Trump makes the fault lines move, reshaping US politics

Summary: We’re in the Crazy Years, as predicted long ago by Robert Heinlein. I search the political fringes,seeking outsiders’ perspectives and useful insights. Here is one such, a bold prediction from the Right. Judge it as a big-picture prediction, not with the obsessive focus of journalists on the next tick of the news. Whether or not you agree with his forecast, he points to fault lines in the American political system. History shows that people assume such fault lines will never shake. But sometimes they do, and the world changes. I do not know if this forecast is correct. But I believe that our current political factions are unstable; change is inevitable.

“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
— Attributed to Roy Charles Amara as paraphrased by Robert X. Cringely.

Crossing the Chasm
From Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm.

Trump Crosses the Black Chasm, Ends Democrats.

By Tom Luongo at his website, Gold Goats ‘n Guns.
20 August 2018. Reposted with his generous permission.

Do you remember the Zune? I barely do. Do you remember the iPod? Silly question. The iPod changed everything. While the Zune was technically superior in nearly every way to the iPod, the iPod became a phenomenon. Why? Because Apple focused on how the iPod made your life better.

In marketing there is something called “The Chasm.” It’s an idea put forth by Geoffrey Moore in the early 90’s. Getting 16% market share is easy. There are nearly always one in six people who are willing to adopt the new or different thing. But, to become a social phenomenon that ‘new thing’ has to ‘cross the chasm’ by shifting the marketing message from its newness superiority to why this ‘new thing’ will make your life better.

The message has to appeal to people’s sense of shared experience and community.  And if that shift is successful your product or message will ‘cross the chasm’ and begin to see mass adoption. For that shift to win out conditions have to be right and the message aligned perfectly with it. If you do your new thing will explode in the public consciousness literally overnight.

Look at how quickly Jordan Peterson has blown up. Conditions were right for people to receive his message. And all it took was for the right moment him to stand up to a virulent ideologue like Kathy Newman of the BBC to become a hero to millions {video of the interview here}.

The First Black President.

So, what does all this 16% Chasm stuff have to do with Donald Trump? After all, he crossed the chasm and won the presidency. But the chasm Trump needed to cross was a demographic one. Minorities, specifically black voters. And because he did, nothing about our electoral politics will ever be the same. Rasmussen Reports released a bombshell report on Friday stating that Trump’s support among black voters is now a whopping 36%. This versus 19% a year ago.

Editor’s note: The Rasmussen report is gated. See the CNN article about itOther polls show increased support for Trump among African Americans (even CNN), but by smaller amounts. An NAACP poll released on Aug. 7 found that the GOP’s approval rating among Black voters was 13% (9% undecided).

Now, Rasmussen skews Republican in his sampling like Gallup skews Democrat, so lop 3-5% off both of those numbers, the margin of error. Go back to Trump’s polling with black voters just a few months ago and you’ll see numbers in the 17% range. Today 36%. That, my friends, is crossing the chasm in a big way.

And it’s typical. Italy’s Northern League ‘crossed the chasm’ in January and doubled support in six months. {See this status report.}

So, now the question is what caused this?  What changed? In my mind it was Kanye West. Yes, {what Scott Adams calls} Kanye West’s “Seven Words that Changed Everything” made it acceptable for millions of black voters to see Trump differently.

Conditions were ripe. The Democrats were going to places unacceptable to most people – insane, intersectionalism, calling everyone a racist, extreme gun control, censorship, etc.

It didn’t hurt that things have improved quickly under Trump for Black Americans. We’ve all seen the statistics – lowest unemployment in decades, rising wages {Ed: but not for Blacks}, etc. But, that’s not “crossing the chasm” material. What is is controlling immigration, the crackdown on drug trafficking and tax reform. Then Kanye met with Trump at the White House and Kanye’s new album sold like bottles of water in the middle of the desert. And people thirsting for a little truth got a red-pill to go along with that bottle.

Ed. note: see more from Kanye West about Trump here and here.

The reaction to Kanye was predictable and offensive to many people.

The End of Race-Baiting.

I live in rural North Florida among hard-working, family oriented, church-going black families and I can tell you none of these people voted for Hillary.These people aren’t looking for handouts, they are looking for someone to get out of their way. And they have even less patience for the insane spectacle the Democrats are putting on about Trump’s supposed foibles than the white people who voted for him.

Kanye’s support of Trump was the Battle of the Bulge in the Culture War with Marxism.  He punctured all their myths.  He rubbed their noses in their smugness. And he led black people by example. While the race-baiters shamed themselves and their brethren.

I said back in June when it happened to my newsletter subscribers it would permanently fracture the fragile coalition of the Democratic Party. And it has. Trump stole the Union vote back in 2016, now he’s stealing the minorities. By the time the mid-terms are over, he’ll have solidified the rest of the centrists. This will leave the Democrats as a permanent underclass in U.S. electoral politics for the next generation.

This is why Omarosa is out there making a fool of herself this week. {See here, here, and here.} She was activated to staunch the bleeding. It’s why they doubled down on “Trump is a Traitor” post-Helsinki because they knew these poll numbers were shifting quickly against them. {See examples here and here.}

A former CIA Director is trying to manufacture outrage in a cynical American electorate over Trump removing his security clearance! That may be the worst election strategy decision since Hillary called half of the country, “A basket of deplorables.” Many of whom were black, by the way.

You know they are desperate when they trot out Nate Silver of Five-Thirty-Eight.com to scold us about bad statistical methodology. Remember, Nate was the guy with the 98% chance of Hillary winning {Ed: 538 said 67% as of Nov 2; their forecasts were more accurate than most}. Rasmussen had Trump winning in 2016 {Ed: they predicted Hillary would win, but were among the most accurate forecasts}. Here’s a statistical reality for you, Nate, normal distributions are worthless in abnormal times. And these are the epitome of abnormal times.

Going forward, what will be abnormal is the Democrats winning any major election.

