Hillary Clinton Didn’t Motivate New York

Last week, I wrote a piece about how in my home county of Rockland, Hillary Clinton did not perform as well as her down-ballot compatriot Charles Schumer who was an incumbent running, essentially, unopposed (he had an opponent but you would have to be a special kind of crazy to think she had any kind of chance of winning). This got me thinking; if Clinton didn’t do well in this county, which she won, what about the state, which she also won?

In New York State overall, Clinton beat Trump by approximately 1.6m votes in a race that garnered roughly 7.1m votes. She scored an aggregate total number (a total for each party she was on the ballot for) of 4,159,500 votes and beat Trump’s 2,639,994. New York State is a reliably blue state and it stands to reason that Hillary Clinton would outperform Trump.

That isn’t interesting, though, because finding out why Hillary Clinton won New York, a state that she not only should win, but was a lock to win, isn’t as interesting as finding out why she lost the general election. It would appear that when she was proclaimed the candidate it made voters do what party apparatchiks fear the most: stay home. I haven’t gotten around to doing the research for the rest of the country yet, but I think it might even be worse than that: Democrat voters did go to the polls, they just didn’t vote for her.

Taking the earlier numbers, Hillary Clinton scored 4,159,500 votes.

Down the ballot line, Charles Schumer scored 4,795, 288 votes. Charles Schumer’s turnout bested Clinton’s total by 635,788 votes.

Let that sink in for a minute while we explore Chuck Schumer to erase any doubt about what this means. I could write a few thousand words about their policies relative to certain issues, but there’s an easier way to understand my larger point. On The Issues is an amazing website that compiles candidate positions in a format designed to give you a policy position digest. At the end of each candidate’s dossier, they show a political compass. Here are the relative compasses of both Clinton and Schumer.

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Ideologically, they’re almost perfectly aligned with Schumer slightly more populist than Clinton, but for the purposes of this discussion we’ll set aside this nearly-insignificant difference and call these two candidates ideological equals.

This is important because it belies the idea that there was some major crossover for Schumer and not for Clinton. If a voter was willing to vote for Donald Trump and, at the same time, vote for Senator Schumer, they’d have a level of cognitive dissonance going on that even in this country I’d find hard to believe.

So now that we’ve dispensed with the idea that there was some massive crossover vote accounting for Schumer’s thrashing of Clinton (sounds weird when you put it that way, doesn’t it?) let’s pile on some more factors that make it even crazier.

Senatorial elections are never as highly turned out as Presidential elections.

Incumbents, when running unopposed, turn out even fewer people than that.

In spite of those two things, Schumer still beat Clinton in a state she won in the general election.

There’s only one explanation:

Democrats did go out and vote, but they skipped the box where they picked a President, choosing to neither vote for Trump nor Clinton.

This could be a reflection of the fact that many primary voters felt cheated when leaks about Clinton’s collusion with media outlets and the DNC to make sure that Bernie was buried started to surface. It could be a reflection of the fact that the FBI investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified data and the FBI’s later assertion that they wouldn’t proceed because in spite of her actions it would be hard to secure a conviction.

Or it could just be that people are tired of Hillary Clinton.

It’s early yet, and we don’t know what the demographics from this election really look like except for exit polls which are historically unreliable anyway, but the numbers are the numbers, and when Democrats turn out to vote for the Senator but not the Presidential candidate in a state you win by a large margin, you’re being told something.

Lots of folks are spending time analyzing why Hillary lost in the middle of the country, devoting thousands of words to analysis about some Midwest funk that claimed a liberal progressive that’s rooted in either poverty or racism or misogyny or whatever. If I allow you that as a given (for the sake of argument) the more troubling question if you’re a Hillary Clinton supporter or you managed her campaign is how did she lose to Charles Schumer, assuming all of the other factors, in New York, unless you want to make the wild claim that New York is, at its heart, one of those overtly racist and misogynist states its become trendy to mock post-election.

The data told by the states she won is going to be way more interesting than the data from the states she lost. You don’t need to be Nate Silver to know that.

The next analysis like this I’m going is a much bigger project: the entire country, state by state, to see if the trend of people going out to vote, just not for her, continues. Stay tuned!

What You Have to Believe, Hillary Clinton Edition

This morning, as I do on many a weekend morning, I sat down at my computer and browsed some news sites. When I was done, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see how the final results of Tuesday’s election came in. They certainly did not disappoint. One of the fun factoids I was seeking out was how many people broke for Jill Stein in my district (the number, in case you’re curious, is 7, and my wife is one of them; I’ve never been prouder).

