen."

    Actually, no. If Romney had won the popular vote and Obama the EC, I would still support EC reform.

    "You are also continuing to fail to recognize, how I do not know, that State power is a critical bulwark against gutter democracy. Again, the bicameral legislature section of highschool civics covered this."

    By "gutter democracy" I assume you mean a structure in which the majority is empowered to abuse the minority. There are of course two sides to this issue: since the civil war, federal power has been the major force protecting and advancing minority rights in many cases (e.g., voting rights act, etc), often in the face of stiff opposition from these precious states of yours. But that aside, does the EC system actually serve to protect the rights of minorities (broadly defined as any group not in the majority) in any meaningful way? In the vast majority of cases, the winner of the popular vote wins the election - indicating that the EC doesn't serve as much of a bulwark against the tyranny of the majority. In cases where the candidate winning the EC doesn't win the popular vote (e.g., Bush/Gore 2000), I'm really, really hard pressed to see who, exactly, was the minority that was protected. Half of Floridans preferred Bush, and the other half preferred Gore. Which population was the minority? In a very close election - the only case in which a candidate can win the EC without winning the popular vote - there is no minority. So I think your argument that the EC protects against "gutter democracy" is utterly fallacious.

    Yet, despite the fact that it doesn't do much good, the EC facilitates all that is absurd and detrimental (and indeed, "gutter", in a turd blossomy way) about politics today: vast amounts of money chasing a handful of votes that could sway elections in directions that neither the majority of the people nor the majority of the states want.

    "If you think elections couldn't be "bought" under a majority-vote selection process, or that particular high population regions wouldn't supplant the current battleground states as the new deciderers, you are high as a kite."

    Oh please. First, campaigns would have to focus on earning every vote everywhere, not just in a few geographically restricted areas. That makes elections much less easy to buy. Second, the Florida 2000 specter would be avoided: it is far less likely that 100,000,000 people are exactly evenly split than 6,000,000, and therefore direct popular vote would minimize the consequences of vote suppression and the kind of legal shenanigans that polluted Florida after that election. Third, your assertion that "high population regions" would supplant the current battleground states is baloney. One person, one vote means the candidates would be interested in everyone's vote, not just the votes of people living in metropolises. The whole point of direct popular vote is that *everyone* gets equal say, so any individual is as much a decider as anyone else, whether city boy or country gal.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Bang for buck means that not every voter would get equal attention.

    Can you name any major federal protection of minority rights that did not come *after* one or more states had protected that right? Including SCOTUS decisions.

  • miko says:

    Again, what does that have to do with the EC or presidential elections?

    No one has suggested that the legislative branch of government be proportionate, or that states should be barred from having legislative bodies.

  • Grumble says:

    There is absolutely NOTHING about abolishing the EC that would prevent states from being leaders in protecting minority rights, and absolutely nothing about keeping it that would facilitate that role. This line of argumentation is a sideshow.

    As for your "bang for buck means that not every voter would get equal attention," what are you suggesting, that candidates are limited in their ability to address voters by geography? Why, exactly? Because, you know, horses and buggies no longer limit the spread of a candidate's message.

  • drugmonkey says:

    This line of argumentation is a sideshow.

    this "sideshow" was by way of analogy to get it through your head what States Rights is there for.

    are you suggesting, that candidates are limited in their ability to address voters by geography?

    Yes. In case you hadn't noticed, in-person stumping is still very much part of our political reality. As is targeted teevee advertising. As is, for that matter, regional pandering on policy matters.

    This stuff is really not that hard Grumbie.

  • Eli Rabett says:

    In person stumping at the presidential and senate level is pretty much only as a backdrop for the media.

  • Grumble says:

    I know what states' rights are there for. I also know it's within their rights to assign their EC votes to the popular vote winner. The fact that so many states have already decided to do so, and many more are on their way, suggests that even states aren't all that interested in maintaining this particular power. That's because the EC is widely acknowledged to be a useless and indeed harmful anachronism, except by stubborn ol' DM.

    By the way, the National Popular Vote website has a comprehensive section debunking the idea that densely populated areas would take on the role of deciders in the same way that swing states now have that role. And other sections debunking a lot of other misapprehensions about doing away with the EC.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Cherry picked straw argument examples that presume a given political balance or coalition.

    Not convinced. The coalition need not be "the 11 largest". Winning a region doesn't always entail a single large(st) city. The "Rust Belt", by way of example, is a multi state, multi-city region that would still be a major political target. So would the West Coast Swing. You could argue the NY-Bastahn-(Providence?) axis. If this "urban" vote turnout continues that could be a multi-city bloc of interest.