—————————-

Tom Luongo

About the author

Tom Luongo is a former research chemist. He also writes about a wide range of topics. He was editor of the Resolute Wealth Newsletter for Newsmax Media, and now contributes to their Financial Intelligence Report. He publishes the Gold Goats ‘n Guns newsletter (distributed widely, such as at LewRockwell.com), and contributes to Russia Insider, Halsey News, and Seeking Alpha — plus publishing podcasts on YouTube.

An advanced student of Traditional Tae Kwan Do and an adherent to Austrian economics, he applies those lessons to geopolitics, gold and central bank policy.

He lives on his hobby farm in North Florida with his wife, daughter, 4 dogs, 5 goats, 12 ducks and a cat. See his LinkedIn profile, his Twitter feed, and his website.

For More Information

See these articles from the Black Agenda Report, similar views from the Left to those in this post.

See the polls about the November elections: the House and the Senate.

  1. Congress did a great thing 50 years ago, but rot from that day has spread and taken root.
  2. Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
  3. Racism is the dark side of populism. Will it divide and defeat us?
  4. Hard data from Harvard about police violence & race.
  5. Trump and the 1% lead America back to its past, to its dark roots.
  6. Warning: the income gap between races is widening in America.
  7. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let the GOP remember its great betrayal.
  8. America’s unspeakable problem: African-American’s crime rates.
Crossing the Chasm - Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers
Available at Amazon.

The book about this marketing insight

Crossing the Chasm:
Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products
to Mainstream Customers

by Geoffrey A. Moore.

From the publisher …

“The bible for bringing cutting-edge products to larger markets—now revised and updated with new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing.”

“In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle — which begins with innovators and moves to early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards – there is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. While early adopters are willing to sacrifice for the advantage of being first, the early majority waits until they know that the technology actually offers improvements in productivity. The challenge for innovators and marketers is to narrow this chasm and ultimately accelerate adoption across every segment.

“This third edition brings Moore’s classic work up to date with dozens of new examples of successes and failures, new strategies for marketing in the digital world, and Moore’s most current insights and findings. He also includes two new appendices, the first connecting the ideas in Crossing the Chasm to work subsequently published in his Inside the Tornado, and the second presenting his recent groundbreaking work for technology adoption models for high-tech consumer markets.”

48 thoughts on “Trump makes the fault lines move, reshaping US politics

  1. “Remember, Nate was the guy with the 98% chance of Hillary winning.”

    Ahem. “Election Update” by Nate Silver at 538 on 2 Nov 2016:

    “Hillary Clinton, like President Obama four years ago, has spent a lot of time with a chance of winning the election that is somewhere between 60 and 80 percent in our forecast. Right now, she’s squarely in the middle of that range, with a 68 percent chance according to our polls-only model and 67 percent according to polls-plus.”

    But that gets in the way of the story, I reckon.

    1. SF,

      Thank you very much for catching that! I went thru the article, carefully fact-checking. I saw that sentence, but somehow skipped it.

      I have added a note to the post.

    2. SF,

      I did a poor job of fact-checking this article. Thanks for you catching that. I added another correction:

      “Rasmussen had Trump winning in 2016”

      Rasmussen had Clinton winning by 2 votes in the Electoral College and 2% in the popular vote. This was one of the most accurate polls, but still wrong. See their summary.

  2. Larry-

    This is only to add to the article-

    Critique- Napster changed everything. Ipod exploited the change.

    Addition- I find it helpful to blend the literature on tech and small wars for better insights. Two additional reads from Gordon McCormick on the maths behind early adopter as they relate to political movements.

    Things fall apart: the endgame dynamics of internal wars” in Third World Quarterly, Issue #2 – 2007.

    “Most internal wars end on the battlefield. Only a small percentage end at the negotiating table. While significant attention has been paid to how internal wars begin and how they evolve, relatively little attention has been paid to how they are concluded. What research has been done on this subject, furthermore, has focused almost exclusively on the problems that stand in the way of achieving a negotiated outcome, not on how these conflicts are so frequently resolved by force. This article examines the dynamics of the endgame struggle and the quite different ways in which states and insurgencies ‘win’ and ‘lose’ internal wars. We explore this topic theoretically and empirically in the first part of the article and examine the formal logic of the endgame in the second part, explaining how and why these endings follow a predictable pattern.”

    Things come together: symbolic violence and guerrilla mobilisation” in Third World Quarterly, Issue #2 – 2007.

    “Nascent insurgencies often face an opening mobilisation dilemma that can cripple their ability to grow into a mature threat to the state. The source of this dilemma lies in the fact that the great majority of people who are prepared to support an insurgency in principle are only willing to do so conditionally, depending not only on the costs and benefits of their alternatives but the probabilities they assign to each side’s success. At the outset of such conflicts, when the emerging group is very small, the probability that the insurgency will be successful is low and the probability that it will fail is high. The expected costs of participation are correspondingly high, and the expected benefits of supporting the opposition are low. Why would anyone join such an undertaking? We examine how armed opposition groups resolve this dilemma through the use of symbolic violence and the manipulation of violent images. If successful, they transform their generated images into facts to achieve a self-sustaining mobilisation programme.”

    1. Mike,

      Thanks for posting those links! Since few readers click thru, I added a full cite and the abstract.

  3. I find this man more than a little optimistic, at least regarding the midterms. One of the things that has been observed is that whatever effect Trump seems to have or not have on the population, whatever the left’s strategy seems to be or not to be (and that really is the question since there seems to be several lefts at odds with each other), the “Trump effect” (on the right, center, independents) or the “Trump derangement syndrome” (on the leftS) does not appear to impact down ballot races and candidates. What works for him does not work for the rest of the republicans. And the big macro economic data are not as favorable to all,or even to most, as what is trumpeted in the media (cost of living, level of debt, costs of things like degrees, mortgages, health), as they were under Obama.

    I often wonder about the shift in public discourse paradigm that seems to have occurred in the 80s (in the US far more than anywhere else): a sort of “keynesian compromise” (severely distorted at that point) was quite quicly replaced by a monetarist/neoliberal baseline, which summed up quite a massive change that, in essence, made the right ever more right-ish, and the left trying to play catch up, especially when Clinton entered the scene: the Clinton/Blair era epitomized this “new left”, as neoliberal on economic matters as it was ideologically, aggressively “progressive” (social constructionnists, intersectionalists…) on societal matters.

