Sunday, September 11, 2016

Baskets, deplorables, and the irrelevance of insulting the other side's voters

Oh no!  Did you hear?!  A politician insulted her opponent's voters!  Someone get me my fainting couch!  Then I'll need smelling salts!

And now for the obligatory clips, because, well, they are obligatory...

Yes, Obama is a sneering elitist who thinks that his detractors are bible-thumping, gun-toting xenophobes.  Romney is a sneering elitist who thinks that his detractors are shiftless moochers.  Clinton is a sneering elitist who thinks that her detractors are racists, sexists, etc.

But we knew this.  If you are reading this, you want to know if this matters.  That Obama dude.  Whatever happened to him?  Oh yeah, he won.  And Romney?  Well, for that, we turn to the analysis from Sides & Vavreck's The Gamble.  Romney's 47% video was supposedly a "game-changer" in the campaign.  And yet, the polling didn't move much.

Journalists often fall prey to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.  "After this, therefore because of this."  Romney said something that sounded awful.  Then he lost.  Obviously, it must have been because of the 47% line, right?  No, he lost because the economy is growing, and incumbent presidents tend to be reelected when the economy is growing.  The 47% clip didn't move the polls much.  Journalists just need to tell a compelling story, and the 47% thing makes a better story, even if it is bullshit.

Now, here's the funny thing.  The polls have trended a bit lower for Clinton lately.  And, over at the betting markets, Trump's odds have crept up from around 20% to 25% over the last couple of weeks.  Did Clinton's "basket of deplorables" line move those numbers?  Nope.  Not yet, anyway.

And it shouldn't.  Why?  Because insulting people who won't vote for you doesn't matter.  It didn't for Obama, it didn't for Romney, and it won't for Clinton.

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