What I found the most interesting, however, was that a narrative got broken in the results and one got reinforced.

First, the relevant page of the results. Now remember, this is the accumulated results, unofficially, posted at 2 AM following the polls closing.

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I want to draw your attention to the two highlighted rows. The yellow row represents the cumulative total for Hillary Clinton while the pink row represents the cumulative total for Charles Schumer who won his seat easily against challenger Wendy Long who was never a serious threat to Schumer’s seat anyway.

Hillary Clinton had a hell of a run. I can say there’s a lot of Trump supporters in Rockland County, which makes sense because it’s hardly an urban center, and most of the people here probably skew slightly right (although not Middle-America right). Even with that caveat, though, look at Hillary Clinton’s number. 63,454.

Now look at Schumer’s. 76,045.

What does that tell you?

Why this election has confused so many people.

This election is not unique. Sorry. I hate to break it to all of you, but this election is nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s old hat. What is unique, however, is how many people were following data that formerly wasn’t available to the general populace. In the dark days before 24 hour news cycles, excellent independent social network election coverage, and independent media that actually checked facts before spewing them, you had to seek out this information. Voter demos, exit polls, and other info, if you’re lucky, were in the newspapers, or glazed over on the nightly news, but never with the degree of accessibility we have now.

But what was different about this election even from 2012 isn’t that. Much of what we see today was, in fact, around in 2012.

The difference is what people did with the data and who bothered to actually read it. In 2016, even more so than in 2012, the outlets that distilled the data down for the general populace had a narrative they wanted to push, and then tried to find data that bore out that narrative. Many people like to point out that Nate Silver (as an easy example) didn’t really miss the mark on this election, but that it was impossible to predict, but that doesn’t explain how Bruce Mitchell aced the exam 1 week early.

The reason that this election confused people is that for months and months we had polling data from skewed polls in the hands of a media with an agenda being distributed to people who didn’t bother to verify any of it for themselves. If something came along that landed outside the lanes of the narrative, it was disregarded immediately as an outlier. We even know that the DNC gave advice on how to oversample polls to tell the story they wanted to tell.

Keep all this in mind as we go back to the actual election numbers.

Back to the numbers.

The narrative the DNC has stuck with is that racism and misogyny cost Hillary Clinton the election. That narrative is nearly un-questioned and accepted as truth. The mainstream media and liberal alt-media have done an excellent job of boiling down Trump’s appeal to dog-whistles, coded language, and rubes in flyover country being too stupid to understand or too racist to care.

So why then, in a county where Trump is a strong candidate and polled well, did he not win? Rockland County should’ve been a cakewalk, but it wasn’t. He lost, but he only lost by 6,000 votes. Wendy Long, another Republican, challenging an incumbent Democrat, lost by nearly 40,000.

The total number of ballots cast for President that were valid were 125,000 (for a county of approximately 320,000), and 116,000 for the Senate seat that, again, was nearly noncompetitive.

Schumer drew 13,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton did and beat Trump by 19,000. I ask you again, what does that tell you?

Assuming people stuck to party lines (not a wacky assumption), Democrats did come out, they just didn’t vote for her. Schumer, down-ballot from Clinton, outperformed her in a county she won.

So how about those narratives?

Narrative number one is that people love Hillary but were outvoted by racist misogynists. In this little petri dish of a county, we can see that’s plainly not true. The only way that would be true is if thousands of Trump’s racist misogynist supporters crossed party lines to vote for Chuck Schumer. I find that highly unlikely.

But narrative number two, and it’s one that I’ve been pushing since the election, is that Democrats didn’t like Hillary enough to come out for her and didn’t pay attention to the top of the ticket at all, voting only in local issues and down-ballot candidates. That narrative is borne out by the numbers.

What does it mean?

I would have to do more research to see how much this is reflected by the primary results, and I may just try and tackle that data this week, but I have a feeling we’re going to find some correlation there, and the main correlation we’re going to find is that the Bernie voters simply didn’t come out for Hillary, not because of racism, or misogyny, or anything else, they just didn’t feel the need to support her as a candidate.

When other candidates on your ballot line do better than you, that should be a cause for reflection and introspection, and we’re seeing surprisingly little of that from the DNC right now.