    But overall, the “center” of the political and media arena was moved quite a bit over the span of a decade (mid 80s to mid 90s), with the progressive/liberal sides of the American right disappearing completely, and the important parts of the keynesian left being reduced to posturing and looking for small arrangements here and there (also known as “scraps”). All the while, on the culture/social side of things, things were happening for the most part out of the realm of policy (and more via influence, control…. In education, the entertainment industry….) which was in large parts rendered impotent on such matters via the brutality and constant posturing of a culture war on which candidates and officials were seeding and reaping.

    In recent years, parts of the left have been developing the same kind of ideological posture and energy as the conservatives in the 80s, and they seem to weigh in heavily on the democrats’ decision making these days.

    Now, twenty years later, I fail to see a real center where two (or more?) strong political sides can meet and deal “a minima”, because everything seems to be made nowadays for them NOT to meet in any way, and the purely confrontational forces of each side appear to have the upper hand. .

    1. Tancrède,

      “I find this man more than a little optimistic, at least regarding the midterms”

      I agree. Hence in my summary I suggested looking at this as a longer-term forecast.

      “But overall, the “center” of the political and media arena was moved quite a bit over the span of a decade ”

      “the progressive/liberal sides of the American right disappearing completely”

      The Left has triumphed to a degree almost unimaginable ten or twenty years ago. As has the Right. Each in the sphere most important to them. Triumphed over the middle, the lab rats in the grand experiments of Left and Right.

      I believe that we are in a period of transition, and there is no longer a “center.” We can still use the terms Left and Right, but a one dimensional spectrum no longer well describes our politics.

    2. Applying “Crossing the Chasm” to politics, I see a continuum of fringes becoming the mainstay of both parties back at least to the ’60’s. I do not see that Trump destroyed the Democrats NOR the Republicans. I agree with Larry. We have already seen the fallout with the Democrats. A

      t present, the Republicans are in the shadows proceeding BAU, but there is no guarantee that Trump will continue just doing what they want. Unsure what direction the Republicans will go once Trump has left or turns towards their vested interests, but I expect the real answer is how do the new Republicans and the new Democrats split a working majority from Trump or in the wake of his absence.

    3. John,

      Lots of interesting ideas in that comment. Could you explain it a bit more?

      “I see a continuum of fringes becoming the mainstay of both parties back at least to the ’60’s.”

      That’s the normal evolution of politics (and science, and art, etc). New ideas usually emerge on fringes. A tiny fraction of them win wider acceptance, and a fraction of those become mainstream or dogma.

      “but there is no guarantee that Trump will continue just doing what they want.”

      True. But considering his appointees and two years of deeds, continued bog-standard GOP governing seems the smart way to bet.

      “Unsure what direction the Republicans will go once Trump has left”

      If Pence follows Trump, that would continue the GOP’s drift to the Right. If not, what then?

      “the new Republicans and the new Democrats ”

      What do you mean by these?

    4. Larry:

      1.) Let’s look at some fringe movements that became big winners or big losers. Goldwater in a way was both. He lost horribly, but many of the Republican talking points since his time have supported many of the policies that he pushed. Although Johnson and Nixon benefited from the fringe becoming mainline after a time, Mondale and Gore did not. Being in the South, I have heard Southern strategy almost all my life. So I view this as each party has taken hits from the fringe that later became part of a winning strategy, but if clung to too long tended to have the opposite effect. IMO, the best example of this I would say is a comparison of Trump and Goldwater. Note that some of this based on how they were portrayed.

      2.) Trump has shown he is willing to almost predictably do the unpredictable. As things are going, I can see Trump at war with certain Republicans and their core work. Using policy statements for votes which are lies, as a mean to hold a middle that will get him elected. This is based on the assumption that Republicans will almost always vote for a Republican. He did this already in winning the GOP nomination. His Teflon coating is still intact.
      3.) Pence is not Trump. I tried to comment on the Not The Other Guy and Content Free strategies below, but it disappeared somehow. I do have clumsy fingers. Pence will have to do more, probably a lot more to get elected, no matter who the Democratic candidate is. A pollster who does well has a great read on this. Though admittedly, I don’t have the training in polls to say that he is good.

      4.) As you have pointed out, IIRC, Trump is a populist in campaigning. Whether their policies actually change or not, I am calling it the “New” because I think that Trump did forge a new alliance with the middle. Because, I don’t think either parties’ establishment will sit back and be able to claim it as their own. I think it more likely that Pence will claim it as his own, but offer something to placate the Trump middle, while catering to the established Republicans. Likewise, the new Democrats will try to claim the middle while catering to the leftist fringe that is getting stronger. However, I think that if the Democrats continue this switch and bait, they will reap what the Republicans did when they did the switch and bait with the TEA party: they got Trump. I don’t know what the Dems will do, but too far left won’t work, and the B&S WILL have unintended consequences.

    5. John,

      (1) As I said, that’s the normal evolution of politics. That’s been the pattern in both Britain and here. Why do you find that strange?

      (2) “Trump has shown he is willing to almost predictably do the unpredictable.”

      Examples, please. He has been a bog-standard Republican. Like the Dems, the GOP is a coalition of disparate elements. Most Presidents, with Nixon and JFK being extreme examples, give gifts to the various elements of their coalition. That makes them look inconsistent, but is in fact rational.

      (3) “Pence is not Trump.”

      Does anyone disagree?

      (4) “Pence will have to do more, probably a lot more to get elected, no matter who the Democratic candidate is.”

      Isn’t that true of every non-incumbent presidential candidate?

      (5) “I think that Trump did forge a new alliance with the middle.”

      Do you have any evidence? His job approval is 35% to 45% (per Gallup), not showing any strong hold over the middle.

    6. (1) As I said, that’s the normal evolution of politics. That’s been the pattern in both Britain and here. Why do you find that strange?

      I do not find it strange. I find that some of them sew their own seeds of destruction. Also, it is not apparent what will become mainstream and how it will fail or not later. But I do think the observation adds to the quality of discussion of the gap and current politics.

