August 17, 2016

Tempering expectations: Trump takes Electoral College, but not in landslide

I want to get in three posts about tempering expectations while we're still in a limbo phase of the campaign, so as to not kill the buzz when things really start swinging back in our favor over the next several weeks. (Remember the rhythm so far: up during the end of an even-numbered month and the start of an odd-numbered month, down the following 3-4 weeks.)

First, with more months having passed during the post-primary and now post-convention stages, I'm revising the Electoral College prediction away from "landslide," though still in the "clear win" range.

Why? I'm going back to what election this one most closely resembles -- 1896, when McKinley inaugurated the Progressive Era by re-aligning the GOP away from the Gilded Age climate of laissez-faire economics, open borders, and Social Darwinism.

The only prediction I've gotten wrong was that Jeff Sessions would be the running mate -- although if I had stuck to what I'd predicted in that post about Trump as McKinley, I would've seen Pence as the choice. McKinley from Ohio balanced the ticket by picking a New Jerseyan, so I predicted that since Trump was from the Mid-Atlantic, he would balance by picking someone from the eastern Midwest touching on the Great Lakes, and Pence was the only one fitting that description.

I got caught up in who I wanted to be VP, and missed what the closest analogy predicted, so I'm adhering more to what happened around the 1896 election.

With that in mind, what was McKinley's Electoral College victory? He got about 60% of the EC, after a series of elections where the winners won by narrower and narrower margins in the EC. During and after the Civil War, elections became more and more divisive by geography. McKinley's Progressive pivot heralded the beginning of a period where the winner won by larger and larger margins in the EC -- meaning voters were not acting on local or regional interests, but the national interest.

By the 1920s (the Great Compression, with falling competitiveness among elites), the winner would get around 80% or more of the EC, a period that lasted through the Reagan years. Bush Sr. was the first crack downward, and it has fallen sharply ever since. During the Obama years, elections have been deeply dividing affairs across geography.

Because Trump is only the first step toward a New Progressive Era, he won't get the EC share that Reagan did, or Nixon, or Eisenhower, or Coolidge, or Teddy Roosevelt. In 1896, the 60% that McKinley got was not so different from his recent past. And in 2016, 60% will not be so different either (Obama won this much in 2012).

So I'm predicting Trump will get around 320 EC votes (60% of 538), give or take 20.

Worst-case scenario, Trump barely ekes out a victory by winning a few toss-up states. Best-case scenario is more open-ended -- if Trump clears, say, 350, then that will mean all sorts of states turned out to Make America Great Again. In that case, who knows how high? -- 400 would not be out of the question, depending if California returned to its Republican roots, after being turned off by the conservative culture wars of the past 25 years. Could happen -- Trump is steering the GOP away from being the More Conservative Than Thou Party.

Still, we should temper expectations about this sky-is-the-limit scenario. It happened in 1980 because voters were not too hyper-competitive and ideological. It was easy for a majority in every state to say, "Y'know, Jimmy Carter has got to go, and Reagan is promising a brand new way of doing things -- Reagan it is." We live in a climate where the states are incredibly more polarized against each other, on the brink of a second Civil War. It will therefore be difficult for so many states that voted for Obama to put the nation first and jump on board the Trump train.

Enough of the blue states will, along with enough of the swing states, to save America from being flushed down the toilet for good. But not so many will be open-minded enough to deliver a 1980 style landslide in the EC.

The next post will look more specifically at which states could flip, based again on which ones flipped in 1896. Not that the exact same states will flip -- but whether they had been traditionally blue or red in the decades before 1896, whether they were swing states, etc. McKinley won a few swing states (one being the Big Apple), and picked up enough blue states to off-set the red ones he lost.

And the third post will look at predictions for the popular vote. Unlike the Great Compression when voters were more of a like mind, in our deeply polarized time the winner will not get 55% or above in the popular vote. McKinley won 51% in 1896, and even Reagan got in the low 50's in 1980. So Trump, too, will probably win with a low 50's popular vote.

The bold new exciting direction we're going in is what should make us happy -- we shouldn't expect a landslide at the very beginning of changing course.


  1. Here's to hoping chad is paid his promised coffee $

  2. Random Dude on the Internet8/17/16, 11:33 AM

    I'm still holding out for a landslide. Trump's foreign policy speech yesterday was a success on many facets and one of them is Trump attempting to split up the "coalition of the fringes". Most of them will still vote for her but it will corral independents and moderates.

  3. There is no Democrat coalition of the fringes -- that would be the GOP of the past 25 years. By definition, the fringes, no matter how many of them, cannot add up to more than the core.

    How many non-whites are there in New England, the Upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest? None, especially not during the early stages of them turning blue (1988-'92).

