Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
It seems every issue has liberals and conservatives on opposite ends of the spectrum and Ferguson is no different. Liberals seem to support Michael Brown and the protests while conservatives more than likely support the police. The sad thing about it all is that really no one really knows the truth. Only Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown know the complete truth. I would estimate that 90% of the public thinks they are in the know when in fact they are only agitators pouring gas on a burning fire. And it is our 24/7 media coverage that is brainwashing Americans into taking sides.
Last night liberal outlets excused the violent protests by proclaiming a vast majority of protestors are peaceful. In my book peaceful protestors within a violent group are also complicit in the crimes. And conservative outlets chastised the St. Louis Ram football players’ peaceful protests and are working with local Ferguson police to find the unlawful protestors. I am sure the police can find the violent protestors without the help of Fox News. None of this helps a devolving situation.
Meanwhile, the President has race baiting liberal Al Sharpton as his advisor on the problematic situation and his Attorney General is outlining new profiling laws. How can the general public be objective when our government and media cannot? There is absolutely no evidence this case was about profiling – if so the grand jury would have indicted Wilson.
If the President was truly objected he would listen to the voices of people such as New Orleans tight end, Ben Watson. If you have not gotten a chance to see the words written by the former Georgia University star, you need to read them. He has some unbiased insightful words. But for every Watson there are a dozen agitators.
The end result are violent protests occurring around the country killing more people and destroying hundreds of businesses. Yes, this is what our problem solving skills have resorted to. I am embarrassed to be an American. And both sides are complicit in this disaster.
I have had some very bad experiences with police in the past where they used excessive force. The culprits were White, Hispanic, and Black police officers. But as I look back on those difficult experiences I realize there are always two sides to a story. I was a dumb kid who put myself and hence the police in a difficult situation. I did not break the law and I did not deserve to be treated with brutality, but l should have never gotten in that situation in the first place. And I also realize that if I was in the police officers shoes I would have done arrest the same as they did. They have no idea who can be trusted and who cannot. So excessive force is warranted to protect themselves. I am not proud of these moments in my life, but the experience taught me a lot especially about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is not easy to be a police officer and I came to respect that. In the long run, I decided that the conflict could have been avoided if I was not a stupid young man and hence most of the blame fell on me. Could officers have handled the situation better? Yes, but even though I did not break the law, I was drunk wondering the streets and they felt I could be a danger to myself and others. They were probably right.
My point is that I can see both sides of the story in Ferguson. Could the situation have been handled better by the police? I bet the answer is yes, but the whole situation could have been avoided had Michael Brown not broken the law and heeded to initial police requests without being belligerent. So, I blame Brown more than Wilson, but it is impossible to put ourselves into both men’s shoes without being there. Therefore, to claim to be in the know is impossible and incorrect.
We live in the narcissistic era of social media. It has taught us all to be selfish. It has taught us all to be socially ignorant to resolve issues. It has taught us how to become problem creators instead of problem solvers. And it has taught us all too completely disrespect people with differing viewpoints. The end result is what has happened in Ferguson Missouri. We should all be ashamed of the country we live in.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economics professor, who was one of the architects of Romneycare and Obamacare has been caught on tape calling the American public stupid. Gruber points out how both government sponsored healthcare laws were meant to deceive the dumb public on many of the controversial provisions of these laws. Now, everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike are appalled by Gruber’s statements. But Gruber is the only one who openly told the truth about how the law manipulated voters (both sides of the political spectrum were guilty of using fear mongering tactics to win public opinion about ObamaCare). Unfortunately, Gruber is right, the American public is dumb. Why? Because we let Obama get away with passing such a bad and deceitful law.
Remember, it was the dumb American public that re-elected Obama to the Presidency just about wiping out any chance the law can be overturned. It was the public that gave Obama a super majorities in the House and Senate to force the law through. And when Obama lost those super majorities (Kennedy’s death), they changed the rules to pass the law and the public let them do it.
When the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare was constitutional, the dumb public did not see the reason the law was ruled constitutional. The Supreme Court threw out the administrations arguments as to why it was constitutional. They said ObamaCare was constitutional because it was a tax even though the administration never admitted to this. And the public was too dumb to realize that this deception about the law was uncovered.