      (2) Examples, please. He has been a bog-standard Republican.

      I said: I can see Trump at war with certain Republicans and their core work. This may not of been that clear. My comment was about elections tomorrow as much as deeds contemplated today. I should have added that IMO, he will do to policy what he has done in politicking for president; please add that IMO to my statement. For evidence his political statements against his Republican opponents.

      5) “I think that Trump did forge a new alliance with the middle.” Larry:Do you have any evidence?

      https://news.gallup.com/poll/203198/presidential-approval-ratings-donald-trump.aspx He is holding the Republicans.

      http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/explaining-support-for-trump-in-the-white-working-class-race-vs-economics/ He is still popular with those many claim gave him the presidency.

      This article by Luongo. Though I still don’t know if Trump will be honest at fulfilling promises.

      I should add that I assume that a president not running for office, but running the country, is busy running the country. To me this means holding a base during running the country does not need to be a base that will win by itself. Our political history shows https://news.gallup.com/poll/143921/obama-approval-rating-new-low-recent-quarter.aspx https://news.gallup.com/poll/116584/presidential-approval-ratings-bill-clinton.aspx that low 40’s does not mean a loss of base nor loss come next election. It is not a guarantee of re-election either.

      I would agree the evidence is mixed. Allow me to add IMO to that comment in the previous post. Thanks.

      The others we don’t have disagreement. I added them with the thought that each has in its way a gap. Pence has a gap to get from Vice Pres to the Republican Candidate. He has another gap to get to be nominated. I am still “Unsure what direction the Republicans will go once Trump has left.” I agree Pence will tend to lean towards the right. But to me that means he may and likely will have a different gap than Trump, I am not psychic enough to know whether he might pull a George W and swing towards the middle for votes. He may or may not keep his word if that happens, though I think it more likely he will side with the base Republicans because it pays for a sitting president to do so.

  4. Larry, thank you for reprinting this and for annotating the article. What I find funny is how everyone who doesn’t want to believe what is happening goes after me for going after Nate Silver. I’m not disputing the history, as I’ve obviously remembered it wrong, but it speaks to the real problem here.

    The thesis is not being argued, only some niggling point about Nate Silver’s integrity… but, I ask, to what end? What’s the point? The numbers are the numbers and they are all moving in Trump’s direction.Moreover, I told Nate directly on Twitter that his models were invalid when he still had Hillary up in the 90%+ range… noting exactly what I did here, that nearly all statistical modeling, especially voter-trend analysis, is all predicated on a normal distribution.

    Without that normal distribution past data cannot hold any predictive power.

    Moreover, Silver moved his models late to salvage his reputation after spending months gaslighting the public about Hillary’s chances because he knew, like we all did, the polls were being used to suppress voter enthusiasm for Trump. How many Dem+1 or Dem+10 sampling sets did we see? Dozens.

    I don’t ultimately have a horse in this race, as a Libertarian I was too ashamed of Gary Johnson, an obvious Hillary stalking horse created by Koch Brothers money to vote for him. But, the trends are the trends and looking backwards statistically can never predict the future unless we are squarely in the center of the longer political cycle.

    1. No offense, sir, but (as for my personal criticism, for what it’s worth, among other things because I am not an American, nor am I in America) I was more pointing at the fact that what works for Trump does not seem to work for republican candidates. Not only that, but in all elections, in the US and elsewhere, I find the same mistake being made again and again, which is to not take enough of an account of voter turnout. It is particularly important in the US since it is chronically low, and knowing who will actually show up to vote is such a crap shoot. Enthusiasm and mobilization of strong minorities in any particular district is often key, and I don’t see much of that on the right, in addition to the fact that republican candidates don’t seem to excite or endear a lot of people. If you add the aforementioned fact that what works for Trump just works for him, things do not bode that well for the right this fall.

      Apart from that, statistics like the probability of victory are utter and complete bogus: they are “a statistic of statistics”, and essentially made for TV, to feed the horse race commentators who have nothing better to do with their lives. They rely on such horseshit and so many unknowns that, whatever number you end up with, the only sure conclusion is that it is false and does not relate to any reality. One can poll an area regularly, and it will be more or less accurate depending on a few factors (money spend in the polling, experience with the local crowd…); overall, the trend will be reliable. But this “victory probability percentage” is crap.

    2. Tancrede, all Nate Silver does is meta studies of polls. It is, as you say, complete horseshit. I’m a former research chemist and laboratory manager… there is nothing worse than watching someone abuse statistics for the purpose of trying to prove a hypothesis the data is clearly telling you is false.

      What is coming this fall is that Trump’s base will come out strong in places where he has placed his bet… what can’t be properly measured by pollsters is who is and who is not a likely voter.

      What will happen with the Democrats is they will be fired up with high turnout where they are ALREADY GOING TO WIN.

      The polls for the Senate are devastating… Democrat incumbents in states that Trump won (which he would win again today by far bigger margins) are all polling poorly (low to mid 40’s).

      Hillary never had more than 45% approval… you can’t win a two-way race nationally with numbers like that… and that’s what I knew to be Trump’s biggest asset in 2016. It will be an even bigger asset in 2018.

      The upcoming wipeout of the Democrats will break them emotionally for the next generation as the Baby Boomers die out and the Millennials turn more centrist-libertarian… as the forces of decentralization overtake the last gasps of Marxism’s march towards centralization of capital.

      Socialism/Marxism is in the process of failing… that includes the post WWII institutional order epitomized by the IMF, WTO, World Bank, BIS and the EU.

      That’s what the “left” is fighting against. That’s why they are going to lose this fall and the pollsters refuse to capture it.

    3. Tancrède,

      (1) “I was more pointing at the fact that what works for Trump does not seem to work for republican candidates. …. If you add the aforementioned fact that what works for Trump just works for him …”

      I don’t understand. What does Trump do that doesn’t work for other Republican candidates? How do you know this (ie, considering it a fact, not a theory)?

      (2) “I find the same mistake being made again and again, which is to not take enough of an account of voter turnout.”