    I return to the fact of the real world that campaigns cost money and decisions have to be made. Inevitably, some votes will be pursued harder than others. Invalidating your fantasy and revealing that you simply wish for *some other* inequitable voter-valuation than is currently in play with the EC.

  • Alex says:

    In person stumping at the presidential and senate level is pretty much only as a backdrop for the media.

    This ^11

    OK, maybe not in New Hampshire and Iowa and a few other small swing states, but for the most part, yeah, pretty much.

  • This National Vote Compact shitte is crackeing me the fucke uppe. The only reason some states have passed laws regarding this is because there is nowhere near enough other states on board for it to take effect. If it gets closer to taking effect, watch as states pass new laws repealing their compact laws.

    BTW, this has nothing to do with whether I think the electoral college is a good idea or not.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Oh and Grumbie, if you want to be exercised about votes counting equally you should be tilting at gerrymandering http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/republicans-gerrymandering-house-representatives-election-chart

  • Grumble says:

    I'm not thrilled about gerrymandering either. It should be possible to come up with an algorithm for doing this fairly, based purely on population: for instance, start at the north-west corner and make districts as close to square-shaped as possible, while keeping the population in each district identical.

    But back to the EC. Yes, of course some blocks of voters will tend to be grouped together - but that applies not just to geographical groupings, but to an infinite number of other ways to group people: gender, income, race, profession, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc etc etc. Some of these groups, when they vote in similar ways, can be said to swing elections and are therefore powerful "deciders" - and indeed, campaigns make targeted efforts to recruit and sway voters in these groups. How is that different from one geographical region having more deciding-power than another, and candidates focusing more on one that another?

    Of course that's the way it is now with the EC system - but the problem is that the outcome of the election can be swayed by a tiny number of people in a close election in one state (Florida 2000), which is a near impossibility with direct representation. And of course there is the sheer irrationality of the EC system, which gives states with equal numbers of Dems and Repubs the most power.

    CPP: Oh, sure, states pass laws just for the hell of it - you know, just because ha ha wouldn't it be fun to see how close we can get to radically changing the election system, but not actually do it. If that's the case, maybe states shouldn't have rights.

  • CPP: Oh, sure, states pass laws just for the hell of it - you know, just because ha ha wouldn't it be fun to see how close we can get to radically changing the election system, but not actually do it. If that's the case, maybe states shouldn't have rights.

    HAHAHAHHAH! Dude, get a fucken grippe of yourself. States have recently passed laws that claim that the federal government doesn't have the right to enforce particular federal laws inside their states.

    You think they're serious about shitte like this in any real sense? Like the state police are gonna fight the federales to enforce such a state law?

    Have you actually looked closely at how state legislatures operate and the kind of people that serve on them? The overwhelmingly vast majority of state legislators are people who couldn't get a fucken job managing a motherfucken jiffy lube.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Again, Grumble, you are looking at a narrow slice in time and thinking that the current power balance is fixed. It isn't. And as to the "why" for the EC over other regional biases? Because duh, the Founders made it that way and it has endured ever since. The burden of proof is on those that want change. And swapping out for biases that you think will favor *your* desired outcome is no argument worth discussing.

  • Are you aware that there are states that have passed laws making it a felony to enforce the federal PPACA ("Obamacare") within their borders? You really think these states are serious about enforcing such a state law?

    States and their legislatures are supposed to be the "laboratories of democracy". But in most states, the state legislatures are filled with greedy delusional power-mad fuckewitted imbeciles, and the constituents who elected them are even worse.

    So when you think about "laboratories of democracy", don't think Bell Labs or Caltech; think crystal meth lab in a trailer park.

  • You guys need a viable third party before you need anything else. From my perspective.

  • becca says:

    GODDAMNGIBBERTYGIGETFUCKWIGGLES
    I hate it when I agree with CPP.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Hmmm. Clearly I must be in error if you two are in agreement.

  • Isabel says:

    "Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and City Attorney Doug Friednash follow the lead of Boulder County DA Stan Garnett who announced this week that his office would drop all marijuana possession prosecutions for adults for less than an ounce of marijuana as well as possession of marijuana paraphernalia."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/denver-prosecutors-droppi_n_2143853.html

  • Grumble says:

    "The burden of proof is on those that want change. And swapping out for biases that you think will favor *your* desired outcome is no argument worth discussing."

