Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Michigan, what went wrong

This one just blew away conventional thinking.

I'm talking about Bernie Sanders' astonishing win over Hillary Clinton in the primary, where she was overwhelmingly predicted to cruise to an easy victory.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, expected this to be a sure-fire win for Clinton.

Yet, somehow, Sanders took the state by a slight (but significant) margin.

Harry Enton at had the following to say about his colleague Nate Silver on this unprecedented as of the beginning of this century upset:

Bernie Sanders made folks like me eat a stack of humble pie on Tuesday night. He won the Michigan primary over Hillary Clinton, 50 percent to 48 percent, when not a single poll taken over the last month had Clinton leading by less than 5 percentage points. In fact, many had her lead at 20 percentage points or higher. Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.

Both the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus and polls-only forecast gave Clinton a greater than 99 percent chance of winning. That’s because polling averages for primaries, while inexact, are usually not 25 percentage points off. Indeed, my colleague Nate Silver went back and found that only one primary, the 1984 Democratic primary in New Hampshire, was even on the same scale as this upset. In that contest, the polling average had Walter Mondale beating Gary Hart by 17 percentage points, but it was Hart who won, with slightly more than 9 percentage points over Mondale.

Indeed, my initial thought was to compare the Sanders upset with Clinton’s over Barack Obama in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary, but that undersells what happened Tuesday night. I was in New Hampshire when Clinton won in 2008 and sat in stunned disbelief — Obama lost by about 3 percentage points, when the polling average had him ahead by 8 percentage points. In other words, tonight’s error was more than double what occurred eight years ago.

The question I am asking myself now is whether this means the polls are off in other Midwestern states that are holding open primaries. I’m talking specifically about Illinois and Ohio, both of which vote next Tuesday. The FiveThirtyEight polling average in Illinois gives Clinton a 37 percentage point lead, while the average in Ohio gives her a 20 percentage point lead. If Michigan was just a fluke (which is possible), then tonight will be forgotten soon enough. If, however, pollsters are missing something more fundamental about the electorate, then the Ohio and Illinois primaries could be a lot closer than expected.

Either way, this result will send a shock wave through the press. Heck, I’m a member of the press, and you might be able to tell how surprised I am. This will likely lead to increased news coverage of the Democratic race, which Sanders desperately needs in order to be competitive next Tuesday and beyond.

Sanders must rack up big wins, and fast. Thanks to an 83 percent to 16 percent win in Mississippi, Clinton gained in the overall delegate count on Tuesday and leads Sanders by more than 200 pledged delegates. Her strong performance in Mississippi also put Sanders further behind his FiveThirtyEight delegate targets. That may not be as sexy as the tremendous upset in Michigan, but math is rarely sexy.

Sanders, however, can breathe a deep sigh of relief that all the states in the Deep South have already voted. He can hope that tonight’s Michigan win will help propel him to victory or at least make him more competitive in states with large delegate prizes left, like California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. We’ll see if it does.

And to continue beating a dead horse because apparently nobody is listening to this, the "super delegate" system that the Democrats have saddled the party with is an abomination to the concept of democracy and has the effect of discouraging members to vote in primaries simply because their votes MAY NOT MATTER!

The Republicans are getting record numbers of new voters this year, and that's because every voter knows their vote MATTERS!

I'm beginning to think it will be pointless to vote in the Connecticut primary in April, because so many of the super delegates are being put into one candidate's margin EVEN THOUGH THEY WON'T CAST THEIR VOTES UNTIL THE CONVENTION. Which means, they are trying their best to convince the trailing candidate's supporters that it's not worth voting, even though the super delegates won't be voting for months!

This is really starting to sour me on our party. I am seriously considering leaving the Democratic party and registering as an independent because I so strenuously disagree with the way they run their selection process.


Simple concept, right?

The Republicans understand that. And even though they are fractured in support of their frontrunner these days, you can bet they'll remind us how EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEIR MEMBER'S VOTES COUNTED!

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