      I am amazed at how often people believe that professionals in large and high-profile businesses make silly or even stupid mistakes. Pollsters do take into account vote turnout. It is, however, difficult to predict — even on the eve of the election. If you can do better, you will make a lot of money selling your methodology to survey firms!

      (3) “in addition to the fact that republican candidates don’t seem to excite or endear a lot of people.”

      That’s not correct. Public enthusiasm for candidates varies greatly from one to another, and over time. There is a large body of surveys about this, and they don’t show a partisan advantage.

      (4) “statistics like the probability of victory are utter and complete bogus”

      That’s false. The national polls prior to the election matched the actual vote within their margin of error. Funding accurate State polls requires more money than anyone is willing to spend, Electoral College results have larger margins of error. Hence the use of models to try and compensate for the low quality data. The EC was decided by roughly 90 thousand votes (from memory) — and extraordinarily small number, an extreme outlier election. It’s bogus to declare that models don’t work on that basis.

    4. Tom,

      (1) “The numbers are the numbers and they are all moving in Trump’s direction”

      You go to the heart of the matter. Truths in America today are tribal truths. This is clearly seen in the comment threads at the FM website (55 thousand +) and elsewhere. The old aphorism says “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” But modern American believe that they are entitled to their own facts. Both Left and Right feed myths to their believers, who eagerly believe what they are told. This is the discovery that changed the destiny of America.

      Neither sides want news that ruins their narrative. Neither side will easily accept such info. Each side sees thin in their foes, not in themselves. This gullibility makes us easy to rule, a gift to our leaders.

      (2) “The thesis is not being argued, only some niggling point about Nate Silver’s integrity”

      I think “integrity” is too strong a word. He’s a political agent. There have always been such people, going back to Athens. Jonathan Swift (of Gulliver’s Travels) was a political agent in 1700 Britain. Samuel Adams was one in 1770s America. He provides useful, albeit slanted, info to the Left. There are hordes doing so to the Right. It’s a job.

      I’m not a fan of 538, but their forecasts were pretty good in 2016. See their post-election analysis.

      (3) “Without that normal distribution past data cannot hold any predictive power.”

      That’s not correct, since extreme data points work quite well in analysis of “normal” distributions. (Note: in nature most distributions are skewed, not actual “normal” [eg, equity price changes]). But this is too complex to discuss here. What screws up models is when the dynamics change (eg, evolution in the means and distribution) — aka Life. I believe that is happening again — as it has four or so times before in US history. Then accurate long-term (or even medium-term) predictions using statistics become difficult or impossible.

      (4) public opinion polls in the 2016 election: “because he knew, like we all did, the polls were being used to suppress voter enthusiasm for Trump”

      I’ve seen no evidence that the polls were, in general, manipulated or inaccurate. They measure public opinion at the time of the survey. The polls (nor most models) directly predict future outcomes. The national polls run prior to the election matched the actual vote totals within their margin of error (details here). Nobody spends enough money on individual State polls for accurate surveys, so the forecasts of Electoral College results are less accurate than for the national vote totals.

    5. “I don’t understand. What does Trump do that doesn’t work for other Republican candidates? How do you know this (ie, considering it a fact, not a theory)?”

      I was just noting that the particular sort of “charisma”, or appeal, of Trump, mixed with his “teflon Don” quality (what is thrown at him does not seem to stick) don’t seem to benefit anybody else in his camp, least of all the candidates he supports. Love him, tolerate him or hate him, there seems to be only one of him, as far as candidates go. The “effect” he seems to be able to induce in a campaign does not seem to me to be applicable to others, or transferable. And he does not seem able to use it for anybody else than him. I didn’t mean anything more elaborate.

      “I am amazed at how often people believe that professionals in large and high-profile businesses make silly or even stupid mistakes. Pollsters do take into account vote turnout. It is, however, difficult to predict — even on the eve of the election. If you can do better, you will make a lot of money selling your methodology to survey firms!”

      I was talking more about commentators than pollsters. But as you mention, it is all there, in a nutshell: ” It is, however, difficult to predict “. I’m not pretending to do better than the pros, just praying for a little humility in all those, especially in the media, who pretend to know in advance who will vote or not. And in the US, with 50-55% turnout on average, that seems to be even more pretentious, since the margin of error is way bigger. But the fact that it is hard to predict doesn’t deter so many people from speaking with certainty instead of admitting flatly that even the best educated guesses are often in quite large part wishful thinking. As for the professionals, I’d say that Hillary Clinton had some of the best and most expensive, and they don’t seem to have foreseen what was happening to her “firewall” in 3 of the 4 swing states (Florida was more logically in the wind), and why (more people that “should” have voted democrat and didn’t, or didn’t vote at all, than people that shouldn’t have voted for Trump, and did).

      “That’s not correct. Public enthusiasm for candidates varies greatly from one to another, and over time. There is a large body of surveys about this, and they don’t show a partisan advantage.”

      I’m actually very curious about that: I watch quite a bit of American media (not so much of the “legacy media”) and, even on the conservative side, they seem to point to this coming “blue wave” (that had recessed a bit, then came back recently) and it being mostly due to mobilization on the democratic side, and nothing equivalent on the right. Where can I find information about likely turnout on either side?
      The most I read about on right wing media is that Trump has a good chance of re-election and that he does seem to withstand the overall assault on his person, and even make progress here and there, but that down ballot races don’t seem to find their wind, at the moment and for the foreseeable future. That is why the article in this thread struck me as a tad optimistic, if even Fox or the Daily Wire are pessimistic.

      “The national polls prior to the election matched the actual vote within their margin of error.”

      I agree and didn’t say otherwise: the polls and their trends (and the higher quality polls we rarely see, those in the media, especially the frequently updated ones, having a bigger margin of error) are quite reliable. I know that in the US, some less populated states, with less developed media markets, have more difficulties to get there (or decentralized states like New Hampshire, famously hard to poll), but overall, the thing work. I was rather pointing to these “probability of victory” percentages that have been presented to me, by a friend who is in political marketing (with a strong background in statistics) as a mathematical monstrosity. These numbers like “Hillary Clinton has 94% chances of winning” (or 60, or 73,5) essentially come, according to him, from very peculiar methods requesting to many assumptions, to much guesswork, too much of an extrapolation from the “simple” poll numbers that can not be used for more than they can actually tell. Such numbers are just here for the media who like that kind of clickbait. I’m relying on his expertise, not my far too modest mathematical abilities.