There were many signs that ObamaCare was a bad bill (and you did not have to read the bill to figure this out): The bill passed strictly on a bipartisan basis because all input into the law came from Democrats. It was rushed through so no one would read it. It is over 2000 pages long and uses vague language to cover up intent. Insurance premiums continued to rise at astronomical rates. Millions lost their previous coverage as well as doctors and hospitals. The roll out was botched. It is vastly complex. As pointed out earlier, the Supreme Court ruled it was a tax. Obama and Democrats, for political reasons, picked and chose what parts of the law to implement. The administration handed out several thousand waivers to businesses over several of the law’s provisions. Implementation of the law was not equal – businesses and persons were not treated equally. Yet a large portion of Americans were still too dumb to realize they were being manipulated and deceived by the government.
In a polarized country, a majority of us side with ideology over commonsense, facts, and intelligence. This, as Gruber points out, makes us all pretty dumb and susceptible to deception and misinformation.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Why did the Democrats overwhelmingly lose in the 2014 elections? Well, if you listen to Democrats they point to the turnout. This is partially true, but lack of interest in elections is a result of the political system and usually due to the lackluster performance of the Party in power – which is the Democrats in 2014. In 2008 and even 2012 the Democrats rode the coattails of Obama and large turnouts. Democrats continually brag about their ground game, their get out to vote effort, and their use of technology to get it done. But it was non-existent in 2014. Democrats even had a huge advantage in money and still could not get their base to the polls. The point is that turnout is the responsibility of the Party and the Democrats failed.
Obama claimed that two-thirds of the voters did not turnout. Technically, that is almost accurate. The turnout of the voter eligible population was between 37 and 38 percent or about 85 million people. Hence, nearly two-thirds did not vote. However, at best 70% of the voter eligible population votes. In 2012, nearly 135 million people voted meaning about 50 million people did not vote in 2014 or about 15% of the population.
Democrats pointed to the early vote statistics to show they were doing well. In Georgia, the Black vote was up. Across the country they bragged about their ability to get those voters who did not vote in 2012 to the polls (that was a focus). Democrats had advantages in most every critical state that tracked political ideology – North Carolina, Iowa, Maine, and Louisiana (and they closed the gap in Florida over 2010 turnout levels). In fact, early voting was up 8% over 2010. If you read the Huffington Post blog posted by early voting expert Michael McDonald one would suspect the Democrats would fair well in the 2014 critical races.
Democrats claimed the polls were biased towards Republicans. We found this out to be outright wrong and in fact, the polls were skewed majorly towards Democrats. In governor races the polls were wrong in many critical states: Illinois by 5.6 points; Kansas by 5.9 points; Vermont by 14.9 points; Maryland by 21 points; Ohio by 12.9 points; Wisconsin by 3.5 points; and Georgia by 4 points to name a few. In critical Senate races the polls were off as follows: 10.2 points in Arkansas; 11.6 points in Kansas; 4.9 points in Georgia; 8.3 points in Kentucky; 6.2 points in Iowa; 2.4 points in North Carolina; 10.6 points in West Virginia, and 10.4 points in Virginia. These are major errors and most outside the margin of error.
An article by the National Journal blamed the turnout as to why the race in Virginia ended up being so close. This is partly true, but as we pointed out above, it is up to the Party to get their voters to the polls. Evaluating the Virginia turnout the following facts can be established: Turnout was also low in Republican strongholds. Republicans received a smaller portion of the vote in coal country compared to 2012 mainly due to third party candidates. Yes, turnout was low throughout the state and Republicans outperformed Democrats outside coal country by about 5 points from 2012 to 2014.
The reason given for the Democrat low turnout in Virginia were mind boggling. The journal said that low turnout for the Democrats was mainly due to the fact that most House races and the Senate race were not going to be competitive. Well, couldn’t this also be a reason for the Republican low turnout? In fact, data suggests that voters supporting candidates that are more likely to lose are more likely to stay at home and not vote. To dismiss the possibility that more independent voters broke for Gillespie is downright arrogant.
Low Democratic turnout certainly cannot be an excuse in states like Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Vermont where Partisan Voter Indexes (PVI) are over 10 points in favor of Democrats. My data posted last week suggests that an inordinate number of Democrats and Independents had to have voted for Republican candidates – especially in House and Governor races (after all, the Democrats convincingly won Senate races in Illinois and Massachusetts).
