27 January 2016

Political Scientists Blew This Election

As political scientists and data journalists start to admit that we didn't predict Donald Trump (or Bernie Sanders), it's time for some out-there theories!
From Mischiefs of Faction. Mea culpa. My predictions were just as inaccurate on  the GOP side (I assigned only a 6% probability of winning the Presidency combined to the current GOP front runners).

The author of the quoted post, after a moment of humility, ponders why the establishment wing of the parties didn't prevent these outcomes, and suggests that it is more likely that the establishment wing didn't bother or intentionally tried not to influence the outcome than it is that they were incapable of doing so.

Why would they do that?
The different factions in the party can no longer be reconciled, and the priorities of powerful voices within the party can no longer be reconciled with the national mood and its policy imperatives.
Given an over constrained political environment, elites have decided to simply let the process play itself out and resolve the conflict rather than trying to engineer a result when there are no good solutions.

Even if the Republicans lose this election, they may emerge with a more clear sense of identity and a chastened pool of party extremists as the limitations of what is possible are made manifest for them in the electoral results.

All social science theories and conventional wisdom are basically based on the assumption that the present will work like the past did in our society. Usually, their right. But, the really interesting times, because they show that something about the system and society have changed, are when the models fail as they seem to have this year in the 2016 race for President.

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