A Deliberate Campaign Of Obfuscation

Occupy Democrats is the single biggest piece of garbage site on the internet. It’s red meat for dumb people, and people who share the things they post / write often don’t bother looking deeper at their stories. Why would they? They confirm everything they already believe!

Understand my problem isn’t with Occupy Democrats believing every word spat forth from the mouth of icons like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, or their complete lack of intellectual honesty when their side doesn’t adhere to their principles. I can live with all of that because any of these red-meat meme factory sites do that. Conservatives, for example, have sites like NewsMax and Worldnet Daily for similar red-meat. It’s their complete lack of self-awareness. It’s their smug talk about how much hatred everyone on “the other side” has while they preach nothing but love and then share nothing but hate. It’s the fact that they call every trite platitude “powerful” and everything they disagree with is a “hate-filled rant” or some similar thing.

It’s not that I expect them to be impartial, but I do expect some intellectual honesty.

This particular story I’m going to talk about is somewhat egregious because it was clearly obfuscated to support a meme that needs reinforcement right now: that Donald Trump’s election is causing a wave of hatred and intimidation. Let’s look at this story carefully.

I was chatting in the comments of a post of a friend of mine when I decided to do a little oppo research on the brain dead fool I was chatting with, and I saw he regularly shared stories from Occupy Democrats. I must be highly honed to detect bullshit, because this one jumped out at me as a case of conforming by omission; where something doesn’t fit the narrative so you just ignore the parts that don’t or leave them out entirely. Here’s the story, and I’m going to break it out in pro-tips so you too can detect the bullshit.

Pro Tip #1: If the headline is particularly rabid, it’s probably either a distortion or a lie.

This is OD’s number one mechanism, and on this one they did not disappoint.

Here’s the headline from their site and as their Facebook post repeated it.

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Oof. That’s shitty behavior, no doubt, and man, the teacher should be fired immediately. No doubt about it. I’m with ya, OD. On this we agree.

But the headline… Notice they got the word Trump in. That’s not accidental. It’s bias by insertion, another mechanism used by sites like this regularly.

Pro Tip #2: Look for information that should be there, but isn’t.

One of the ways these sites shape your opinion on a story is to simply omit information. So we have a story here about a school. I want to know things.

  • The teacher’s name.
  • What grade the teacher teaches.
  • Some information about the teacher.
  • How we know the teacher is a Trump supporter.

So interestingly, let’s go through these point by point. The teacher’s name is not mentioned. The grade is not mentioned (the age is), there’s no information about the teacher, and there’s nothing in the piece on the local news affiliate they linked (warning: autoplay video, so please stop it and do not listen; not yet) tying him to Trump.

When I have four questions and none of them are answered, my spidey senses start tingling. Something is off. All of the four questions there seem relevant to the story, yet none of them are answered. That’s important.

From the story and the audio, which I’ll get to in a minute, we see that the teacher was actually fired. The district acted appropriately and shut the bastard down, but we don’t know anything about him. The district said they aren’t sharing, though.

LAUSD officials said they declined to comment on pending personnel matters. Reynaga and her husband said they met with school officials and were told the substitute teacher has been fired.

Well that’s that. The substitute teacher, who was not named and has not been connected in any way to Trump by the source that OD linked (aside from having ostensibly similar views) has been disciplined appropriately and the story is now over.

Well no. Because now is where we get into the next tip.

Pro Tip #3: If something is left out, it’s for a reason.

I know that sounds conspiratorial, so I should probably qualify it. When something is left out it’s for a reason, particularly if the detail changes the complexion of the story.

Looking at those two people, who is more likely to be a Trump supporter? You can be honest, because honesty is what wins the day here.

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The average Trump supporter, in the imagery we associate with such things, is a white male. That’s fine, but it’s important to recognize that truly manipulative people make sure to take advantage of those in-built biases, and OD is no different. Now, properly prepared, you have to listen to the audio that was shared with the LAUSD (you can find it at the affiliate site).

Notice anything? How did that teacher sound? Did that sound like a white male to you? Because it sure didn’t to me. That sure is inconvenient, because another casual association is the one with “racism,” and we all know the general tone of that argument when it comes to white people who are racist versus black people who are racist. In fact, some people have made a career off pointing out how black people can’t even be racist at all (I offer up this fine young lady as a textbook example of such idiocy).

Pro Tip #4: When the piece your reading is thin on hard facts or analysis, it’s probably because the facts don’t coincide with the analysis.

This is another favorite trick of sites like Occupy Democrats. Let’s go through the piece they posted, and diagram it.