So, blaming low Democratic turnout is certainly not an excuse. This is not all true and it is being distorted by Democrats. I hope Democrats continue to live in this fantasy land in 2016 because it will cost them the White House. After all, turnout in states with highly contested races was well above 40% and even if the turnout was super high for a midterm election, say 50%, it would not have changed the outcomes in any of these races – they were all blowouts!
Monday, November 10, 2014
There are not too many advantages to the economy and the health of our nation when it is led by a socialistic and narcissistic moron who does not know how to lead. However, there are a few advantages when the people finally realize they are being led by an incompetent and irresponsible idiot. The biggest advantage is the change in the political landscape not only nationally, but at the state level. Here are some comparisons:
The 111th Congress had the following ideology makeup at the start of the Obama Presidency:
· U.S. House: 256 Democrats and 178 Republicans
· U.S. Senate: 58 Democrats, 40 Republicans, and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats
At the state level in 2009 the ideology makeup looked as follows:
· The Democrats controlled 27 state chambers, Republicans controlled 14 state chambers, and 8 states had split control between Democrats and Republicans.
· The Democrats controlled 26 Governorships to 24 for the Republicans
The newly elected 114th Congress has the following ideology makeup:
· U.S. House: Republicans hold 248 seats to 186 for Democrats (states are still counting votes)
· U.S. Senate: If Louisiana runoff goes as expected, Republicans will have a 54 to 44 lead and two independents will caucus with the Democrats.
The 2015 state level political party strength now looks as follows:
· Republicans control 29 state chambers, Democrats control 12, and 8 states have split control between the Republicans and Democrats (conservative estimate – states are still counting votes).
· Governorships: 30 Republicans, 19 Democrats, and 1 Independent
Here is how many seats/chambers the Republicans have gained due to Obama’s incompetence:
· U.S. House: Republicans gained 70 seats (highest level since the 1920’s)
· U.S. Senate: Republicans gained 14 seats and unseated more sitting Democrats than they have in the past 25 years
· State Chambers: Republicans gained complete control of 15 state legislators
· Governorships: Republicans gained 4 seats including in states like Maryland where they have not held the governorship for decades.
Yes, Obama’s incompetence is the gift that keeps on giving.
Friday, November 7, 2014
My 2014 election model projections were as follows:
U.S. House: Actual: 248 Republicans, Model: 250 Republicans, Delta: +2
U.S. Senate: Actual: 54 Republicans, Model: 51 Republicans, Delta: -3
Governorships: Actual: 30 Republicans, Model: 28 Republicans, Delta: -2
The Polls were skewed towards Democrats by average of 4.95 points in governor races and 3.5 points for Senate races. In my personal House measurement, it favored Democrats by 6 points. Sometimes we are only as good as the data we receive. That being said, I was one of the only people to project at least 15 house seat gains. Besides, it is hard to prognosticate an outcome such as the Republicans defeating four incumbent Senators when they have only defeated 2 sitting Senators the past 25 years (not a trend). And it is even more difficult to find a trend that would lead us to believe that Republicans would win Governorships in 3 of the most liberal states in the Union (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland) in the same year. So this year was an anomaly and it could be the start of new trend.
To better understand the 2014 election results I ran a few models. The independent variable was the final polls, actual results, and the difference between the two. The x variables were the Partisan Voter Index (PVI – an index that defines the ideology makeup of a state or house district – for instance, R5, indicates the state or district leans Republican by 5 percentage points and D5 would be the opposite), Incumbency, and the final partisan makeup of congress and the governorships. An evaluation of the poll data model and its constant and parameter coefficients revealed:
· The House generic ballot would favor Republicans by 1.385 points
· The Senate generic ballot would favor Republicans by 1.236 points
· The Governor generic ballot would favor Republicans by 2.582 points
The final or actual results told a much a different story:
· The House generic ballot favored Republicans by 3.796 points
· The Senate generic ballot favored Republicans by 0.819 points
· The Governor generic ballot favored Republicans by 5.802 points
The final House Generic Ballot poll was 2.2 points in favor of Republicans when it was actually 3.8. In fact, if the above 3 results are averaged the overall generic ballot favored Republicans by over 3.5 points when the final polls indicated a House generic ballot of only 1.4 and an average of only 1.7 points overall (far below the 2.2 in the polls – you can read my blog on the dichotomy of two polls). In the course of history a 2.2 or 1.4 margin for Republicans is huge let alone 3.5 or 3.8 points! This certainly can explain account for the huge Democratic bias in the polls.
