I’ve tried to keep this as unemotional as possible, attempting to make it as rational a place as possible. It’s a bit hard for me to be non-emotional today. This election has taxed us all, in different ways. For some, it’s been awful because of a hatred for both candidates, for folks like me, it’s been awful to watch bullying in action. To see an amazingly talented, smart, qualified candidate be torn down by baseless accusations and innuendo. At this point though, I have to say that I am full of emotion, and, as a facebook friend said, I feel like it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m just waiting for Santa to come. I felt this way last night, consumed by an eagerness to vote in the morning, and now I feel it again, consumed by an eagerness to get the results. Of course, that feeling is almost entirely based on my expectation that Clinton will become the president-elect sometime, hopefully early, tonight.
Although my emotional state totally violates the emotion-free zone that I wanted when I started writing this thing, my prediction that Clinton will win is, honestly, emotion-free. It is based first on polling data. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight’s map of state predictions guesses that HRC will get 323 electoral votes and will win the popular vote by 3.6 percentage points (the mathematical prediction is 302.2 electoral votes, but that’s an artifact of the formula, the 323 number is based on the states that they predict will go to Hillary). The Cook Political Report scorecard is leaving NC and FL in the tossup column, but has 278 electoral votes for Clinton. Sam Wang’s Princeton Consortium’s final prediction is 323 electoral votes for Clinton with a 4 percentage point margin in the popular vote. There are some tracking polls that put Trump ahead of Clinton, but national polling isn’t as meaningful as aggregate state polling this close to the end.
My sense that Clinton will win is based on scientifically collected an analyzed data. That sentence is the most meaningful part of this. If Clinton loses, I will be sad that the country didn’t want what I want, for obvious reasons, but I’m honestly not as frightened by the thought of a Trump presidency as others may be. I certainly don’t want the country to move in the direction that he supports, especially with respect to the Supreme Court, but I don’t think he poses an existential threat like some feel he does. But, I will be completely devastated, nevertheless, if Clinton loses. The sadness will contribute, but the basis will be that all of the way I see the world, the reliance on data, on the scientific method to make predictions and evaluate the state of things, will have failed. My rock will have crumbled, and that will shatter my earth.
That’s not an impossible scenario. I keep thinking about the 2012 election, and Karl Rove’s disbelief when Fox News called Ohio for Obama. He had the numbers, he was using data, and the way he was looking at data failed him while we watched.
When I think about how I would feel if the results come in tonight, strongly favoring Trump, I imagine that I would feel just like I imagine Rove felt that night. Of course he wanted Romney to win, but what clearly got him was how much he failed to see the signs that Obama was going to win, even up to the time when the results were coming in strongly for Obama. Even watching that makes me uncomfortable, because feeling like I am in touch with the world around me is important, and this would be like being told it’s really daytime, when it’s clearly night.
I certainly do not expect that outcome, but it’s possible…and so we wait. Maybe Erick Erickson’s prediction will come true. That would be nice.