In a post attempting to explain why voters choose Trump, Nate Silver–who was wildly off the mark on Trump’s chances (see here, here, here, and here to observe a rank amateur kicking him up and down the road)–offers nothing close to a genuine mea culpa for having gotten the Republican nomination so wrong.
He did concede that voters “are more tribal than [he] thought”.
Better to understand that late than never, I guess. Tribalism is only going to get stronger.
Silver also wrote that the GOP was weaker than he thought.
Republican favorability has been on the steady decline over the last couple of decades. It enjoyed a little jump from 34% to 37% between July and October of last year, an uptick that is, to the extent it is real, is probably due to the Trump phenomenon.
Finally, he chided the media for giving Trump too much free publicity.
Having spent his adult life as a high-profile New York celebrity, Trump knows how to play the game. Any of the other candidates could’ve conceivably received a similar amount of coverage–but that would require being as persistently entertaining and exciting as Trump is. It is hardly the media’s fault that Trump has the personality traits and news-making savvy that he does.
One of the funnier exchanges in the primaries took place between Cruz and Anderson Cooper:
Via Steve Sailer, note that Silver made only a single passing and unreflective reference to immigration even though Trump has made it a foundation of his campaign and has utterly dominated among voters who list the issue as a top priority. Mil-Tech Bard notes a total absence of the word “terror” in Silver’s expalanation (even as Trump persistently brought up San Bernandino and Paris and ridiculed Obama for refusing to use the phrase “Islamic terrorism”).
I’ll add that “endorsement” is a no-show also a no-show in Silver’s piece. He put enormous influence on political endorsements. 538 maintained an endorsement primary that initially had ¡Jabe! on top of the Republican field. Then after he dropped out after failing to catch fire the endorsements moved to Rubio. After Rubio crashed and burned they moved to Cruz. Finally, after Trump dispatched Cruz, they… well, as of May 6 the only man left standing is still way behind in the endorsement count. Not only is Trump trailing Rubio and Cruz, he’s even losing to Kasich.
Silver’s polls-plus forecast gives bonus points for endorsements, something that has lead to embarrassing misses like Indiana, where 538 put Hillary’s chances of winning the state at 90%. Silver should scrap this. This election cycle is one in which endorsements aren’t moving the needle much at all. In many cases they’re curses rather than blessings for the candidates who receive them.