    6. Tancrède,

      (1) “I was just noting that the particular sort of “charisma” …”

      That’s the point of charisma. It’s non-transferable. Transformational waves in US politics are built on policies, not personalities. That’s why, for example, the VP candidate has almost no effect on election results.

      (2) “just praying for a little humility in all those”

      The professionals usually have appropriate humility in their results. For example, see the 538 report of Nov 2 that I cited. Or the many poll reports I cited during the election. They were explicit about the uncertainty of their reports.

      (3) “the best educated guesses are often in quite large part wishful thinking.”

      I suggest you read about the methodology of public opinion polling. You’ll learn why the forecasts are far more accurate than you appear to believe. As they were in 2016.

      (4) “they {Hillary} don’t seem to have foreseen what was happening to her “firewall” in 3 of the 4 swing states”

      Hillary was warned, but ignored the warnings.

      (5) “they seem to point to this coming “blue wave””

      As I said — enthusiasm is not a function of party, but of the time and place. Sometimes it graces the GOP, sometimes the Dems.

      (6) “Where can I find information about likely turnout on either side?”

      There are surveys of estimated turnout. I don’t know how well they predict actual turnout.

      (7) “The most I read about on right wing media is that Trump has a good chance of re-election ”

      Nobody can make a reliable estimate of election results 26 months before the election. To mention just one factor, the largest factor in most presidential elections is the economy in the 18 months before the election.

      (8) “These numbers like “Hillary Clinton has 94% chances of winning” (or 60, or 73,5) essentially come, according to him, from very peculiar methods requesting to many assumptions, to much guesswork, too much of an extrapolation from the “simple” poll numbers”

      Agreed. Those are models, a big step beyond the polls. I doubt there is any useful data on their reliability. But you misunderstand that business. Such forecasts are made for the same reason Wall Street gives 12 months forecasts of stock market returns: because the customers want them. They are given with confidence for the same reason: people want confident forecasts. If you are uncertain. the public won’t pay attention.

      This is the rule for experts consulted by journalists. The best experts tend to be the least certain about their analysis, giving qualifications. The ones that give confident soundbites appear in the news, although they’re often second or third tier experts. Markets rule. Journalists, like McDonalds, serves want we want to consume.

  5. I am not an American, so my view of things is limited. However, I have across a few things that has me thinking about how change happens at the margins. The shift in voting patterns in black communities is only part of the story.

    I have watched a few of the #WalkAway videos posted by Americans who have decided to leave the Democratic party and who have shared that journey, often in very personal terms. They include blacks, Hispanics, feminists, LGBTQ people and life-long Democrats. I have been struck by how different the people are from each other and the varied reasons they have for leaving. Perhaps this movement is something that could happen only in the age of the Internet. The change at the margins is a rejection of the intolerance for the diversity of ideas, radical identity politics, and collectivism that have been embraced by the left. Many of the stories include experiences of vitriolic abuse and shunning by those they thought were friends because of their shift to the center or the center-right. It is pure tribalism.

    This is the YouTube site: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDb4InP9mRZR9oogD1b2dOQ ) There is an active Facebook community as well. In order to downplay its significance, the media has reported that it is run by Russian bots. The allegation is ridiculous.

    Here is an example: A gay man who tested the most pro-Trump, Republican Facebook groups he could find: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlSeCEgbn0Y and

    Only time will tell if this movement has wings. It challenges the polarization found on both ends of the spectrum and is allowing for a new conversation at the center. I think it is worth a post.

    1. Kira,

      There is also a large flow of voters away from the Republican Party. Looking at the world thru just one eye, left or right, gives a skewed picture. Always in motion, politics is.

  6. I would love to know where Mr. Luongo is getting his data on the senate Democrats in states where Trump won. They are not polling poorly. (By the way, Mr. Loungo needs to get the name of the party right. It is the DEMOCRATIC party not the democrat party. Getting the name wrong makes him sound stupid.)

    1. AC,

      I too wondered about that. IMO Real Clear Politics has the most complete and current forecasts. See their data on the Senate races here.

      The current Senate: 49 Democrats (in their caucus), 52 GOP.

      Current state of the game: 45 like Democrats, 7 toss-ups, 48 Republicans. Of the toss-up races, 4 lean Democrat and 3 lean Republican.

  7. Understand this probably only moves black support for Trump, not black support away from democrat candidates in other races

    It still is pretty big news

    1. ACThinker,

      Now that’s obvious and important. But I didn’t see it until you pointed it out!

      It is significant news if this is a shift of support to Trump. It is potentially epochal news if it is a shift to the GOP.

  8. The funniest thing about 2016 was that Nate Silver would have called Trump’s nomination correctly if he’d just averaged the polls. He could have cemented his “genius” reputation if he’d just done what he’d done in 2012. But he’d gotten so big by 2016, he decided he couldn’t just average the polls since any old shlub could do that.

    As much as Luongo seems to hate Silver, he’s doing exactly what Silver did in 2016 — cherry-picking polls that suit his bias. Gallup, Civiqs, and Ipsos/Reuters have polls consistently showing black approval of Trump below 15% in 2017 and 2018. Actually, Ipsos/Reuters has consistently shown approval below 10%. Those polls also disclose methodology much better than Rassmussan does. Luongo seems seriously deluded and should probably stop listening to people like Charlie Kirk if he ever wants to reunite with political reality.

    As an aside, are there any restrictions to who can write at SeekingAlpha or is it basically an open blogging platform?

    1. Tvoyu,

      (1) “have called Trump’s nomination correctly if he’d just averaged the polls.”

      That is incorrect on two levels. First, the average of polls showed Clinton winning. Second, the pre-election poll and prediction by 538 was better than average, so using the average would have made it less accurate – not more (see the links given in the post.

      (2) “Luongo {is} doing exactly what Silver did in 2016 — cherry-picking polls that suit his bias.”

