Monday, October 17, 2016

Oh, Rudy!

Trump and his surrogates are sounding the drum beat that the Democrats are rigging the elections, particularly in the inner cities, widely regarded as their stronghold.  Mayor Rudy joined in the act by loudly proclaiming that the Democrats literally raise the dead to turn elections in their favor, although he qualified himself somewhat by saying it can only be seen in "extremely close elections."  His margin for fraud is apparently 5 per cent.

Of course, one has to ask how he was able to survive a close election in 1993, when he edged the incumbent mayor Dave Dinkins by less than three per cent.  As Jaker Tapper learned, it is hard to argue with Mayor Rudy.  Giuliani seems to have taken the Trump happy pills and spouts out whatever nonsense comes to his head.

Allegations of voter fraud are nothing new.  We've seen many states adopt voter ID laws supposedly to stem what they see as a crisis, although there is no evidence to suggest that voter fraud is taking place on the scale Republicans imagine.  Nevertheless, the myth persists thanks to demagogues like Trump and Giuliani, who are looking to raise the hackles of their most rabid conservatives.  Trump has actually encouraged supporters to monitor their voting precincts.  As Garret Epps writes, it is nothing but a form of harassment, as Trump has aimed his message at battleground states where he is looking to get any edge he can get.

What's odd to me is how so much focus has been placed on Pennsylvania, a state that has gone Democratic every presidential election year since 1992.  Trump being perhaps the worst Republican nominee ever put forward, it is safe to say that the Keystone State will vote overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, yet Trump has repeatedly pointed to this state as one to watch for voter fraud.  He is trying to make Pennsylvania into the fallacy that proves his point.

Many conservatives are deluded by syndicated polls that favor their candidate.  Rasmussen has consistently had Trump on top throughout the general election cycle, despite little to support its numbers.  In 2012, Rasmussen not only missed the national popular vote count, but missed many battleground states.  This is what sent Karl Rove into a tizzy fit on Fox News when Ohio didn't turn out the way Rasmussen had projected, literally having it too close to call.  Obama won the state by 3 points.  Although Rasmussen was quick to point out that it was within its margin of error of 4 points, they led many persons to believe Romney could pull out this state and several others that would have turned the electoral count in his favor.

That's why it is important to look at composite averages of polls like Real Clear Politics and 538.  This gives one a clearer picture of what is going on.  Nate Silver's site is perhaps the best in this regard as he analyzes the data and rates the polls within his algorithm, resulting in probabilities.  Currently, Hillary Clinton has an 88% chance of winning this election but don't tell Dirty Donald and Mayor Rudy that.  They seem to be basing their chances solely on Rasmussen and LA Times/USC, which both currently have him ahead of Hillary.

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