    This is what it must feel like to beat one's head against a brick wall. I've made it crystal clear that my interest in changing the EC has nothing to do with ensuring my preferred outcomes in presidential elections, but with avoiding banana republic-style election outcomes such as what happened in 2000. Yet you continue to ignore that point and insist that my position is different. It's always easier to argue against a straw man, isn't it, DM?

    And as for YOU, CPP: "Like the state police are gonna fight the federales to enforce such a state law?" - the state police don't have to fight the federales on this issue, you dimwitted fucke. They just have to decide to give all the electors to the winner of the popular vote. The constitution is very clear that states are allowed to apportion their electors however they see fit: Article II: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress". So there is absolutely no basis on which the federal government could intervene once enough states have passed the National Popular Vote compact.

  • Dude, are you fucken high? I haven't said one goddamn word about whether this EC bypass rigamarole dealio is a good idea or not, legally enforceable or not, or anything else about it.

    Try to pay fucken attention, dumshitte: What I am saying is that state legislatures are about as reliable as a 1974 Ford Pinto, and they pass all kinds of laws that they know and expect will have absolutely no effect whatsoever in reality. This is the reason I have provided examples of laws that states have passed that they know cannot and will not ever be enforced.

    So the fact that a bunch of states have passed this EC bypass law doesn't mean jacke diddly fucke about whether it is "close" to actually taking effect. Capisce?

  • Isabel says:

    http://www.beyondbars.org/democrats_republicans_legislation_states_regulate_marijuana

    Dems and GOP Agree on Something: Let States Regulate Marijuana Laws
    Authored by Jaide Timm-Garcia 1pc on November 28, 2012

    The Marijuana Policy Project reported that a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress yesterday that will give Washington and Colorado full control over their marijuana laws. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and others:

    The bill, known as the "Respect States' and Citizens' Rights Act," would add a provision to the federal Controlled Substances Act expressly stating that state marijuana laws shall not be preempted by federal law.

    "This is an extremely significant political event. These members of Congress, motivated by the recent votes in Colorado and Washington, are expressing their opinion that federal law should not undermine the wishes of voters in these states," said Steve Fox, director of state campaigns and government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project.

    "These members of Congress believe it is inappropriate for the federal government to respond by expending resources in an attempt to protect the criminal underground market. Any elected official who believes that we as a nation should be moving forward must acknowledge that it is time to allow states to regulate marijuana like alcohol, if that is what they believe is in the best interests of their citizens."

    The federal government has not said whether it will intervene to stop state laws legalizing marijuana, but let’s hope the power goes to the people in Washington and Colorado to decide what's right for their communities.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    ...because not like we have anything important like the economy to deal with, right Congress?

  • Isabel says:

    People being spied on, arrested and incarcerated by the hundreds of thousands in this country isn't as important as "the economy"?

  • Isabel says:

    I can see you are more worried about your next grant.

    "Anti-racist" my ass. When it comes down to real racism and classism, you admit you are more worried about the economy. "Progressives" like you are the worst kind of hypocrites.

  • Isabel says:

    Seriously, WHY do progressives have this glaring blind spot? Can someone help me out here?????? Ending the drug war should be the #1 issue with social progressives. Instead it's barely on their radar screen.

  • drugmonkey says:

    why do alleged scientists have this glaring, pulsating blindspot when it comes to their personal desire to smoke weed unfettered?

  • Isabel says:

    What blindspot are you talking about?

    "alleged" scientist? Are you talking about me? I've said repeatedly here that at my age, race, and consumption pattern I am already "unfettered" and unlikely to be harassed. Besides I am now in a field (academia) that is sheltered from the intrusive drug testing American workers are subjected to. And I'm not too worried about being stopped and frisked on my visits to NYC.

    In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, those surveyed say by almost 2-1, 63%-34%, that the federal government shouldn't take steps to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalize pot.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/06/usa-today-poll-public-against-feds-cracking-down-on-legalized-pot/1748911/

    63% of Americans are not concerned about their own "unfettered access". Why don't you respond to the reality of the situation for once?

  • Isabel says:

    On the other hand we have the thugs that are unfortunately actually running the country:

    Here's How the Obama Administration Is Considering Responding to Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/06/here-are-the-strategies-the-obama-admini

  • Isabel says:

    I'm still waiting for a response from someone. Anyone, please; why do liberal progressives only pay lip service at best to the crisis that is the "drug war" against the American people?

  • drugmonkey says:

    What does anyone do other than "pay lip service to" pray tell?

  • Isabel says:

    You can't be asking that seriously.

Leave a Reply