    California has always been a breeding ground for liberals, feminists, non-whites, broken homes, drug use, abortion, gay scenes, pornography, prostitution, adultery, teenage runaways, anti-Establishment rock music, gangs, atheism / New Agers / "spiritual not religious," horoscope followers, free spirits, and so on and so forth.

    Yet it remained a bastion of the Republican Party until the party turned on them during the culture wars.

    Calling Democrats the coalition of the fringes is an even more suicidal form of Romney's "47 percent" remark.

    If you want to stop those awful things, you're going to need more than ham-fisted legislation, enforcement, and court decisions. The government doesn't have a magic wand that will make West Coasters more monogamous, not get divorced, and raise kids in intact families.

    They can influence the underlying forces that are making California (or wherever) into a breeding ground for that stuff, but that's treating the disease and not just the symptoms. And it's taking at least a neutral and clinical view of the patient, even a sympathetic one -- not laughing out loud when they come into the hospital.

    Republicans were supposed to be the party that restored order to degeneration and chaos -- instead of tackling these problems head on, they retreated into the desert like the Essenes, where they could puritanically look down their disgusted noses at the subhumans back in the wasteland.

  4. So, you can see why a lot of blue staters are going to have a hard time believing that the Republican has their own or the nation's best interests in mind.

    How can they be sure that this isn't yet another attempt to ham-fistedly regulate morality through the government, as though we were Saudi Arabia?

    If anyone can convince them that the culture wars are over, it's Trump. He's not praising degeneracy like the Dem leaders do -- he's simply not casting fiery judgment against the divorced childless career-striving urban feminist. (Well, "Only Rosie O'Donnell.")

    Instead he's talking about what a mess the country is in, and how we need to get down to brass tacks to fix it up. He's identifying political and economic causes of social and cultural degeneracy, like the heroin epidemic being caused by structural adjustments that have sucked good jobs out of the area, and left borders wide open for Mexican cartels to get the unemployed youth hooked on smack.

    It's not the tired old schtick about why you're a moral failure for being an addict, and why the epidemic can only change by you improving yourself morally. Hey, that'd work too, but it's easier and more accurate to get the good jobs back to his community and lock the borders against the foreign drug cartels.

    I think a lot of Obama voters and disaffected blue staters are picking up on how different and refreshing Trump's vision has been. That will win over several blue states and swing states. But you can see how difficult it will be to win over enough to make it a landslide, after the culture war GOP painted itself into such a corner.

  5. For the eeyore brigade, he's starting his tv ad blitz this Friday. He has 12 weeks to push tv ads before Nov 8, and that's easily doable with the cash he's already pulled in and what he's getting right now.

  6. "He's made a series of blunders, and at this point the straight talker novelty has worn off and people are getting tired of his shtick."

    I've literally never seen a single person who was once genuinely pro-Trump but "got tired of him". I've seen plenty who were against him but grudgingly got on board if only for the sake of stopping Hillary, though. This despite an absolutely unprecedented wall-to-wall media assault trying to spin every other word he says as some kind of catastrophic blunder. The painful truth is that he's going to win Florida and more besides and there's nothing you or CNN can do about it.

    Meanwhile Hillary has her back to the wall with renewed concerns about her deteriorating health, her obvious fear of the coming debates, and the constant threats of more hard-hitting leaks exposing her corruption. She's spending money like a drunken sailor but it's not doing jack shit, she can barely fill high school gyms with her supporters, and she's been reduced to shit-tier attacks about "Trump's employee once worked for a guy who worked for a guy who knows Putin! Boo hiss!".

  7. Yes the GOP coalition of oligarchs, patriotards and fundies that took over in 1980 was a coalition of fringes itself. The appeal of Reagan's charisma tricked them into thinking it could work long term.

  8. BTW, you guys don't have to reply to the Hill shills -- I'm deleting their comments to spam.

  9. OT: can you get more faggy/millennial than this?

  10. "California has always been a breeding ground for liberals, feminists, non-whites, broken homes, drug use, abortion, gay scenes, pornography, prostitution, adultery, teenage runaways, anti-Establishment rock music, gangs, atheism / New Agers / "spiritual not religious," horoscope followers, free spirits, and so on and so forth.

    Yet it remained a bastion of the Republican Party until the party turned on them during the culture wars.

    Isn't this more evidence of how, rather paradoxically, we get more preening from genuine elites (and snobby wanna be elites) during a high inequality/highly degenerate era?

