Thursday, July 14, 2016

How much credit do I get if Trump picks Pence?

The political world seems to be converging around the idea that Trump is likely to pick Mike Pence as his running mate.  As my very, very few readers know, that's who I picked as Trump's running mate.  On April 10.  Here's the link.

My reasoning was pretty simple.  Trump would need to shore up support from the Republican establishment crowd that didn't trust him to govern intelligently or conservatively.  So, as a condition for not blocking him at the convention, they would stick him with a Cheney-type with solid conservative credentials and governing experience who would both tow the party line and not do anything stupid, like breach the debt ceiling.  That all pointed to one name for me:  Mike Pence.

And here we are.  Trump still hasn't shorn up support.  The party isn't unified.  There was even noise about freeing up the delegates to vote their consciences at the convention.  The solution?  Pence.

It certainly seems to me like I called it way back in April.

But if you are actually reading this pretentious little blog of mine, you want more social science, so here it is.  Philip E. Tetlock, Expert Political Judgment.  Great book.  It's all about how we make predictions why most of us, particularly in political science, suck at it, and what we do when they go wrong.

Right now, the betting markets give Pence just over a 50% chance of getting the VP nod.  Better than anyone else, but still hardly a certainty.  I could still be wrong!  What if Pence doesn't get the nod?  Here's where Tetlock comes in.  Could I claim to have been "almost right," or, "wrong for the right reasons?"

Maybe.  Given that I made my prediction in April, and given the field of choices, I'd say for Pence to be this close at this point, I did pretty damned well.  Now, close only counts in horseshoes and nuclear weapons, but let's call this one a game of horseshoes.  Also, my reasoning looks sound.  Trump is considering Pence because he is still shaky with the party establishment and the conservative movement.  Pence is the solution to both problems.  The other two main contenders:  Gingrich and Christie, are just Trump looking for kindred spirits.

So, yes, I'd say my Pence pick on April 10 was a pretty good one.  My reasoning was correct, and given how far in advance I made the pick, the fact that he is where he is today shows some pretty good foresight.  Did you know who Mike Pence was on April 10?

Then again, maybe he'll pick Gary Busey.

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