The above results can be explained further by evaluating the PVI (Partisan Voting Index). Republicans won 9 seats in the Senate, but the gains were in traditional red states: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia and in purple Iowa. The data shows people were much more partisan with their Senate vote. And these results also explain why polls were more accurate for Senate races as well as why the generic ballot only favored Republicans by about 1 percentage point in these races.
The actual results showed people were significantly less partisan with their votes especially in the House and in governor races. Republicans picked up multiple house seats in Democratic strongholds in states such as California, Illinois, and New York. Republicans won governorships in deep blue states such as Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Maine, Wisconsin, and Maryland. And they won a few of these races by huge margins. They nearly won huge upsets in states like Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Governor races were also much tighter in states like New York and Oregon than suspected. This explains the partisanship and why Republicans had a huge generic ballot advantage.
Based on polling, the models also indicated that following:
· House incumbents had a 3.8 point advantage with an actual PVI coefficient of 0.38
· Senate incumbents had a 7.1 point advantage with an actual PVI coefficient of 1.5
· Governor incumbents had a 5.3 point advantage with an actual PVI coefficient of 0.53
My model includes open seats in the incumbent data (in other words, whomever held the seat last Republican or Democrat is considered the incumbent). Historically these incumbent advantage numbers are low. We know incumbents have an advantage going into elections because incumbents are hard to beat. Since most Senate races were in Red states and these races had voters vote along party lines (high PVI), it lead to the gain of 9 seats in the Senate even though the Republican advantage in the generic poll was not that high. That being said, I am willing to believe the Senate generic ballot was much higher than 1%. And even though the house and governor races saw voters be less partisan, the huge generic ballot in the Republicans favor helped them overcome this and win many seats. In fact, it shows more independents and Democrats were voting for Republican candidates. This explains why Republicans did well in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, California and Maryland. Massachusetts and Illinois are good example because they had both a governor and senator races. The Republican won the Governor races, but were destroyed in the Senate races (30 point difference in Massachusetts and 15 points in Illinois). This explains exactly what the models show: Senate races vote along partisan lines and the governor races did not. About 20% of Senate races changed hands, 15% of governor races, and 5% of house races. And this would lead me to believe the low PVI played an important role in this for house races. Since house races are far less partisan getting seats to flip is harder despite a low advantage and high generic ballot. Besides, Republicans were expected to have a fairly high generic ballot in house races because they held nearly 60% of the seats to begin with.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Below are poll averages (from Real Clear Politics) for Gubernatorial, Senate, and contested House seats. A positive poll average favors the Republican candidate whereas a negative poll average favors the Democratic candidate. From the poll averages a ranking and probability are calculated for each race. A probability above 0.5 (50%) favors the Republican candidate whereas a probability under 0.5 favors the Democratic candidate. The higher ranking, the higher the probability the race will go to the Republican candidate. The lower the ranking, the higher the probability the race will go to the Democratic candidate. Since polling in House races are not very accurate, the formula to calculate the probability is more complex taking into account race ratings by the Cook, Election Projection, and Sabato political reports as well as generic congressional polling results and PVI (Partisan Voting Index). A positive PVI means the percentage of registered Republicans in the district outnumbers registered Democrats whereas a negative PVI means the percentage of registered Democrats in the district outnumbers registered Republicans. The overall probability for the President, Senate, Gubernatorial, and House races are computed to project the number of seats (including the presidency) that are going to be won by Republicans and Democrats respectively. Race candidates will be filled in to the below tables once they are determined by state primaries. I will update and post this information regularly (many primaries and candidates have not been decided and most polls are not pertinent because they do not contain the right candidates). Below is an overall summary of the predicted outcomes based on probability density function models.
Governor Races: Current - Republicans 29; Democrats 21 (including 2 Independents); Model Projection - Republicans 28; Democrats 22 (including 2 Independents)
Senate Races: Current - Republicans 45; Democrats 55 (Including 2 Independents); Model Projection - Republicans 51; Democrats 49 (Including 2 Independents)
House Races: Current - Republicans 234; Democrats 204; Model Projection: Republicans 250; Democrats 188
Below is an overall summary of the predicted outcomes based solely on election polls:
Governor Races: Republicans 27; Democrats 23 (including 2 Independents)
Senate Races: Republicans 52; Democrats 48 (Including 3 Independents)