      I think that’s a bit unfair. He clearly states that the Rasmussen poll is an outlier — and why he is using it. Second, and more important, he is focusing on trends — not levels. And most or all polls show support for Trump increasing among Blacks. For example, an NAACP poll has their support at 21%. That’s not 36%, but its not trivial either.

      (3) “is it basically an open blogging platform?”

      They screen writers (I’ve written a dozen or so articles there). Far right writers hawking gold have a large audience, so Seeking Alpha provides content they want. Just like McDonalds.

    2. I was talking about Trump’s nomination, as in the Republican nomination. Silver basically said the same thing himself: how I acted like a pundit and screwed up on Donald Trump

      I think that’s a bit unfair
      It might be impolite but it’s not unfair. Just because he admits he’s cherry-picking doesn’t somehow neutralize that fact. It’s still a very dumb prediction based off cherry-picked stats and TPUSA talking points.

      Second, and more important, he is focusing on trends — not levels
      This is just a semantic game. When I mentioned three major polls that showed Trump’s black approval rating has been a flat line near the single digits for his entire presidency – that’s focusing on a trend too. And predicting a flatline trend will continue to be flat hardly requires the kind of leap of faith Luongo’s theory does. His is based off of one dubious cherry-picked poll and a marketing gimmick. Literally. The delusion of this guy who blithely dismisses a normal distribution assumption as “horseshit” but will treat a marketing self-help guide as if it’s pure science!

      I get that this is a conservative blog but there’s gotta be guest writers you could have on your platform that haven’t gotten a right-wing lobotomy like this guy clearly has.

    3. Tnoyu,

      Wow. That’s a lot of misinformation in a brief comment.

      (1) I suggest reading the evidence in a post before demonstrating a closed mind by dismissing it. Such as CNN’s “Trump has gained among black voters since the 2016 election.

      (2) “This is just a semantic game. ”

      Grossly false. The difference between trends and levels is an essential element of analysis in any field – investments, climate science, medicine, etc.

      (3) “I get that this is a conservative blog”

      Absurdly false. You might as well say this is a radical leftist website, with its core themes opposing our militarist foreign policy, growing economic inequality (both of which were discussed here before they became fashionable), and dysfunctional criminal justice system. Plus we feature articles by hard core leftists, like the recent ones from the Black Agenda Report.

    4. The difference between trends and levels is an essential element of analysis in any field
      You clearly have no rebuttal to what I wrote so you ignore it and commit to silly games like this. If you want to actually discuss the polls I cited or if you care to explain why basing a prediction off of a marketing self-help book isn’t the fraud it seems, then I’m all ears. I won’t hold my breath though.

      Absurdly false. You might as well say this is a radical leftist website
      Lol, anyone reading this should do a google search “site:fabiusmaximus.com leftist” and then remember the editor bills it as a “radical leftist website” if they want a good laugh.

      I don’t really care that you’re a conservative, it’s just the weird denial. Since you seem so sure of your leftist bona fides, I’m wondering if you can point to any (actual) leftist blogs that repost your work?

  9. About Lega nord: keep on account that italian polls have an high number on no reply, around 50%, but usually a lot more of people go to elections 72.3% last time: this lead usually to an overstimate of all party and to a understimate of m5s.

    and also that both mr Monti than mr Renzi have a high popular support at start, but after the first six month start to fall: the new gouverment start on june so we have to wait a little more to see if lega nord support is real or only a short time poll illusion.

    i bet my money on this if economic situation keep on deteriorate.

  10. By the time the mid-terms are over, he’ll have solidified the rest of the centrists. This will leave the Democrats as a permanent underclass in U.S. electoral politics for the next generation.

    The good thing is that this is a verifiable fairly short term prediction, so we shall see in the mid-terms whether its right or not.

    I agree intuitively with Larry that the present political situation looks very unstable, but I don’t see how change is going to come or in what form. Sometimes we just muddle through.

    1. George,

      As I said in the summary, this is almost certainly a grossly exaggerated prediction for Nov 2018. The starting level of Black’s support for Trump and the GOP is too low, so any likely trend can’t produce the effect he expects in 9 weeks.

      But it might describe the start of an important trend, which over time has great effects.

      “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
      — Attributed to Roy Charles Amara as paraphrased by Robert X. Cringely.

  11. One of the driving forces in the next election will be which group is most disappointed about what. There’s a lot of Trump voters who haven’t gotten anything close to what they thought Trump was promising. There is, for example, no Wall and there probably won’t be one anytime soon. Catch and release is still the order of the day, and it’s not hard to shop around for a judge who will keep DACA going. It seems to be as permanent as a government program can be at this point. Trump hasn’t managed to end a single war, whatever he thinks. of them. I’ve heard it argued that those blue collar trump voters that brought down the Blue Wall will have buyer’s regret and desert the GOP in droves. They haven’t seen enough tangible benefits to pull the lever for the GOP in the midterms. Perfectly plausible.

    On the other hand, Blacks don’t have one hell of a lot to show for decades of support for the Democrats. The Democrats are promising impeachment and a new Cold War. (And maybe a hot one if things go sideways) That might not do the trick with Black voters this time round. It wouldn’t even take a lot for them actually voting Republican. If they just stay home…And as for blue collar whites coming home to the Democratic party, well, the party doesn’t look ready to welcome them with open arms. Voting Democrat won’t get you whatever the hell it was you wanted when you voted for Trump, however little he look set to deliver.

    My guess is that with the Democrats running antiwhite, pro open btrders, and antigun (That’s on the ballot this year, but it’s been lost in the background noise over other things) The Republicans pull in enough blue collar white votes and the Democrats lose enough black votes to stave off a Blue Wave. So here’s The Man’s prediction, and I probably have no business making it, because I might just be dining on crow over this one. Neither house of Congress flips, but the GOP get dinged up in the House. And my record on past predictions, for whatever it’s worth, is spotty.

    I like my Crow well done and served with a good brown ale.

    1. The Man,

      “There’s a lot of Trump voters who haven’t gotten anything close to what they thought Trump was promising.”

