Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,

The kind of thinking that won Hillary Clinton the presidency

Air America is replaying the Randi Rhodes broadcast from a couple of Fridays ago (she’s on vacation), and here’s what happened.

A caller told Randi proudly that she had gone down to Florida to help get out the vote. The correct response, of course, is ‘That’s great!’; instead, Randi blandly asks what county. The caller says Broward. Randi puts the caller on the defensive, asking why Broward, given that Obama was guaranteed to win there. The caller, sounding hurt, says she had friends there.

Of course, in Florida, in a presidential election, the county is irrelevant; indeed, Broward is a very good place to go for Democratic get-out-the-vote, because you will get a good reception. Thus, Randi made someone feel bad and futile for doing GOTV in a particularly good place to do GOTV.

Think how much similarly weak reasoning we have endured; it takes some effort not to fall into the intellectual traps. There was, for example, Big Tent Democrat concerned that Obama couldn’t win in big states, because Hillary did better there; so, how many of those big states did Obama lose in the general, eh? Obama concentrated on winning little states, because he was not distracted by falsehoods and irrelevancies; he saw he could net more delegates that way than Hillary could by trying to ‘win’ big states.

It is said that Hillary’s campaign manager didn’t even know that ‘winning’ a state was practically meaningless, and that delegates were to be divided proportionally. That’s astoundingly lazy behavior for a campaign manager, if true. But there was also the supposed ‘momentum’ the candidates got from their ‘wins’, which got discussed by quite brainy people despite that Obama’s ‘winning’ of a long string of little states didn’t stop Clinton from ‘winning’ in places where she was favored.

(‘Momentum’ is IMO way overrated; sure, winning begets winning, losing begets losing, but commentators are using the phenomenon as a mental crutch. It occurs to me that perhaps barking_iguana’s efforts towards a political sabremetrics will help future commentators and campaign managers put their brains to work.)

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