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So it looks really good. They manipulated the headline, and inserted opinion as fact, but they got the “meat” correct, right?

I don’t give them that much credit. The tone of the piece is very different depending on “Would” vs “Should.” Yes, it’s a linguistic difference, but that still matters, particularly if we’re talking about writing. But even bigger than that, Trump never appears in the audio.

Go listen again. I’ll wait. Nowhere in the audio do you hear Trump’s name. That means the statements of “Trump would deport their parents” and “Trump should deport their parents” as a reference to something this teacher said are completely and utterly false. NBC doesn’t say it anywhere in their article, and the OD assumes it and inserts it as fact and then, in their most magnanimous of magnanimity, they then comment on this insertion as if it’s part of the story (see the last paragraph).

The only truth in this entire article comes from what was linked from NBC, copied from NBC, and briefly acknowledged by OD. Everything else is spin.

Incidentally, NBC engaged in its own version of this by analyzing Trump’s impact on immigration, inserting that into the end of the story, but without once showing one single line of what the teacher said that implies he’s a Trump supporter, and not just a racist.

Pro Tip #5: Find the story somewhere else, look for similar spin.

It’s not hard to find this story pretty much everywhere anti-Trump spin congregates, even though, again, there’s no proof this is anything other than a racist substitute teacher that said some horrible stuff to Hispanic kids. Seeing similar spin I clicked on one of my fine local papers, the New York Daily News, and saw this…

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Trump supporting? Awesome! Maybe they know something NBC didn’t?

Nope. In fact the only mention of Trump in the entire article was this:

“I was scared, because how can a teacher tell us that? He’s just rubbing it in that Trump won. We already know that,” said a student whose father is undocumented. “I worry about my dad because I had a nightmare that he wasn’t with me anymore.”

I’ll ignore the temptation to comment on anything other than the fact that the only time Trump is factually mentioned in this entire article is this line. Every other mention is the NY Daily News doing what OD does: inserting opinion as fact.

The NY Daily News essentially cites the only facts that we know, which we know from NBC and OD. They also leave the interesting bit out; the race of the teacher. But you can’t hang your hat on a hook of “white people are going to rampage because their racist leader got elected” if one of those people rampaging are black.

Also interesting is that this would be a good time to interject the racial problems between blacks and Hispanics in LA, which is actually a real problem, but that gets no mention (even though it’s true, and historically verifiable) because the shock headline and Trump attack is a much more red-meat type headline.

So that’s what they go with.

Pro Tip #6: Use what you learn to know whether or not the outlet is trustworthy, and set your expectations accordingly.

Two of the sites I visit regularly are Infowars and Drudge Report. I know the slant by which they post things. It doesn’t mean they’re always wrong, but I never post anything I read there without verifying it for myself. Why? Because I don’t believe in sharing un-vetted stuff if I can easily verify its veracity.

The same goes for the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of which were 100% in the tank for Hillary Clinton and 100% got the outcome of the election wrong and the reason for that outcome wrong.

The point here is that if you share stuff without vetting it or putting it through some kind of veracity test, you’re at fault for spreading misinformation. That this story made its way around as quickly as it did was based solely on confirmation bias. Donald Trump is gonna do this, this thing happened, therefore Donald Trump is responsible.

Donald Trump is racist, this guy is a racist, therefore he supports Donald Trump.

Are you starting to see how this worked?

Conclusion

Think for yourself is cliche, but it’s also something we need to do more. We’re being bombarded with bullshit from the minute we open our eyes to the minute we closed them. We just watched 2 years of election coverage that was supposed to culminate in the crowning of Queen Hillary end up with one of the most shocking upsets in election history, but it was only shocking if you followed narratives. If you looked at the data and listened to the actual people who didn’t have a vested interest, the world was very different.

Watch this video.

In that video, Bruce Mitchell tells everyone how this election was going to go down, but he also does us a great service and explains not only why, but why the information we were getting was bullshit.

He was perfectly right.

How did he get it right when everyone else was getting it wrong, or spectacularly wrong?

Simple. He didn’t trust his sources.

If you get nothing else out of this piece, learn this much at least;

If Occupy Democrats had run the headline “Black Substitute Teacher Tells Hispanic Children Their Families Could Be Deported” would that have made you angry? Probably not. Would it have confirmed your anti-Trump biases? Nope. Would you have shared it? Nope.

And that’s exactly what we have to fight against. Distortions of the truth that turn one story into another.