The Do-Nothing Discipline

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pangloss
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The Do-Nothing Discipline

#1 Post by pangloss » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:12 pm

Jeff Hauser wrote: Since these thinkers are fond of calling their fetishized, quantified variables “fundamentals,” let’s call them “fundamentalists.” We might as well because, for all their statistical sophistication, their accounts of human motivation are so narrow as to bring to mind the dogmatic conviction that dinosaur fossils are less than six thousand years old. As they gained prominence during the Obama era, fundamentalists argued that the political factors obsessed over by journalists and activists, even the day-to-day analysis of aggregated poll data favored by the new breed of data journalists such as Nate Silver and Nate Cohn, are essentially a distracting waste of time. They also—and this is important—consider the daily tactical give-and-take of campaigns, the grand machinations of strategy, wildly overrated and largely irrelevant.
How will the pundits ever recover?

Incrementalist
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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#2 Post by Incrementalist » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:22 am

As much as I think both of those Nates are overrated, I don't think "guilt by word association" (fundamentals -> fundamentalists) makes a very strong case.

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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#3 Post by TrPrado » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:22 am

If anyone is looking for context, click on Jeff Hauser's name in the quote box of OP and it takes you to an article.

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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#4 Post by TrPrado » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:08 am

Incrementalist wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:22 am
As much as I think both of those Nates are overrated, I don't think "guilt by word association" (fundamentals -> fundamentalists) makes a very strong case.
Reading on, he seems to be cutting Nate Silver a decent bit of slack and goes far more after people who don't use polls at all in their predictions and rely entirely on economic models to predict elections. (He criticizes Silver's reliance on empiricism but doesn't lump him in as a fundamentalist, at one point even overtly calling him and Nate Cohn "non-fundamentalists")

This article is an entertaining read. I chuckled reading:
Jeff Hauser wrote: Forty years later, for these models to make sense, you have to believe the same thing about a long and dizzying list of cycle-specific contingencies. Here’s but a small sample from the general election of 2016: Wikileaks’ release of hacked Podesta and DNC emails; Anthony Weiner’s sexting problem leading James Comey to send a public letter reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server eleven days before the election; Comey’s reticence to unveil the FBI’s investigation of whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia; the Clinton high command’s decision to pour resources into Ohio and Iowa while taking Michigan and Wisconsin for granted; and so on. Oh, and Clinton was the first woman ever nominated by a major political party, aiming to succeed the first African American president.

But: 1976 and 2016 certainly both had “weighted-average growth of per capita real disposable personal income over the term.” So why not model them as one singular, rarely deviating study in foreordained outcomes?
It also posits an interesting headscratcher as an additional critique of models that rely on economic factors to predict elections:

Why is Trump consistently so unpopular with the economy as well-off as it is?

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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#5 Post by President Eden » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:04 am

Probably because he's not as unpopular as the polls indicate, a trend consistent over the last 2.5 years now, if I had to guess.

Political analysts are a complete joke

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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#6 Post by TrPrado » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:36 am

Perhaps, but the article points to how basing a predictive election model only on economic factors will lead to very unreliable and frequently false conclusions, which same models would point in Trump’s favor with the current state of the economy.

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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#7 Post by Octavious » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:43 pm

Of the major difficulties Melania experienced in her relationship with Trump was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid. He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was so—but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence the act. He preferred people to be puzzled rather than contemptuous.

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Re: The Do-Nothing Discipline

#8 Post by Randomizer » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:14 pm

"Why is Trump consistently so unpopular with the economy as well-off as it is?"

Because much like George "I'm the first MBA president" Bush, Trump is a truly dumb and lousy businessman who keeps spouting out bad economic plans and now signing a tariff that hurts US businesses. From wanting to sell off the Strategic Oil Reserve near the bottom of oil prices when US refineries couldn't provide oil if needed to his steel tariff that will hurt even more US businesses that need steel for their products, Trump seems to have slept through his Wharton business school classes. The economy wants stability and not sudden pronouncements that will cause problems.

Most of the economic improvements also were started long before Trump was elected under Obama. Even the ones that have happened since then that he claims credit for doing aren't because of any Trump actions. His claim of saving American jobs has seen a short PR period followed by the companies then closing the US factories and shipping jobs to Mexico.

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