Friday, January 27, 2017

Time for Supporters of Trump and Clinton to Face Reality

Supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem to be stuck in reality distortion bubbles. This is slightly more pronounced on the Trump side, where outright misinformation is believed. But the Clinton supporters are quick to selectively cite misleading information. Misleading data are only slightly better (and sometimes worse) than wrong information when trying to understand and correct problems.

Trump supporters:

  • He lost the popular vote. There was no widespread fraud, no mobs of illegal immigrants storming the ballot boxes. He lost, and lost significantly on the raw national popular vote total. (But it is complicated. See notes to Clinton supporters.)
  • He is the least popular president-elect in the history of polling data. There is no mandate.
  • He plans to nominate a cabinet that troubles many traditional conservatives, libertarians, and progressives. That's not a way to build bridges when you lack a mandate.
  • He has a serious problem with facts. You know, that "truthiness" thing that should matter to all of us.
  • He really did say horrible, terrible, lousy things about various groups and people. He's not a nice person and defending him should be impossible.

Clinton supporters:

  • She lost the Electoral College well aware of the rules of the election system. Winning big in California, the source of her entire popular vote margin, is problematic because of the state's unusual (insane) run-off election system. Trump supporters have a point when they argue California's voting method skews the national results. (More on that follows below.)
  • She would have been the least popular president-elect in history had she won. So, don't crow too much about how unpopular Trump is.
  • She did not lose because of the FBI, WikiLeaks, bad media coverage, Bernie Bros, sexism, or anything other factor. Trump actually won a significant number of two-time Obama voters, so you'd have to consider those voters in your analysis. Democrats had already lost a record number of Senate seats (10), House districts (63), state houses, and state legislatures over the last eight years. The trend for Democrats in general is negative, outside… California. (Seriously. California gained 1.1 million Democratic voters and lost 400,000 Republicans.)

Why is California a problem?

California has a system unlike any other populous state. The primaries are "non-partisan" state-wide, with the top-two candidates for each office appearing on the final ballot. In highly Democratic California, the result in 2016 was a near shut-out of Republicans. No minor party appeared on the ballots for any state-wide office. Only the presidential election is conducted in a way that offers other parties some access.

As Investor's Business Daily notes…
What's more, many Republicans in the state had nobody to vote for in November.
There were two Democrats — and zero Republicans — running to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. There were no Republicans on the ballot for House seats in nine of California's congressional districts.
At the state level, six districts had no Republicans running for the state senate, and 16 districts had no Republicans running for state assembly seats.
Plus, since Republicans knew Clinton was going to win the state — and its entire 55 electoral votes — casting a ballot for Trump was virtually meaningless, since no matter what her margin of victory, Clinton was getting all 55 votes. 
Is it any wonder then, that Trump got 11% fewer California votes than John McCain did in 2008? (Clinton got 6% more votes than Obama did eight years ago, but the number of registered Democrats in the state climbed by 13% over those years.)
If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie. (This was not the case in 2012. Obama beat Romney by 2 million votes that year, not counting California.)
The California election system is broken. It excludes minor parties - and even the second major party - from meaningful participation. Of course voters loyal to those other parties remain home. Why should they go into a voting both and leave a ballot entirely blank? An entire ballot of write-in voting, in an electronic system, is tedious and pointless.

The notion that you must vote or keep quiet is disproved by California's inane system. Economically speaking, it really is a waste of time and energy for most non-Democratic voters to participate in the system. But, Californian's did this to themselves by approving the run-off model for elections. The majority now has a one-party system to lord over all residents.

To ignore California's system when claiming a Clinton popular vote victory (or a Democratic popular vote win in the Senate) is to ignore reality.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/29/the-most-bogus-stat-of-the-2016-election-how-democrats-won-the-senate-popular-vote/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/13/3-election-stats-liberals-love-that-dont-mean-as-much-as-they-seem/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/griping-about-the-popular-vote-get-over-it/2016/12/14/1f85f90a-c220-11e6-8422-eac61c0ef74d_story.html

http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/its-official-clintons-popular-vote-win-came-entirely-from-california/

http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/outside-california-clinton-is-a-big-time-popular-vote-loser/

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