      I would phrase that even more strongly. Trump ran as a populist, but has governed as a standard Republican. Attacking Obamacare (whose provisions are very popular), massive tax cuts for the rich funded by massive deficits, big increase in military spending, more foreign interventions, cutting environmental regulations (which are popular), etc.

      Lots of room for a rebound against Trump. His biggest ally is the Democratic Party, which has doubled down on Hillary’s strategy of running a content-free campaign of being Not-Trump. RussiaGate is the cutting edge of this, so far a political failure of unimaginable size.

      With neither party running on policies, let alone policies that benefit the great middle of America, my guess is that we have a confused electorate. If they don’t know how they’ll vote, pollsters cannot reliably predict it.

    2. IMO, Not The Other Guy strategy has lead to many politicians ending up overestimating their chances on election day, especially the presidential election. This has included both Republicans and Democrats. But when combined with an increasing trend for voters to go to one side, to me it seems to work fairly well for races other than Presidential.

      Although all or almost all political candidates bash their opponents, there seems to be a difference in results whether it is used offensively rather than defensively, but not decisively so, with offensive having a slight advantage.

      So, I think the problem with NTOG strategy is that it really does best with voters you already have. This means victory in certain elections, and losses in others. To me not having a content free strategy is to ignore not only historical elections, but that nasty habit that elections can turn inside of a week, and the need for something cohesive to hold one’s voters until your response has a chance to work.

      All this may seem obvious, but Hillary has not been the only candidate, by far, to ignore warning signs that a strategy was not working.

    3. John,

      “I think the problem with NTOG strategy is that it really does best with voters you already have”

      IMO, that nails it. The NTOG strategy is the safe path in a nation with many cross-cutting fault lines — for a candidate that has a majority voting block. If not, it’s almost suicidal against a competent candidate because it does little to attract the undecideds in the middle.

      Hillary was rational to use NTOG because her advisors and friends all considered Trump unelectable. She apparently ignored the polls, perhaps thinking (like many on this thread) that they’re bogus nonsense.

      “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
      — Film critic Pauline Kael (quoted in the NYT, 1972).

  12. Larry, Tom: Don’t know what this means but thought it might be relevant.

    Many people here in South Carolina are conservative and liked Trump from the beginning, according to the discussions they had with me. In September we were complaining about all the telephone pollsters calling, and several stated they were trolling the pollsters. So I asked them why and how. Their reply was that they started telling the Pollsters that they were going to vote for Hillary. The reason I thought was telling.

    They were angry about the persons who polled were disappointed with their choice of Trump. I asked them how did they know. They replied by the tone of voice especially the women pollsters. Other persons who said they were tired of the calls and the disappointed they also detected stated they were going to start doing this as well.

    Persons remarked during the campaign about the angry Trump followers. My question is, Can this accounted for in the models, and Was it down in the models? Or was it irrelevant?

    I know that Hillary raised unusual animus in them. The animus I saw was unusually high for the 12 elections I have voted in.

    1. John,

      False answers are always a problem with surveys. Some people virtue signal — “of course I’m going to vote.” Some people, as you say, troll the pollsters. That’s why in so many polls you will see a substantial number of answers that are bonkers, often 10% or 20%. My favorite: YouGov discovered that “Just 66% of millennials firmly believe that the earth is round.” How many of those were just pissed off at being interrupted at dinner by a pollster?

      A more serious problem is the number of people either screening calls or unplugging their landlines.

      But the bottom line is that despite all these problems, the surveys of the popular vote came in within their margin of error in Nov 2016.

    2. Thanks. I did not care to be in this category: ” often people believe that professionals in large and high-profile businesses make silly or even stupid mistakes. “

    3. John,

      That’s a good thing. I am unhappy about each and every one of my errors (here’s a list of my failed predictions and misc mistakes). Such feelings spur us to do better.

      Most commenters are quite happy with their errors of fact and logic. By “most” I mean something like 99%. Or 99.9%. I’ve seen only a few that acknowledge their errors. They’re in the elite of commenters, imo.

    1. Jiminy,

      Here’s the difference between rational analysis and cocksure ignorant partisanship.

      (1) One has delusions of omniscience, saying things like “the dumbest political prediction.” That’s especially odd, since the author’s analysis was based on polling trends – and these have not reversed. Trump got 8% of the Black vote in 2016. Almost all surveys show that support is higher in 2018. Here are three more, in addition to those mentioned in the post.

      Gallup’s tracking poll asks about 2,500 black respondents, a fairly robust sample size. President’s average approval rating among them since April has averaged 13% (CNN, 18 August 2018).

      Pew Research poll of Trump’s job approval, June 2018: 14% of Blacks approve, 80% disapprove.

      Rasmussen Reports much higher levels of support than the others (there are always outliers among surveys, which is why the average of them is usually more accurate than any one). Here is their October 4 result.

      Rasmussen Poll - Trump support among Blacks

      (2) Here’s what a rational analysis looks like, with understanding of our limited knowledge and low ability to predict the future. Time will tell which of us is correct.

      “We’re in the Crazy Years, as predicted long ago by Robert Heinlein. I search the political fringes,seeking outsiders’ perspectives and useful insights. Here is one such, a bold prediction from the Right. Judge it as a big-picture prediction, not with the obsessive focus of journalists on the next tick of the news. Whether or not you agree with his forecast, he points to fault lines in the American political system. History shows that people assume such fault lines will never shake. But sometimes they do, and the world changes. I do not know if this forecast is correct. But I believe that our current political factions are unstable; change is inevitable.”

    2. You don’t have to be omniscient to recognize a stupid, cynical prediction put forth in bad faith and enjoy when it immediately falls flat on its face.

      And no, the data consistently shows overwhelmingly low black approval combined with overt voter suppression tactics aimed at black voters – carried out by the GOP for the obvious reason that they’ll lose otherwise. That’s actual rational analysis compared to reflexively regurgitating the same talking points that were dubious a month ago, and are laughable after the midterms.

    3. jiminy,

      “the data consistently shows overwhelmingly low black approval”

      This just in: things change. That’s why people look at trends, not just levels. But I admire your self-esteem.

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