    Both the stereotypical elites (the judges, lawyers, the academics etc.) as well as their equally important capo servants mostly are corrupt, misguided, and ineffectual. As in:
    - no consistent rule of law (darkie marauders are given open sympathy, out of control monopolies, bailing out malevolent multi-nationals).
    - Promoting sick decadent crap (tranny and gay stuff especially)
    - Encouraging rootless and mercenary attitudes, such that we often have weak to non-existent bonds with co-workers, neighbors, old friends, etc.
    - No concern for manufacturing. Factories are important for reasons of pride, self-sufficiency, and making good jobs available.
    - The security and dignity of the non salaried class taking greater and greater damage

    These signs of decay were/are either ignored altogether, or are treated with insouciance (America is just changing, get used to it) or facile explanations (people are too lazy, stupid, or stubborn to deserve better than what they have).

    In spite of how screwed up things got, the cultural warriors could always one-up each other. The liberals have enviro hysteria, homos, immigrants, trendy urban areas, and aesthetics ("Hey, I was into this band first") to get hot and bothered over. The neo-cons and fundies had abortion, Israel, "nation-building", guns, and aesthetic repression ("We're not having Halloween this year, it's Satanic"). Both sides bought into neo-liberal economics by the mid 90's.

    None of these things made any difference, for the most part, in the general ability of the average person to get by and feel good. Conservatives in particular ought to be ashamed. They ceded way too much ground to the Kumbaya multiculturalism that's become a virulent disease. We can't even blow off steam anymore with non-PC humor since way too many gutless "conservatives" have become wary of being labeled a racist. As recently as the 80's, even ostensibly liberal friendly domains like movies and music could get away with making fun of liberal sacred cows. Check out the scene in Vacation (1983) where Chevy Chase, as the well-meaning dad, decides to be a Nice Liberal by giving his family some exposure to a vibrant ghetto. The blacks gleefully pick on him and steal from him.

    In 1965, Ted Kennedy had to make the bogus claim that immigration overhauls would not alter America's ethnic character. Yes, before the onset of the culture war and PC era circa 1990, it was common sense to not want to flood an area with aliens who competed for jobs, sucked up social services, looked/talked/acted weird, etc.

    Also, before the 90's, people didn't want to be thought of as free agents or weirdos. People mostly didn't have tattoos or non-ear piercings. People wanted to fit into something that was healthy, pro-social.

  11. I'll be happy to give you my information for a bet -- I doubt Trump hits 250 electoral votes with the way things are going right now. I know you think he can turn things around, but I don't see it.

    I guess we can hope for an October surprise or maybe Hillary collapsing on the campaign trail due to her failing health -- otherwise, if you take Trump in a bet I make easy money.

  12. A recent Trump speech (in Wis., he's targeting areas ravaged by marauders) has over 300,000 Youtube hits. I'm sure some of these viewers are morbidly curious liberals, but the others are either on board with Trump or are fence sitters gradually building the courage to reject decades of PC BS. And voting for Trump (but for many voters, not overtly supporting him so as avoid being embarrased, taunted, or attacked) is to sever the remaining connections to the PC culture war era.

    How much chaos and enabling will presumably intelligent and self-protective people put up with? When will more people get sick of black "leaders" and white liberals claiming that dastardly whites aren't doing enough to support blacks? Trump is throwing the gauntlet down. What good has black and liberal rule done for the inner city, for blacks? There's still tons of crime and poverty.

    I read that George Wallace did well with whites in many areas, including even some places in Wisconsin, chiefly because he was the 1st candidate in that era who felt like a champion of lower class whites under the siege of the black menace.

    The simplistic, Jew approved version of civil rights is that Wallace was a demonic figure who proudly represented a barbaric and ignorant past. The reality is that whites, especially in the urban north, had good reason to fear that they were losing their security and safety. For blacks, in the absence of steady and easily available work and emboldened by the growing civil rights movements, were becoming a threat as they attacked more and more people.

    Urban whites eventually migrated out, as ambitious and idealistic elites insisted on overturning measures designed to separate the races. On top of that, leniency towards criminals and generous welfare policies meant that the cities were increasingly plagued by dangerous and shiftless people who frightened away the productive and normal people.

    But hey, why not just keep insisting that people are crazy for not trusting blacks and white liberals (who for some reason never lived in black ghettos or sent their kids to low-income mixed schools.

  13. "I'll be happy to give you my information for a bet"

    I'm not here to rob poor saps blind over the internet. TGGP kept begging me to take his money during the primaries, and I kept dismissing it.

    The reason you prediction market people never get it right is that you're predicting fairly far out based only on momentary conditions, forgetting all of the recent or even longer past setting the stage, as well as what is likely to transpire in the nearly three months before the election.

  14. The one factor you are not taking into account is the likely massive election fraud in favor of Hillary. This number is pure conjecture of course but I'll guess that Trump has to win by at least ten percent to overcome the fraud.

  15. @NZT - my prediction - and you heard it here first - is that Hillary will pull out of the debates because she has more to lose by participating in them than by blowing them off.


You MUST enter a nickname with the "Name/URL" option if you're not signed in. We can't follow who is saying what if everyone is "Anonymous."